Old Wilf and his mate Joe were well on their walk across the low fields when suddenly their dogs Bess and Ben shot off.
They had spotted Farmer Brown’s cat and were giving chase. The cat easily outwitted them by scampering up onto the head of a nearby scarecrow. After a good bark they gave up.
Old Wilf studiously stated, “Don’t see what people see in cats.”
“My Bess has always been a good and faithful companion.”
“So’s my Ben – a dog’s a man’s best friend – so they say.”
“I suppose you could say a cat’s a woman’s best friend.”
“Why’s that Wilf?”
“Cats are very sly and wily - they talk about a woman’s wiles – they can run rings round us men!”
It was a hot day and the dogs were panting. So they made a detour down to the trout stream. It seemed the dogs were trying to drink the river dry.
“Ben’s partial to a drop of ale,” said Joe, and went on, “He also likes to join me with a dish of crisps and a cream cake for afters.”
“I thought he looked overweight for a collie!”
“I always assumed Bess was hefty, but I’ve never known what breed she was so I couldn’t judge her size,” replied Joe.
“She’s a cross breed. Bess never got her figure back after having her babies.” He continued, “She’s a good house dog though, keeps a safe house for us while we’re out.”
“So’s Ben; he’s a great barker when anyone’s around at night. Cats would be useless meowing at intruders.”
“They’re normally the prowlers, skulking around at night setting off intruder lights and scrounging in trash bins,” replied Wilf.
They stopped and leaned on a gate watching the tail end of a fox hunt pack disappearing into the distance. They stood there in silence and suddenly moved off together as if synchronized.
After a while, Wilf asked, “Do you think we’ll be able to have pets in heaven Joe?”
“Don’t see why not. The Good Book talks about lions and eagles being up there. Why not dogs – I’m not sure about cats though.”
“I hope there are dogs. I wouldn’t much care for strolling around with a lion on a lead. I don’t think it’s outside the Good Lord’s power for us to have my Bess and your Ben up there with us.”
Joe responded, “I’m sure there’ll be lots of different kinds of animals and creatures up there for us to enjoy. It seems that the heaven’s animals can talk: they praise God and that!”
“I would rather Bess be up there with me. Can’t imagine what she would say to me if she could talk though. Are you sure they’ll be able to talk?”
“Yes, I’m sure, haven’t you heard of the eloquent equine?”
“The eloquent what?”
“The talking horse and there’s a lot of horses up there – enough for an army to ride into battle. They’ll keep you chatting forever.”
Wilf laughed. “What did you mean by the eloquent what’s it?”
“It was Balaam’s donkey; and if earth’s equines can be made to talk by the Almighty, I’m sure heaven’s horses will be talkers too.”
“I think Bess can understand what I say to her. I’ve only to say to her walkies and she’s up and fetching her lead. She once came pestering me and I asked her what she wanted and she almost dragged me into the kitchen by my sleeve. Mabel had collapsed on the floor – that’s when she had her stroke.”
“You can teach dogs how to count. I had a go with Ben. They have to be taught to bark the number of times for the fingers you show. I got to ten – then ran out of fingers.”
“Are you pulling my leg Joe?”
“No it was for real. Very intelligent animals are dogs, especially my Ben.”
“Well we shall have to press on home or our good ladies will think we’ve got lost.”
As they trudged back up to the high fields the Good Lord looked down on his two old saints, smiled, and thought, ‘Cats and Dogs!! In Heaven!!’
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