ARF: Raymond and Cotton, Love is in the Eye of the Beholder

by Wendy Hunter
Wendy Hunter is a volunteer with the Animal Rescue of Fresno. ARF shares with KRL their animal rescue adventures every month. You can learn more about them on their website.

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”
-William Shakespeare

About a thousand years ago, after graduating from Hoover High School, I briefly attended Fresno City College. It was a short relationship, mainly because I was a terrible student, and because I spent the majority of my time in the library. On hot afternoons, you could find me holed up inside those cool cement walls, combing through the musty bookshelves, totally ignoring my ninety-seven pages of homework due in the morning. Because dinosaurs still roamed the earth back then, and I’ve destroyed many brain cells, it’s tough to remember all the books I read. However, I fondly recall laughing my way through a small publication of Neil Simon plays, including The Odd Couple. This hilarious gem revolves around sloppy sportswriter Oscar Madison, and his best friend, Felix Ungar, a hypochondriac neatnik. Originally a Broadway production, then a film, and later one of my favorite '70s sitcoms, it proves that polar opposites might not always be the ideal choice for roommates:
Felix: “Was it something I said, or something I did? Is it the cooking, the cleaning, the crying?”

Oscar: “I’ll tell you exactly what it is. It's the cooking, the cleaning, the crying. It's the talking in your sleep. I can't take it anymore, Felix, I'm cracking up. Everything you do irritates me. And when you're not here, the things I know you're gonna do when you come in irritate me.”

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rescue cat
Speaking of irritating, don’t ever watch that comedy with me, because I’ll repeat the whole thing verbatim. And according to my family, there’s nothing funny about that. There are hundreds of other odd couples in history, many of them brought to life on the silver screen. King Kong scaled the Empire State Building for Fay Wray, Lady and the Tramp shared a famous spaghetti slurp, Belle tamed the savage Beast, and Woody and Buzz Lightyear soared to infinity and beyond. At Animal Rescue of Fresno, we have an unusual little couple of our very own, who just might change your mind about interspecies romance. I give to you, Raymond the Yorkie Terrier mix, and Cotton the curious kitten. They really are worlds apart, Raymond being an older canine, and Cotton still growing into the teeth and claws of a formidable feline. You might think they wouldn’t have anything in common, except the desire to torment each other. You might expect there to be growling and hissing, hackles rising, and tempers flaring. Well, put aside all your assumptions my friends, because there couldn’t be anything further from the truth. Because when love comes along, even mortal enemies can find themselves making googly eyes at each other. And that’s a lot better than the Evil Eye…
rescue dog

Speaking of eyes, Raymond and Cotton have beautiful ones…and only one apiece. Bet you didn’t see that coming, did you? Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Even though Animal Rescue of Fresno is only a dog rescue, we have been known to save the occasional kitten along the way. Our president has an indisputable soft spot for the underdog, or undercat, in this case. One look at Cotton and her blind spot, and this white ball of fluff was on her way to our facility. At only about a month old, Cotton was brought in as a stray to one of our local shelters. How she lost her eye is still a mystery, but the fact she survived just proves what a fighter she truly is. Cotton spends her time in the ARF office, where she clambers about her kennel like it’s a jungle gym. She channels her inner Tigger, bouncing and hopping with joy, and the next minute she’s putting her stuffed bear into a vicious headlock. The poor bear has no chance, while she crocodile-rolls him into submission, like a champion defending his title at a WWF match. Scary. Cotton also enjoys hanging like a nimble trapeze artist from the feathered cat toy that hangs above her head. All I can say is, that silly girl better be careful, or she’ll put her eye out. Oops, did I say that?

Raymond’s story is quite similar, in that he was also found as a stray and turned into a local shelter. However, this scraggly little boy was quite injured, requiring some serious medical treatment. After a dental exam, it was determined that Raymond would need to have several teeth removed, nineteen, to be exact. Yikes. I just had ONE tooth extracted last week, and my nerves were all tangled up like a fly in a spider web. But nineteen? I would have to be sedated until Christmas for that amount. Raymond’s teeth were “mobile,” which is caused by advanced periodontal disease and bone loss. Meaning his former owners probably didn’t feed him quality dog food, and/or they were oblivious to these newfangled things called doggie dental chews. In any case, it doesn’t seem to have affected his appetite much because he scarfs down food like a buzzing hummingbird gulps down nectar. Unfortunately, Raymond’s choppers were not his only issue; one of his eyes was severely wounded, too. Eventually, it was decided that removal of the impaired eye was the only option. Raymond spent a couple of weeks recovering in the office, while vocally disapproving his imprisonment. You’d think he was an inmate at Alcatraz, doing time in solitary for stealing bologna sandwiches. It was during his confinement, that Raymond began to take notice of the fuzzy feline in the kennel next to him. Who was this alabaster beauty? Why did she bewitch him so? But more importantly, what the heck was that big blue necklace hanging around her neck? Hmm, she sure has some interesting fashion choices…

What Raymond didn’t know, was that the object of his affection was suffering from a nasty case of ringworm. Cotton’s “necklace” is actually an inflatable Velcro dog collar, to prevent her from scratching at her neck. Despite its name, ringworm is actually a fungal infection of the surface layers of the skin, hair, and nails. The traditional red, raised ‘ring’ gives the infection its name. The good news is that the condition is treatable, both with oral and topical medications. The bad news is that ringworm is extremely contagious to both humans and other animals, which is why Cotton cannot be held unless you don some really unattractive rubber gloves first. I just pretend I’m The Incredible Dr. Pol on a life-saving house call out in the middle of a pasture. Hey, a girl can dream. Because she’s so contagious, Cotton is off limits to everyone, including love-struck Raymond. The first time I spent time with Raymond, I didn’t think he was fond of Cotton at all. I just thought he wanted to bite her face off. He barked and barked and barked. We covered his kennel with a blanket so he couldn’t see her. He barked some more. Cotton would stick her pink paw out, and still he barked. She would chase her plastic balls across the floor, and he barked his brains out. I thought to myself, wow, that crazy critter really hates cats. Little did I know, all that yapping was not hatred at all, but Raymond’s way of showing his unadulterated affection. Although a nice bouquet of catnip would have worked just as well…

animal rescue
Cotton trying to touch Raymond in the carrier

Raymond has now improved enough after his eye procedure to join other ARF dogs out in a shaded yard. But just like Romeo and Juliet, he and Cotton have been kept apart by events they cannot control. Eternal ringworm, be gone with you! Thy spirit is welcome no more! Ye shall not keep this besotted pair from everlasting love! Thou has cast a plague amongst our house, and we shall see thee thrown to the wolves of despair! Egad, didn’t mean to get all Shakespeare on you…I should never wear this powdered wig when I’m writing. I’m sure by the time you read this story, Cotton will have healed completely from her illness. Which really can mean one thing, and one thing only. That we won’t have to wear those stupid gloves anymore…hallelujah. But more importantly, getting Raymond and Cotton together for some quality meet-and-greet time will be a huge event. I hope they’re able to play to their heart’s content, bond over tasty treats, and keep a watchful eye out for each other. Because it doesn’t matter how you view the world, it’s who you view the world with. And you don’t need 20/20 vision to see that.

Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section on Kings River Life, and the Pets section here on KRL News & Reviews. Check back every month for another animal rescue adventure from ARF. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to a local animal rescue. Learn more about ARF on their website.

Wendy Hunter has been volunteering with ARF for just over a year. She grew up in Fresno and recently became an Office Assistant with Fresno County. She has been writing all of her life, though never professionally, and currently writes personalized poetry for birthdays, weddings, pet remembrances, etc.


  1. This is such a lovely story! Get well soon Cotton and well done being awesome Raymond!


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