Pssst! Ranger, don't look now, but I think we're being followed.
For the past few days, as my faithful dog and I leave our yard and cross the street to begin our epic walk of the day, a little furry fellow has been stealthily trailing behind us.
If I pay much attention to him, calling or coaxing him forward, he will run back home and sit on the front porch.
(True fact: I hid behind a stop sign to take this photo.)
But if I pretend not to notice, and peek only from the corner of my eye, I see him slip across the dangerous street and dash into the neighbors' yard. There, he quietly sits and patiently waits.
How do I know this?
Because about forty minutes later, Ranger and I will finish our outing and come back into the neighborhood. As we pass by the neighbor's hedge, four white kitty feet will emerge from the foilage as our devoted cat makes his appearance.
Purring his greeting.
Rolling on the sidewalk.
Jumping playfully at Ranger's leash.
And once Ranger and I have properly greeted dear Sirius, we will all three proceed down the sidewalk together. Often, we pause for traffic at the curb, and like an obedient toddler, Sirius safely waits at my side until I give the all-clear and begin walking again.
Both pets stay close to me as we cross, and then our happy trio passes through the rose trellis and up the lawn to the front door, safely returned from our journey.
As we pass into the house, I often pick Sirius up for a quick cuddle and a chin rub. And while I am no expert at cat speak, I could almost swear that he whispers, Welcome home.