I share my Vegas home with a roommate. He came into my life at three weeks old. I was only supposed to foster him. It didn’t exactly turn out that way. It wasn’t my fault.
Prior to my employment at the brewhouse I was working for a upscale casual restaurant that made everything fresh; salsa, salad dressing, lemonade, etc. One of the most popular items was a prime rib sandwich with a side of au jus for dipping. And just like the salsa for the southwest eggrolls and creme anglaise for the bread pudding, the au jus was made from scratch as well.
Anyone who has made their own au jus or beef stock can confirm it’s lengthy process. Marrow filled bones are lovingly brushed with olive oil or tomato paste and are slow roasted for hours and then simmered for days. Almost a spa weekend for osseous tissue. The result is rich and wonderful and nothing out of a jar could every come close.
One day Stephen the assistant kitchen manager was plucking the finished au jus bones from the finished au jus and he held one out to me.
“Do you have a dog?”
“I don’t, but my neighbor has two”.
Stephen fished out a second and wrapped them in foil for me to carry home.
My family never owned a dog, not that we had anything against them. I would like to own one, one day. For now it is easier to keep only animals that allow me to drop food in a bowl and say “off to work, see you in 14 hours”. So the bones I gave Beau and Chachi were my first dog with bone experience. I was fascinated how focused and passionate they were over the their newly prized possession. It was as if the world around them ceased to exist. The only reality was the bone. It got me to thinking.
I shared my idea with my restaurant’s GM, and the president of the Las Vegas SPCA. They liked my idea too. Soon after, I made weekly trips to the no-kill shelter. I would drag garbage bags filled with the restaurant’s spent beef bones to the dog kennels. I have friends that said they couldn’t go to a shelter because it was too heart wrenching. The dogs at the shelter were not sad. They were safe from euthanasia. Though with a beef bone between their paws, they acted like they had died and gone to heaven.
It was another Monday. I handed out the bones and just finished some quality time in the cat condos. I was out the front door when a man with a mewing box walked in. My curiosity couldn’t resist. I stepped back inside. The shelter explained to the man with the box that there was no room for a kitten without shots, full series of tests and having been neutered. All eyes turned to me, “Do you want him?” I can’t. “Do you want to foster him?” Absolutely!
I was convinced I would not fall in love with the three week old ball of mewing fur. He was unsettled and had a loud mouth. I was certain I could care for him and give him back when he passed his battery of tests. The constant mewing was deafening, I heard it non-stop in the shelter, during the whole drive home and as I set up his bed and litterbox.
When I was satisfied with his new digs in my second bedroom, I reached down into the mewing box. I laid on the bed and placed him on my chest. Within seconds he stumbled to my earlobe and began sucking on it. He took periodic breaks to switch earlobes, lick my lips and nest in my hair, purring like a lawnmower the entire time. I knew I’d been suckered. He knew he was mine the whole time. How a full grown woman could be manipulated by a half pound ball of fluff might seem impossible, it most certainly was not.
He had just latched onto my left earlobe again when I thought, “Let’s see. You nibble on my earlobes, kiss my lips and play with my hair. Clearly, you’re French.”
And his name is Claude.