10/26/09 - Daniel Wifebeater and Blackeyed Susan lived in an over-animaled farmhouse up the road from us in Virginia. They had a goat, chickens, several dogs that terrorized pedestrians and chased cars, and several cats. Obie came from there; he demanded to move in with us, apparently in search of better food than the Wifebeaters were providing.

Daniel and Susan lived in the rented farmhouse for about four years. When the owner wanted to sell the place, they had to be evicted. Then they departed quickly, leaving huge piles of trash in the front yard.

Everybody on the road was relieved that they were gone. You could now walk by the farmhouse without being attacked by the meanest dachshund the world has ever known, the alpha dog in a pack of varying numbers of equally mean mongrels. Susan always assured us that the dogs meant no harm, but she didn't see them in action when she wasn't there.

The Wifebeaters left more than trash when they were evicted. I first noticed the cat Susan called Bubba--a huge white long-hair--hanging around when I walked past the house one morning. I figured Susan would come for him. A day later I saw two more big white cats. After another day it began to look like Susan's return was delayed, so I carried food up for them. A couple more days passed and a black cat appeared. When three kittens showed up, it looked like time to call the authorities.

My buddy Roger, a member of my rescue squad and a Northumberland County sheriff's deputy who held the esteemed position of county dogcatcher, said it would be a day or two before he could get there. He asked me to keep feeding them so they'd be around when he arrived. By the time a couple of days passed, I counted a dozen cats, including two jovial fellows with fur colored like vanilla ice cream with butterscotch topping. Those two followed me and my dog home one day.