The Pet Lady

Dear Pet Lady,

My Rosie has been “fixed” since she was 2; however, this has not stopped her from keeping company with companions of her choice in her own chaste manner. She has regular gentlemen callers who contentedly catnap at a proper distance in the grass during calling hours. Recently one of her visitors, whom I will call “Orange Tom,” got closer to her than most. Orange Tom became so much of a fixture that I had to explain to him several times that he did not live here and was not allowed in the house.

Suddenly last week Rosie lost her appetite, much to my concern, and would cry to come in, only to run back out to the backyard when I opened the door and stand there with a “Timmy fell in the well” look, just like Lassie.

I noticed I had not seen Orange Tom during all that time.

Do you think Tom dumped her because she wouldn’t, how do I put it delicately, “put out”? Shall I encourage her former callers to come and console her, or challenge Orange Tom to a duel, pour a martini, get a life of my own, or what?


P.S. Would you do me the favor of publishing your favorite martini recipe?


The Pet Lady’s favorite martini is created not so much by way of a recipe as by way of a meditation: a meditation on simplicity, on beauty, on perfection. The vodka (the P.L. only drinks vodka martinis; some say these are not real martinis, to which the P.L. says gin tastes like shrubbery) should be Russian—no need for fancy triple-filtering or birds embossed in the glass—and should be well-chilled, whether placed lovingly in an ice bucket or within the freezer compartment. The glass should be classic martini shape and quite capacious. One drop of vermouth is placed within the glass—no more, no less—and that drop is then shaken vigorously back out of the glass over the sink, or over the side of the boat, or what have you. The shaker is loaded with ice, and the vodka is added; shaking ensues. One needn’t go overboard (though to those who say shaking “bruises” the liquor, the P.L. says that is a fine bit of “jackassery”). Now, the olive: One medium-sized green olive, pimento-stuffed, is impaled upon a toothpick. The P.L. stands in disapproval of the school of the enormous olive, as they are often of disturbing texture as well as difficult to eat delicately; if three or four very small, tender pimento-stuffed olives are available, that is perhaps even better than one medium-sized one, though the P.L. is hesitant to commit herself to a firm opinion on this matter—even perfection varies.

The liquor is decanted, the olive deployed, and if all is right with the world, a paper-thin sheet of ice forms on the surface of this tiny, glorious lake—and you, Distressed, recline on the divan, partake of it, and reflect upon how in matters of love, even cat love, time heals all wounds.

Best to you, to sweet Rosie, and to your neighbor,

The Pet Lady

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