Two months into quarantine. I never thought I would live through a time like this, did you? Today, I am going to write about the many antics of my fur and feather kids during our hibernation. My day is typically never boring, and I’ll bet my readers are equally entertained.
My pets are doing some things they have done all along. Some things they may have done, but I was too busy to notice. And some things it appears they have recently invented for my enjoyment and/or annoyance!
There is Smudge, my senior Cairn Terrier companion who is at my side, always. Smudge’s favorite spot is in the recliner with me. Whether I am relaxing watching TV, eating, reading the paper, or sleeping, Smudge is always pressed against my side or across my lap. I love the comfort he gives me.
Smudge is pack leader over his two much younger canine brothers, and they respect him. Rue has 10 pounds on Smudge, and Rue is much younger, stronger, and faster. But sometimes Smudge will stand at the top of the ramp, growling and yapping at Rue, telling him he cannot come inside. I have to intervene because Rue will not challenge Smudge. Whenever the opportunity arises, Smudge will also quickly and efficiently steal Rue’s stuffed Kong, right from under his nose. So there remains mischief in this clever and loyal old man, and I love it.
Swayze, my 2-year-old Cairn Terrier, is a very sweet and docile boy. Typically, Swayze makes no demands of me. He is quiet, obedient, loving, and drop dead gorgeous, until he goes into the backyard and begins charging and frantically barking at the back fence. I don’t know what is lurking in the woods behind my house, but Swayze is bound and determined to chase it or catch it! He will not respond to my calls. But this afternoon, as Swayze was doing his song and dance at the fence, my Border Collie mix Rue efficiently and effectively herded him back into the house. Good boy, Rue!
What can I say about Rue? He is a 1-year-old Border Collie mix. Enough said. When I was teaching dog training, I would always tell students that a Border Collie was indeed the smartest breed. But they are also the most demanding in that they are high energy and need a job. If they are bored or not exercised enough, they will find something to do, be it good or bad.
Yes, I told people this, time and time again. As a senior, I got what I always wanted, a Border Collie! Really?! True to the breed, Rue is brilliant. Rue is also high, high, high (did I mention high?) energy! You honestly have no idea until you have one how high maintenance they truly are. It would have been to my advantage had I gotten one when I was much, much younger. But I have survived the first year, and I am hopeful to make it through the second!! Ha ha.
Rue has major separation anxiety, and if he is not crated, he will destroy the house. If I leave him in the exercise pen, Rue will walk it to wherever he wants to go and pull items into the pen to shake and tear. Rue is also VERY vocal. He will bark loudly when he wants to go out, come in, chase a cat, or – the best one yet – whenever the phone rings. Imagine trying to figure out who is on the phone and what they are saying when there is a loud boisterous dog barking in your ear! And yes, I am a dog trainer. Rue does know what “stop” means, but I will often have to repeat it. He has no control impulses.
Then there is the kitty family. My 11-year-old Monty does not like to be held, but he follows me like a dog, rubbing against my legs. Each cat responds to their name, like my dogs. Monty was my very sick boy, and I am so thrilled and grateful that he remains stable and happy.
My tuxedo cat, Mojo, is 6 years old. Mojo is my lap cat. He will sit all day, purring and rubbing as I scratch his chin. I will often have to hold Mojo for five minutes when I am cleaning the litter boxes as he climbs onto my leg and meows for attention.
Monet, my 9-month-old rescue kitty. Monet is like no cat I have ever owned. And I did have females before. My female Cairn Terrier, Whitney, who I lost two and a half years ago, was large and in charge. This girl was not impressed at all by my dog training credentials. She challenged me at every turn. Feisty and headstrong, Whitney was a diva in every sense. I loved her confidence and attitude.
Well, Monet is Whitney in a kitty body. Monet is determined and has a trigger temper. She bites like a dog, and any piece of exposed skin is fair game for her. She can’t seem to control herself and wants to sink her fangs into bare skin, the chunkier the more tempting. Monet quickly discovered that I was most vulnerable in the bathroom. She does not mind water AT ALL. She will get into the tub when I am showering, knocking the shampoo and body wash all over the tub. I am trying to brush my teeth and cannot spit because Monet is sprawled across the bathroom sink, with the water running!
But worse yet, and I will not go into graphic detail, is when I am sitting on “the throne.” Monet will sneak around to the back of the toilet to attack a most vulnerable part. When I drag her out and push her away, she comes back much bigger and bolder! Much like a dog, my shoving her really ticks her off. I know I am in trouble when her pupils dilate, her tail is swishing, and suddenly she is wrapped around my leg or arm, trying to take me down! Unusual cat behaviors, don’t you agree? I swear, it’s a girl thing. Monet also takes my personal things and has a stash deep under my bed. I managed to find my computer mouse and one missing earring, but by all appearances, my watch is gone forever.
Even my 8-year-old little lovebird Kiwi has begun exhibiting a new behavior. He goes onto the bottom of his cage and shreds the newspaper in one particular corner only. When I chastise him, he begins squawking and charging me across the bottom of his cage. I have no idea why, after eight years, Kiwi has found this fun to do. No damage done. Funny thing is that it began during the quarantine. I am not sure if Kiwi is celebrating that I am home all the time, or protesting my forever presence.
My animals are a source of companionship, comfort, and support to me. And they shake up my day, which is a good thing now! I love each one for their unique personalities and habits. Fun times in the Endo household!
Judy Endo is the author of Paws-itive Pet Tales. A lifelong resident of the Wilkes-Barre area, she has been a professional dog trainer/competitor as well as a lifetime animal lover and strong supporter of animal rescue. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org