Furball – part 3

There was no more hiding the cat. Furball got permanent dishes, a litter box and toys. He was still an indoor/outdoor cat, but he was spending more and more time in. He’d sleep in the office while I was working. If he was in a night he’d sleep at my feet. It was nice to have the company.

Greg was afraid Furball would be discovered and I’d be kicked out. I kept telling him to relax. How would they find out? They never come around. And then the toilet broke. I had to call maintenance. This was going to be a problem. I could hide bowls, litter box and toys, but I couldn’t hide the cat. Some crazy in the area was catching cats and killing them. There was no way I was letting Furball out until they caught him. I greeted the maintenance man with “Hi, come on in. I have a cat and he’s not going out until they catch that loon that’s killing cats”. He said it was fine. Quite a few tenants had cats. That was a relief. Furball could stay and I wasn’t getting kicked out.

It was late October and Greg moved in. Furball wasn’t sure he liked that arrangement, but tolerated it. My office moved to the living room and the spare room became the guitar room. Furball claimed the sofa for his. When Greg had his surgery and was home for 6 weeks he spent days laying on Furball’s sofa, watching TV. This just wouldn’t do. Furball started going out during the day. Apparently the spoiled house cat didn’t like spending that much time outside anymore. The only way Furball was getting “his” sofa back was to curl up with Greg, so he did. To his surprise Greg was ok. He was getting pets and scratches that he usually didn’t get during the day since I was busy working. This became a daily routine and Greg became Furball’s buddy.

We stumbled across a farm for rent. It would be cheaper since we could have the horses with us and would have to pay board. It was half of a huge farmhouse, the downstairs of the barn and about 17 acres. We could fence as much as we wanted. Animals were welcome and I could get a dog if I wanted. It was closer to my Mom and Greg’s kids. It seemed like a very good move. I gave my notice and started packing to move. Furball was definitely ours and he was going with us.

Right before we moved I thought about getting a kitten for company for Furball. He was used to having outside cat friends. When Greg’s daughter was visiting for the weekend we went to a local shelter and let he pick out a kitten. Jasmine came home with us. We were a two cat family still living in a place where we weren’t supposed to have any cats. Furball immediately “adopted” Jasmine and they were buddies.

 

Daisy – Puppy Lessons, Socialization & Exhaustion

Daisy’s lessons started right away with housebreaking being first. She also started learning come, sit, stay … all of the standard puppy things. She’s smart caught on quickly.

Since she could only be in her crate for a limited time, we took advantage of it and got her used to the truck. I put a “go bag” together for her and she went everywhere we could take her. Daisy loved going to the barn. She was fascinated by the horses, loved playing with the goats and there was people that made a huge fuss over her. My husband and I would take turns riding/puppy sitting. We sat on the grass next to the ring and goat pen so she had plenty to look at. We did this every weekend until she started to get car sick.

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I work at home so every day I’d eat my lunch and we’d go out in the yard to play. It didn’t take her long to catch on. I’d put the food away and she’d demand to go outside immediately. After I was finished work, we’d go out and play for a half hour. It didn’t take long for (my) exhaustion to start setting in. Keeping Daismaniac out of everything was a full time job! The bigger she got, the more she was able to get into.

Fall turned into winter and we weren’t able to spend as much time outside so Daisy quickly learned how to terrorize inside. I was beginning to think our exhaustion was permanent and I knew winter was not going to be fun.

Raisin – part 2

The poor little guy finally caught up on sleep and started being a dog instead of a lump in a dog bed. He started wondering around more and showing some interest in his toys. I quickly found out he wasn’t housebroken and he had no clue what come, sit or lay down meant. Our full grown dog started “puppy” lessons. Every night after dinner we’d go over basic commands – sit, lay down, stay, come. He wasn’t catching on. After almost a week he still had no idea what I wanted. We were starting to think we adopted the dumbest dog in the world. I continued our lessons, despite him not learning them. I tried different ways of asking the same thing, used treats as a motivator and still nothing. One night something in his little doggie head clicked. He understood everything I was trying to teach him and did it very willingly. I don’t think anyone ever tried to teach him anything and he didn’t know how to learn. Once he figured it out, he learned everything …. good or bad.

He was still underweight and it was cold so we bought him a coat. He wasn’t really thrilled, but it kept him warm. He was gaining weight and becoming stronger every day. His tail started to wag more. I think for the first time in his life he was a happy, although still scared dog.

We can only assume his prior training involved a good amount of beatings. Anything in your hand that Raisin thought could be used as a weapon sent him flying upstairs under the bed. Over the course of the first few weeks that we had Raisin we did several small projects around the house. The tape measure and a hammer sent him upstairs. Greg shaking the ketchup bottle resulted in more of the same. This poor dog. What a life he must have had prior to us.

Furball – part 2

One morning I heard meowing and looked out the back door. There he was, asking to come in for breakfast. He ate, stayed for a bit and left. His after work visits continued, but leaving after he ate stopped. He started staying longer and longer, following me around as I’d do what needed to be done. He’d lie on the bed as I changed out of my work clothes, sit in the kitchen while I cooked dinner. He eventually meowed to go back out. If he was going to come every day, several times a day he needed a name. Anyone that knows me can tell you I’m very bad at naming pets. For lack of anything creative and because of what he was leaving all over the house, it became Furball.

My manager at work asked me several times if I wanted to work from home. After the third time I started to feel it was no longer a request so I said yes. It took Furball no time to figure out I wasn’t leaving anymore in the mornings. He’d come in for breakfast and stay almost all day. The complex had a no pet policy and it looks live I’ve been adopted.

Daisy

It was late August 2016 and we were on our way home from a very long day. We drove 6 hours round trip to pick up a horse trailer. While sitting at a stop light I saw a sign that said Beagle puppies. My husband pointed out that we just had a very long day, he had teeth removed the day before and we were both tired. We could see them the following day if I wanted. We were talking and listening to music as I drove.  A few miles out of town I mentioned that I’d never seen a Beagle puppy. Since I’ve been around dogs all my life, he couldn’t believe I never saw a Beagle pup. He told me to turn around.

There was one female pup left. I picked her up and I was done. She licked my face so much she made me laugh. She was beating my ribs with her tail. I handed her to Greg and she did the same to him. I put her down and sat on the floor with her. She sniffed and crawled all over me. I was really done. Although we enjoyed not being tied to the house, we both missed having a dog. We lost our old Beagle just before Thanksgiving the prior year.

We had bowls, beds and a crate. We needed a collar, leash, food and toys. And there was that matter of putting fence up. I couldn’t stand to look at it after we had to put Raisin down so it came down. Ready or not, we were going home with a 2 month old Beagle pup! The cats are going to be thrilled …. or not.

Even though our 3 cats grew up with dogs, they stayed true to form when we came home with the new pup. Harlie was Raisin’s best buddy. She’d check on him every night after he went to bed, before she came up on our bed. If she thought he was sleeping too long, she checked on him. After he passed away I brought his ashes home and put them in the curio cabinet. Harlie sat by the box every day for weeks.

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Raisin and his buddies

Harlie was the first of the cats to hiss, spit and run when she saw the pup. Life as the cats knew it came to a very abrupt halt. It’s amazing just how much a 6 lb puppy can disrupt a household!

For the next few months we didn’t see much of the cats. They had dry food, water, toys and a litter box upstairs and a bouncy, annoying, tri-colored reason not to go downstairs. Their can food was served to them on the stairs. When they did see Daisy it was hiss, spit, growl and swat. I was beginning to think they’d never accept her.

I’d had enough of not seeing the cats during the day. I work at home and they always visited while I worked. Indy sat on my office chair behind me every day. I brought their dry food down and put it back where it belonged. If they wanted to eat more than twice a day they were going to have to suck it up and face the puppy. It took a few days, but they eventually came down looking for food.

Daisy hasn’t helped herself with the cat situation. She wanted playmates.  There were 3 in the house and she couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t play with her. Being the typical over active, playful Beagle pup tried playing with them which resulted in more hissing, spitting, growling and swatting. Oh well, at least the cats were coming downstairs.

It’s taken 8 months, but Indy and Mouse have finally accepted Daisy…. sort of. They’ll cuddle and rub on Daisy then swat her in the nose.  Indy will take a light away at Daisy’s tail as she walks past. Daisy bounces and barks. When the pup gets too noisy Indy swats hard and ends the play. Daisy is scared to death of Harlie and the cat knows it so Harlie toys with her.

Raisin

We were without a dog for almost a year when I really started to miss having one. Greg convinced me that we should get a Beagle.  He said they were just like Labs, only much smaller and manageable. A local shelter had received about a half dozen Beagles from West Virginia. It was a cold Saturday in mid February and after being snowed in for several days, we were ready to venture off the property. When we got to the shelter most of the Beagles were already adopted. They said Beagles go quickly. There was a smaller male that was under weight, a bit sheepish and wore a cone of shame since he’d recently been neutered. We asked to see him. I took him outside for a walk and to spend some time getting to know him. What a different dog! He strutted with his head held high in the too big plastic e-collar. He was very friendly and wanted to be fussed over. We really liked him, but decided to go to another shelter to see what dogs they had before we adopted one. I walked him to the door to go back in, opened the door and he put on the brakes. He wasn’t going back inside. After a little struggle I did get I’m inside.

At the other shelter there was only a young female Lab and she really had no interest in me. We left and stopped for lunch. We decided to go back to see the Beagle again. If he was still there, we’d adopt him.

He was still available! After I had finished the paperwork and paid the adoption fee they told us he had been adopted by a young couple but he wasn’t suitable and they returned him after a few days. Oh boy – lets hope it was just a mismatch. They also said the information that came with him was that he was 3 years old and fully housebroken. We saw him come out of the back but he didn’t see us right away. When he did his head shot up and he started to run toward us. At that moment he was probably the happiest dog in the world. He pranced out the door and across the parking lot to the truck that waited to take him to his new home to start his new life. He strutted around Petco like he owned the place as we picked out a collar and leash, a crate, a bed, food and some toys.

We took our new dog and all of his belongings in the house. The introduction to Harlie, Indy and Mouse went better than I expected. The cats seemed to take to him right away. He found his bed and laid  down in it. And there he stayed. For the next three days he did nothing except sleep, eat and go outside once in awhile. Greg was starting to think we made a bad choice. I was hoping he was exhausted from everything he’d been thru. Tired, underweight to the point of his spine sticking up with slightly deformed back legs, he was our new dog and he was here to stay.

 

 

Harlie and Indy

In early fall  of 2010 the feral cat that lived in the woods behind our house started bringing her 2 kittens to our front porch while ate the dry food that we always had out for Furball. When he passed away I left it there for the feral momma cat since she was used to it being there. They weren’t very old, but they were wild and unapproachable. I watched from the window as they played. Once in awhile when I was outside I could see them playing at the edge of the woods. One of us saw them every day for a month or so. They got used to seeing us. We could go in and out of the house, but couldn’t get near them. One day we went out. The kittens were playing on the porch, but no momma cat. That was strange. She usually wasn’t far. For several days we saw the kittens, but momma cat was no where to be found. I was sure they were too young to be weaned, but she dumped them on our porch and left. It was getting chilly so I made sure they had a box with a towel, food and water. They were getting friendlier, but I still couldn’t pet them. It was getting cold. The little grey and white kept trying to run in the house when we opened the door. Apparently she felt the heat from the house. The tiger and white scooted for my truck when I came home and climbed into the engine compartment. Winter was coming and they were too young to survive. They were cold and loosing weight. Greg said we should bring them inside and we could find homes for them when they were a bit older. It wasn’t an effort to catch them.

They were too tiny to be loose with Mouse and Dakota so we put them in a spare room with food, water, litter box and toys. I checked on them multiple times a day and it took no time for them to become very friendly. After what seemed like forever, they were finally big enough and comfortable in the house to introduce them to the other furry family members and let them have the run of the house. Mouse seemed to really enjoy cat company. Dakota was a bit rough so we had to keep any eye on him. They’d get turned around in the house and call. I’d say something and they’d come flying from another part of the house. I’ve been adopted as “momma cat”.

 

Dakota

It was close to a year after we lost Mocha and I was starting to think about another dog. Every once in awhile during that time I’d stop at the local pet shop to see the puppies. I always looked at the puppies and walked away. I knew I wasn’t ready. On a Saturday on our way home from the barn I wanted to pop in to see the puppies. I expected to look and walk away. I started to play with them and pet them. I was going from pen to pen looking at puppies. It looks like I might be ready. It’s time to keep an eye on the shelters to see what they had for adoption. I looked in the last pen just to see what kind of puppies were in it. A little liver & white Springer came bouncing over to me. Unlike the other puppies, he was all licks and nuzzles. I picked him up and he melted into me and tried to give kisses. I know better than to get a pet shop puppy. The owner is a friend of a friend. I know his puppies come from breeders and not puppy mills. But it’s still a pet shop. We took him into the puppy play room. He played with toys and bounced on me, played a bit more then visited Greg. I tried putting him back in his pen and he clung to me. I shouldn’t … I know better … I’m going to anyway. Greg decided he needed a good cowboy name. Dakota Wade (named after Greg’s saddle) was on his way to his new home and family.

When Mocha passed away I washed all of her stuff and put it away – just in case. Apparently it was more than just in case. Mouse wasn’t quite 2 so she found Dakota to be a fun playmate instead of an annoying puppy.

Dakota settled in quickly. It didn’t take long for him to be house trained and rarely touched anything that wasn’t his, but he was a very active puppy. He loved to get on the wall separating the dining room from the living room, over to the portable dish washer and jump off. Oh boy, we really need puppy insurance for this one! Puppy soccer was how I spent my lunch time during the week. It didn’t take him long to learn his commands or how to con us into playing with him.

Mouse

After Jasmine died I didn’t want another cat. My heart was broken and I really had no interest. Thanksgiving weekend in 2007 Greg convinced me to go to the shelter and just look. What I saw was a tiny, mouse grey kitten all alone in a cage. They took her out an handed her to me. She was brought in as a stray and they estimated her to be about 7 weeks old. Although a little timid and frightened, she seemed to be a nice kitten.

Furball was good with kittens and he seemed to like having company again. Watching her play she looked like a little field mouse. That little kitten turned out to be hell on four little paws. She was always beating on Furball until he smacked her hard enough to send her tumbling across the floor. She was put in her place and was much more mellow with him. We’d try to play with her and she’d viciously attack us with biting, clawing and growling.  After only two days she’d worn out her welcome. If the shelter was still open the miserable kitten would have gone back that night. I don’t remember what Greg was doing, but it has nothing to do with Mouse. She ran over and tore into his arm. As as reaction he pulled back and smacked her (probably harder than he should have). She got up, shook her head and suddenly became a very nice kitten. Attacking people stopped. She got very cuddly and lovable. She’d sit in you lap and sleep. She was still hell on paws. We’d catch her sitting on top of the living room curtain rods and walking across clothes on hangers in the closet. Mouse was going to be an interesting kitten to have around.

 

Mocha

A farm needs a dog. Horse and dogs just go together. I’m home by myself all day and the cats aren’t going to protect me. All good justifications on why we needed a dog. We had to get a larger dog that could keep up with us when we rode the horses and follows us around while we did barn chores. I had Labs in the past and loved the breed. I did my research on breeders, picked out a pup and sent them a deposit. All I had to do was wait until she was old enough to come home.

It was a few days before Christmas 2006 and we were finally picking up our puppy. It was a long 3 hour drive. We had her new collar, leash and crate (in case we needed it). She was friendly, outgoing and playful. Everything I wanted in a pup. It was time to head home with our new addition. If we thought the drive out there was long, it was even longer going home with a whimpering pup. It was after dark by the time we pulled in to the driveway. We walked her into her new home. Just as Greg took her leash off, Furball came out to greet us. She saw him and took off after him. He bolted. She chased him around the house barking. He finally had enough & jumped on a speaker to get away from her and to see what’s been chasing him. She jumped up and put her paws on the speaker and got her first lesson from a cat. A good swat in the nose sent her running around the house yelping. When her nose stopped hurting she went back to bark at him again. Oh boy, this was going to be an adventure. Did I really tell the breeder I wanted the hell raiser of the litter?