Sunday, January 25, 2009

My New Friends

This is Gregory Pike and his dog, cat and rat. He walks around San Francisco every day, talking to people and allowing them to take pictures.

He and his pets live on donations, which are badly needed for food and accommodations.

The animals seem quite happy with their travel arrangements. Even when the dog lies down, the cat and rat hold their positions on her back.

Mr. Pike set out to prove that our differences don't have to divide us.

"Why can't we all get along?" he says.

The dog's name is Booger, the cat's is Kitty, and the rat is called Mousy.

"He's really a rat, isn't he?" I asked.

"Yes, but 'Ratty' doesn't sound so good," he said.

There are actually three rats, all male. The dog and cat are both girls.

The animals are not tranquilized in any way. As we sat talking outside a coffee shop today, Booger barked a warning at a couple of other dogs who came too close.

Mr. Pike shushed her and explained that this was a new behavior since a Pit Bull recently attacked Kitty. Booger went for the dog's snout, although she was several times smaller than the attacker, and held on until they were separated. She then lay down next to the scared cat and licked her repeatedly until Kitty was calm enough to jump on her back again.

These unusual friends remind me of the old Grimm's folk tale, The Musicians of Bremen, in which a dog, cat, donkey and rooster, all past their prime and usefulness and in danger of being slaughtered by their owners, set out together for Bremen, a city known for its freedom. They decide to become musicians and take care of themselves.

On the way to Bremen, the four friends see a lighted cottage with a band of robbers enjoying their stolen goods inside. The hungry animals decide to scare the men away while there is still food on the table.

The donkey stands with his hooves on the windowsill, the dog jumps on his back, the cat balances on top of the dog while the rooster perches on the cat's head.

When they are all arranged, they begin to perform their music: the donkey brays, the dog barks, the cat mews and the rooster crows loudly.

The robbers are convinced that demons are attacking them and run for their lives into the woods, whereupon the animals go inside, eat a good meal, and settle in for the night.

Hours later the robbers return and one of them enters the house to investigate. He sees the cat's eyes shining in the dark, thinks they are coals from the fire and reaches over to light his candle. The cat hisses and swipes his face with her claws, the donkey kicks him, the dog bites his leg and the rooster chases him out the door, screeching.

The robber tells his companions that he was attacked by a horrible witch who scratched him with her long fingernails, a man with a knife stabbed him and a monster clubbed him while the devil screamed from the rooftop.

The robbers abandon the cottage and run away as far and as fast as they can, and the animals live there happily for the rest of their days.

There are several You Tube videos of Gregory Pike and his little band of animals, (posted as dog, cat, rat) who are in dire need of donations. If anybody is so inclined, please email me for his address. Thank you!


meno said...

That just astonishes me, the dog and the cat and the rat. I may have to visit SF just to see them.

Lex said...

What a wonderful story and what wonderful beings to graciously comply with the Universe to bring us this message. And timely too, wouldn't you say?

nick said...

What an amazing story. As you say, Gregory's pets show we can get along together rather than squabbling. And the motto of the Grimm's tale seems to be that if we all cooperate we can overcome the rogues and rascals. Now why does that make me think of Barack Obama?

Rachel said...

What a charming quartet! And a great story. I love stories like this, that prove the extent of goodness and coperation that is possible if people and creature would just put their own selfishness behind them.

The CEO said...

Thank you for such a beautiful story. It renews one's faith.

Anonymous said...

That is really very sweet. I think that cat looks like it knows all is right with the world because he gets to ride on the dog.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Wow. I am impressed. You will note that all the animals are not truly symmetrical.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Oh, please do! They are definitely worth the trip.


His message could not be more timely. Everything seems to be dovetailing to guide us in changing ourselves and our planet.


You make me smile. Cooperation is the only way. I'm so very happy that we are finally learning that.


I think most of that selfishness comes from humans, not the other animals.

Earlier civilizations learned from animals but such humility has been lacking for a very long time, so it's especially heartwarming when we see signs of it returning.


Faith is a good thing. It's hard to achieve anything worthwhile without it.


I sat in the sun petting that cat for about an hour today. She is a real love, as is the dog. I don't know enough about rats to determine how nice they are but they seem to be well-socialized as well.


Yes, I noticed that right away. (Is that all you guys think about?)

On a limb with Claudia said...

That's wicked cool! Thanks so much for sharing these amazing creatures. I always say that souls find each other -what a great example.

Ian Lidster said...

This was splendid. I think I needed this photo and tale today.

Maria said...

Talk about a pet whisperer....

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I also believe that souls find each other as they are supposed to.


So often our much-needed beacons of hope are animals.


Yes, indeed!

Jocelyn said...

They all seem to have found a kind of peace and contentment that the Haves of the world long for.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


They have now. Stay tuned!