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Gratitude found in odd places
Scripps Howard News Service


November 23, 2005

Finding things to be thankful for sometimes means looking places you wouldn't normally find gratitude.

Take my closet, for example. The other day as I was putting on my running shoes, I discovered the remains of a beetle - the latest victim of my cat's hunting adventures.

Once I shook the shell from my shoe - and the goose bumps from my skin - I took a moment to say thanks out loud for Palo being a happy, healthy, inquisitive cat.

I can't say I was as grateful when I found the rest of the beetle inside a pile of throw-up atop my dresser, but, hey, would you?

There are other little contents of my life I'm thankful for this year.

Space rugs. They make excellent disguises for pet stains.

Those pesky fall leaves that sneak in through my front door - home invaders that have become hours of entertainment for my playful tabby.

Outrageous vet bills, which remind me I am providing my animals with the health care they deserve.

The low annual percentage rate on my credit card without which I could not pay off those outrageous vet bills.

My furry alarm clock with the eight little paws that wakes me daily at just the right time. It never needs winding and doesn't shut down when the power goes out.

The endless mopping of muddy paw prints across my kitchen floor. It keeps me in shape and grateful to have a home for my animals.

The loud groaning from my refrigerator in the middle of the night, a sign that my antiquated appliance is working hard to keep the dogs' homemade food fresh inside.

The booming thunder that comes with New Mexico rainstorms. It's the only time my well-mannered dog Henry will agree to get on the bed.

The ruby-red scratches across my stomach, arms, chest and cheeks, wounds I carry from shoving pills down my 14-year-old cat's throat. They remind me that Powder feels better when she's on medication.

Long hours at work. The longer I'm away from home, the happier the dogs are to see me. And an extra-long walk makes up for my guilt of being away all day.

High energy prices. They force me to keep my heat turned way down, which means more cuddling from the cats.

The irresponsible people down the street who don't neuter their cats and let their annual litter of kittens wander carelessly into the street. That's how I found Palo, my perfect orange tabby who I nearly flattened with my car. So, thank you, irresponsible neighbors. Now go sterilize your cats.


Jen Barol is columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune.
Contact her at

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