David and I have been together for so long that we are actually on our second generation of pets.

Back in the day, there was Harvey, the coolest cat ever, and his best friend Lucy, our devoted Old English Sheepdog. Somewhere along the line came Clara, the scarediest scaredy cat ever, and Hamlet–aged, toothless & arthritic.

Lucy passed at a grand 13 years (91 in dog years), leaving a void that has partly been filled by Maggie of the Mounties (Pyrenee Mountains, that is). We brought Miss Maggie home at 7 weeks of age, the size of a miniature poodle, and now, suddenly, she is nearly 9.

Harvey passed at a young 9, but Hamlet and Clara lived to 15 years each (whether Clara’s was a full life, well lived is up for debate). Now, we have Sally and Deano (and we can’t forget the tiny life of little Harry, who died while being neutered). Sally loves her boys, Sam & Pete, her daddy David (who feeds her even when her bowls are full), and, well, all men. (If she weren’t neutered, we’d have to call her “slut kitty”). Deano loves us all . He’s an equal opportunity love cat!

Watching Maggie grow (and grow and grow) to her almight 125 lbs and equally large personality has been a gift. Not all families (or cats) can handle a Great Pyr. But our hearts and the courage of our cats have allowed us to enjoy the majesty and hilarity that is our Mags. Now a rapidly aging 8-1/2 year old (nearly 72 in doggy years), it occurred to me tonight that perhaps she needs reading glasses.

Yes, she can see the birds (whom she hates for dive bombing her) and the rabbits (which she loves to eat). She can see the Milk Bone coming. But up close, she seems to lose site of the bone. Reading glasses! Yes, that is indeed what she needs! And perhaps a double hip replacement.

Still, we rejoice at the smiles and laughs she gives us each day, the demand for big belly rubs and the delight in each unseen Milk Bone. A hot dog in the summer; a snow bunny in the winter!