She sits there above it all, her expression clearly reflecting her displeasure. The interlopers have ruined everything! Accustomed to running about the kingdom as she saw fit, Her Royal Highness is now forced to remain on her throne or come nose-to-nose with the hairy, four-legged beasts who have invaded her domain. Forget that she too is hairy and four-legged; “They’re monsters!” she hisses.
At least that’s how it looks to me as I observe the interactions between our ancient cat and our new additions. Twig, alone for months now after our beloved Beagle passed, had grown comfortable with her solo role. She slept wherever and whenever she wanted, moseyed to her litter box if so inclined and drank her fill at the never-ending water bowl (no, NOT the toilet, merely a Sparklett’s-style water dispenser which, for a single cat is the same as never-ending).
Four days ago her self-centered routine was upended when Bear and Kohl arrived to join our family. At eleven and seven these Black Lab-mixes are as different as night and day. Bear is eager and enthusiastic, ready for a new adventure, and he easily settled into our household. His brother Kohl is a bit more skittish and has some separation anxiety, jumping at every unexpected noise. I feel his eyes on me constantly when I’m moving about the house, as though he needs to keep tabs on me for some reason.
It isn’t like they want to hurt Twig. They’ve lived with a feline before and were quite friendly with him. I’ve seen the photos of them sleeping together. But Twig has been on her own for so long and they’re both so big — much bigger than the Beagle who was Twig’s most recent roommate. Bear is aptly named; his head is quite bear-like. He’s tall too; able to rest his chin on my dining room table without having to stretch at all! Kohl isn’t so large but he’s very excitable and moves quickly.
The boys enjoy a rousing game of tug of war, with us or each other, or with us AND each other. Three-way tug of war is fun but I’m still sore from throwing the tennis balls on Monday. It’s been a long time since I played with dogs. The aforementioned Beagle wasn’t much of a player; probably because she was quite old. Her partner in crime, our original Lab-mix (who passed a few years ago) did enjoy the occasional game of fetch but he tired out pretty quickly. These boys play as though their lives depend on it! Bear (the 11 year old) will give Kohl a run for his money too. But Kohl can catch balls and toys in mid-air (greatly impressing our 9 year old grandson) and being younger, he’s much faster. I appreciate their first mama’s advice to always take two balls to the park!
The optimum though is three: Throw the first one, both dash for it and usually Kohl is there first. Wait for Bear to turn around, ensure he’s watching, and throw the second ball while Kohl trots back with the first. As Bear returns with the second, throw the third. Repeat.
I’ve been looking to adopt a dog again off and on for months. After we tried and failed to rescue a beautiful Beagle who had been severely traumatized I gave up for a while. A few weeks ago I started looking again. I thought we had a Black Lab named Bella but we didn’t have the “rehoming” fee at the right time and while they agreed to hold her till I got paid, I also told them if they found her a home before then so be it. The important thing to me is that she went to a home and not a shelter or the pound.
Then I saw K’s ad about wanting to keep her boys together. Some folks wouldn’t give an older dog a second look; add in a brother who needs to stay with him and I think you can imagine the difficulty of finding a home for them. Once I saw the photo of them, shoulder-to-shoulder carrying a large piece of driftwood on the beach how could I not take them both?
K and her husband are a young couple with an almost-toddler and 2 full time jobs. Before their daughter was born they did a lot of outdoors stuff with the dogs. After, well you know how it is. Some things get sacrificed when you work full time and care for a baby. Unfortunately, K felt they were neglecting the boys and she wanted them to have more attention.
During the week before they brought them to our house she took them both to the vet for boosters, picked up a joint supplement from the vet for Bear and even bathed them the morning they arrived. It was clear when we met the family that they loved their boys and the boys clearly adored them. Their “dad” even inquired about possibly visiting in the future. I was glad we could put their mind at rest, that we weren’t judging them for choosing to find a new home for the dogs, and that we would give their boys a lot of love. One of the photos I texted to K later that night showed one of the dogs stretched out on the new bed we bought. Above him in the photo are some of the toys we picked up at the same time. Seeing those delighted K and, I think reassured her Bear and Kohl were going to be fine.
Whether Twig will be is another story. She may have to abdicate her throne and move to my daughter’s place if the three of them can’t get along. I know they should get used to each other eventually but I’d like to see some sign that’s happening. She won’t come down off her cat tree to drink or use her box unless they’re gone to the park or asleep on my bed…and I’m standing watch. I don’t want her health to suffer before they reach détente. I have to keep reminding myself it’s only been four days. Sigh.