The Observer


“Why is that dog looking at us?” the blonde pixie questioned her companions, loud enough that I could hear her quite clearly.

Children do not filter their thoughts and observations like adults.

Three children pumped their legs to keep themselves swinging—back and forth, back and forth. A fourth child pitched a soft playground ball at the moving target’s feet. When contact sent the ball flying, the boy on the ground chased the ball down and pitched it again.

“Why’s that dog looking at us?” pixie cried again from her swing.

Henrietta is incredibly curious—an observer. Before we rounded the corner and saw the children on the swing set, she’d sat down twice just to listen to their voices and laughter.

“Guys—Why’s that dog looking at us!?” the girl called over and over while her playmates only had attention for the game. Henri sat as still as the stone rabbit on our front porch, not straining, simply watching, while the girl demanded an answer.

With tugs and treat bribes, I got Henrietta to move down the street—at the pace of a drunk slug.

Finally I called back to the child, “She thinks you’re interesting. She wants to play the game with you!”

“Okay!” she called to me breathlessly, “If we’re still here when you come back, maybe she can play.”

“Okay! Thanks,” I yelled to the only child who was paying us any attention.

The other three seemed blind and deaf to our existence.

I knew full well we wouldn’t be back. We were making a loop and would not pass that way again.

The experience put me in mind of Oscar…The Socialite Cat. In one of his books…

All Creatures Great and Small,
All Things Bright and Beautiful,
All Things Wise and Wonderful, or…
The Lord God Made Them All

James Herriot wrote about a cat he and his wife Helen nursed back to health after finding the creature mangled by a car. Once healed and healthy, the cat started to disappear for long stretches, frightening Helen, who believed he’d run off.. Turns out Oscar was a high stepper, a cat-about-town. The large feline had started nipping out to social events…dart night at the pub, meetings at the Women’s Institute, school concerts, and scout bazaars.

Much to the Herriot’s dismay, it turned out that Oscar already had a family—and another name—Tiger. When his first family heard about the social cat a couple of towns over, they paid a visit to see if it was their event-loving, natural mixer that’d disappeared one evening several months back.

Oscar was Tiger.

With great reluctance, the Herriots said good-bye to Oscar…errr, Tiger, but paid him the occasional visit at his new/old home—

of course, they had to mind their timing—

around the busy cat’s social calendar.

Instead of telling themselves a story of loss, Jim and Helen played the Glad Game—glad for Tiger’s first family, glad they had their beagle Sam, glad they could visit Oscar, I mean…Tiger.


What would our lives be without them?

Do you see things the rest of the world passes by?

Do you know how to play the Glad Game?