Thankfully, this is not a blog about her. It would be a fair assumption after everything lately, but this is actually about a real dual that goes on in my house on a daily basis; between my dog and two cats. Hey, I can’t let my other blogging adventure turn into a crazy cat lady blog. I should do that here, if anywhere. I probably won’t, but there has been a slowly forming truce between the two factions in my household and I’m excited about it.
I’m not sure how much I’ve mentioned her, but Freckles is my crazy 2 year old Australian Cattledog mix that I rescued from a shelter just after my breakdown a couple of years ago. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind and shouldn’t have chosen a dog that is born to chase moving objects (I already had two cats), but I’ve made it work. She’s a really amazing pooch, it’s just taken a lot of work.
I don’t have children, but I have baby gates. The cats get the upstairs. The dog stays downstairs. It’s simple. Many cat/dog arguments have occurred through those bars. It was difficult for me when my pillows got torn to shreds because I left them on the couch in a sleepy haze (an 18″ x 18″ pillow holds a surprisingly large amount of feathers). Or when I absentmindedly left my shoes where she could get them, for the third time. Buying the same pair of shoes for work that you just love over and over gets old really quickly. But it was up to me to train this dog, because giving her back was not an option.
She’s still a dog, and still a smart stubborn Aussie with a ton of energy, but I discovered that mental stimulation is just as important to keep her from tearing everything up as physical releases of energy. Rules and structure (like a kid), firmness without aggression, affection. And every moment is an opportunity to reinforce good behavior, or try to teach a new one. Now she knows my routine, I know hers, and we’ve reached a symbiosis.
The cats have been far more reluctant to accept her. But yesterday evening, Tudor, actually came down to the landing on my stairs and let me pet him while Freckles looked on patiently. I guess he’s accepting the fact that she’s not going anywhere (thanks to her new found ability to refrain from launching after the cats up the stairs).