This is a story of 3 dogs and a cat.
Who tried to eat me and then welcomed me into their pack.
Each day I walked into the room Lucius would over power me and I would have to be rescued by his two legged family members. Then one day he left me alone and passed the mantle to Berret who with the same enthusiasm tried to eat me. My son who was deathly afraid of dogs would have to be coaxed in. He knew if he wanted to play with his friend he had to come in eventually… but he made sure I was his shield.
Often I retreated to the comfort of the bar height dining table. There was safety in not being knocked over. In turn I was subjugated to repeated wet nose torture. Where I remembered the risk of wearing flip flops, and then tried to defend myself by wrapping my feet around the legs of the table.
My son willingly left my side for the companionship of his friend.
He was educated in the battle art of red spray bottle. His trusty side kick bravely replaced me as a shield and charged the dogs in his defense. Occasionally leading the way with a spray bottle himself. This left Grandmother Abby confused and hurt when she was accidentally sprayed.
You don’t spray Abby.
By the second day of my visit, she placed her old white body between me and the storm of Berret. What I sure would be a war wound, she bore patiently. Protecting my toes. Protecting me from the overly excited claws of death.
The next day, we saw a miracle.
Michiel was alone in the hallway. Without a spray bottle. Calmly petting Abby.
I never thought I would see that day come…
Then Berret saw the two and tried to get in on the action. At which point we had to come to his rescue.
Now what you should know about me is that I am allergic. To cats and to dogs.
It happened sometime after giving birth to the girls. Who also suffers a similar predicament. I walk into a room with animals and my eyes swell up. My daughters touch them and then touch their faces and then they swell up. Which does not keep them from petting them. Thank goodness for Benadryl.
So imagine how wary I was when Fenway decided he would be my writing companion. He sat next to my laptop. When I went to the kitchen to get a drink. Fenway followed me. Not on the ground. He jumped up on the counter and followed me around the room from there. I had an uneasy feeling that he was attempting to own me in some ancient ritual…
“Touch Me. You know you want to.”
No. I don’t want to. It will make my eyes itchy.
“No it won’t. Go ahead. Pet me.”
I reached out and gave Fenway what he wanted. Oddly comforting for both of us. I kept it short and washed my hands immediately. Crisis adverted.
This turned out to be my biggest mistake, because the other dogs looked at me with a question in their eyes. They turned to the man with all the answers. The pack leader.
Berret looked at me across from the couch. Head tilted.
After a moment, he came over and gently put his face in my lap.
I was shocked by the change in his demeanor.
Stroking his head he was immediately replaced by Abby.
Lucius got up from his corner of the room and also gave his consent.
It was decided. I was in.
Fenway gave his approval from the end of the hallway. Actually he could probably careless about it. He was intent on getting into my room where he knew I had taken my suitcases. So from the dark hallway you could hear him rattling the door knob. Dreaming of a purple rectangle for a new bed…
Poor Michiel thinking it was a ghost trying to get in, locked the door.
The next day at breakfast Old Lady Abby began to talk to me.
“Please pet me.”
Teacup Mother Lola tried to get my attention. Prior to all of this she hid and shook with fear… or anticipation. Now she was happy to see us. And I had permission to touch her baby… a baby kitten named Sofia.
But not Abby. Gentle Abby tried to eat Sofia as a snack. She was smaller than a squirrel. Perfect mouthful of deliciousness. Probably the reason Clever Fenway was not a meal already. The striped orange tabby was almost the size of medium height dog.
Three times this morning I found Abby in my room trying to work the zipper on my purple cat trap. Each time I removed him. (Michiel was now in terror of the cat-dog-ghost.) The third time Fenway decided to let me know that I shouldn’t stand in the way of what was his.
A cat bite and scratch later, I thought I had gotten off pretty good.
Until the real punishment for disobedience set in.
I sneezed. And sneezed. And rubbed my eyes…