16 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY april 4-10, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com Who is your best friend? Some may say their buddy from high school, while others will make the smart choice and say their spouse. But many won’t hesitate to bypass humans altogether, and instead point to their four-legged shadows. Archaeologists recently discovered a 2,000-year-old burial site in the city of Verona, Italy, where an infant was buried with her dog. It’s further evidence that dogs have been our best friends since ancient times. But it’s not just canines who are our faithful companions. Cats may not show it, but deep down, they care just as much about us as we do them. To become best pals, it takes effort from both parties. In this edition of our annual Pet Issue, we dive into the practice of training dogs, where training the human side of the partnership is just as important. People also want to do everything with their dogs, including yoga, and there’s a place locally you can do that. Feline fans, don’t fret. We also highlight some local celebrities that have their legions of followers. Let’s be honest. Most of the eyes on these pages are going to gloss over the words and go straight to images of fluff and fur. You may even see your best friend here. -Erik Chalhoub, associate editor Veterinary shortage 11 Famous felines 16 Obedience for all 18 Holistic health 20 Readers’ pet photos 22 All sleepy cats are alike, but each curious cat is curious in its own way. Let’s talk about those cats who became part of our community, choosing their whereabouts freely, picking their second and third homes, or moving from place to place all day, along with the sun. Let’s talk about cats that do something. Cats that have achieved fame. Cats with haunting pasts or clear goals for the future. We like to think about them as Monterey County celebrities. Such a community hero was a CVS cat, Morty Katchadourian, who, despite his owner being a theatrical actor and director, chose medicine as his path, becoming a greeter and source of comfort in CVS on North Fremont Street in Monterey, pulling day shifts. Morty died in 2016, but a plaque dedicated to his memory remains in the parking lot. Morty first appeared to Melissa Burckhartt, a CVS employee of 15 years, when she arrived for her morning shift—by jumping on her vehicle’s hood, arguably seeking warmth. She offered him a beef stick. It became his habit, Burckhartt says, hood-jumping and scaring arriving passengers. Another time, Morty was lounging inside CVS on a shelf in the patio furniture section, from where he jumped out, straight at a customer. Burckhartt says the CVS has never been the same since. There are many stories of community cats that leave their mark; three such stories are below. Tails to Remember These popular cats put fear into mice, but have stolen humans’ hearts. By Agata Pop˛eda Become a (pet) foster parent 6 Toro Park opens for dogs 8 Personal growth for canines and humans 10 Jack Kerouac (the cat) is a main attraction at the Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur. At night, he is the guardian of the library. Below, Jack posing with a library visitor, Marek Skowron. Brooke Osheroff Lauren Lubeck The Pet Issue