I can remember the first time I laid eyes on Cosmo, my 18-pound, all black, part-Siamese cat. A friend of mine was spending too much time away from home and looking for a kind friend to take him in.

It was sprinkling outside as I circled the apartment complex in Norcross, trying to find the apartment. When I knocked on the door and my friend opened it wide, there he was. He sauntered right up to me, before I could even step inside and greeted me with a great, loud “Meowwwwwww.” I knew immediately he was the little guy for me. He spent the next hour playing with the rain jacket I was wearing (the same one I’m wearing while writing this letter, so it happens), transfixed by the “flap, flap” sound it made when he batted it with his paw.

In the years since then, I’ve learned a lot of lessons taking care of Cosmo, named after my favorite Seinfeld character (I’ll let you guess which one that is). He likes to be snuggled like a person. He loves carbs and has been known to steal and eat loaves of bread and one unfortunate apple fritter. He shuts his eyes, purrs and drools when he’s happy. He makes monkey noises if there’s a bird outside. He likes to follow people wherever they go, including trips to the bathroom. He meows nonstop, to the point that many people have questioned how I stay sane. I tell them it’s like finally being able to have a conversation with your pet and they talk back. Our conversations go something a little like this:

“Hi Cosmo.”

“Meooooowwwwwwwww.”

“Tell me about it.”

“Meowwww.”

“Wow. I can’t believe she would say that.”

“Meow.”

“What’s for dinner?”

“Meowwwwwwwwww. Meow.”

“Chicken pate it is.”

Likewise, I remember when I first heard about his sister, Carmela, his polar opposite. My brother, Harrison, was attending Georgia Southern University when a small cat that couldn’t be more than 6 months old and had already had a litter of kittens, stumbled on his porch. She was muddy, covered in gook and fleas. But when he sent me a picture of her, lying on her side, fast asleep, I knew I had to take her home. I named her Carmela, after another TV show character from “The Sopranos,” and because the brownish-orange stripes in her white fur reminded me of melted caramel.

She’s less than 10 pounds, with a small little frame and even tinier paws. Unlike her brother, Cosmo, she rarely, if ever, meows. When she does, it comes out as a cracked whisper. She’s much more independent than Cosmo, but full of love and spunk. Not to mention that despite her small stature, she runs the household and just allows the rest of us to live there.

I’m sure you have your own fond stories and anecdotes about your pets, just like me. They’ve become part of our lives, in every way that counts, and we can consider them as members of our family. Which is why I’m so delighted to bring to you this year’s Pets issue of Cobb Life Magazine.

In addition to a picture of my own pets, for this issue’s letter from the editor, I wanted to feature pets owned by employees of the Marietta Daily Journal as well. In a way, these animals are part of the MDJ family, having assisted their owners during the mental, emotional and physical drain of the pandemic with happy tail wags and friendly kisses. They range from fat cats like my own to big dogs to boisterous chickens.

Inside this edition, you’ll find our cover story on dog-friendly breweries around town both you and your pooch will be dying to visit. Take a look at our feature on Cinder, the Dalmatian who, with the help of her Cobb County firefighter owner, is teaching kids on Tik Tok about fire safety. We took to the shelters this issue, which saw record adoption rates in 2020, to ask what they need from us as a community to fulfill their missions of finding homes for animals. I hope you’ll try Erica Thomas’ delicious Thanksgiving recipes for the holiday season. I know I will! We also have two heartwarming stories that I’m sure will tug at your heartstrings; one about a local pastor who donated his kidney to a fellow parishioner, friend and runner after COVID-19 nearly took his life; and another about a resilient dog named Chunkapretzel, who was saved by the late veterinarian Dr. Michael Good thanks to his legacy, the Homeless Pets Foundation. And of course, we have our monthly Q&A with a local author: USA Today Bestseller and Smyrna resident Colleen Oakley on her latest release, “The Invisible Husband of Frick Island.”

Whichever stories bring you joy, I hope you’ll give the animal friends in your life an extra kiss, treat, hug and play time this season. And if you’re lacking animal friends, I hope this issue will connect you with the wonderful local shelters and missions that are in need of fosters, adoptees and volunteers.

Cheers!

Madison Hogan

Cobb Life Editor

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