Tag Archives: pets

The Granddog comes for a visit: Parenting skills revisited

One of our granddogs came to visit a few weeks ago while his ma and pa were traveling. Two weeks later, he’s still here, which is fine because he keeps Ike busy.

We’ve discovered some interesting — and humorous — similarities between two children and two dogs — aside from the fact that two eat twice as much as one:

1.) If one thinks he’s been shorted in the food dish, he’ll let you know by (a) staring at you, (b) sniffing the food tub, (c) staring at you, and finally, shoving his dish around to make some noise. Just in case you missed the point.

2.) They fight over who gets to sit in the front passenger seat. The general plan is that whoever gets there first, wins. Sound familiar? Once in awhile they both get relegated to the middle seat, a fact that miffs both.ikeand harvey

3.) If one leaves an unfinished treat (i.e., rawhide) while he runs off to investigate something in another room, all bets are off. He who finds the treat, wins.

4.) Two in the tub doesn’t always work. Getting them into the tub can be a challenge. Sometimes it’s best to divide and conquer.IMG_0408[1]IMG_0409[1]

5.) If Ike, a lightweight at 15 pounds, chooses to snooze on Gma or Gpa’s lap, then Harvey, a heavyweight 45 pounder, becomes an instant lap dog. Beware whoever’s lap is free: Prepare to catch the 45-pounder as he jumps onto your lap.03131318530304130847

6.) They may sleep much of the day away, but 5 p.m. is the witching hour. You may think it’s time to fix supper, but in reality the race is on. The two of them begin a mad chase through the house, running at top speed from the second floor down through the main floor and back. This usually ends with both of them laying on the kitchen floor, panting wildly, slobbering everywhere, completely oblivious to the fact that a galley kitchen is not designed for two dogs and two adults.

7.) At the end of the day, the two are the best of friends. The fact that one is 1/3 the size of the other just means that the big guy gets to hold the little guy.0302131158

Welcome to our zoo, part two

Late Friday afternoon, an energetic Havanese entered our lives with the force akin to a full-blown blizzard. My first hint at how the weekend might play out came when Ike bolted to the front door, sniffing along the doorjamb, whimpering only slightly.

Much to his surprise, the door opened and a white ball of fluff barreled into the living room, skidded across the oak floor and slammed into Ike. The moment he was off his leash, the two dogs were racing through the house. Watson barely stopped long enough to acknowledge his owners’ goodbyes.

Ike thinks he's hiding

This went on for the next three hours, with periodic time-outs to catch their collective breaths. In the meantime, the hubs and I vacillated between laughing uproariously to feeble attempts at creating order.

 

We finally gave up. At about 9 p.m., the Havanese was relegated to his crate in the basement and the Schnauzer collapsed at my feet, happily snoring within seconds.

This morning, Ike slept in like a teenager. Obviously, he was storing up energy for another day at the races. Fred finally dragged him from slumberland and took him out to perform his morning ablutions. When they returned, we fetched Watson from his crate and sent him out for his turn about the block.

Back in the house and they were back at it, running in circles, stopping only long enough for a gulp of water or to snitch a kibble.

For the moment, things are quiet. Ike has crashed in his favorite spot on our bed near the window…ever on guard for the next squirrel. Watson is downstairs — not sure he wants to navigate the steps.

I’ll say one thing for this dogsitting business. It has cured me of my urge to get a second Schnauzer to keep Ike happy. We’ll just borrow Watson.

Ironically, last night when my husband asked how big Watson will get, I told him that he’s already full-grown.  Besides, he’s mostly fur. This morning, Fred told me about the dream he’d had last night.

Turns out Watson arrived with a tag that read: This dog will grow to 2,000 to 3,ooo pounds.

In the dream, he’d said to me, “See, I told you so.”

 

 

 

After 20 years, the Queen takes her leave

Yesterday when I got home from work, I was greeted by two four-footed creatures. One was overjoyed to see me; the other was, well, simply glad that someone had responded to her imperious calls.  Because as far as Peaches was concerned, she was THE QUEEN. She presumed that it was she for whom the rest of the family toiled.

It’s been that way since the day she showed up on our doorstep more than 20 years ago. She fooled an 8-year-old into pouring her a saucer of milk and that was that. She was there to stay.

That was the only time I’ve been grateful for allergies, because my pronouncement that she could stay but had to live outdoors was met with loud objections. But hey, if Mom’s gotta breathe, kitty’s gotta do her breathing outside. That lasted for about four months…until the cold of winter set in. We settled on a deal that she could come in when it was REALLY cold  and/or REALLY wet. But she had to be in the basement. This worked most of the time, except when Anne sneaked her into her bed. Which she did a few weeks ago.

The funny thing was, after about 12 hours of indoor life, she was ready to go back outside. She’d sit in front of the door and meow. In later years, she’d howl. We’d let her out and off she would go to do her daily hunting and gathering. Any small rodent was fair game. In fact, large rodents weren’t necessarily off her radar. It became her habit to present these to us as gifts, gazing up at us in that condescending way of hers. And waiting. For praise. Which, by the way, she did NOT receive.

We probably should have kept track of her catches, but after the baby bunny on the doorstep, we lost interest. That was the day that the girls and I had to summon Dad home to dispose of the little guy. Peaches watched Fred with disgust as he performed a bunny burial.

Oh, but she could be charming. She could purr as loud as the rest of the cats, begging for a scratch behind the ears or a belly rub. Not from me, of course. She and I had an understanding. There was to be no rubbing of a furry body on the legs. In turn, she expected me to slip her a snitch of tuna or salmon periodically.

Peaches was a walker. She often joined us on long walks. If she got tired or bored, she’d return home and wait for us on the porch, bellowing her disgust. About five years ago, she quit following us. She’d walk about halfway down the block, whining the whole way, then give up and go home to wait.

Her worst nightmare was the day I adopted Ike. She’d tolerated every other dog, but none of them were interested in her. Ike was. He would dance in circles around her, eager to play. Finally, she’d stick out a paw, claws extended, and take a swipe. He never learned.

In recent years, we could tell that she was losing her hearing she wouldn’t come when called. Her howling reached decibels of discomfort. A trip to the vet 3 years ago revealed that she was in excellent health, with the exception of some signs of dementia. A couple of rounds of “kitty Prozac” and she was humming a happier tune. The trick was getting those little pink pills down her throat without losing a finger. Even Lindsay, who could get a lemon down a dog’s throat if she had to, finally gave up. Forget trying to hide it in her food. She was on to us. She’d eat everything and spit out a mangled pill, then fix us with a withering stare.

Every time the girls would visit, they’d give her an extra hug before leaving, “just in case”. We knew 20 years was pretty unusual in a cat — especially one that spent her days roaming the neighborhood. Knowing that didn’t mean we were ready for it when it came.

Yesterday, when I got home from work, I put her out to soak up some sun. When she hadn’t returned by 9 p.m., I was getting a little worried. At 2 a.m., I checked the front porch. No Peaches. Not a sound. When my running partner showed up this morning, I told her we were on a Peaches search. If there was a lump in the road, she would have to check it out. Not me. Couldn’t do it.

When I returned an hour later, I fully expected her to be on the porch. But as I walked up the driveway, I saw her, lying on her side in the grass. Even from a distance, I knew she was gone. I wrapped her in a towel and placed her on the patio, then called Fred and told him the first order of business when he returned from his conference would be a burial. He sounded as sad as I felt.

In an odd turn of events, the girls have had to console me this time. “She was OLD, Mom.” But it was Lindsay’s Eric, who put it in perspective for me.

“Peaches has joined Fritz (another cat) in what Native Americans call ‘the great rift in the sky'”.