Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Dog Who Wants To Be A Cat

Today marks five years since Jethro came home to live with us. For about a month beforehand, I had seen him every day as I drove the kids back and forth to school. He and his sibling had been dumped at the local auto repair shop, where they were kindly tolerated, but not formally adopted.

One day, his brother was gone. I worried a lot because I was afraid the pup had been hit by a car and killed, as people drive very fast along that road and it has a wicked curve.

Later that week, we had occasion to pull in to talk to the owner of the auto repair shop, and while J spoke to him, I wandered over to see the pup. I scratched his head, I spoke sweetly, and before you knew it he was sitting on my lap in the car.

J has put up with my inability to resist stray animals for many years, and sighed but accepted that this pup was coming home with us. Initially the idea was that he'd be a barn dog, and live outside 24/7 (as he had been already.) That lasted about 24 hours worth of howling at the patio door, and from then on Jethro was a house dog, which brought us up to three.

He's an odd little fellow. He gets quite nervous if someone comes to the door, and has been known to bite the door itself in his frenzy to protect. He gets anxious if we're gone too long (we do not crate him, tried and failed miserably), and has been known to chew holes in the couch. But what he really wants to be, is a cat.

Jethro loves to sit along the top or arm of the couches, as cats do. He hates mice, and is a better mouser than any dog I know, catching and eating them in a swift pounce. We even call him "Kitty" at times. He adores the small orange balls we get for the dogs, and will come and get us and bark repeatedly if one goes under the furniture (to the point where we call the balls Timmys, ala "Timmy's in the well.")

The funniest story about Jethro happened recently. We have one barn cat left from when we moved here 13 years ago, and all the dogs get along with her just fine. We decided to adopt a pregnant cat from a friend who needed to find her a new home. As the husband and daughter came by to drop the cat off, they could see our dogs were fine with cats, as Starz was sitting on the front porch and the dogs all ignored her.

As they were here, I offered to take them out to the horse pasture so the daughter could pat the soft noses. When we walked back to the house, Starz was still on the front porch, eating something. The young girl asked "What is THAT?" I realized she'd caught a mouse and was eating it, as she does.

Jethro, on seeing this, dashed up the stairs and grabbed the mouse away from the cat, and promptly swallowed it. The father and daughter were rather pie-eyed, and I just laughed and said "Life in the country!"

So happy welcome home day Jethro, we're so glad you're here.

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