I wish I could tell you that our almost 18-year-old cat, Moe, and our rambunctious 18-month-old dog, Reggie, are the best of friends.
Moe is elderly, quiet, refined, and does not like horseplay, period, particularly with a charismatic and slightly crazed Boston terrier.
Reggie is young, eager, loud, curious, and cannot go unnoticed.
The day we brought a tiny Reggie into the house, a pup weighing two to Moe’s eight pounds, the cat walked. She left the main floor, angry at the lot of us, and went into exile in our upstairs bonus room where the dog was not allowed. It was like a wall. Moe refused to come down. It was as though she said, “That’s it. I am old. I had to endure 12 years of one dog and now you are asking me to start over. I’m done.”
So we took her food, water, and litter box upstairs and for three months she stayed holed away, refusing to have anything to do with the dog and only marginally, with us.
Finally one day, she descended the stairs. She had a change of mind, heart, or instinct. This time, it was as though she said, “Enough of this foolishness. This is my house too. I’m willing to try if you are.”
There have been lots of confrontations. Reggie wants to play and be friends—but also rough house. Moe finds Reggie overbearing, rude, annoying, and sees no purpose whatsoever in playing rough.
But when it comes to a couple of things, they agree to disagree. Both love the sunshine when it streams into the house. They will sit or even sleep next to each other for the greater good of enjoying a nice, warm sunbath. Reggie will even lick Moe's ear, and Moe will even purr.
We keep a container of fresh water for them on top of the wide bathtub ledge, and one will wait patiently on the other, in line, as though at a school water fountain, for a taste of the cool water that they both love so much. Even rude Reggie will wait her turn as Moe drinks.
If I am taking a bath, the two of them will wait outside the closed bathroom door, sit and stare at it, hoping that I will open it so they can come inside to fulfill their own agendas: Moe probably wants a drink; Reggie likely wants to toss a toy in the warm water and plunge in herself.
The two pets are as different as night and day. They have opposing world views. There is no convincing one of the other’s. But we love them both. They have learned to get along and to enjoy their lives. They have agreed to disagree.
This election year seems to bring out the extremes in people’s differences. Even dear friends and close family members can have different world views about the candidates and their political stances. But they would be served well to avoid name calling, walking away from each other, and rough housing.
The greater good is agreeing to disagree. There is the sun, after all, and the water bowl to share and enjoy. Take it from Moe and Reggie. It’s better to get along than for one to pout in exile.
We’re all in this thing called life together. And the warm sunshine sure feels good to us all.