Category Archives: Cats

Is “Happy New Year” Still Acceptable?

Happy New Year! Can I still be saying that on the 17th?

Wolf and I have been away for the last two weeks on a little adventure. We drove one of our cars across the country so we’ll have one less thing to deal with during the move in March. We crossed something like ten states in five days on the road. Five…long…days. Then I stayed in Pennsylvania for an extra week, getting to know a little about the area where we’ll be relocating, and trying to find a place for us to live.

It is no picnic finding a rental place that allows dogs, let me tell you. Yes, even extremely well-behaved dogs! I suppose I can understand a landlord’s prerogative in that; you don’t necessarily know your tenants or their pets. If it were me, though, I’d be much more inclined to allow dogs than, say, cats. After all, I’ve never had to replace the living room carpet because of a dog.

We have some good leads and will see how it goes. I’d just like to have an address, and a square-footage count, so I can start thinking more strategically about what to take with us and what to get rid of before the move.

Meanwhile, my boys were with puppy sitters the last two weeks. Truman stayed with his favorite adoring “aunties,” and got to play with some very energetic one-year-old golden retriever girls AND his favorite career-changed goldendoodle. Sometimes when I pick him up from Auntie Georgia’s house, I’m not entirely convinced he wants to leave.

Jethro was staying with a family in my puppy raiser group who just turned in their dog — also a male yellow Lab — for formal training. So that was good for both the snuggly dog and the people who miss having one to snuggle. They brought him back to me last night, and I swear he bulked up! Can’t wait to weigh him at the school on Tuesday and find out how much he’s gained.

From the sound of it, Jethro got lots of love and attention and training time (his first lesson: how to distinguish between puppy toys and children’s toys — apparently a LEGO sacrificed itself in the endeavor). They took him to restaurants several times, where he was apparently very well behaved; and to my puppy group meeting, where they said his obedience was quite good. He responds very well to verbal correction, which is a terrific trait.

I forget sometimes what a high standard we hold our dogs to. When someone says that he was very well behaved in a public place, I always think, “Well of COURSE he was!” And then I remember that he’s just five, five and a half months old. We forget. But people who aren’t used to service dogs in training often marvel at what our little puppies can do. Know anybody else who’d take a five month old pup to the office, or to a restaurant, and expect obedience?

And doesn’t it make you smile when someone says, “I didn’t even realize there was a dog here”…? What a gift these dogs are, for their eventual partners and for us. What a privilege to raise them, to teach them, to be proud of them and to love them long after they’re no longer ours.

It’s a new year. There’s excitement ahead. Welcome, 2011.

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Race Relations

August 29, 2008 — International relations were strained today as representatives from Labrador, Thailand and Germany met to discuss the centuries-old enmity between their respective nations.

Imriel in the House of G

Another post in my continuing “Days of Yore” series, catching up on long-overdue photos of Truman’s final days as a puppy-in-training….

August 29, 2008 — Imriel in the House of G

I had another house-and-dog-sitting gig at the home of service dog “G” and her people, and Imriel tagged along. So for a week or thereabouts, I was to be in charge of someone else’s house, someone else’s service dog, someone else’s cat, and someone else’s GDA puppy-in-training.

By myself.

Obviously, I did live to tell the tale, so you may infer that it went well. I was constantly counting heads, and we had some silly fun.  The most amazing moment was probably when things became so quiet one evening that the cat — who was NOT excited about the presence of even a well-behaved German Shepherd in the house — ventured out of her hiding place and joined me, G and Imriel in the living room.

RIP Tigger

Princess Tiger Lily “Tigger” Ackerman Fengler
May 20, 1989 – June 4, 2009

Tonight we celebrate the life of Tigger, who — having reached the impressive feline age of 20 — passed away peacefully at home, in her favorite basket, with her adoptive mom (me) and her biggest fan (Truman) by her side.

She lived a full and adventurous life, and was dearly loved by many.

Tigger’s many achievements included avid bird hunting, balcony napping, Labrador taunting, ceaseless purring, sofa jumping, ice cream begging, carpet piddling, high-decibel mrrrrRAYRRRing (as any of you who have spoken with me on the phone will attest), and the occasional surprise special guest appearance in my morning shower.

She and Truman shared more in common than either would probably like to admit. Both were accomplished “vocalists,” both were the proud recipients of battle-scar notches in their ears, and both had tails that were bent at the tip (Tigger’s was due to her having survived being hit by a car when she was a kitten). Though Truman never could get her to play with him on his own terms — not even when he dropped a toy or a bone in front of her face and waited with ears-up, tail-wagging expectation — Tigger did secretly enjoy playing her own special games, the most popular being “I will cross the room and go out of my way to walk three inches in front of your face as I know you are under ‘down-stay’ orders, ha HA.”

Tigger is survived by her humans in Arizona and California, her dog, and anyone else she may have considered staff at one time or another.

No doubt she is now making her first deposit at the Big Litter Box in the Sky. Or, more likely, just *outside* the Big Litter Box, on God’s freshly steam-cleaned living room carpet.

We’ll miss you, Tig.