Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cats and Dogs

This photo of my three daughters, taken in the early 1980's, doesn't have anything to do with this story, I just really like the photo and needed one to post as a header. Although, I do mention a mobile home trailer in here somewhere

I haven’t written much about dogs and cats in a while. No, even though it has been non-stop rain these days, I'm not talkin' about that. You may remember me telling you about Zeke in the past. Zeke was one of my daughter's sled dogs that met with a car on a rural highway. She needed a home for him and I thought that maybe we could let Zeke live with us.

Zeke had one front leg amputated and did quite nicely on three. He even got me a ticket with the local police because some wild woman neighbor called the cops and told them that the dog attacked her.
This wasn’t true. Zeke barked at her while she walked some puny runt black yipper dog past the house and down the side on the dirt trail that leads to the bike path. She called the cops because when she stopped in front of my house and complained, I told her to “Get F**ked”. Not a very nice thing to do, but I did it. I’m not sorry and I would do it again if I could ever spot her in a crowd. 
Good Ole Zeke. I miss him!

Anyway, Zeke had a great spirit when he lived with us. I was hoping to be able to take Zeke for a walk, but the way he moved on three legs, with that hop and stutter, there was no way I could keep up. Zeke was given to a family that could take care of him better than I could.
After that, my daughter and her four children moved into our house. That was about a year ago. She had more than one dog, but I set down some rules and said that she could only have one dog. She does, and his name is Crosby.
My daughter has a long history with animals. She once worked cleaning the dog yard of a sled dog team for the enjoyment of hitching up a team and going for a ride, and that was when she was 14! We always think she can talk to the animals like Dr. Doolittle.
One time, while living up in the Boundary Waters, a musher friend had a team and there was one dog that no one, and I mean no one, could come near. The musher would struggle for half an hour to harness that dog. Alyssa could put that dog’s head on her lap and get a harness around her with no trouble at all. 
As far as cats go, we had this stray. We named her Mexicat because we liked the name and were eating Mexican food upon her arrival. Here I am saying “She” and I don’t really know the gender at all! Someone had left Mexi in a restroom at the animal hospital, where my daughter worked at the time, and she brought her home. Spayed, declawed, a nice disposition, until the family moved in and brought their cat, Mr. Bitters.
Mexicat, basking in the sunshine, before her life changed forever

Mr. Bitters is okay as far as cats go, but Mexicat and Mr. Bitters fought and Mr. Bitters had claws. So, Mexicat wandered the neighborhood and was taken in by someone down the street in the subsidized housing area that we call “The Projects”.
I remember one day some kids knocked on the front door carrying Mexicat and announced that they had found “Your cat”. Mexi came in, had a meal and a short nap, then wanted out and never returned again.
Mister Bitters, on the table, again

Anyway, one cat and one dog. Mr. Bitters the cat and Crosby the dog. Mr. Bitters meows this high pitched not-too-noisy sound that irritates the crap out of me to the point that I get up from my chair, or bed, and let him in or out, depending on which side of the door he is on. Other than that, and the middle of the night snuggle against the small of my back on the electric blanket, I don’t have much to do with one Mr. Bitters.
Crosby the Dog, enjoying a jaunt in a Huskie's natural habitat, the snow

Crosby is a nice dog. I like him and he likes me. But he never comes near me, even if I offer a steak bone or a milk bone, when no one else is home. As soon as one of the Grandkids comes home from school or Mrs. Spadoman comes home from work, he’s all over me, especially if I am in the kitchen. Crosby comes to me while I watch TV and “talks” to me. Not really a bark, more like a whine. I truly believe he’s talking.
One problem we have with Crosby though, is that he can leap over the chain link fence in one powerful bound, and does so at will. He runs around, near the house, and comes back eventually, but won’t listen or come when called. I don’t care, but he does bark at certain individuals that walk or ride down the bike path. I’m always afraid the Get F**ked lady will come by and call the cops again. Even though Crosby is not legally my dog, he eminates from my property and the cops will give me the ticket.
Stunning profile of my daughter and her canine friend and companion

Crosby also digs deep cavernous holes. Maybe he’s looking for the gophers that live beneath the earth’s crust. Maybe he is just trying to stay cool in the ground, (but it hasn’t been hot out yet). Maybe he just likes to dig. All I know is that the front of my house looks like, (Here's where I mention the mobile home trailer), a white trash trailer house with the deep holes and hills from the excavation and the muddy paw prints on the white windowsill.
I mean, we probably fit many of the criteria for being white trash, but I don’t want it to show so blatantly. So, we’re putting Crosby on a chain run in the back yard. We’ll see if that works as no one wants to walk the 30 feet to the run. It was much easier to just open the front door, hook his collar up to the chain and let him be.
There was the electric shock collar experiment that went on for a while. But like all things that need to be kept up and used/put back, the collar didn’t last long. It did have the positive effect when it was first used. Crosby would stay in the yard because he knew he would be shocked if he came near the fence. Of course I never held the controls of the shock collar. I boycotted it. And even though I want the dog to obey, I don't think shocking it in the neck to be very humane, even if he is "Only a dog".
Last time I saw him wearing the shock collar, he was outside the fence running around along the path terrorizing an elderly couple that told me that the dog was mean and would have bitten them if I hadn’t called his name. I didn’t say anything to them. I didn’t tell them to Get F**ked. Quite civil I am at times.
So, there you have it. No Zeke, we have Crosby. No Mexicat, we have Mr. Bitters. What made this story come to life was that I was reading at my Canadian friend susan’s blog, Phantsy That, and she posted an animated video about a dog that barked a lot and the owners put a shock collar on him. By the way, susan is a wonderful artist. Check out her site.
I have another artist friend from Canada that posts about her dog named Dex. Check out her  Going Incognito Blog, HERE.  Many of her posts mention Dex. She posts pictures, like the one below, and he looks like a nice dog. He likes to run too, from her descriptions of their walks. I also see pictures of pets, mostly dogs and cats, on blogs as I travel around the internet. No wonder it’s such big business.
Dex. He's from Canada

I have really had only one pet. A border collie mix named Sarge. Sarge lived 14 human years, got sick, and we put her down out of mercy as she seemed to be suffering from disease.
This is me with my only pet, Sarge, taken when I got her from a friend, May of 1971
When an animal lives with you for 14 years, there are bound to be some stories. One of my favorites about Sarge was when we left the house and paddled the canoe across the Snake River. This is when we lived in Pine City in the 1980’s. Lo and behold if Sarge didn’t come up to us at a friend’s place after she swam across the river. We gave her a canoe ride back.
This is right outside our front window of the Pine City place on the Snake River
Hockey was an every Sunday event, along with a bonfire and Booya stew.
Sarge swam across that river more than once chasing us as we paddled the canoe

There have been other dogs around the house when we lived in the country, most saved from the shotgun blast of the farmer. Cats too. They’d come around, the kids would feed ‘em and they’d be there until one of the dogs got too rambunctious and killed it, accidentally of course.
Every now and again one of the Grandkids or even my daughter will ask me if we can have a puppie or a kitty. The answer is a resounding “No” from me. Hard enough to wrangle Crosby and Mr. Bitters as it is.


Lydia said...

Your post just popped up in my reader so I thought I'd visit before turning off the computer for the night. I enjoyed your pictures and the conversational-style writing here so much. Have to kinda chuckle to myself about Mr. Bitters snuggled against your back at night. But Mexicat was very fine and I'm sorry she and Mr. Bitters did not get along.
And now, since you have mentioned Susan's latest post, I shall hop over the border to Canada to look at it. So much for turning off the computer....

Mel said...

I'm trying not to chuckle about the 'Get F***ed' ordeal, really.

Maybe if I mention how cute that bitty puppy is or how much of a presence that pompous cat has sittin' on the table?

Nah. Gonna laugh about the 'Get F***ed' thing! LOL

The kiddos had a puppy for 14 years--cute little cocker spaniel that I had to have put to sleep. There's something I hope to never repeat in my lifetime. I just don't have it in me.

As for pompous cats--I seem to have this deal with cats. I don't like 'em--and they decide they like me.
Arrogant creatures, try to claim me as 'theirs' all the time.
*rolling eyes*

I'm told I'm too much LIKE a cat.

That might be the problem.

Christopher said...

You haven't changed a bit since since May of 1971. How do you do it? Is it living in chastity, sobriety and righteousness?

Don't feel obliged to answer.

Pax vobiscum

Jeannie said...

I've told a number of people to F* off but no one has called the cops on me. Dex likes to jump up on people and occasionally nips at their clothes which horrifies me - he's just playing but he could snag skin and cause us some serious grief. He's a very friendly dog but comes off otherwise at times (he acts vicious with the neighbors at the back fence but on the leash in the front yard, he's sweet as can be) Go figure. Thanks for the mention - any one coming to see me now will wonder at my whining and what you go there for but oh well.

Ms. Becky said...

I love these dog and cat stories Spadoman. especially the one about Zeke, the 3-legged doggie. you've given me my chuckles for the day. have a good one!

susan said...

Great stories about your animal companions. I miss having my own dog but reading about yours is just like having my good friend sleeping on my favorite chair again.

Unknown said...

I've not been much of a pet person. I've only ever had my whole life, two dogs and a handful of cats. For the last seven years, I've had no pets. I love certain dogs I meet, though and cats, too.

Love all the photos, especially the profiles of your lovely daughter and that amazing dog. But Zeke, he stole my heart. :-)

Peace to you, too. And to all the good pets of the world.

White Feather said...

What a great article. Thank you very much. Great pictures. I was inspired and I am very appreciative of that.

Military Dog Heroes

mig said...

That Zeke looks as if he could lok after himself - a fine character.
Love all your animals but first love is always the longest - Sarge sounds like a darling.
I still remember our first dog, a happy, loving golden boxer called Lindy Loo. Best dog ever : )
(Well apart from all the others of course)