Since moving from our small rental apartment to our more spacious pad, we’ve all had to adjust. The kids each have their own room. This is usually good and occasionally cute (they’ve been known to have “sleepovers” on Friday nights), but sometimes comes with the “S/he is in MY ROOM! Get him/her out!” Business as usual, eh?
I could not love our basement/toy room/trash heap any more. I go down there about once a week; yell at the kids to clean up the mess; they don’t but pretend they are for about 20 minutes. Rinse, repeat. Awesome.
But the best feature of our house is the yard. The kids love the open grass. Taxman loves the citrus trees. I love the ability to throw everyone outside.
Then there is the dog. Her relationship with the backyard is a little more fraught. On the one hand, she loves to run around. She runs so fast the yard is actually very small for her, but she doesn’t seem to care. She also has a soccer ball she likes to maul while she’s running. When things get boring, she eats grass. Then I make her come inside. If she eats too much grass, she throws up, in which case I put her out in the yard again and it starts all over.
But, as she’s discovered, we are not the only ones who use the backyard. There are birds that flit in and out. Moths, mosquitoes, bees, and snails.
And the cats. Neighborhood cats that use our back fence as an allee of sorts. This makes the dog crazy. She has a thing about cats. Like they should not be allowed to exist and should be barked into nothingness. It’s not her most attractive quality.
Of course, the cats are not on a timetable. Sometimes one passes through all day; sometimes we get three or four in the space of an hour. The dog, however, is determined to keep us safe from the feline scourge, so she sits in front of the sliding glass door for hours at a time. When she spots one–or even just the leaves of the olive tree fluttering in the wind–she begins to literally shake from her adrenaline (or doggie equivalent?) rush.
I jokingly asked the vet if we were dooming her to a nervous breakdown. “Oh,” he said, “I have a friend whose property opens up to a place where there are always ducks coming and going. He calls it duck TV because his dog just sits and watches.”
So that’s what we have. Except it’s cat TV. Broadcasting starts at around 6:30 in the morning, when she starts griping about being cooped up in our room (where we keep her bed during the night). Downstairs, she settles herself in front of the glass doors. Prime viewing location. And she watches, beginning in a ramrod straight pose. Eventually, after being fed and walked, she’ll lie down and watch. This is punctuated by OMG REAL CATS CROSSING THE YARD HOWZAT LEMME AT EM. This part entails a lot of very loud barking and throwing herself against the glass. Finally, at noon or 2 or 3 in the afternoon, she collapses in a heap of exhaustion and post-adrenaline burnout.
So just is case you thought that being a dog might be boring; let me assure you that it is not. Frustrating, perhaps. But not boring.
edited to add: I forgot the best part! The dog will only respond to her name when she damn well pleases (that is to say, not very often), but say “Cat!” and she’ll rise from a dead sleep and run to the window. Or stop harassing the kids when they’re eating. Or jump off the couch. Or…the list is endless, really.