I have two dogs that I rescued at their puppy stage. All my animals and my mother’s animals have always been and always will be rescues for many reasons; compassion being the first reason and the fact they are the most loyal and appreciative being the other reasons. They are also brighter than most dogs. They are mutts and not dummied down my inbreeding for pure paper status…and they have had to survive. I am a survivor myself, I can relate. I love my dogs deeply and when they go on to be reincarnated in the doggie spirit world, I will miss them. They have an energy that fills the house and when one or both are not here, for whatever reason, the house is too empty, too quiet.
We run our dogs almost daily and they have their own cookie jar on the kitchen counter. Their palates are spoiled and they often turn up their snouts at the “regular” dog food. We have even moved because we chose a dog over the landladies request to place a new rescue somewhere else. It was looking like the animal shelter and I was already in love, so we moved our whole house down the street a mile to another house. What a pain in the ass that was.
With that being said. I will also say that I prefer cats for many reasons.
A couple years ago we lived on a farm by the river. We had a rat infestation and I wanted a cat to take care of the issue. My husband is NOT a cat person due to a couple rude cats I had previous to our matrimony. They left a pretty bad impression. He forbid us to ever get another cat. However, I knew there were good cats and there were bad cats. I prayed for a good cat to come. I knew that if it just showed up at our door and was hungry and needing a home Bali would never turn it away. I prayed for a stray.
One day Maggie showed up. She sat on the top of the river bank and called out until I ran up the hill to fetch her. And did I hustle up there, “Mama’s coming sweet baby!” My husband heard her first and this was good, he would know that I hadn’t planned this setup.
On her first night Maggie was harassed by the dogs and later by other wild animals in the middle of the night. I thought she had been killed at one point because of all the disastrous ruckus. I lay in bed, holding my breath and feeling a little guilty for not letting her in the house. I was surprised how fast the coyotes had killed her off. But as I lay there haunted by the thoughts of how truly raw and unforgiving nature was…I heard her meows pick up again and I rushed out of bed and outside to scoop her up. It turned out she was the horrifying huntress and something else had met its demise at her paws. She would later terrorize the dogs and run the house. Babu doesn’t dare come down the hall if she is at the other end…and she always is at the other end waiting around the corner, waiting quietly with her tale every so slightly twitching, eyes narrowed, preparing to punish him yet again for his rudeness on her first day at our home.
She took care of most of our mouse problem and some of the neighbor’s mice. She is completely devoted to me and the only other woman in this house of men. She comes when I call her and she would take long walks with the boys and me when we walked around the alfalfa fields. She would complain the whole time, but she would follow the distance. She is a dog in a cats body. Now that we live in the city I just open the front door for her and she sashays out to venture into the neighborhood. She doesn’t cause problems or fight with other cats and she always comes back. She requires very little maintenance.
She lays by my feet when I write at the kitchen table and lays with me on the couch. She gets irritated with the boys and dogs when they get too rough and will swat at them from her throne on the recliner. I’ve heard Arjan say on a few occasions, “Maggie, you shouldn’t do that. It’s very rude.” The children don’t know that the cat and dogs are not people yet. She will actually back down if I call to her. She listens to me. She minds me. She is the only one in this house that listens the first time.
Now the dogs…oh boy. These guys need snacks, they need constant reassurance that my love is still true, they follow me around, and when I sit down for a break they stand in front of me staring at me with that look like, “well, what’s on the agenda next boss? Perhaps a walk? Whadda ya say boss? We’ve been real good!” I can’t just open the door and let them take themselves on a walk like I do with Maggie. I detest walking the dogs now. Bali does all that. Clyde is part hound and, though he is sweet and would never harm another living creature, he loves, loves to chase anything that runs. He pulls on the leash and when he’s off the leash he chases the old ladies chihuahuas and gives the women near heart attacks as they stand there screaming thinking that he will surely devour their precious 3-pound dog that, at the moment, looks like a rabbit to my Clyde.
They poop a lot so there is a lot of cleaning daily, twice daily, and hosing down the lawn so it’s clean for my other children to play in the backyard, and Clyde likes to pee on every tree and flower I plant. I see him pissing on my new bush or vine as I stand in the door sipping my coffee and I calculate how many years he has left in this dog life.
Clyde is my first dog child and he and my first son are just alike. They don’t listen worth a hill of beans, they are easy going, never get that ruffled, but are stubborn as the day is long. They will both be pleasant as they ignore me and do what they want. If they get punished they will just wait for some time to pass before they attempt to follow through with their previous mission. No one is stopping either one. They are also fiercely protective of their brother and home.
Babu was my second furry child and he and Sammy (my human son and baby) are very much the same. They are the babies of the family. They both want to be in my good graces at all times and become so distraught at such a deep level if I’m displeased. They are so sensitive, their emotions running deep as the ocean. They are both mama’s boys and follow me everywhere, Babu sleeping at my feet and Sammy attached to my bosom if he can be.
I raise all these children, those that bark and those that babble, pretty much by myself. My husband works long hours and he’s a little bit afraid of the children. He’s great with the dogs and takes them out all the time. He has trouble with the boys. They know he’s afraid, they smell it and they have found his weak spots. They run him ragged and act in ways they wouldn’t dare with me. I tried volunteering at a soup kitchen 3 hours every other week, but after a few times, Bali informed me that this wasn’t good for the family. I knew that the translation was that the responsibility of keeping them alive for 3 hours by himself was a burden too great. The boys would cry and cling to me as I would leave. The drama wasn’t worth it. I’m their leader and it displeases them if I leave them behind. They expect that we do everything together as a unit. I am with my children 24/7. Fortunately, I’m deeply in love so I don’t suffer. They are also very sweet, loving, and fun with me.
As for the dogs, if I go on a road trip they don’t eat until I get back. Oh sure they will eat a little if I’m gone days, but they hold vigils. Maggie may not eat at all, even for days. She has a ritual of wanting me to stand by the washing machine (where her food is) and pet her before she starts eating. Once she’s started her meal I, her royal assistant, is dismissed. I know, ridiculous! I do a lot of things for all my children I said I’d never do when I was single and childless.
When I do carve out some space for me because I’m feeling like I just might blow my top, I have to say things like this, “Bali, please tend to the boys and their nightly routine, bathing, feeding. Do NOT call me at all, not once UNLESS someone is on fire!” I have a list of threats and I’ll pick off the list and throw one in for good measure. Bali isn’t lazy at all and he is a good father, but men are afraid of little people. They are afraid they will fail the task and mama bear will attack. I have shown my fangs a couple times when I felt that there was some lack of thinking things through. I mean, for fucks sake, when do I get this “me” time I hear about all the time?
It’s hard being famous and having so many devout fans in the house. Having people and pets that love you so much they freak out when you leave the house without them…for five minutes in the dog’s case.
I’ve had very little sleep in 4 years, but I have coffee, lots, and lots of coffee. Amen!