Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

January 8, 2013

Mixing things up at my house

ASHLAND — Gracie is the new puppy at my daughter’s household, a Chauhau-dauschund mix that weighs just over six pounds now and won’t get much bigger. She is quite a change from the last dog they had, a black lab mix, but she’s quite sure she’s as big as any other canine in the neighborhood.

My Maggie is quite the opposite. At 40-something pounds, with Sheltie fur that makes her look even bigger, she is afraid of “big dogs” — as in cocker spaniels and some terriers. So when my daughter brought Gracie to visit the other day, I thought we might have a problem.

They’ve met before, of course, which has pretty much come down to one dog wanting to play and the other refusing with a growl or bark. But they were fine with each other on Gracie’s last visit.

The cats, however, about had a nervous breakdown. Bitsy, the smartest of the two half-grown kittens, headed upstairs and stayed there.

Batman, who is as big as Gracie and probably weighs more, was not at all sure about this brown bouncy thing. Gracie was in a mood for excitement. She played hide and seek around the cedar chest that doubles as a coffee table in the living room and jumped and barked to get Batman to engage in play, all to no avail.

Batman was fascinated but afraid. Bouncy and barky is something new and while she is curious, she also tends to err on the side of caution.

Not so with Tabby, my part-Siamese grown feline. Tabby comfortably believes that she rules the world and everything in it. If we underlings fail to obey, she knows a swipe of the claws or a bite on the ankle of her unsuspecting victim gets the message across.

She sat beneath the rocking chair in the living room watching as Gracie jumped, hopped and made us laugh. Unlike the wide-eyed Batman, who eventually did the scared stretch and hissed at the poor little dog, she didn’t seem fazed by Gracie at all. If anything, she seemed amused — or at least as amused as Tabby lets herself become.

After Batman retreated to a place of safety, Gracie began checking out the humans. She particularly doted on my son, who had come for Sunday dinner and was eating on the couch.

“Down, Gracie!” has yet to be effective, given her tender puppy age, but enough times of being pushed off onto the floor convinced her to find entertainment elsewhere.

I’m not sure Gracie knew Tabby was under the chair when she headed that way. She had spotted a foam curler that one of the cats had found some where and despite my daughter’s orders to leave it alone, kept trying to claim it for her own.

That process brought her within a whisker of Tabby, who maintained her stony presence. But once Gracie noticed the big cat, she made up her mind that she had a playmate.

Tabby, who is more of a spectator than a participant, found Gracie’s antics amusing. Not, of course, as much as we did; the room filled with laughter as the tiny dog practically begged for Tabby to notice her.

And then Gracie made her big mistake. She bounced into Tabby’s personal space.

As the Queen of Everything, Tabby did not take it well. But one serious hiss took care of the situation. Gracie retreated; Tabby offered as close to a Cheshire Cat grin as I’ve ever seen.

And I’m pretty sure Batman had found a pen and was taking notes.

CATHIE SHAFFER can be reached at cathieshaffer@zoominternet.net

1
Text Only
Columns
  • Lana Bellamy: Waking up America's youth: 4/18/14

    I once read a quote by a man saying the reason today’s youth do not have the same “spunk” as youth in the past is because they do not have inspiration.

    April 17, 2014

  • Mark Maynard: Let’s just forget about it: 04/17/14

    The older I get, the more forgetful I become. Does that sound familiar?

    April 16, 2014

  • Uncovering forgotten treasures

    You know the big difference between me and a hoarder? I mean, except that you can walk through my house and there are none of the disgusting aspects of hoarding in my life.
     

    April 14, 2014

  • Political stories worth retelling

    With Kentucky in the midst of the political season, it’s time to share some stories I’ve heard about the art of politicking.
     

    April 13, 2014

  • 0413timbizcolweb.jpg Tim Preston: Great salmon; finding Dr. Amy; and more Maria: 4/13/14

    It isn’t an especially convenient location unless you happen to be going that way, and if you don’t get there within the next couple of weeks you’ll have to wait until fall to try it out, but I had the best lunch I can remember last week at one of the last places you’d likely think of when pondering where to eat.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Restaurant horror stories; garden planning tips

    In my couponing classes, I always had fun with everyone by telling them gross restaurant stories. In encouraging them to eat at home more and save their money, I was also teaching them how much cleaner it is.
     

    April 12, 2014

  • Feeling happy is ...

    Anyone hoping the Ashland-Huntington area will soon overtake Disney World as “the happiest place on Earth” will be waiting awhile.
     

    April 10, 2014

  • 0410markcol.jpg Mark Maynard: Brick House (South Ashland Florist) brings in $13K so far: 04/10/14

    Here’s a 14-name salute coming your way:

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Cannon: Take this joint, please: 04/09/14

    Some of the things that occurred during our recent week in Jamaica were unexpected and even a bit weird. I suspect those will be the things we will still clearly remember long after the memories of the hours of lying on the beach have faded. I started to mention them in last week’s column, but opted to save them until a later date in the interest of length.

    April 8, 2014

  • AARON SNYDER: March Madness, sadness for Cats

    It’s just another game. That’s the message John Calipari preached profusely throughout the 2014 NCAA tournament. It’s typical coachspeak, but Cal’s young Kentucky team clung to the step-by-step approach to produce atypical results.

    April 8, 2014