A caption penned by my mom in a photo album from my preschool years describes me pretty well: “Cats are my favorite!”
Mandy Loehr at age 4
The accompanying photo shows a 4-year-old me carrying a backpack with our little kitty’s head poking out of the top. Poor Smokey was a good sport throughout this play session.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been drawn to cats and have been a proud owner of several felines throughout my lifetime. It must be something about their soft and cuddly nature, and their purring melts me every time.
In the past year, however, I had to adopt a no-cat lifestyle brought about by some other life changes.
My chubby cat, Quinn, had some longstanding issues with urinating on furniture. My then-fiancé and now-husband Andy and I decided that we didn’t want these problems literally permeating our new home after our wedding in July.
So sadly, I gave Quinn to some family members shortly before our move, and fortunately, she’s doing well today.
Now a new pet has captured my affections — surprisingly for this cat aficionado, a dachshund and cocker spaniel mix named Layla.
I certainly have never loathed dogs. They can be pretty adorable, but I’ve never particularly wanted to snuggle up to one of these smelly animals like I do with a cat. Admiring dogs from a distance was fine with me.
Not to mention how some hyperactive canines will jump all over you (ouch!) and then give slobbery kisses (eww!) when you walk in the door. I preferred just a simple “meow” as my welcome-home greeting.
Layla, my husband’s 6-year-old dog, has changed some of my preconceived dog versus cat opinions.
We moved her into our apartment in September. Since then, I’ve been charged with much of her care-taking, as Andy spends many hours away from home working in Columbus and also attending evening police academy classes.
As the fall progressed, Layla has become my new bright-eyed, floppy-eared buddy.
When I open the front door, I always hear the pounding of her little feet on the carpet racing to say “hi” and enjoy her look of pure joy about the fact that I’m home.
She also has the habit of jumping on me during these homecomings, which actually is more cute than painful since she’s a petite little gal.
The kisses Layla freely gives to any willing human are a bit slobbery, but now make me smile instead of grimace.
Lately, my little pooch friend and I have enjoyed evenings relaxing by the Christmas tree and maybe watching a little TV. Her doggy odor isn’t too strong (while her breath is another story) and a candle burning beside us masks any offensive smells.
Layla’s sweet demeanor and faithful companionship have helped fill my no-cat void. I look forward to more fun times ahead with this lovable pup in the years to come.