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Herding Cats

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Get a pet, they said. Every member of the coven she'd joined last month had made a point of telling Marjorie she needed a pet.

They meant get a cat. Nine of the ten other witches in the coven owned a cat. The tenth was allergic and had an overly cute variety of lizard that resembled one of the furless cat breeds.

It's not that Marjorie disliked cats, per se. But these coven cats were the prissy kind that wanted nothing to do with humans other being fed. What was the point? A witch's pet was supposed to be a companion who kept you from becoming antisocial. Instead, these coven members were as aloof and persnickety as their pets, and Marjorie refused to go down that path.

She did her research, and went to the nearest animal shelter.

"Dogs or cats?" a shelter volunteer asked.

"Dogs. Big, exuberant dogs," Marjorie specified. Now she stood in an aisle of cages, studying the dogs. She looked into the dogs' eyes, petted them, and opened her heart so that she could read theirs. At the end of the aisle she stared at what looked like an oversized mop, that seemed to be covered in dreadlocks. "What on Earth is that?"

"Hungarian sheep dog," the volunteer said. "Also known as a Komondor. He was surrendered to the shelter last week when his owner died. He's well-trained, friendly, and protective. He needs a big space, and tends to be more active at night."

Marjorie reached out to pet him. "I'm a night person, and I have plenty of space."

He seemed ecstatic to be touched. What took you so long? His eyes asked. I've been waiting for you. The people here are nice but so busy.

"I'll take Lobero," Marjorie told the volunteer.

She stared at Marjorie. "How did you know his name?"

Marjorie stood up. "He told me, of course." When they were in her car, she turned to Lobero and said, "We're going to a coven meetup next week. Everyone brings their pets. How do you feel about herding cats?"

Lobero woofed eagerly.

"Yeah, we're going to get along perfectly," Marjorie told him. "Extra points if you knock over Astrid's collection of cutesy witch figurines."

Lobero wagged his fluffy tail.

Marjorie nodded. "That'll do it. You can take them all out in a single swipe." She started the car. "You and me, Lobero. We're a team."