I do read your emails. You have more experience with pets that I do. When Carter moved here, he brought with him a shi tzu named Toto. He was already around 13 years old. He had a heart condition and couldn’t fly. So we hired two friends to fly to DC, pick up his car and drive with Toto across country. The had a blast and called Toto, Baby Dog. But he was always Carter’s dog and I am not sure I totally bonded with him. But he was sweetie, never barked like Barney. He was a gentle soul. He lived another 5 years and essentially died of old age. About a year later I came home from work and Carter announced we had a cat now, named Mookie. A neighbor had died and had 3 pets that needed homes. So Carter grabbed Mookie, a tuxedo cat. He was a house cat, and about 12 years old. When I asked Carter where he was, he said under the sofa. I looked and there he was scared to death. Well he can’t stay there and I reached in to grab him, thinking full well that might scratch the shit out of me. Instead he melted in arms. He was just afraid. I thought. I am going to like this kitty. When I put him down he bolted for the basement, where he pretty much stayed for the next 3 months. We put his litter box there as well as food and water. We never saw him during that time, but we knew he was active. After about a month we put his food and water upstairs. He would come up, eat and stare at us. If we made a move toward him, he would bolt to the basement. Gradually he came around and started allowing us to touch him and even jump on the sofa with us. But if we had a visitor, he was gone. After about six months of that, he came up one evening when a woman friend was visiting. Seems he took to women. In all it took about 9 months for him to acclimate. We even began to allow him to go outside and explore. We knew that was a risk, given he have been an indoor cat all his life, but we always left the back door open in the summer. A couple of time he was gone for over 24 hours, once came back pretty beat up. But all in all he was a great cat. Friendly, never scratched the furniture, never peed around the house. He too died of old age really, somewhere around 18 or 19. Barney is my first pet of my choosing really. And I have bonded with him in a way I didn’t with Toto or Mookie. So he is special. I have often thought I will never have another pet after Barney. It is hard too when you lose them. So for now I will just enjoy his company, barking and all.