My dog Morgan loves to be the centre of attention. He adores having people make a fuss of him. At the dog park, he is certain to greet all of the people and to give each of them ample time to admire and pet him while he rubs against their legs like a cat (one of his many nicknames is ‘Morgan the kitty-cat.’). Or if there are people sitting at one of the picnic tables in the dog zone, he jumps onto the table and starts licking their faces or poking them with his paw if they are not sufficiently awestruck by his cuteness. When I have friends over, he basically goes from lap to lap. After his big sister Lula died a few months ago, I was afraid that he would be distraught, as Lula had been when her brother Shipy ran away several years ago.
And he was distraught (and for several weeks he did this thing of sitting in front of the bookcase where I put her ashes and staring at the urn for moments at a time). But it didn’t last long. To be honest, I think he was actually pretty happy not to have to share the spotlight with Lula anymore. The problem is that he no longer has her to play and hang out with 24-7 (which is precisely the number of hours of the day and days of the week that he needs to be entertained). Which leaves me to be chief playmate.
If I happen to be sitting at my computer — as I usually am — he sits next to me and looks at me with intense doggie concentration until I react.
If I don’t react fast enough he starts to whine. If I’m on the couch he goes to his toy box and pulls out the toys, one by one. He also spends a lot of time staring out the window at his friends playing in the park. And whining.
So you can imagine my delight when he started to bond with one of the stray cats who hang around our building. There are about five of them — brothers and sisters whose mother was hit by a car. They are about a year old. One of them is particularly friendly and handsome and this fellow has taken a shine to the Morgster. He runs out whenever we come by, often accompanying us on our walks. The dog and cat sniff each other’s bums and sometimes engage in a bit of good natured wrestling.
I’m not quite ready to get another dog and, even though I’m not much of a cat person, I was pretty happy about the idea of bringing home a buddy for my pup. Woohoo (I thought)! The whining ends here.
I got in all the gear — hot pink cat carrier, bowls, food, a very cute kitty litter box (I know that sounds weird but this one has cat drawings all over it) — and set off to bring Hugo (which is what I named him) home with the assistance of the Upstairs Vegetarian.
Hugo did not like this plan AT ALL! After several attempts, which featured lots of banshee-like crying and scratching, we got him into the carrier and then into the apartment. Thus ensued ten minutes of pure bedlam: more banshee shrieks; Morgan chasing the cat and jumping all over him. Hugo was terrified and Morgan was protecting his territory like the little alpha dog drama queen he is. We finally opened the window and the cat jumped out to freedom (I’m on the first floor; it’s an easy jump). I guess it was not to be. The interesting thing is that by the next day all was back to normal. The two still play together and Hugo still comes with us on walks. I’ve been advised to put some cat food on the widow sill and see if he comes inside to check it out but I fear that once an outdoor cat, always an outdoor cat.