Manny Loves Chachi
When John Rockne first saw the two cuddly balls of grey kitty fur crouching and hiding in the cage, he never would have imagined what was brewing underneath those warm silky coats. Still, he knew he had to take them home.
"From that first moment I could tell there was a 'very special bond' between the two boys, who my wife Mya and I christened Manuel (Manny) and Charles (Chachi). These two kitties," John said, "would finally make our North Portland craftsman cottage a home."
Life went on in a typical fashion as it does in this crazy world. The boys began to come out of their shells and become part of John and Mya's life. John became used to seeing his boys sleeping together but looking back he says, "I unconsciously turned a blind eye to the lingering embraces and long soulful licks."
He chalked up their constant grooming and nuzzling of each other as simple "brotherly love." Then one day John came home early from work. It would be an afternoon that would change his idyllic life forever.
As John opened the door to his house on North Omaha Avenue, he could hear muffled sounds coming from the back bedroom. At first he thought his fears of Mya and that jerk Mitchell Anderson from next door had become a reality... but then he remembered that Mya's car was not in the drive.
"I rounded the corner to see Chachi mounting his brother and thrusting his pelvis in a sexual manner in the vicinity of Manny's backside," John recounted in horror. "I was stunned and just stood there for a few moments watching my two boys going at it, before I fled in distress and confusion."
While a million thoughts flooded his brain, he began to wonder if this was his fault. Had letting the boys stay in the room while he and Mya were having sex corrupted their tiny brains? Perchance it was the gay porn tape he and Mya enjoyed watching "for a lark" sometimes late on weekend nights after hanging out with the Andersons next door. Had they crept in the room and been titillated by what they saw? John simply broke down that day, unable to face the reality of what he had seen.
Then he did what any red-blooded American does in 2004 when faced with a challenge they can't explain: he Googled for the answer. Logging onto his laptop, John typed in a search for "Cats Incest." What he found was entirely reassuring. He read numerous reports on cats having sexual relations with their siblings and parents! This, he was reassured by many cat experts, was completely normal. Evidently, cats do not have the same taboos as humans.
"I was just so relieved I could go home and be with my chosen family and not feel 'icky' about anything," John said. "Our life can go on normally and for that we are grateful."
Today, Manny and Chachi enjoy a rich home life with plenty of mousing to keep them busy and lots of snuggling to keep them warm. But even more importantly, they have the love and acceptance of John and Mya. MICHAEL SVOBODA
Gay, Like Him: Woody the Wiener Dog
A lot of pets have cute yet meaningless names. Not so for Woody the gay wiener dog--his title has style and purpose.
"The name stems from the fact that whenever I'd pet him he'd start getting a doggy boner," says owner Jason, a Beaverton resident. "That's how he got the name Woody the Weenie. To the kids we say we named him after the character from the Toy Story movie, but we know the truth."
Three years ago, Jason and his wife rescued Woody from the streets. He was young, but full grown, and already very comfortable with his own sexual tendencies.
"From day one it was pretty obvious," says Jason. "We'd take him to the park and he'd be all over the male dogs. And then we noticed stuff like [when humping human legs,] he'd never hump my wife's leg, but he'd be all over me. It even got to the point where we thought he was preferring male stuffed animals over female ones. He would never [hump] dolls, but would always go for the teddy bears; you know, the kind that have more of a male persona."
Jason and his wife have a wonderful relationship with Woody, and have enjoyed watching his gay tastes become more refined with age, like fine wine. No longer a wild thing bouncing from one male dog to the next at the park, Woody now has eyes for only one canine.
"We only have one other male dog in our cul de sac, and Woody is all over him," says Jason. "He's his boyfriend. He's this huge, 120-pound mutt, but he's still only a pup. He's about nine months old. Woody likes them young and big."
In addition to the joys of watching their tiny wiener dog try to make love to an enormous puppy, Jason admits there are other, more selfish joys of owning a member of the queer animal community.
"We didn't have to pay to have him neutered," he says. "We never thought it would be an issue him getting any female dogs pregnant. It's one of the benefits to having a gay dog." JUSTIN WESCOAT SANDERS III
Francois Monkeys: Jintao Xu and Rick
Only three years ago, Jintao Xu was living in the wilds of northeast China. And we're not talking Beijing night clubs!
We're talking about the lush green forest of Inner Mongolia. Still a teenager, the bright-eyed primate was enjoying the carefree days of his youth, swinging tree to tree, and digging for ants. But that was before the Chinese government hacked down his families' habitat and sent the adorable, big-eared monkey running--straight into the burlap bag of a trapper!
When captured, Jintao Xu thought his life had ended. Little did he know that 8,000 miles away, in the Oregon Zoo, his heart would once again be set free.
Jintao Xu and Rick spent their first few weeks benignly ignoring each other--only occasionally stealing a sidelong glance or picking a wayward louse from each other's head. You can't blame them. Hardly accepted amongst us evolved Homosapiens, homosexuality is even less accepted for our nearest animal kingdom cousins--even for the fancily named Francois monkey! The shame of AIDS still hangs over the furry little heads of monkeys. Sure, it was their African cousins who started that dreadful disease, but still! Even some conservative-minded zoologists continue to blame homosexuality for hurting the endangered species chances for recovery and re-population.
But Jintao Xu and Rick have overcome the odds--and the doubters! They may come from different worlds, but they communicate a primordial, international language. Jintao Xu is still the wild child of China who spends his days bounding from tree bough to tree bough. Rick, on the other hand, is the domestic one. Born in the Houston Zoo and transferred to Oregon four years ago, Rick has never known anything but cages and confined spaces.
"One is a yin to the other's yang," says Harold Driggers, a night janitor at the Oregon Zoo, who was the first to witness the young lovers sexual escapades.
Since then, no longer shamed, the pair proudly pounce on each other night and day--regardless of whether they're alone or if there's a group of school kids watching. For them, "love" is a purely natural state. PHIL BUSSE
Pillow Talk: Otto and Max
When she reached under a dumpster in Southeast one fateful night, Max thought she was rescuing your normal, run-of-the-mill stray kitten.
"He was really tiny and his eyes were all gummed shut," she remembers. "It was pretty gross."
Within a year of being brought home and cleaned up, "Otto" ballooned into a 25-pound giant with a high-pitched meow and a proclivity for inanimate objects.
"He humps pillows," says Max, "and slippers, and fake fur. There are also some blankets that he puffs up, and mounts."
Slowly it began to dawn on Max that her feline friend's eccentricities were a manifestation of some deeper, unresolved sexual need. When he started having relations with her two other male cats, Otis and Roscoe, Max had the Big Realization: Otto was gay.
A staunch supporter of gay rights, Max was delighted to discover Otto's true nature and celebrated in style, buying him his own special florescent green pillow.
"He purrs while humping the pillow," she says. "That's the only time he purrs. Only when he's on his pillow."
Despite a few slightly disturbing quirks ("He humps his pillow while I'm changing my clothes, which is kind of weird."), Max and Otto have a dream owner/gay pet relationship. Later this month, Max intends to further foster Otto's lifestyle with a clandestine gay wedding.
"My friend Chuck and his dog Bill are ordained ministers," she says, "so I want to have a little ceremony in my apartment with Bill as the minister and Chuck channeling him, since he doesn't really speak English.
As for which of her other two cats Otto will marry, Max is still undecided.
"Roscoe seems to get along really well with Otto, so I figured I'd just have them get married," she says. "But then I was thinking if I'm going to break the law with gay marriage anyway, I might as well go all out and do polygamy, too, so I might marry them all. They could be Mormon. I don't know." JWS
Talking 'Bout My Gull: UtKAW & Baukk
On the shores of Cannon Beach, available lesbian seagulls are a dime a dozen--but "WannOIKK UtKAW," a lesbian seagull who works picking half-eaten hotdogs out of garbage cans, wasn't looking for a dime.
"It was easy to meet females, and there were plenty of options, but I was getting tired of the old routine--you know, meet, mate, lay a couple of eggs and never see that gull again," says UtKAW.
"What I really wanted was to build a stable nest with someone special."
Enter QuMaaa Baukk, a composting specialist from down the beach. One perfect spring day--one of those days when the salt from the Great Pacific just barely braises the tips of your feathers--UtKAW was searching for grubs when, fatefully, Baukk swooped down to catch a nearby mollusk.
"Our eyes met. It was magnetic," said Baukk. "I lost all sense of direction."
They say love at first sight is a farce, just a crazy legend for reckless fools. They say it's a fairy tale, like the tiny floating-food of the sea or The Whale that Swallowed Kittiwake.
"They're wrong," says UtKAW. "There was something powerful that day, something bigger than us at work. I saw QuMaaa, and my, my!" She giggles and sqwaks, and pauses to pick a tiny bug from her wing. For a minute, she's distracted; it's as though her emotion is too powerful to name.
As only lovers can, Baukk picks up where UtKAW left off. "We lay our infertile eggs together," she chirps dreamily. "We are perfectly in sync."
"This is what the Omniscient Herring has gifted to us." JULIANNE SHEPHERD