How Do They Do It?

It starts when you bring them home. They take over your sofa, bed, the entire house and somehow, when you’re not looking, your heart. Are they born with this ability? Do their Mamas teach them? Or is it something they read in the puppy handbook? I certainly can’t answer that question, but they all seem to have the ability.

We adopted a Beagle on February 15, 2010. They told us he came up from West Virginia with five other Beagles. There was a kennel fire and only the dogs in outside pens survived. They told us he was 3 years old and that he had been on meds for a cough. He had been adopted, but they returned him because he wasn’t a good fit. Underweight to the point of spine and hips sticking out and afraid of everything, we brought him home. Poor little guy did nothing but sleep, eat and occasionally go outside for 3 days. He was housebroken, learned his commands and eventually started coming out of his shell.

On Memorial Day weekend, just 3 months after we got him he got loose and took off  up the side of the mountain with me following in sweatpants and slippers, without my cell phone. Almost an hour later he returned home. It took me a little longer. After a good drink and a bath (for both of us) we resumed our day. Later that night he collapsed and couldn’t get up. An emergency trip to the vet and several days later he returned home to recover from pneumonia. It turned out his cough was chronic bronchitis and had to be managed with meds. He also turned out to be much older than 3. This was the start of Raisin’s medical issues. Over the years there would be 3 hospital stays for pneumonia and a couple of “we caught it in time and he can be treated at home”.  Change in weather, humidity and inability to test the fluid in his lungs to properly treat him were the culprits. We finally found the right meds and he was pneumonia free for over 3 years. That didn’t stop us from worrying that he wasn’t coming home every time he had to go to the vet.

At first both of us refused to get attached to him because we weren’t sure he was going to live. Somehow, when we weren’t looking, he took over the house and weaseled his way into our hearts. Instead of being afraid of being petted, he loved everyone he met and was offended if someone didn’t pet him. We took him everywhere we could. When I had a store, he went with me every day and greeted customers. Raisin told us when we were late with his dinner, when it was time to play and when it was time for bed. He was my best buddy. I work from home so he was with me all day, every day. We’d spend time outside at lunch. He and the 3 cats had a love/hate relationship. He’d chase them, they’d run. If they didn’t want to play they’d lift a front paw and Raisin came to a screeching halt (before he got smacked in the nose). Harlie watched over him like an old mother hen.

On November 16, 2015 there was another trip to the vet. He’d been on meds for what they thought was a bladder infection and things took a turn for the worse. It turned out to be an inoperable tumor. It was time to say good bye to our beloved Beagle. He visited with both of us. He knew what was going on and he was ready. He grew impatient as we said our goodbyes. Raisin had a wonderful life for the almost 6 years he was with us. The day we were always worried about had come. We went home without him.

The following days were difficult for all of us, but especially for me having to be home all day working without him.  The cats were unsettled, we were unsettled. I finally got a call from the vet. We could pick up Raisin any time. I didn’t want to go to the vet’s office and at the same time I wanted Raisin to be home, where he belonged. I ran over that day after work. The strangest thing happened when I got home. An eerie peacefulness fell over the house almost immediately. Unsettled changed to calm. A beautiful wooden box with a name plate, his paw print and a few very nice cards are in the curio cabinet with his collar. Harley sat on the step next to the cabinet every day for weeks. We swear she was visiting him. She still does, but not as often. I miss him every day. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him. I know he’s still here. Once in a while I feel a nose touch my leg or his fur rubbing on my arm. He weaseled his way into my heart far deeper than I knew.

We can’t thank #Douglassville Veterinary Hospital enough for going above and beyond to take such great care of Raisin.

Reblogged from My Life With Horses. Originally published 3/12/16.

Jasmine – part 2

Jazzie was growing like a weed, but certainly not settling down. The bigger she got, the more things she could get into. Climbing up the screen was easy if you used the window to push against. When a window was closed, she’d sit on the top frame of the bottom window. I still don’t know how she didn’t fall off!

It was time to be spayed. The surgery went well. We were to keep her quiet for at least a week. You’ve got to be kidding! That was going to be an impossible task unless she stayed in a crate for a week. She was still a little groggy when she got home. I opened the carrier door and she immediately jumped up on the (chest) freezer and smacked Furball. This was going to be a long week! We finally got the ok for her to resume her normal, hell raising activities.

Furball decided she was old enough to go hunting with him. Every morning I’d let them out and she followed him across the back yard to the hedgerow. My daytime company left me and if was certainly quiet! They’d pop in during the day for a snack and off they went again, showing up in time for dinner. After dinner they stayed around.

On nice evenings both of them would go for a walk with us. There was a small stream on the property that only had water after it rained. Jazzy was fascinated by the water. One evening we walked to the bottom of the property where there was a larger creek. The silly cat started playing in it. The next thing we knew she was on a rock in the middle. Whoever said cats don’t like water didn’t know her! On the way back to the house I lost sight of Jazzy. I found her swimming in a small pool in the stream.

Summer or winter, rain or snow Jazzy was out, enjoying all the things that life brought. The horses got used to her blasting thru the pasture and into the barn. At night she’d crash on somebody’s lap or curl up with Furball.

 

 

Daisy – Puppy’s First Christmas

It was a week before Christmas. I had all the presents and they were wrapped, food was here, I was ready…. except for the tree. At 6 months Daisy was a complete terror. She was into everything she could possibly think of and she was very creative. Greg and I decided it was probably not a good idea to get a tree. Daisy’s track record for destruction lead us to believe a tree wasn’t going to survive very long. The antique ceramic tree was going to be our Christmas tree.

For the first time in my life there wasn’t going to be a Christmas tree.  I was depressed. It may sound silly, but having a tree was probably one of the things I look forward to the most. We get a smaller tree. It only gets lights and an angel on top (we have the worst cats in the county) and it makes my allergies go haywire, but it just wasn’t Christmas without it. We pass the place we always get our trees on the way home from the barn. I looked over and saw the cutest tree. Greg told me to go back to look for a tree. Home we went with our 3 1/2′ tree. Let the games begin!

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On Christmas morning we took our coffee and tea into the living room. I took Daisy’s stocking down and sat on the floor. She was so excited!  She took turns playing with her toys and taking naps all day. She got to visit with (maul) my Mom in the afternoon. Daisy was exhausted by bedtime. She has a great first Christmas!

The tree? Most of it survived. It had bottom branches missing, more pine needles down than usual and in more places throughout the house. It remained standing and the lights stayed on. It came down on New Year’s Day because I was really tired of taking tree pieces out of the puppy’s mouth.

 

 

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.

 

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 Wade

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 Saturday Feb 18, 2009 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.