Four Legs Good
One of the great complexities of the world is the relationship between cats and dogs. These two species are not the sworn enemies that tradition and animated movies would have you believe they are. Yet they're not the easiest of allies either.
Put a cat and a dog into a house together, and you get a relationship full of contradictions. Contradictions such as cool warmth, baffled understanding, stinting generosity, and haughty playfulness.
You might say that cats and dogs share a bond, but as Facebook would say, "it's complicated".
Sharing and caring, yet each in a world of its own: dogs Jess and Cerberus and cat Shitten share a bed. If you're wondering about the cat's name, here's her owner's explanation: "Shitten was a stray we found up a tree. She was nicknamed Shitten while we were looking for her owners - it's a contraction of the state in which we found her. Unfortunately, the name had stuck by time we adopted her."
When a human comes to your house to visit, do your pets leap in excitement? Do they scarper under the bed? Or do they pay no attention?
Do you have to take precautions and supervise, or can you trust your pet to be a perfect reflection of your own hospitality?
|Pleased to meet you: Connor and Phoebe.|
The visitor was a friend that Phoebe and Connor knew, so there was no growling from Connor of the kind he performs for tradespeople during the first 30 seconds of any outcall.
But otherwise this was a typical welcoming display by my dogs. The main feature of this, amid a certain amount of leaping from both dogs, was Phoebe's standard emotional outpouring; she reacts to any familiar visitor the way a One Directioner would if Harry Styles arrived at her door bearing a new haircut and an engagement ring.
When a pet is perfectly confident, when it's utterly at ease, it splays.
You must have seen a splay display. It's when all feet are akimbo, nose is in the stars, and mind is in a dream. All careful self-protective instincts are turned off. Decorum is deactivated. Often, a soft, vulnerable tummy is presented to the world.
Splay can seem clunky but the wonderful thing about it is that it's a sign of a pet who's loved and safe.
Cover-cat Brewster is loved and safe, for sure. He also seems on the lookout for some fun. Go on, he dares you.
You learn a lot when you live with a pet. I can't possibly list all the lessons, but I thought I'd focus on a few important ones.
Read on, and see if you agree. Add a comment to tell us about a lesson you think a pet owner learns.
To tread carefully
Having a pet forces you to hack parts of your brain - especially the parts that influence where you put your feet when you walk about your home.
When you live with a pet, your feet share floor space with other possible presences. Presences which your feet should be kept separate from.
I've said it before: getting a second pet doesn't just double the joy. It cubes it.
Living with two pets is not just the chance to love twice as many creatures. It adds whole new levels and depths as you watch the pets form their own relationship with each other, and then for that connection to affect how they get on with you. And then that changes you.
That's what I think, anyway. So here's a photo collection that's a tribute to pairs of pets: getting close, sharing an adventure, or giving each other a bit of space.
What innocence on the face of young Rufus! Anyone would think she hadn't just ripped the dressing off big brother Cody's leg.
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