Homebodies - Leader of the pack…


By Rita Friesen

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There has once again been a change in my family structure. I am privileged to have grandchildren share my home, this time bringing a cat and two dogs.

The menagerie has lived together before, several years ago. Meeka, a lab/retriever cross, joined us when she was a pup, and Jazzie came as a tiny kitten. Kaara, a lab/shepherd cross, became a family member when the grandkids maintained their own home. The creatures are all comfortable and familiar with each other. My Henry Hoover and Miss Daisy have had many a sleepover with the big dogs, the big golden dogs have often come to visit grandma.

When Meeka was an adolescent she would, at times, swing poor Hoover around the room by his tail. He did not like that. She doesn’t do that anymore. She also would sit on my lap for cuddles, would still like to do that, but doesn’t. Kaara is timid and a follower, good natured and patient. It brings me a great deal of joy to see them all play together. There are times when Meeka will play tug-of-war with Hoover, my Miss Daisy staying well out of the ruckus, and Kaara not making any commitments to participate. We all have the feeding and the letting out and in down pat. The big dogs eat in the garage, for Miss Daisy has no respect for anyone’s name on a dish. They wait their turn to be let out into the yard, the big dogs letting me snap on the line before bolting into the comfort zone.

I have taken all four for a walk, at the same time. My grandchildren have expressed concern for my safety, so I do it when they are at work. When we walk as a pack, Meeka leads; Kaara drifts from left to right and back again, and my two tag along. Gone is their need to direct my steps and set my pace. They leave it to Meeka. It is great exercise. We walk on a path that few people or animals frequent. When Meeka has dragged my weight, not me- I remain in charge- but definitely my weight, for 20 minutes, she slows right down. On a good day I can let the two little white dogs sit at the side of the trail and watch the big girls play fetch, off leash, for they come when called. When they are fully tired, I snap on the leads, and we all walk sedately home.

Jazzie, well, she’s a cat. She comes and goes at her leisure. At least twice she has chosen to sit with me. None of the dogs will harass her. They have all tried it. Once. Jazzie adapted well to relocating, claiming the solitude of the garage as her domain.

Did I see this coming? No. Does it bother me? Not at all. I am looking forward to the Thanksgiving weekend. One set of children came with their medium size dog, a rescue, another set comes with a little, I AM THE BOSS, Pomeranian. Stanley.

Family comes in many shapes and sizes!