When we went to Steamboat this weekend, we stayed with our good friends, Bill and Lisa. Of Big Agnes and Honey Stinger fame. In addition to their three wonderful black labs, Bill and Lisa have two cats, Hot Cakes and Bob. Bob has kitty cancer, so he's losing his fur and has painful-looking wounds on his little kitty face. I like to think that Arnie knew that, because while he ignored the dogs and other cat, he sat next to Bob for the better part of an hour. He didn't try to touch Bob, or talk to (bark at) him. He just sat there, caring. And not making eye contact. Not even once.
While this was going on, Brad, Bill, Lisa, the three labs, the other cat and I were all inside at the kitchen window, watching as this "compassion-through-proximity" unfolded on the porch.
Bob didn't appear to mind. In fact, he mostly ignored Arnie, preferring to stare into the middle distance and lick his paws. And for his part, Arnie didn't seem to expect anything from Bob. Arnie was content to position his snoot three inches from Bob's face and just be. A modern day Siddhartha, he is.
But even Siddhartha got antsy (some may dispute this, and to them I say: even the Buddha gets numb-butt from sitting too long), and after 45 minutes of nearness, Arnie decided to pet Bob. That's when we intervened.
Undeterred, Arnie continued to assert his nearness. Bob really didn't seem bothered.
I was a little nervous at this point, when Bob crawled onto a low shelf, and Arnie, unable to fit, just stuck his head in. Still, Bob didn't swipe at Arnie or even appear to notice his presence. Eventually, I picked Bob up, because I didn't want him to be nervous by the big yellow guy in his face, and also (mostly) because I wanted to TOTE THE KITTY!
Here are a few more images of the big golden healer (not to be confused with Heeler) at work: