We know that kids can say and do the darndest things. However, they don’t have a corner on that market; animals are quite clever and inventive, too.

I present to you our esteemed cast of characters. In the canine category, we have Gus, a golden retriever; Doak, a black lab; Sherry, a yellow lab; Shooter, a golden retriever and Bonnie, a tuxedo kitty. In ghostly appearances, we will read about doggies Kelly and Joey, and another tuxedo kitty, Missy. Oh, and add a colorful African grey parrot to this mix—I wish I knew his name.

Gus and Doak live in Florida with Matt and his family. Gus is a sweet and gentle dog; he is my pal when I visit. Doak, a 2-year old,is bursting with energy and inquisitiveness. After having pizza one evening, Matt left a couple of slices in the box on the kitchen counter. While watching TV, he heard a noise in the kitchen and went to investigate. The empty pizza box was on the floor, Doak was licking his chops and Gus was watching the entire performance from a safe distance.

Sign Up for E-News

“I had nothing to do with this. I was a good doggie. That kid is always getting into something.”

Shooter is my sister’s dog and lives in New Jersey. Roe rescued him from a shelter where he had been dropped off, terrified and abused. He’s come a long way and is a handsome, loving doggie. Shooter recently discovered how to part the window blinds with his nose. Now when Roe leaves for work in the morning, she looks at the window and there’s Shooter’s nose between the slats. She says it is a great way to start her day.

Our first doggie ghost, a Boston terrier named Joey, lived in California with Jack and Patti. He had a very comical routine: One evening, during a TV commercial featuring a herd of horses galloping across the plains, Joey ran out of the room and into the kitchen waiting for the horses to come through the other side of the wall.

My kitty, Bonnie, has been transformed since her brother Clyde passed over the Rainbow Bridge. She has come into her own; it’s as if I have a new cat. She has a wonderful personality; she’s not skittish any more—Clyde was a Type A cat and sometimes frightened her. She talks to me constantly: I do wish I understood what she’s saying—it must be very important ’cause she goes on and on.

The unnamed African grey parrot is a real smarty. His owner, who has a few cats and a dog, was in another room when he heard a “pinging” sound, like something hitting metal. He quickly went into the kitchen and stopped in his tracks, couldn’t believe the scene that greeted him: There was an open box of dog treats on top of the refrigerator which the parrot had tipped over and was tossing them, one by one, into the dog’s stainless steel dish. Of course, the pup was enjoying this unexpected repast.

Missy, another tuxedo kitty crossed the Rainbow Bridge many years ago when my boys were in high school. She would station herself under the table at breakfast. I declare she had ESP: when one kid was just about finished with his cereal, she would put her front paws on his leg and tap his elbow reminding him that she wanted the remaining milk!

Missy also had a sweet tooth. The day before Joe’s birthday, I baked and frosted two dozen cupcakes for him to take to school. The next morning, when I went to pack the cupcakes, I was dismayed to find the cupcakes nude, minus the frosting;  Missy had licked each one clean!

Ah, here comes Sherry. This sweet girl doesn’t realize she’s a dog. She loves people, loves to hug them and is at her happiest when she is close to people. Her owner and my friend tells me that when they go to the dog park, Sherry greets all her friends with a wagging tail and smile; she should be the honorary mayor!

The closing act in my feature is Kelly. For 14 years, she was an integral part of our family. Kelly was the perfect boys’ dog—she was as wild as they were. She would interrupt their Wiffle Ball games by grabbing the ball and running away full speed, chased by the boys. It was such fun watching her run with them through the pile of leaves they had raked. Whenever one of us wasn’t feeling well, Kelly would sit by the bed and watch; when her “patient” had settled down and drifted off to sleep, she finally laid down, always on the alert for a change. Her beautiful disposition and comforting presence made us feel better; she was the best medicine and became our “Nurse Kelly.”

Curtain down on this feature. Love and appreciate your furry creatures. They play important roles in our lives.

Ruthann can be reached at grandmopps@aol.com.