My sweet, loveable, completely neurotic Australian shepherd, Scooby, is eleven today. I brought him some of those pig ears as a special treat, but at first he seemed unimpressed, like he would rather have his Purina snacks. He did finally eat it though. Scooby was abused, a junkyard dog, and in the animal shelter when I got him--he'll never overcome a lot of his early years. I can't trust him to roam freely in the house--he'll poop. For years he's rushed in the house the minute I opened the back door but now he stands and considers the matter. I have to threaten to close it before he comes in. Also for years, he's spent evenings--and hot afternoons--in my study, but something must have happened to scare him, because now he hesitates, walks around the couch, looks in, makes some false starts, and finally comes in. Once he's eaten his treats, its clear he wants to go to his bed. Right now, he's been there since about two and it's almost 7:30, way past his dinner hour. When I asked if he wanted to go eat dinner, he solved that matter by avoiding looking at me. I'll have to force the issue, with a leash, in a little bit--and then he'll be just as pleased as punch to go outside. But for all his idiosyncrasies, he has the sweetest nature of any dog I've known--and the most desperate for attention. I've had him seven-and-a-half years.
Meantime, the cat takes up residence on my desk, which makes working difficult and worries me a little about sanitation, since this is where I eat most of the meals I eat alone at home. But he's often content to lie on the library table behind the couch. The cat--Wywy--is 18 years old, so both of my animals are aging at once, which sort of alarms me. I see signs of slowing down in Wywy but I think Scooby still thinks he's three.
When the dog is happily in bed and the cat content on the table, I feel at peace. They are trouble and expense and bother, and I can't imagine life without them. I know people who don't want to be bothered with pets, but I'll never feel that way. They give me companionship, and Scooby is actually a pretty good guard dog. Of course, if a villain made his way into the house, Scooby would lick him to death, but he can sound ferocious when he sees or hears something outside he doesn't like.
Nice day--lunch with my former neighbor, Sue, and a good "catch-up" talk and then an afternoon of work on my novel. I'm ready to move ahead with it.
Oh, oh--here comes the cat!