Aging Pets!

Lila, pictured above, came to us as a delightful puppy in August 2010. It is hard to believe all the years and adventures we have had together. She is just a wonderful companion, although I will be the first to admit, her behavior when she first arrived at our home was anything but docile.

We suppose Lila suffered some early trauma. We don’t really know where she came from, only that someone saw as she either jumped or was thrown from a moving vehicle. She hurt her paw/limb and was rescued by a nice family. Somehow, she was able to chew through her leash and walked/limped her way to our property. We had three other dogs at the time and the constant loud barks from them alerted my daughter and me to the fact that there was an “intruder” in the area. When we saw the beautiful, black animal sitting quietly under one of our trees, we approached with great caution.

As we came closer to Lila, it was apparent that she was hurt. We took her to a veterinarian and he determined that although she had sprained her front leg, there was no need for a cast, a simple bandage would allow her to heal in a few weeks, at which time, we would put her up for adoption. Naturally, my daughter looked at me with those beautiful puppy dog eyes, and pleaded silently that she be allowed to keep her. I struggled internally.

My husband was away and we had recently had a conversation where he mentioned getting another dog “in the far future” and I balked at the very idea of it, no matter how far away it seemed. I felt like I was committing some sort of crime allowing our family to adopt another pet without my husband’s presence or okay, yet my daughter’s frank desire overwhelmed and convinced me. Today, our Lila, is my husband constant companion and I know that even though it was not a choice he made (to adopt her), he is increasingly aware of what an important pet she has been to him. They share a bond that I am envious of (in a good way)!

We never know what exactly goes on in the minds of our pets but from Lila’s devotion and happiness when she sees her “best friend”, I am sure it is all good.

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Bonding with a Cat!

I am extremely fond of dogs! Cats have never held too much of my attention or affection, although I have not once been nasty to any. They and I can simply co-exist in the same location and have a neutral effect on one another. Or so I thought.

These past few days, I am visiting with my daughter who owns Otis, pictured above. Otis is about 3 years old and has been with her since he was a wee kitten. He has grown quite large and believes he is the boss! I lived with my grandmother when I was a teenager and she always had a cat or two in residence because she believed in the effectiveness of their mouse- controlling power. I was never aware of them except on the rare occasions when they happened to be eating and I ventured into the kitchen. I wasn’t responsible for them in any way and I suppose that’s what made me not responsive to them.

An electrician came to the house yesterday to take care of repairs long needed. I was alone in the house with Otis and since a dog always lets you know of their presence, I completely forgot that Otis’ behavior is not at all like that. After realizing that the front door was open and that I couldn’t find Otis anywhere, I panicked. My only thought was what I would tell my daughter about his absence. I quickly came up with a desperate solution: I would adopt an adult male and hope I could convince her of his identity. It suddenly dawned on me that while any similar cat might convince me, his non-mother, my daughter would surely be wise to the deception. I had to nix that plan immediately.

My stomach was in knots. I searched for him everywhere. I asked the electrician if he had seen him (nope!). I went from room to room, even checking rooms where the doors had been closed for days, after all didn’t Sylvester often manage to squeeze his cartoon body under a tiny crack between the door and the floor? I knew I was being ridiculous, but I was distraught. I even checked the litter box, hoping he was somehow trapped there!

Otis hiding out!

My search ended happily when I found him squeezed into this tiny corner, a feat I consider incredible given all the obstacles he had to navigate to get there. I quickly locked the front door and made myself a cup of tea to relax me from the day’s hectic events. Otis and I have bonded, he now comes to visit me in my apartment…if I could just do something about that clawing habit he has. Apparently he’s just making sure I know he thinks we, too, belong together. I am experiencing surprise that I can be fond of a cat, it has been a very nice shock!

The K-9 Units of the neighborhood

I am oftentimes referred to as the “Rottweiler” of the neighborhood because I am vigilant when it comes to strangers hanging around our road. It is essential, in my opinion, that residents look after their belongings, properties, neighbors, plants and pets, not necessarily in that order. Law enforcement agencies have enough on their agendas to be as watchful of everything in their jurisdiction as the actual owners of these things.

What annoys me, though, is how some canine owners leave their pets unattended and unsupervised for hours on end. These creatures are bored and each time someone walks their block, they begin their version of the twilight bark, at any time of the day or night. The problem is not only that the animals, through no real fault of their own, disturb their neighbors but that after a while, the neighbors tune them out so that if there really is a reason for alarm, it often goes unresponded to.

Last week, in a quiet area of our small town, a triumvirate of robbers on their motorcycles were able to penetrate several residences in quick succession without a single animal being responded to even though lots of barking was taking place. That’s because everyone else in the complex believed it was just another day for the dogs of the area. Fortunately, the robbers got their bounty quickly and no animals were hurt. Still, if the owners had done their job (training their pets) properly, they might still have their possessions and not that awful feeling that comes when one’s home has been invaded. Something to think about.

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A faithful companion

I don’t really notice, on a day to day basis, subtle changes in Lila’s appearance or behavior but when I see pictures of her (like the one above taken in July 2018) and really observe her as she goes about the day, I can tell she is slowing down. Aren’t we all?

Lila is a mixed breed, we think Labrador and either Sharpei or Chow-Chow. She has that black tongue and early in her life, before she adopted us, her ears were cropped. We are sure there might have been some punishment because she remains (even after 9 years with us) an anxious creature, jumping away from anything or anyone that is not familiar to her. We love her dearly and today I am filled with tenderness as I watch her come over to plop on my feet!

The Ides of March and Mercury together!

Beware of Lila

Apparently we are in Mercury’s retrograde phase! Since I am an avid fan of horoscopes and all things “metaphysical”, I do pay attention to these phases when they come around, and they come around every 88 days. Mercury is the planet of turbulence and disruption and its effects can be taken into account by being extra vigilant about communications, accidents, etc. The phenomenon is not really easy to explain but it is definitely worth reading about, even if just for curiosity.

Lila has been extra clingy and also extra alert for her the small and large creatures (iguanas mostly) that roam our property. She is a joy to observe and in writing about her today, I feel I have given her a bit of very deserved love and attention for her loyalty to us.

Solar flare action has also been noted these days with the internet bursting with beautiful pictures. Solar flares, mercury and the ides of March, it is truly bouncing right now.

Another day in the life…

At almost 10 years old, Lila has become quite the watchdog. This picture was taken on Saturday on a walk around our property where she was fascinated by work being done on some bamboo by one of our gardeners. I am constantly taking pictures of Lila but none seem to do justice to the characteristics that make her so special. She is part chow or sharpei and labrador, complete with the distinctive black tongue of the former breeds.

We do not know how Lila’s first 5 or 6 months of life were lived. She appeared on our property one day with a sprained front paw and a chewed-through leash. We believe she escaped some unfortunate situation and although we already had three dogs at the time, we were unable to let her be adopted once we had taken her to the vet and she had healed. She was not an easy dog to get used to, she was/is nervous and every once in a while she has fits where she spins around and growls at some inexistent monster…almost like she is possessed. However, her good days are the usual and we are looking forward to a few more years with her by our side.

She is an excellent alarm and can (as most dogs) instinctively feel when a person is friend or foe!

 

A day in the life…

She guards us all night. Then in the wee hours, asks to come back in and spends the rest of the day at my feet, sleeping the day away. If I get up, she follows me and plops nearby wherever I happen to be. She follows my husband around also but seems to have a marked preference to hanging around me. It is actually a little surprising, I am not as affectionate with her as I should be or as my husband is. I guess what she senses from me is a steadiness…I can be counted on…and I count on her protection. Even though to me she is the gentlest creature around, I can understand why a stranger would hesitate to make any sudden moves when she is on watch. She is very black, including her tongue, and can make herself appear quite a bit larger; not to mention that deep blood curdling bark she emits. So glad we found each other.