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Tales From the bark Side column: Concluding Shadow -- A time to remember woman's beloved cat

Welcome back to the bark side of life here in Ottertail where a shaft of morning sunlight has found a momentary residence upon my shoulders as I sit down to spin another yarn.

Spring sporadically spends the day with us but the wailing winds of winter have not been requited just yet. The long march towards summer bliss seems so far away when in May, the chilly morning air reminds us of March or April.

This week, we'll have the conclusion to the "Shadow Nose." Since it was just Memorial Day, I think it's rather apropos to read about a Fergus Falls resident's memories of her so beloved cat. So, here's Zona Johannes' tale of "Shadow".

I taught her (Shadow) that first winter to be used to a collar and leash. First the collar to buckle around her neck to carry her bangle (from the vet) with her name and shots he gave her. After she got used to the collar after many days, I clipped on one length of a light weight dog leash and let her get used to dragging it around.

My husband drilled a couple of holes in our wooden back deck and cut her about an 18 or 21 inch metal post with an inverted L angle at the top that looked like a "7". We would put her out on our back deck each summer with two lengths of leash on the post so she could move around at her leisure. She loved it outside so she could leave the deck and hide in the flowers and plants growing next to our deck.

I spent many hours on my chaise lounge taking in the sun (in my sun glasses) and she could effectively hide in the ferns and plants whenever the neighbor's dogs came nosing around. It was wonderful for both of us. I'm always awed by the way she adapted to the collar and leash idea... going slowly over the winter in house was our way to teach her.

Thanks for your column, I am housebound these past few years and you have given me a lot of joy. Thank you! Glad to have your mailing address (we have no computer) and letter writing is an almost forgotten luxury. Zona Johannes, (78 years) a devoted reader and "Mom" to 7 children.

P.S., Since I've had late life illness to deal with, I often tell my husband, "That's what we get for living so long"... all those names of friends and relatives that have been deleted from our address book.

It is almost sad when the only highlight of my weekday is when the Fergus Falls Daily Journal arrives!! The crossword puzzles and stories are a big part of my day.

P.P.S., We had to put Shadow to sleep at the Vet's when she was 18-plus years old, and I miss her every day.

Thank you so very much for your heart tugging tale, Zona. Folks, I used to wonder if anybody read my column or did it get tossed into a corner, waiting to be used as fire starting kindling. I've met a few of my readers over the years and I am touched every time I meet them. Zona is no different. You, the readers, are the most important part of this equation.

I consider it an honor to be able to share my stories and those of other people who have had encounters with all sorts of critters in this life of ours. Please continue to read, and to send in those precious tales so that I may continue to share them with folks like Merl and Zona.

You can write to me at Keith Alan Ross, Richville MN 56576 or phone me at 218-495-2195 or if you have a computer, email me at Until next time.