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Rampage Columns

Man’s Best Friend

Jan 31, 2012

There’s an interesting bond between man and pet. From the first mouse-catching cat domesticated in Ancient Egypt to the first domesticated wolf, pets have been a part of households a long time.


We Homo sapiens enjoy the company of our human friends, but we long for a furry, four-legged companion to cuddle up with as we watch television re-runs, to happily greet us with wagging tails when we return home from our busy days, or to provide us with daily entertainment that reminds us how beautiful life is.



Recently, my cat Sugar Ray passed away and it was fascinating to see the reactions of my parents, my sister, and even myself. Sugar Ray had been in our family for several years, and I hadn’t realized the impact she had on the four us, especially my dad.


My dad is a strong man, unafraid of anything, and, like most men, he doesn’t show emotion well, but Ms. Ray changed that. Of the four of us, I think he was the most devastated; he had grown fond of this feline after spending many cold winters in his mechanic shop fixing old cars with Sugar Ray nestled up in a furry ball by the wood stove.


I guess they had their bonding moments when she would come up to him purring and start rubbing on him as he lay under a broken car, or when he would tease her with a laser light and watch her run in circles or into walls as she tried to catch the red beam.


Whatever event led to their connection, Sugar Ray touched a human’s soul, bridging the gap between man and animal.


Losing Sugar Ray made me observe the role animals play in our lives. Many are proud pet owners, whether they keep a bird, fish, cat, dog, snake, rabbit, hamster, or ferret.


BC Registrar Amanda Parks has had a black-and-white cat named Ms. Tibby for 11 years. Surprisingly, Parks said, Ms. Tibby still loves her.


“A bunch of us were playing cards at my house one evening, and I had put clothes in the dryer, and she had crawled on the towels,” said Parks. “I heard something in the dryer, and thought I better go check, and Ms. Tibby was in the dryer!”


Ms. Tibby acts as Parks’ alarm clock.


“I’m not good in the mornings, and Ms. Tibby will come and rub and purr on my face and make biscuits with her claws, and I’ll throw her off and she’ll come right back,” said Parks.


Ms. Tibby is like most animals, even if you say something mean to them, throw them, or ignore them, they still love you.


The human-animal bond is good for both species. Studies show that a pet owner can benefit from lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reduced stress levels, and better mental health.


BC English professor Rob Merritt’s dog, Scout, is his exercise buddy. The duo goes walking on the Appalachian Trail, the streets of Bluefield, and basically wherever Merritt goes.


“There’s something about walking with a dog rather than by yourself,” said Merritt. “We walk in the ice, rain, or snow.”


Merritt owes his walking time to Scout and says he would never get exercise if not for walking his dog.


All this heartwarming talk about animal love is making me miss my three cats, three dogs, and rabbit. Luckily for me and any BC student who shares my longing, we can go to Cruise dorm and knock on the door of RHD Kristen Garrett.


Inside her apartment are two cats, Milo and Mildred. It’s said that they guard Cruise, so don’t let their cute furriness blind you. 


When you walk by Garrett’s window, you will see a furry, orange creature sitting in the windowsill, and if you go up to the window, Milo will stick his paw on the glass and try to play with you; it’s great amusement. Milo’s roommate, Mildred, is a fat, long-haired kitty who likes to jump up in the windowsill and attack Milo when she sees that he is getting attention.


Garrett’s cats aren’t the only cats roaming the BC campus. East River’s housekeeper, Pon Wagner, has several stray kitty friends that she has found near the BC maintenance shed. She pets and feeds them daily.


Even though animals have four legs, can’t speak English, and have fur, they still touch our hearts. We form unforgettable relationships with our pets, and as a result, we gain wisdom beyond measure.