A couple of months ago I was on a walk with my dog, Dakota, through the neighborhood when an extremely brave cat came walking straight towards us. I was shocked. He was so little and so fearless that I had to stop and see how close he was actually going to get to my 65 lb. dog. Dakota was also really excited to see what was going to happen, but I couldn’t tell if his excitement was because a new friend was approaching or a new chew toy. Dakota has always chased any and all cats in the neighborhood. If I’m not paying attention, he’ll practically knock me off my feet to get to them as quickly as possible. He never catches them, so I never actually know what he would do if he were fast enough. Today was the day I was going to find out. I had him on a very very short leash so that I could pull him back if anything were to happen, and I would never put a cat in that position unless it willingly walked right up to him…which he was doing exactly that. Dakota lunged in excitement, and the cat quickly jumped back to get out of his reach, but he wasn’t giving up on becoming friends with Dakota. He slowly walked up again, and Dakota put his face low to the ground to be on eye level with the cat, and then the most miraculous thing happened. The cat rolled over on his back, and Dakota started to sniff him and poke him with his nose, and the cat returned the playfulness by pawing at Dakota’s face. It was the cutest thing I have ever seen (and I’m not a cat person)!
Over the next few months, Dakota and the cat, Charlie, actually became friends. Dakota would stop by Charlie’s house every time we passed by hoping to see his new buddy. At times, Charlie would see Dakota from a block away and would cross the street and walk straight to Dakota and roll over. Everyone in the neighborhood knew and loved Charlie, and anyone who saw the two playing for the first time would stop in shock at what they were seeing. I talked to Charlie’s owner to see how he got to be so brave and friendly with dogs. She didn’t have any idea because he was never around dogs growing up, and she chalked it up to his intense sense of curiosity.
I decided I should start taking my phone with me on every dog walk so that I could document this new found friendship between the most unlikely of allies, a cat and a dog. I tried to grab a picture whenever they would play, but a moving target is hard enough to catch on camera. Add in big dog tugging on the leash you are holding, and it becomes nearly impossible. Also, the sweetest moments were the surprise greetings from Charlie when neither of us saw him coming, which in turn, didn’t give me enough time to pull out my phone.
I finally had a day when I spotted walking over to see us before Dakota had a chance to see him. He had crossed the street and was waiting patiently by the curb for Dakota. I had enough time to get my phone out to start filming, and aside from the terrible camera angles and bumpy footage (from Dakota tugging on the leash to get to Charlie), it turned out to be a pretty cute video.
I had no idea this would be the last time we would see Charlie. He went missing that day, which was over a week ago now. There are signs all over our neighborhood with his little face and a note saying “Have you seen me?” It makes me so sad to know that we might not see him again, but I am so happy to have been able to catch it all on camera before he left us. Dakota still stops by his house every day and sniffs around searching for Charlie, and I now refer to our dog walks as “search and rescue missions”. I keep thinking and hoping he’ll pop out from under a car or be sitting in the bushes waiting for us. I wanted to share this video with everyone to tell this brave (and very curious) little cat’s story!