I’ve been to places where the ground is covered with ice, the air is crisp and cold, and Ellie’s feet make large crunching noises as they break through the crust of snow.  These days it’s pretty cold outside when we do our morning walk at home in Napa. But always when we come in out of the winter’s cold, I am greeted by the warmth of the house and smells lingering in the air from last night’s dinner.  It’s all different when we go to visit our friend Marcie in the woods.

We drive a long time to Marcie’s house and I worry because I did not see my bed go into the car with Ellie’s bags.  Are we going to drive back home the same day? If not, where am I to sleep? At least I see the bag of kibble, so I won’t go hungry!

I look  out the window for a while at passing cars and then curl up in the back seat and take a nap. We stop in a shopping center and Ellie leaves me; she returns smelling like a hamburger and fries. Where’s mine?  She lets me out for a short walk and offers me some water, but I’m not thirsty–just hungry for hamburger!

After more driving, we leave the main road and I know we’re getting close when I hear the crunch of tires on rocks and see dust rise around the car. We go up a hill and around a bend and turn into a driveway. It goes down the hill and ends at a house sitting  under tall trees. As soon as I’m out, I’m alert for scrambling squirrels and the scent of yipping night creatures who leave their mark everywhere.

I’ve been to this house before, but I think it was summertime. Today there is a fire going in the wood burning stove in the kitchen and everything–even my own fur after a while–smells like wood smoke. Marcie gives us hugs. “Well, hi there Foxy, how are you?” She shows us to the back bedroom.

Wait–there is something weird going on here. What’s that smell? Can it be? There is a definite scent of cat coming from the other bedroom. I poke my nose in through the doorway and there on the bed is a giant two-toned creature who takes one look at me, arches her back and hisses loud enough to spray her spit across the room…

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