Four Legs Good
Which are the best pet photographs? Well, the ones I like most are those that I recognise something in - something true about the cats or dogs (or rabbits, or guinea pigs...) that I've known.
Those are the photos that make me think "Ha, my cat does that," or "Just like my dog," or "That reminds me of..." Somehow, they capture part of the essence of a pet species.
Inevitably, because I'm choosing the pictures, every edition of Furry Friday has some of those kinds of photos, whatever the overall theme. This week, instead of "box" photos or "kitten" photos or "sleepy" photos, I've chosen a lineup of what I think are "true essence" pictures. I hope you agree that, between them, they capture a lot of what makes us love cats and dogs.
Today's cover-cat is Zozo, who's tired of this so-called human entertainment. However, Zozo's not surrendering control...
Guest post by Dayna Berghan-Whyman: In our little family there are the three of us: myself, my husband, and our daughter Freya. But Freya would tell you there are four. The fourth person is our cat Tasha.
Ever since Freya was little she has liked cats. As she learned to talk, she substituted the word cat into songs, such as "twinkle, twinkle, little cat". A few times as a toddler, she left the house in search of cats. Gave us heart attacks!
At three, Freya was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a form of autism at the higher functioning end of the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) range.
Later, genetic testing revealed that Freya has Alfi's Syndrome - a portion of her DNA's 9th chromosome being missing. The syndrome, which reportedly happens in one in 50,000 births, is the cause of Freya's ASD.
When we finally saved enough for a house deposit, alongside the usual factors in choosing a home, we were shopping for somewhere we could have a cat. We had decided as renters not to have a cat, but Freya's needs were getting considerable, and her love of cats was growing, so there was no question that we were going to get a cat.
Sometime in the distant past, evolution came up with the tabby pattern. Evolution was trying, in its disinterested way, to find a design that would camouflage a feline well in most settings where a small predator would need it. There may have been early, failed attempts - tail feathers, sequins, that kind of thing - but those tabby markings were a hit, and stayed for the long haul.
Now we have the tabby pattern in all kinds of colours and combinations, and its chief evolutionary value is to make us humans go squishy at those that are thus liveried.
A second advantage to tabbiness is how well it stands out against most bed linen. Take Princess, for example.
Daisy is a soft swirl of stripes.
If recycling is about finding a new role for something that started out with another, then pets are expert recyclers. They can give anything a new purpose - if that purpose is to be either toy or bed.
Never is this more true than with those emblems of recycling, the box and the bag. They're such useful containers for us humans - but have you ever noticed that, no matter how big, small, tatty or opulent, a box or a bag is always pet-sized?
Take this simple tote bag: perfect for casual shopping, yet also ideally suited to the shape of tabby cover-cat Wookie.
Manny has also found a cosy refuge. The ceiling's a bit low, though.
Did you get a new puppy or dog during Christmas? Well, just over a month has passed, the kids are back at school and the "honeymoon" period has finished. The kids are not as interested as they were and are being chased around the house or you are losing socks at an alarming rate.
But don't despair, because we have some great ideas for your new dog. When you're at home all day a dog is generally not a problem because it follows you around and gets tired during the day. If you work during the day then you have to come home to a dog that has slept all day and wants only to jump all over you. The only thing you want to do is lie down with a glass of wine!
So in this series we will be growing with your dog at the same time. If you have an older rescue dog or a puppy, the time frame will all be the same. If you have slackened off any training in the past five ears then this is also for you.
First issue: Coming Home If you work during the day then most likely your dog will sleep during the day. This is all well and good but often you'll find when you come home that your dog has endless energy. This is important to remember because even if the dog jumping out of its fur, it's only because it loves you. And if you've had a bad day at work, try not to bring it home and take it out on your dog. First step is to settle your dog into a routine when you walk in the door. Many people say ignore the dog for five minutes, but I find that the dogs still jump. So have a small container of treats in your letterbox. When you arrive home, grab one of the treats and crack open the door where your dog is going to greet you. Show the dog your lovely treat and get the dog to sit; just keep repeating until it finally does it. Once it's sitting, start to open the door and only open it all the way when your dog is fully sitting. Expect your dog's behind to be moving back and forth, but give them the treat.
What you have done is set about starting a new routine, in which when you come home your dog will sit. It may take a little while but you'll get there. The main thing is patience; if the phone is ringing, just ignore it. If you do this for a couple of weeks your dog will start to follow the routine automatically - and you will have set up a new habit.
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