Well, it’s that time of year again. Ever the fashion-forward critters, Tweedledum and Tweedledee traded in their raggedy sweaters of yesteryear for new, holiday-inspired, cold weather gear. They will be rocking the dog park this winter!
You know that sound a dog makes when it’s licking itself? That disgusting slurp that somehow makes it through your ear, down your spine, and into your stomach to make you go ewwww … but more like a full body ewwww because it’s just so damn repulsive?
Yeah. I hate that.
Don’t let this face fool you.
This cat is an asshole. She derives some sort of feline pleasure from occasionally tormenting our dog Petra … she will threaten her by not allowing her to pass by or walk through a door or she will latch on to the back of Petra’s neck or nip her ears. It’s not something I condone or allow, but I don’t always catch it before it happens. When it does happen … everyone, but everyone, knows. Because Petra screams at the top of her little Chihuahua lungs just as if someone were trying to murder her. Now you might say, of course she does! I would too! But the thing is, Shaylee doesn’t always actually make contact, and when she does, it’s not as horrific as it sounds. Shaylee’s intent is not to hurt so much as to amuse herself. Remember, I did say she was an asshole.
The key thing here to remember is, Shaylee doesn’t always make contact. Sometimes she just gives Petra the ol’ cat stink-eye. However, if she’s stalking Petra and Petra knows it, Petra will scream … figuring the best offense is a good defense, I guess. Scare ‘em off with crazy.
This sibling intimidation hasn’t happened in a while and I can only assume that rather than the fulfillment of my hope for a peaceful, harmonious familial unit, it was instead simply because Shaylee was a little rattled after the move to the condo we now call home. (I will digress here a moment just to mention that unlike the noise dampening construction you might expect in privately owned condos, ours is more like your standard apartment building … we’re all well aware of what everyone else is doing at any point in time.)
At any rate, round about midnight last night, I’m pretty sure the neighbors think I killed my dog.
Welcome to the neighborhood.
My dog Petra, I may have mentioned before, loves to burrow under blankets, or anything really. It’s her thing. Petra is not the bravest soul in the universe — with good reason, her life before coming to us was not the best. To make a long story short, burrowing under a blanket, preferably her own, makes her feel safe and comforted, and it has the added effect of being completely adorable. My house is full of blankets. They’re on the couch, the chairs, in the corner by the bookshelf, in a box (just as an aside, it was NOT my idea to keep this Amazon box indefinitely, but the animals — cats and dogs alike, have taken a liking to it, so I figured, what the hell), and in the dogs’ beds. Whew. That’s a lot of dog blankets.
Not being particularly smart, or perhaps not realizing, even after all this time, the depths of Petra’s need to burrow, I washed ALL of the blankets at once this past week. The drama that ensued…the whining, the whimpering, the crying…as this dog searched the house for a blanket was a sight to behold. I almost sat down and cried myself. I felt guilty. I felt stupid for not thinking to leave out one blanket. I felt bad for making Petra sad and uncomfortable. And then, I felt stupid for feeling all of the above.
In comes Rufus to the rescue. Rufus the Invincible. He didn’t like that Petra was nervous and whimpering. He didn’t like that at all. I don’t know if he understood why. He couldn’t care less for blankets, but he does have favorite toys — and knows where they are at all times, so maybe he did understand her discomfort. At any rate, he swooped in and saved the day. As an aside, I must state here that Rufus and Petra love each other, they play and hang out and are always concerned about each other, but they like their own space. Rufus especially. They don’t lay together or sleep together…they never share the same bed (they’re much too prim and proper). But one afternoon this past week, when Mom was dumb enough to wash all of the blankets at once (a day that will go down in infamy, let me tell you), Rufus let Petra join him in his favorite bed, and there she stayed, comforted by his presence.
And I learned a good lesson: that in the future, one blanket would always get washed separately…so this horrible day will never be repeated.
I mean, honestly…is it a dog or a four-legged ninja. Sometimes I wonder. Or maybe it’s one of those ghosts from Paranormal Activity that shows up with a sheet over its “head,” but when the sheet is removed, lo and behold, there’s nothing there, and that’s when everyone watching loses their sh…well, you know. I’ll admit, I wasn’t brave enough to go that far to see if that would happen in this case. Seriously, who wants to piss off demons when you don’t have to?And considering that the blanket made its way back to its bed after getting a drink left me thinking that whatever was underneath was too sleepy to cause any real ghostly damage. I can’t say that’s a bad thing.
Back in the day, I had a wonderful dog, a Shih Tzu named Boopers. I loved her to pieces. Among her many attributes (not least of which, was just being a smart, loyal, loving companion), she was a great watch dog. She might not have physically been able to do anything about a person breaking in, like attack anything except his ankles and maybe his calves, but she was phenomenal about alerting us to possible Ninja intruders. Which, when you think about it, was really her job…the job of any small dog, actually. They’re the alarm system and either the larger dog, or you, as the human of the house, are supposed to do the rest.
Boopers was especially good at her job. She could tell the difference in cat noises permeating the darkness throughout the inner sanctum of the house…of which there were many in the night due to our own personal zoo. She could tell if the noises outside were “normal” noises, like an owl on the roof, or a squirrel scurrying across the deck, or maybe the neighbors coughing a bit too loudly out on their own back porch. Hey, what can I say? Sound travels here. So, when she barked, or worse, growled deep in her throat, you knew…you just knew…you had to get up to look to see what was going on to cause a disturbance in the force. She was trustworthy and reliable, and an amazing alarm system.
The dogs I have now? Not so much. If so much as a leaf blows across the yard three doors down, they bark. If the neighbor next door sneezes deep within the realm of her kitchen, they bark. If they hear a car that’s just a tad bit too loud in the exhaust system somewhere out there in the neighborhood, they bark. Maybe the couple two streets over slam a door in the midst of their
argument debate over “Star Wars vs Star Trek.” Yep, you guessed it. They bark.
Sometimes, I think these dogs bark just to hear themselves bark. And once one loses it, the other one loses it, and then the cacophony is truly a thing to behold.
“What are you barking at!? What’s going on!? Where’s the danger? Let me at it!”
“I don’t know, I just thought maybe I heard something but then I started barking and it sounded cool, so I kept doing it!”
“Oh wow, that’s a fantastic idea, I think I’ll bark too and then we’ll both be barking!? How cool is that??”
“Hey, that’s awesome! We can get into sync so there’s absolutely no lag time and all the human will hear is constant ear-splitting yaps in completely different timbres!”
“Why do you think she’s holding her ears and looking fierce?”
“I don’t know…maybe she just can’t stand the symphony that is our high-pitched barking because it’s simply too awe-inducing and lovely beyond words. We should bark louder!”
I love Petra and Rufus beyond belief, of that, there is no doubt in the world. But when these 2:00 a.m. concerts come around to awaken me from a dead-sleep, I sure do miss my Boopers.
I would have thought that by the time I had reached the age I am now, I would be able to walk through my own house without much fanfare, and certainly without chaperones. But apparently, I was wrong. Sometimes I feel as though I need a parade leader’s scepter…you know, something befitting the pomp and circumstance that is the journey to my refrigerator, or bathroom, or laundry room, or anywhere since I can’t seem to move without an entourage.