The Power of Cats and Dogs

Growing up I was never a cat or dog person. Until one day in the summer of 1995 when I was an ATF Supervisor assigned to Chicago. A baby kitten could be heard crying under our front porch where we lived in suburban Hinsdale. One look at this little guy’s face and it was all over. I was so intrigued I would race home from work to roll a homemade toy under the porch to try and lure the small predator into our house. A yellow tennis ball with a hole stuck through it with a screwdriver and a long string through the center of it.

It finally worked and I have loved cats ever since.

Mark Rusin

Mark with First dog Barney

In 1999 I was transferred by ATF to Washington DC and assigned to the White House. There I got to become friends with President Clinton’s cat named Socks and his dog named Buddy. They did not get along.

Now Socks, he was very cool as he pranced around the mansion like he owned it. I tried like crazy to get a photo holding the famous feline, but it just wasn’t meant to be. The closest I got was to pet him (before he snarled at me) and play fetch the tennis ball on the White House south lawn. Socks turned out to be quite a challenge, but of course he won.

It was funny thinking about it at the time. During the day I am in my Sunday suit and tie attending high level meetings on behalf of ATF in the most powerful building on the planet and at night I am chasing a crazy cat around trying to get him to like me and trying to pet a damn dog. Yes, those were the days!

Then when President Bush took over in 2001 I had the pleasure of meeting Barney, the new first family’s dog. Barney was very cool and a lot less aloof than Socks. Barney loved to play catch & fetch with the tennis ball. Needless to say, we became very close.

There is no doubt that as I get older my love for animals increased every day.

As I write this article I can’t help but think back to my younger days as a Las Vegas METRO Police Officer when I responded to a domestic disturbance call that turned into a bloody knifing. An eight-year old little girl answered the hotel room door and said as a matter of fact, “My mommy and daddy were fighting and then mommy cut daddy with a knife and then they went to the hospital.” As I listened to this kid and scanned the blood spattered room, a small kitty with his blood soaked paws tried to crawl up and snuggle against my pants leg. The kitten was traumatized and so was the little girl.

I admit I was somewhat in a daze. What parents would fight and stab each other in front of their eight-year old little girl and their kitten and then just leave them there? I just wanted to find them and kick both their asses. The thing that struck me most was how calm, articulate and intelligent the little girl seemed. Could she have kept her cool because of the cat? That is one thing I will never bet against.

I still wonder what ever happened to those two little victims. I hope they are OK.

Mark Rusin

Mark Rusin was born and raised on the south side of Chicago. He attended Quigley South High School and then Western Illinois University where he majored in Law Enforcement Administration with a minor in Psychology (and ice hockey.)

Mark is a former Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officer and retired ATF Special Agent.

During his law enforcement career, Mark witnessed and investigated several major fire scenes, homicides, bombings and other high profile cases from which serve to inspire his story writing content, jargon and style. He is truly a “Chicago sports junkie” and published writer with this being his first crime novel.

Mark and his beautiful wife Marcie currently live in the Chicago area where he continues to write stories and still dreams about playing hockey for his home town Blackhawks.Justice for Dallas is his first novel.