April 30, 2010

Pet Pretences ©

On occasion, my four pets like to wear disguises. Take Stanley the cat for instance, who for the first four years of his life thought that he was a dog. While he didn’t play fetch (and I have heard of cats who do), he wrestled with the two dogs, played chasey with them, tried to accompany me on my walks, and fitted in with the rest of the household 'pack'.

Rachel, the Jack Russell cross is determined to prove to the world that she’s really a brave dog the size of a small country. 

In reality, she’s afraid of thunder, fireworks, the children next door, strangers, and boogy-monsters. Yes, Rachel is afraid of the dark and barks at things that aren’t even there.

My miniature fox-terrier Scout wears various disguises around the home. First there’s the Chief Police Inspector Scout who checks out all new visitors to the household and ensure everybody is safe to enter. While school-teacher Scout keeps Stanley and Rachel under control and tells them off when they’re misbehaving.

Then there was the time she looked like a kitchen appliance. During the cooler months, Scout tends to feel the cold, so I purchased a lovely, thick quilted coat for her to wear. One morning, as I was making breakfast, I noticed the startling similarity between the quilted cover on an item on my kitchen counter and what Scout was wearing – she looked remarkably like a toaster on legs.

Larci is a bit of a rascal and still at the age of two, is rather unpredictable. He could probably be likened to Bart off the Simpsons, but perhaps not quite as naughty. He is very partial to cuddles but only on his terms. If he is not in the mood, he will let you know in very unsubtle ways such as nipping and scratching, and finally if all else fails, a full-on attack in which at least 2cm of skin has to be removed.

My pets continue to be a great delight to me. I love the way my dog Rachel runs – she possesses no concept of the word ‘elegant’, but when she determines to reach her destination, simply abandons herself to the experience. Ears flapping back behind her, in ungainly bounds she rushes enthusiastically along, glorying in just reaching her goal, hopefully with a biscuit waiting for her at the end.

My two dogs have about the mental development of human toddlers and often act in similar ways. My two fight over toys, grumble at each other in the back seat of the car, sometimes feel the others gets more food or treats, vie for my attentions, and love my cuddles and words of encouragement.

How differently they view the world from us. I gaze out upon the morning, not really seeing the view sometimes, but thinking more about what I have to accomplish during the day. When I open my front door in the morning, Rachel lifts her head and sniffs at the breeze. Her nose tells her about the left-over smells from the neighbour’s barbecue; that there was a stray cat in the front yard a few hours before; there’s a vague and exciting scent of something rotting on the breeze; and everything seems safe and secure.

Rachel often views a small portion of the world from her special spot on my lounge-chair. From this vantage point she can hear the sounds of the neighbourhood, the sparrows squabbling in a tree out front, rainbow lorikeets screeching out their joy of living, a power-tool down the road, and an unknown noise that as yet poses no threat.

Lying relaxed over the arm of my chair, she can instantly jump to alertness should trouble arise, but for this moment, she is satisfied that today will be full of wonderful things to smell, perhaps a good bone to chew on, and the loving affection of her family. Yes, today will be another good doggy day. ©

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