Four Legs Good
Four Legs Good has moved - you can now find all the posts from mid-2016 at this link. Just click on the headline in the list to reach the post you want.
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Though the URL is new and the format is a little different, Four Legs Good is the same as ever, including the regular Furry Friday posts.
Photographing pets can be tricky. They never stop moving except when they sleep, and, can you believe their audacity, they insist on looking in whichever direction suits them rather than the photographer.
With my own pets, the pattern is this: I spot a photo opportunity with one of the pets being especially cute; I fire up the camera app on my tablet; just as I start to frame up on the pet and the tablet screen does that drunken-focusing thing, the pet jumps or runs away.
Which means that when I take a really good shot - especially one that captures my pet's look and personality well - I treat it as a treasure. And today's lineup of readers' pet photos is a collection of such treasures - portraits that catch the pet at its best in a moment of calm.
Molly has all her senses tuned. She'll hear any suspicious rustle of the grass, see any movement, catch scent of any interloper.
This week I watched a drama unfold that started with a cat lying injured on a driveway, crying in pain.
The drama happened a few minutes' drive from where I live, but I had no role in it and wasn't on the scene.
I was merely a watcher - a rubbernecker, if you want to be mean about it - on a social media channel. The cat's plight and its fate were the subject of a message board posting and a comments thread. And while I followed the drama, a point hit home powerfully to me: pet ownership and the role of social media have become more tightly intertwined than most of us realise.
And I don't just mean the adage that "pets rule the internet" (though it often seems that way).
Here's what happened with the cat.
Do you feel a need to smile? If so, you have a reason.
This is the middle of it all, of winter and the year. Today is as distant from the last summer holiday as from the next. You know how a week has a hump day in the middle? Well, today, July 1, is the hump day (more or less) of the whole year. It'll be nice to get over it.
So to help you clear that hump, I thought I'd do a Furry Friday that's purely to make you smile. Not necessarily to crack up, just to smile - at a pet being silly, or sweet, or just typical.
Let's start with Enzo, trying to get the upper hand.
Do you have a cat or dog that loves to lick you? Maybe the thought of it turns you pale. Maybe (more likely, I think) you've made your peace with the licking as a bearable price for your pet's affection.
Because usually that's what the licking is about - affection. Your pet likes you, feels safe with you, wants to express its bond with you.
For a dog, the licking might be a submissive or attention-getting gesture, one that it learned to use as a puppy to get on with other dogs. (But funny how a supposedly appeasing signal can get a bit, well, pushy.)
If your pet is a cat, then licking you summons up the best feelings it can have: memories of its mother nurturing it into life as a tiny, blind kitten, or suckling it safely and soothingly.
Both my dogs lick me, but at different times, in different ways, and apparently for differing reasons. After I've been away from Phoebe for an absolute epoch - like, I don't know, two hours - she gets all emotional and leaps and wails. And she always likes to plant a single "kiss" on me - a modest lick not on my lips but on the end of my nose. It's pretty charming.
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