Why Can’t We be Friends?

More than anything else, Elsie wants to be best friends with Ace.

More than anything else, Ace wants nothing to do with Elsie.

This has led to an eternal struggle for love and for space between two of our furry children. Yet, Elsie has been making some progress.

They have a while yet to figure it all out, but here is to hoping they do eventually figure it all out…

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Why I am late to work today.

After breakfast and a shower, I had some time so I sat on the deck with all of the furry family. The swing on our deck is shaded from the morning sun by a very big something tree. The breeze was just light enough to prevent the summer morning from being stuffy and kept the deck at the perfect relaxation for me and the furries.

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Ace was lounging on a hand-me-down table surveying his lands. Two chairs from the hand-me-down set protected him from Elsie’s curious muzzle. Maggie laid next to me in the swing and pondered at the leaves lazily dancing in the light breeze. Elsie was filled with too much energy to sit still for a second. She watched the cats with the determined eye of a scientist hungry for knowledge and understanding. Otto climbed the something tree. As he climbed higher, he would test each branch tentatively to ensure his footing.

As I ruminated on the peace of the morning and the pointlessness of leaving for work, a humming sounded from the tree. Four set of furry ears perked up. Ace landed on the deck with a heavy THUD! He slinked off the deck. A horsefly could be seen for a moment between these two small panthers. The tree erupted into chaos as the early morning hunt and murder took place.

Simultaneously, the peace on the deck was shattered by the stomping of a fifty-pound observer wished to become part of the action. My seat on the swing is set into motion when Maggie pushed off it to join the drama as well.

I found that I couldn’t stop smiling. The peace of the morning was cut off suddenly and very completely in one moment by the dark humour of nature. Yet, I wanted more moments like this to fill my life. I looked at my phone and realised I was running late.

It was worth it.

 

Nap Time

2:30 PM to 4:30 PM is nap time for the furries in our house.

I captured some photos from yesterday’s nap time.  Enjoy!

Maggie pretending she is asleep.20160711_173510

Elsie awoke by Mum trying to snap a picture.20160711_173409

Otto stretching during nap time.20160711_173027

Ace sound asleep on the preferred cat chair.20160711_172955

Rest well, my friends!

Elsie has cat troubles.

Elsie is our clown. This is why so many stories are Elsie-centric. Today’s Elsie tell is one of her difficulties with the kitties. Elsie wants, quite badly, to be friends with the cats. She has had little progress in the area, but that does not stop her trying. Here are her antics:

  1. The sneak up next to one and lay down while it is sleeping.20160705_104410
    If you follow the leash trail to behind the basket, you may see a dark shadow with a flipped right ear. You have spotted an Elsie! If you take in Acer’s face, you can tell he is less than pleased with this situation. But Elsie just wants a bit of love!!

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    Clearly, Otto handles the cuddle better.

  2. The intense watching of the kitties.IMG_20160706_072929
    Like a kid watching her favourite cartoon, Elsie likes to sit close and observe her cat companions intently. (It may look as though Maggie is doing the same with Ace in the background, but let me assure you that she is actually looking outside at some neighbourhood kids stomping on our back garden.)

    She has difficulty not pursuing the cats, but she is learning and our cats are really, really patient with her. Ace, who is more vocal in his discomfort with her, is still extremely patient with her as she learns boundaries.

  3. Kisses.Much to the dismay of the cats, sometimes she bonds by kissing. It is sweet, but it also leaves their entire side damp and smelling like dog. With OCD Otto, it leads to hours of grooming. For Ace, well, she only landed a kiss on Ace once and he was asleep. I have not seen her try it again.

Here is to peace and Elsie finding her happy place among the cat creatures in her home. After all, she just wants to love them.

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Other People and Advice

As with children, everyone you meet has advice for you when you have a puppy. As with the advice given to parents of children, the advice that is given to parents of furries is often well-meaning and useless.

At the end of the day, no one knows your puppy, kitty, cat, dog, son, daughter, lizard, bird, and household as you do. You deal with it every single day. You witness the ups and downs every single day. You get the feel of when to correct and when to be patient. You should follow the advice of professionals (as you should with children), but ultimately you are the leader of the pack and will make changes that your puppy requires.

Keep in mind advice is given for the average. Extremes are needed to make averages. It is also very possible your puppy, child, cat, etc. will conform to the standards in the books and it is equally possible she will buck the system and require all your creativity.

So… keep on, keeping on. You are the best mum or dad for your critter no matter what they say.

Ace, the food addict

Our big ole boy, Acer. Despite reducing his food intake, Ace has gotten bigger and bigger. Yesterday, I found out why. I like to think the below picture is Ace’s shame of being seen at his rock bottom. Ace has eaten breakfast but it is too early for dinner when I discover what has caused this seemingly impossible phenomenon.

Yesterday, an unscheduled thunderstorm rocked our neighbourhood. I rushed home from work to let the cats inside. Once inside, Ace was convinced it was dinner time rather than three hours prior to dinner time. He yelled at me for a while before giving up on me serving food on his schedule. He sat in the office that doubles as the cat dining area and he pouted.

I turned my attention to my work. A clicking sound stirs my attention from the computer screen to the fifteen-pound cat trying to sneak from the office across the kitchen. There are few sounds that give away a cat as well as their nails clicking on the tile. Even the dogs have been awoken by the “tick, click, tick” of his steps. He gives the puppy (Elsie) wide berth and steps quietly and quickly, assuming we do not see him. Silently, we all watch him.

He hops by Elsie’s face and next to where I am seated at the writing desk and lands on the dog food table. (A low table long enough to hold two dog food bowls and one gigantic water bowl and, apparently, a determined fat cat.) He begins to eat and eat.

I call him away. Spray him with water as punishment for such awful behaviour. He sulks off. He returns and is scolded three more times.

Finally, he is found ashamed of his behaviour this morning.

Anyone know of an Eater Anonymous for cats?

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Note: Given cat food has much more protein and fewer vegetables than dog food, we believe he is gaining weight because he isn’t supposed to process all the extra veggies and such. 

Daydreaming

It is so easy to project your personality and thoughts into your animals. Perhaps that is what makes this blog such an easy way for me to ensure I am writing a little bit every single day. Speaking with friends and family only makes it clearer that I am not insane: Maggie is my personality, my soul out of my body, Elsie is Donatello, Otto is David (one of our friends), and Ace is a teenager, or independent creature, that lives in our house.

Yet, sometimes I read things that discourage such claims as animals having personalities, thoughts, and dreams. I try to consider this perspective and decide why I am so vehemently against accepting this idea as true. Other than the times I have witnessed my dogs dream, I could not really bring much more evidence to the table. But, I have thought about it and I have three main reasons to support my theory that animals have personalities and not just the ones we project on them, but real, actual personalities.

  1. Grumpiness: Maggie was grumpy Saturday. If you pet her, she would growl. If Elsie got in her face, she would growl. And, no matter what I did, she ignored me. Not Donatello, just me. She would not sit with me on the couch, come when I called, or play with me. It has never happened before: Maggie is obedient and sweet and loving. I was a little caught off guard. After a little bit, I held her and played with her without Elsie around. She resisted at first and then played and kissed me. I guess she was a little grumpy that she had to share her Mum and that Elsie has had a bit more attention lately. This display makes me certain that dogs have their own thoughts and even some emotions.
  2. Daydreaming: Below are pictures of Ace and Maggie actively daydreaming. The wind was not stirring leaves, no critters were creeping or scampering in our yard, nor was anything else outside worth focused attention. Yet, both animals are completely lost to their thoughts. I think what sells it the most to me is the abandoned bowl at Maggie’s chest. She chose to stare and think rather than eat. You cannot convince me this is the behaviour of an instinct only driven creature.
  3. Sense of Humour: I know people with less sophisticated a sense of humour than my animals. Example: Otto will sit above Ace. He will then tag one side of Ace, hide, tag the other side, hide, repeat. As he does this, he watches us as if to say, “Can you believe this fool?”  Example 2: Otto will taunt Elsie. Get her all excited about playing tag with a kitty (which Otto does like at times). He will lead Elsie to Ace, hide, and watch as panic and hilarity ensue (Ace does not, at all, ever enjoy playing tag with a puppy.

These intentional acts reassure me that dogs and cats and perhaps many other animals are actually very intelligent creatures with personalities and dreams of their own. Or maybe, as a writer, I just really, really want to see life, intellect, etc. every where I look.

Any thoughts or stories of your critters that prove they are smart, clever, and have their own personality? I would love to hear about your pet’s habits and nuances.

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