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The Furry Fables Of Teddy And Myrrh

, , , , , , | Friendly | August 22, 2021

My boyfriend and I are at the vet with his one-and-a-half-year-old German shepherd, Teddy, and my six-month-old kitten, Myrrh, to get them their updated vaccines.

Teddy, though an “aggressive breed,” is the sweetest, gentlest dog I’ve ever known, and he absolutely adores my cat. As a result, Myrrh has no fear of dogs and is incredibly friendly and outgoing, so while we’re waiting for our names to be called, I’m letting her sit beside me on the bench (wearing a harness and leash) instead of leaving in her carrier.

Teddy and another dog start sniffing each other, tails wagging and all, so we allow them to play a little as the owner scoots over to greet us. As we’re talking, he sees my cat sitting quietly between my partner and me and comments on how risky it is to keep the two of them in the same apartment. We happily explain that they grew up together so they have an “overbearing but loving big brother” and “fearless little sister” dynamic; she’s in no danger (save being loved to death).

The guy laughs and starts to pet Teddy, while speaking in a babying voice.

Guy: “You’re just being friendly for now, huh? But when no one’s looking, you’re going to tear that little kitty apart, aren’t you? She’s just a walking chew toy and you’re going to rip her to shreds!”

I am mortified, too shocked to respond. I’ve always loved cats but have spent more than a decade living in fear of dogs following an attack when I was a child. It took several weeks of gentle encouragement from my partner for me to trust Teddy enough that I could start conquering that fear. Needless to say, I am deeply upset at the idea of my kitten being brutally killed and my boyfriend is equally furious. 

However, before either of us can say or do anything, the jerk’s dog tries to nip at Myrrh — playfully, not aggressively, but too sudden and rough for her — which startles her, and she mewls pitifully. In an instant, Teddy’s friendliness vanishes and he shoves the dog backward, growling to warn him off while planting himself between the offender and Myrrh. Frightened by the sudden hostility, the guy’s dog cowers behind its owner, who also jumps in fear and scuttles backward.

Guy: “Hey! Y-You need to get that animal under control!”

The guy moved back to the other side of the waiting room, much to our relief. He didn’t seem to understand the irony of the situation, but from the looks of the other patrons who’d overheard the conversation, the message wasn’t lost. 

Myrrh was confused but unharmed, and when Teddy went to check on her, she started purring and grooming him, and he was back to his happy, tail-wagging self immediately. My boyfriend and I lavished praise on the pair, and Teddy got a brand-new peanut butter bone for his good behavior at the vet. It’s been almost four years since then and, though much has changed for our little family — for example, my boyfriend is now my husband — both Teddy and Myrrh are still as happy and affectionate as ever.

This story is part of our Best Of August 2021 roundup!

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