Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Not Quite a Ménage à trois

Where once there lived in this house three animals there are now four. No, not in this picture, but we do have four: three dogs and one cat. More accurately, the little Jack Russell facing away from the camera belongs to one of my stepsons, but I apparently have been placed in charge of her care while he lives here and looks for a house. 

Today it is drizzling, and the ground is soaked from a heavy rain earlier in the week. The Boxer and the Jack Russell normally prefer the couch or a bed, but I have blocked off all but the kitchen and the little alcove where I have my computer. Thus, I've preserved sheets, blankets, and furniture from muddy paws.

The beasts and I normally gather in here every morning in any event. The Boxer has been placed on a special diet to assist urinary function, but to keep her coat shiny, I give her a bit of fat in the morning: "fat," meaning Vienna sausage, canned fish, or something similar, which probably isn't a good choice since such stuff is loaded with sodium. A better solution would be to pour olive oil on their dog food, but they prefer to nibble all day long, and when I wet it down with oil, they refuse it. At $67 a bag, I prefer no waste, but I also prefer no DVM bills approaching $200 for treatment of urinary crystals. And the cat likes the dog food too, which means we don't buy Fancy Feast. 

I put six cups of the food in two dishes and tell them to divide it so that the Boxer has three or four cups, the Boston and the Jack Russell have one each, and Shorts the cat has the remainder. There have been no vocal disputes so far. Such is our style of animal husbandry: practicable and cooperative.

Since it is cold and dreary today, the dogs decided a post-sausage nap might be in order. It's interesting that a $.97 can of Vienna sausage satisfies while the high-dollar dog food languishes. Like every thoughtful companion to an animal, I have provided each of them with a bed. Well, except for Shorts, the cat. Shorts spends her nights outside patrolling, but she normally slips in for her taste of sausage or fish before finding a warm place.

The Boston bulldog went to one of the beds tucked partially beneath a chair in the room corner, but the other three decided to pile into one bed. And that's interesting because the Jack Russell doesn't like the cat and the Boxer only tolerates her. The cat, of course, doesn't care. The cat has claws, and she's willing to use them.

The three-abed was a moment worth preserving, I suppose, one of those things that none of the three would do on command, not that you can command a cat to do anything, although this is, this Shorts, a very peaceable and useful cat as evidenced by our living in the middle of three acres in the country without mice in the house.

Shorts deserves her rest. About the other two, I am not sure.
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