Thursday, December 13, 2012

Canine defication supervisor

I'm back watching dogs poo. How exactly would one put this valuable skill on a resume....and make it sound like a coveted business skill that not everyone has? That's right. You don't. You bury that skill so deep no one would suspect that you've ever seen a dog or cat. Of course, if during the interview you happen to spy a picture of a dog or cat prominently placed feel free to mention it in passing as something you've done in the past. Could be a foot in the door, if that's a door you really want to open.

I guess I don't have to tell you that we're back up in the mountains, watching dogs poo. This time in the snow.

I've never been up here in the winter. In the summer all the doors are open and everyone comes and goes as they please and the only time we're all in one place is at dinner time. Now they're underfoot constantly (I'm sure they're thinking the same thing about us) and when we're all in the kitchen it's kind of like being on Noah's ark, if Noah had a twelve foot aluminum Larson rowboat with one oar and a slow leak. With both dogs laying on the floor there's no room left to walk. The cats take up residence on the chairs, usually the ones we would like to sit in.

Once we finish cooking a meal and get seated the dogs sprawl around our chairs, dog legs tangled with chair legs and Siri always has one foot touching me. This means getting up during the meal is impossible to do without making everyone get up and mill around the room for awhile. Tails brush the tabletop, someone inevitably trips over a dog, the cats start spitting and swiping at each other and general mayhem ensues till everyone gets back in their chairs. It's like running a Chinese fire drill in a closet. All in all meals are exciting and challenging here at Casa di Poo. (In Italian I believe we would call it Casa di Caca. If it were a fancier place perhaps Palazzo di Escremento.)

The pet owner spent a lot of time telling me how it was impossible for the cats to be outside overnight at this time of year. It was just too cold for them. They should go outside, she stressed, just not at night. Needless to say I let one outside early in the evening that first day and it didn't return for twenty four hours. Just to drive me crazy, I'm sure. She came back looking warm and invigorated, not freezing and pitiful. I blame my first sleepless night here on that cat.

Their owner had said that she was feeding the cats an extra time in the winter "because they need it" whatever that means. The day after I lost one of them they didn't bug me for food in the middle of the day so I didn't feed them. Possibly my stupidest point of that day. Later they showed me their displeasure by peeing and pooing in inappropriate places. I blame my second sleepless night on both the cats as I spent it hoping I had fed them enough before bed so that I wouldn't have to sterilize the entire house when I got up.

The third day we took the dogs out for a long walk around the property as we had all pretty much been in the house watching it snow the day before. It was lovely. The sun was even shining part of the time. The dogs were running and playing in the snow and Leif and I were walking hand in hand, smiling at each other and enjoying the day. Suddenly Leif said "Is that Molly?" and pointed to the other side of the fence. The wrong side. He was right. That was our (for now) dog looking happily confused to be on the wrong side of the fence. After a little panic and brainstorming at high decibels Leif found a place to climb over the five foot fence and sweet talk the collarless, obedience school drop out back along the fence, down the road and into the gate. Meanwhile I stayed with the other dog inside the fence worrying that they would both disappear and I'd have some explaining to do. Needless to say Leif did a perimeter check and plugged any holes he found as best he could. I slept that night, only because I figured nothing else could go wrong.

The other day I heard a hissing sound. I looked through a doorway and saw,  in Matrix-like slow motion, one cat floating backwards across the doorway with ears flattened, tailed bushed out, and claws and teeth bared. After she disappeared from the door the other cat floated by going forward....same configuration of ears, tail, claws and teeth. As she disappeared from view I heard growling that grew into yowling and suddenly stopped. One by one they both sauntered through the door looking completely innocent and carefree. I guess problem solved. I lost no sleep whatsoever over the two cats not getting along. They never get along.

So at last count we've had one disappearing/reappearing cat, one failed escape attempt, random acts of pooing and peeing and ninja cat performances. Things should slow down a little as it started snowing again today so the cats and dogs have re-entered hibernation mode. Which means everyone's getting along and not straying far from home. For now.


  1. What an adventure, Michele. Have you made a snowman?

    1. Yes, I did make a snowman Barbara! Sadly, it was crushed in a mad dash (to where I have no idea) by the dogs. Now it's raining and the snow is almost gone. Of course, there's still three more days...more snow could come!