To Melinda, he'd always been George. To Erin, he's been known for the past nine years as Pedro.
Originally from Wisconsin, Melinda Griffin spent her teenage years in Mobile, where her father had taken a job as a pastor. Later, she and her husband moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, where he was stationed at Fort Wainwright. An animal lover, she was thrilled when they were finally approved for housing because that meant they could have two pets, with no size or breed restrictions.
She looked at dogs for a week online, and "I always came back to George," she said. He looked so miserable. Without even seeing him in person, I told my husband to go get him. He was the most well-behaved, loving dog we've ever had. They adopted George from the animal shelter in Fairbanks in November of He was about a year and a half to two years old then, Melinda said. He was missing a tooth because he'd gotten stuck in a barbed-wire fence and was chewing the wire to free himself, they were told.
At the time, her son was a toddler. George, showing a protective instinct, "wouldn't allow my son to climb the stairs," Melinda said.
Patrick could lie on him like a pillow. We also had a cat with kittens, and he was more of a mama than the cat was.
He carried the kittens in his teeth, and they would try to nurse on him. While they were still in Alaska, they went to look at husky puppies at a sled dog yard. They had George with them, and the breeder recognized him. She had named him after the country singer George Strait. She's the one who'd tattooed his ears.
Is Your Cat Chasing His Tail? Should You Ever Worry About It?
They had about three litters. As it turns out, George - who later would become Pedro, the "wonder dog" whose Mobile family would dream up tales about his past as a champion sled dog - actually did have sled dog ancestors. The breeder showed the Griffins records indicating that either his grandfather or great-grandfather is stuffed and on display in the Iditarod museum.
And his mother was a champion of show and agility. A couple of years later, after her husband was deployed to Iraq, Melinda decided to move to Mobile to be close to her parents. About six months after moving into a rental house near Cottage Hill Road and University Boulevard, in June of , George escaped from the backyard.
Betta Chasing his own Tail
He was on a tie-out, she said, because he could jump the fence. Some kids next door had been shooting water guns and throwing rocks at George and her other dog, Lucy. Melinda looked for George everywhere. She said she updated the information in his microchip every time they moved, for six years. The last time she updated her address, the family lived in Clarksville, Tenn. When she lived in Tennessee, she started rescuing dogs, and she also worked as a dog sitter. After George, only one dog, Thrash, who was also a husky, "even compares.
Ironically, the two women learned that their paths might have crossed over the years. Erin's family is from Nashville, so she traveled there often when Melinda was living in Clarksville. Also, Melinda now lives in Wyoming, which is where Erin and her ex-husband met before moving to Mobile.
After all those years without him, Melinda hopes to reunite with her beloved dog in just a few weeks. She's going to be visiting her family in Mobile in June, and she looks forward to seeing him again.
Why Is a Cat Chasing Its Tail?
She hopes he'll remember her after all these years, and her pet name for him, "Georgie Porgie. Finding Melinda gives Erin some closure, too. He is pretending that his tail is a fascinating mouse.
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As the evolutionary scientist Charles Darwin noted, happy cats frequently chase their tails. Kittens, from 4 months upward, pounce on just about anything that catches their eyes, including their tails, and sometimes your poor fingers and toes! It helps to remember that Mittens is only playing and that this youthful enthusiasm will settle down eventually. Try diverting Muffins with other toys if you are concerned that his little tail is taking too much of a battering.
Obsessive tail-chasing can indicate an underlying medical problem known as feline hyperesthesia, or cat schizophrenia. Other symptoms of this condition include hallucinations, dilated pupils, sensitivity to touch in the spine area and loud meowing.