Saturday, July 31, 2010

Miss Stinkerpot...A Study of Imperfection Most Foul

She had been seen for several days sunning herself in the wildlife garden outside my window, grooming herself most fastidiously. When startled, and I assume at dusk, she crawled through the torn screen to the crawl space under the office for a safe rest.

Plump with long flowing black fur and just a touch of white, she appeared to have been cared for at some time more recent. We learn to harden our hearts to these abandoned ones, whose owners weary of them, and through denial want to believe they will somehow make it on their own in the wilds when they are dumped.

A few survive when a kind heart gives in to their plight and rescues one. On the third day of her discovery, I was that kind heart who almost bit off more than she could chew when I decided to take this cat home with me.

The ranger brought from his house a cardboard container to transport her in. WHAT FOOLS WE WERE. She cautiously allowed me to pet her and when I grabbed her to put her in a place most feared she became a beast of 20 legs filled with razor sharp claws, and I was left with an empty box and a gouged arm.

My determination only heightened, as I knew if I didn't somehow contain her for the journey home, she would not have a very long life. Sooooo...40 miles home to pick up a cat carrier and a pull top can of tuna fish, dress wounds, then forty miles back to park to continue covert operation Cat Nab.

She stayed her distance now as I knew, but was hoping she wouldn't do. Carrier in place in garden with door open, six foot trail of tuna chunks leading through open door of carrier to back side, positioned as close to carrier as I could get and not be intimidating, and a wait of an eternity as she devoured one chunk at a time with one eye always on me.  If I blow this it's curtains for operation Cat Nab. I'll never gain her trust again.

I don't believe it...her head is inside the door. Brain spinning like a top trying to calculate how far she has to be inside the carrier so she cannot flip around and escape as I shut the door. If I wait too long she may bolt before devouring the last chunk. Come on, come on...think, think, think, what to do, WHAT TO DO...slam, bam!!! door successfully containing target.

Yowls that bordered on screams filled that too small space inside my car and made the journey home seem 280 miles long. She lived in my husband's workroom until I figured she wouldn't try to annihilate my other cats. She lived there for months.

She soon became known as skitzo cat. I would sit on steps into the room and she would eventually approach me purring sweetly. I managed to pet her for about 6 seconds then BITE!CLAW!RETREAT! It all happened so fast that it had my head spinning and heart racing.

Three of these episodes and my arm couldn't hold much more in bandages. It was darn near impossible to sit there on the steps showing no fear, but we did manage to come to an agreement of toleration of each other. Much later she was finally allowed to enter rest of house after I just about turned blue holding my breath to see if there was going to be fur flying.

She then became known as the skitzo cat that stays alone.

Jesse established he was king almost immediately, but it took what seemed like years for Zoe and Andee to reach an understanding. She still freaks out when captured to be put in carrier for vet trips. I am only allowed to pick her up and place her on my lap when at computer table...nowhere else.

She still bats me if petted too long, but the claws now stay retracted. She hates being held, although she is held for short periods to acclimate her to the concept, until slightly flattening ears and wild eye glances signal therapy session is over.

The closer one gets to her level the more she enjoys the petting, so she is at her finest when I am in bed and she is kneading the blanket like crazy with her front paws wanting some love. She still lacks perfection and probably always will, but she has grown to be perfect in our hearts.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Dustin...A Perfect Dog...More or Less

Traffic was backed up on my side of the road, no traffic coming the other way, and I was wondering at what @#%&# time I was going to get home that evening. It was hard enough fidgeting through the work day, which seemed like an eternity, before the magic hour of escape finally arrived.

Stop long time...go one car length - stop long time...go one car length - stop long time...go one car length - stop...alright already! Where's the munchies when you need a dull time quencher. Over the rise I could see down the road where traffic was stopped on the opposite side, and some crazy guy chasing a little dog all around the stopped cars.

Closer I got I could see the little dog was also crazy, running in and out from under the cars and at times just lying down under the cars. Crazy man threw arms up in air and drove off...crazy little dog stayed under truck in opposite lane. Creeping up alongside that truck, it was clear driver was perplexed as what to do.

Crazy cute little dog exited out from under truck onto shoulder of road and I told truck driver if he drove off slowly he might escape without ending a dog's life. Held my breath as he slowly drove on down the road, as I was almost, more than, quite sure dog would be taking a trip to heaven any second.

Wow!!! Crazy cute little dog okay, but next car stopped as crazy cute little just-right-size dog stayed sitting on road in front of car.  Okaaaaay......remember husband told you no more dogs after last one consumed tons of your time in his old age.

If I leave crazy cute little just-right-size dog he will surely eventually end up road kill. We already have three cats and we don't need another pet. I couldn't live with myself always wondering what happened to crazy cute little just-right-size dog. When you retire you cannot afford a bunch of pets. On my way to work tomorrow if crazy cute little just-right-size dog is squished on road I will just die.

You already agreed with husband on plan B of no replacement pets, so retirement would be an option......somehow the car door opened, "come on...sttth...sttth...sttth...", crazy cute little just-right-size dog is looking at me in rear view mirror from back seat. I'm so going to get killed when I get home.

Six months later and that Jack Russell/Rat Terrier mix is still a member of our family. At the time he seemed like the perfect someone from above picked him out especially for me. We discovered he was not on any preventive maintenance, but nothing was wrong with him that couldn't be fixed. And talk about fixed...that happened too.

He was great with the cats, and seemed to love everyone which in turn made everyone love him. He was so laid back and, thank the Lord, he appeared to be potty trained. Never mind that he usually ignored the command for him to come to me. He was a perfect little gentleman until husband left from vacation to go back overseas to Iraq and contract work.

Then the little Dustin nightmare began...potty time in the house right in front of me. After the seventh episode and freaking out didn't seem to correct anything, it was time for a session with THE DOG COUNSELOR.  D.C. (Dog Counselor) proceeded to re-train me on how to get my home back from a dog who thought it was his home to do as he pleased, and it turns out dogs love potty smells...peeeew!

After explaining to D.C. that Dustin never seems to have to go potty and when he does finally go potty he must dump a quart of liquid...D.C. proceeded to inform me that he apparently wasn't potty trained correctly by previous owner and that was going to be my immediate task, to potty train him all over again. Aaaaaaaack!

Walking around with a dog leashed to your waist extremely limits any activities in a person's life. Explaining that it also was not good that he ignored my commands, I was taught how to train him to sit and to come, and also taught a simple little exercise to get him to always walk beside or behind me, and how to correct him as a dog would...arf! arf!  As instructed, I have implemented all I was taught, and in just a week I can see my dog transforming right in front of my eyes into the PERFECT dog.

I love my little Dustin. He looks to me as his protector, and protect him I do. I choose to give him a little more leeway in the house, so we can interact better with each other; as I have realized there is nothing better than watching a movie with a steaming hot cup of English Breakfast tea and Dustin by my side loving his tummy rub.

That's a perfect night.

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