The Therapy Sessions

On Being Homeless

Another week, another therapy session for the not-so-little man.

TP: So, Little, I thought this week we might talk about your early days.

LM: You mean, like when I was adopted?

TP: Well yes, but even before. I know you were out on your own for a while. What was that like?

LM: Duh. Whaddya think it was like, doc? It stunk. Everybody picks on you, no telling when you’ll eat next, have to sleep with one eye open. Yeh, it was swell.

TP: You get beat up a lot?

LM: A little, doc. I ain’t no creampuff.

TP: Dogs?

LM: Nah, they’re no big deal. I mean dogs are pretty much just big goofs. They love to chase you around, but push comes to shove and you get cornered—a few good hisses and maybe a left-right swat combo and most of ‘em just run home to mamma.  No, it’s the foxes you gotta watch…they’re fast and have that take no prisoners mentality. And the birds…ugh! I hate the birds.

TP: Birds?

LM: Yeh, that’s all they are. Falcons, hawks, owls—hell, I even had a couple turkey vultures on my tail one day. This one day, before I wised up, one of ‘em got me. I think it was only a falcon ‘cause he couldn’t hold onto me. If it’d been one of those bigger bags o’ feathers, I doubt we’d be having this little chat.

TP: Did you get hurt?

LM: Ripped my back pretty bad where he grabbed me, but no problem with the crash landing. Just did one of those tuck-and-roll moves and headed for deep cover.

TP: Sounds rough.

LM: Ahh, the physical stuff wasn’t nearly as bad as the rejection.

TP: You mean from your birth mother?

LM: Well, yeah, I guess, but you know, I can’t lay it all on her. Hell, she’d already had like three litters before me and my four sisters came along. The lady was wasted. Besides, it ‘s not like she tossed me out. We talked about it. She had her hands full with the girls, and well, I had to step up. Be a man, you know?

TP: But you were only, what, a few months old?

LM: If that.

TP: So…who else rejected you?

LM: Everybody. Doc, do you have any idea how many doors I knocked on before somebody finally took me in? Plenty.  It got so bad I started following some of those dufus dogs home, thinking their families might take pity on the little scruffmeister that I was. No deal.

TP: Must have been tough out there, Little Man.

LM: It was…but, like I said before, I wasn’t anybody’s jelly donut. (No wisecracks, doc.) I will admit, though, the weather was gettin’ to me. Don’t much like the cold, and winter was comin’ on strong…snow and ice, and it was only Thanksgiving.

TP: Is that when you met him?

LM: Yeah. (Chuckles.) Don’t think he much liked the cold either. I spotted him on his side porch fiddling around with a light on the stairs. Looked like he was freezing his you-know-what off. I figured him for a kindred spirit so I climbed up and gave him a rub.

TP: What did he do?

LM: Damn near jumped out of his skin, is what. I think the gash on my back freaked him out. It was pretty raw and he probably thought he was gonna catch something from me. As I later learned, he’s a bit of a Felix Unger-type.

TP: So even your ultimate adoptive dad rejected you.

LM: Yeah, at first. But I figured, well, I’ll hang around here for a while and maybe he’ll soften up.

TP: Which he did, right?

LM: Not exactly. The lady of the house turned out to be the soft touch. That night, they drove off in the car but left the garage door open. As soon as they pulled out, I headed inside and there it was—a generous scoop of tuna fish heaven in a bowl. I scarfed it up, then cased the garage to find the best how-could-anyone-resist-me spot for a lie-in until they came home.

It was beautiful, doc. When they pulled in later that night, the headlights shined on my adorable, vulnerable self, perched right next to the door.

TP: They took you in that night?

LM: No, the lady (mom) wanted to, but Mister “who knows what kind of cooties he has” said no way. Of course, the next day, as soon as Mister you-know-who went out, Miss “oh you poor baby, come inside” brought me up to her office and cuddled me in her chair while she worked. By the time dad came home, I was in like Flynn.

TP: Nice. I imagine that whole experience gave you a real appreciation for the plight of so many abandoned dogs and cats that never really find a home.

LM: True enough, doc. In all honesty, I wish they all had a home as nice as mine.

TP: Just not yours.

LM: Right you are, doc. Just not mine.

TP: As Curly found out.

LM: Hey listen. That Curly thing’s been blown way out of proportion.

TP: Well, you didn’t exactly put out the welcome mat for the youngster.

LM: Doc, how old are you? Around 50, I’m guessing, right? So cat years-to-human years, we’re about the same age. Now imagine. You’ve gone through your life, had some hard times but now you’re settled, comfortable, set in your ways. One day, your friends decide that what would “really be good for you” is to live with a four-year old. It’ll be a new lease on life, get you moving. This four-year old, they tell you, will be your best buddy. You’ll share EVERYTHING with him, cuddle up together for FAB picture ops and, well, he’ll just be your constant companion.

Now be honest, doc…how long would it take before you asked your friends, “Have you lost your freaking minds?”

TP: OK, Little, I take your point. But I still think we need to explore the Curly episode a bit deeper. Maybe next time?

LM: Sure, doc. There’s always next time.