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Tag Archives: etiquette

An Uneasy Truce

Hi Friends –

I am so excited you guys I almost don’t know where to begin.  I think you all know this, but just in case I forgot to tell you, when I came home with Dad to my new home there were three cats already here. I usually call them basement monsters for fun but I know what they are (now). The problem is they don’t seem to want me around much. I was really starting to get depressed, so I talked to Dad on the ride to work one day. That’s where we really get to talk about things, ya know. I asked why Dad thought I never get to play with the kittehs. He said maybe it’s because I’m so much bigger than they are. That made no sense at all! I’m like one human year old and the old lady cat is seventeen; she’s WAY bigger than me. Dad laughed and said that bigger and older do not mean the same thing. I really don’t see the difference, he tells me all the time how the cats sat in his lap, I sit in his lap now, so…gawwwww, whatever…Dad asked me to trust him and try the down-stay whenever I want to see the kittehs. He’s been right a couple times, I guess, so maybe. He also asked me to try and not get so excited and that might help too. Apparently my running room to room doesn’t mean ‘C’mon follow me let’s play chase?’

I thought about it while we were in more of Dad’s boring meetings at work. I figured I’d give it a try since my way really only gets me hissed at, chased away, and clawed. Guess what you guys? As it turns out Dad is pretty smart (sometimes). I started with backing up, or just stopping in my tracks because I was too distracted to lay down. I couldn’t believe it; that actually worked better than running. Since then the kittehs have spent more time on my side of the gate. The fluffy black one (Winkie/Capt. Fluffy Tail) will greet me nose to nose. This is real progress people!

Mom has even helped me make friends with Lucy (sort of). She doesn’t like me but she will allow me to be within a foot of her while she demands her breakfast and dinner. This has been a lot more difficult than it sounds. I had to start by lying down on the kitchen floor while Mom stayed close to the gate in the dining area giving the kitteh pets. Mom then called me forward; I had to crawl but we did it. I made it all the way to the gate without losing the whisker she keeps telling me I’d lose! I really feel better knowing we’ve made progress and someday I may get to be friends them.

Hey, guys, Mom just finished editing this and sent Dad an email asking if she can post the old lady cat’s (I guess her name is Lucy) side of the story. I say go ahead. No way those basement monsters can say I am anything other than fair and unbiased. Apparently they have been talking in the morning after Dad and I leave. Well, I for one can’t wait to hear this!

Hello, Humans

My name is Lucy and I am quite offended reading that the mongrel calls me the “old lady.” I may be older than him but I am as spry as a kitten, let me tell you. I can still tear his big fat nose right off that slobber face if I wanted to. (Ok. I WANT to, but the humans would be mad and it’s not worth losing a comfy home and regular meals over.)

I have been with “Mom” for over 17 years. I am her baby. Really, until recently I didn’t like any other humans but her. Sometimes she makes me spitting mad, like when she brings home new animals! I had MANY cat and dog siblings over the years. The cats are ok, after a while. The dogs? DO NOT GET ME STARTED. I just don’t like them. Why would anyone want a giant slobber hunk of stink in their home? **sigh**

She even brought home those tiny humans. They were ok at first, loud, but smelled like milk. And they were warm. And I loved that nice enclosed bed they had. That was comfy. Then they learned to walk upright and all hell broke loose. The biggest one is ok now though. She knows how to hand out some prime pets now. But I digress.

So they bring home this giant of a mongrel a few months ago and I am all like. “Oh, hell no! I am NOT even trying to civilize another one of those. They never learn. See ya! I am moving my furry butt to the basement. Bring my food regularly and clean the poop box. I am OUT.”

I thought that after a while the humans would miss my lapsits. See, I like “Dad.” He is a pretty good guy, easy to train. Every night at 8pm I would demand that he sit on the couch and I would sit on his lap for 2 hours. Exactly. If he was late then he had to stay until I had my fill. (He was also good about feeding times. I like a well regimented household.) He LOVED lapsits and I knew it would only be a matter of time before he realized it was the mongrel or me. Once he figured it out he would get rid of that, that, DOG and things would be back to normal. I forgot how STUPID humans are.

So, recently I realized I was at a crossroads. Either I spend my twilight years in the basement with no pets or I finally put on a stiff upper lip and tell the dog who is boss around here.

I started slowly. I organized my crew and we all three made an appearance in the kitchen one morning. This was no easy task. Pixie and I have a sort of truce now that we have an even bigger enemy, but since she won’t bend the knee and recognize me as queen we will never be what you humans call “friends.” Winkie is easier to sway. He is a big fat chicken, but offering him a larger portion of wet food wins him over every time. There we stood. And it worked. That dog was flabbergasted!!! I was yeowling with laughter when they headed off to work.

After that he started calming a bit and that down-stay trick (dogs are so pliable to their master’s will) gets him more on my level. Of course his head is 3 times my size, but my fists of fury will get him if he gets out of paw.

Now I greet “Dad” every morning for pets and that dog is just beside himself about it. This was totally worth the wait. Now, I just have to get my lapsits back. I am not ready to face my foe in the living room. That has become his territory and I must get reinforcements before I brave that battle. I will keep you humans informed about my progress.

Also, here are photos of us. “Mom” shares way too many of that beast and not enough of us!

tabby cat

Lucy

gray and white cat

Pixie

black and white main coon

Winkie (Cap’n Fluffytail)

 

written by DFS and LJS
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What a Difference a Dane Makes

This story is set on September 2nd.  It has become a special day in our lives. It is the birthday of our oldest. (I say “our” because I have adopted her and her sister in my heart and they bless me with their love.)  This year she turned 11! The family decided to spend the day in two places that bring her big smiles, as well as the rest of us. First, we took the trip up to Service Dog Project. This gives Casper the chance to run free and play safely with his dog family and friends. The girls have the chance to play with (oh, excuse me, socialize) the young puppies. I wanted to check in with Carlene and ask her opinion regarding a couple of things. She always gives me straight simple answers and I appreciate that. We also shared stories of vacation. This brought smiles and a scolding. (You may remember Casper sharing how he went swimming?) We were told to NEVER swim with a Dane. “They will drown you! Are you listening to me? Never swim with a Dane! They will get over top of you and hold you under!” Yes Ma’am, we are listening and we learned for ourselves. We will NOT do that again! Consider that a little PSA inside a regular post; directly from the Guru of Service Danes. These types of gems get shared with recipients whether you need them or not.

After we got our SDP fix we headed over to Salem. Yes, That Salem. We enjoy the kitschy tourist trap of it and the history, the surviving architecture, and the waterfront. (OK, maybe the waterfront is more me than the rest of the crew, but they humor me, most of the time.) Prime season doesn’t happen until October, so it was a good time to hit a couple shops and restaurants we enjoy without the crowds. My ulterior motive was to introduce Casper to Salem without the throngs of people. One of the traits I picked up on with him is that when he is in a new environment he is excited to check everything out. This causes him to walk a bit faster and a bit more distracted than I’d like. This is nothing I can’t handle; it is not dangerous for anyone. It’s just that it is more exhausting than usual. Once an area is not brand new he settles in nicely. I like to think of this exploratory mode as Casper’s protective nature on alert. It’s as if he says, “We’ve been here, done this, you’ll be safe.” I’m sure this will wane as he ages so it is not a worry, just a fact.  If we didn’t have a bit of a schedule to keep I would have used this as training and done the one-step crawl with him. The fact was we needed to get home at a reasonable time for school the next day. We went about our route exploring, shopping, and greeting.

We proceeded in and out of several shops packed with merchandise, tight corners, and new smells and of course, other patrons. I purposely put us into environments to see what will happen and he does very well. There was one quite small shop where he and I needed to wait, wander and peruse the shelves. Casper did so well navigating without being intrusive to product and customers that the shop attendant commented positively. He said, “I never thought such a big dog could do that. He is so well mannered and hasn’t touched or knocked anything over. Amazing!” I thanked him, and then told him I brought him here, and made him do this because he has never been in this situation before (at least with me) and I needed to see it myself to know what we need to work on. He laughed, and said, “Really? Well he is welcome back.”  Truth be told, I’ve had problems in that shop by myself with a cane on similar days!

As we walked on down Essex Street, maneuvering the brick and cobble stone like pros, we were greeted by several folks who commented on us as a team or the ‘Great’ness of our Dane. Some asked to pet, and we made allowances, some just gave a nod and continued. One family, though, was special on this day. This family didn’t call attention to themselves in any way. What made them special to me was their special needs son in a hopped up stroller. Casper was drawn to him and him to Casper. Of course we stopped for this greeting! This was magical in its simplicity. We were walking opposite directions. Casper saw this boy and edged toward him. The boy smiled ear to ear and reached out to Casper. Lauri and I exchanged a few words and allowed our focus to be their son and our pup.  So much so, I don’t think we exchanged names. It seemed to me to be a greeting of souls; no words were needed. The boy patted Casper and asked his name several times. We gave the name each time as if it were the first time he asked. In this situation we did not use a secret service name; there seemed no point to me. As far as I was concerned they already knew each other. The entire greeting lasted only moments. Feeling doesn’t need time. I know this. I felt it instantly. It has been several days and I still see the smiles on everyone’s face and the bounce in the step of a dog.

To me, this was a simple account of a day that was meant to be. If Casper hadn’t been with me the day would have been different. I may not have even noticed this family. This is why a Service Dog makes a difference in many more lives than just the handler’s. This was simple, but reminds me why I need to embrace disability. Why I need to blog and why awareness is my new found passion. I don’t know where this path will lead, but with my loving family and a Dane by side I’m excited to find out.

Written by DFS