Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

May 7, 2013

Sharing the joy

Cathie Shaffer
The Independent

ASHLAND — Turns out that Sonny Boy stopped by my house Sunday morning while I was at my church and he was on the way to his. I know this for two reasons:

First, he told me. And second, he sent my pictures via his phone of the baby cats and my Sheltie and the new puppy.

He made the comment with the photos that I should know they were gone while I was gone. I sent back a comment that they were just faking it.

They are adorable pictures. The young gray tabby Bitsy and her black-furred sister by adoption, Batman,  are posed nearly identically on top of one of the two china cabinets in my dining room. What my son didn’t see was last week’s debacle, when Bitsy  decided to knock everything off that space in order to give her a high perch away from Carmen, the puppy.

The picture he sent of the dogs has my older and pretty well behaved Sheltie in front smiling at me and Carmen, who is just over three months old, lying behind her like a good girl.

Maggie, the Sheltie, is a herder by nature and is making it her priority to turn Carmen into a decent housedog. The task is a daunting one, but Maggie is making inroads. Among her achievements is being Miss Dominant.

Do I believe Carmen would be the placid creature the photo shows if Maggie was outside?

Oh, no. No indeed.

Labs are great family dogs and Carmen wants to spend all her time with the family. And since her theoretical owner, my granddaughter, sleeps in the basement while Maggie, the cats and I sleep in my bedroom upstairs, Carmen wants desperately to join the majority.

A simple baby gate fails to keep her where we want her to be, even when we surround it with chairs and the long folding table I use for booksignings at festivals. Carmen is determined and always finds a way to escape.

Sunday night, she was sleeping on her pillow on the couch when I gave the “time for bed” call to the other critters. She never moved, so I let her sleep. Maybe she’d spent the night there, I theorized.

Wrong. So very wrong.

Sometime in the night, Carmen jumped onto the bed and curled up to sleep with Maggie. I sensed her presence but didn’t wake up enough to send up packing. I remember thinking that if she was with me, at least she wasn’t getting into trouble downstairs.

Turns out that while I slept with the other canine and the felines, Carmen woke and decided to play. Although she doesn’t chew shoes (not yet, anyway) she had carried several of mine all over the house. Maggie’s toys were scattered through the dining room and living room and she’d also gotten a couple of the stuffed animals I keep for the kids to play with and had them on the floor.

Over the weekend, I was part of an event which required me to put random items in paper bags. There were 10 or 12 of those bags; I came home tired and didn’t bother emptying them from my tote bag.

I’m going to take the high road and assume Carmen was taking care of that for me. But I couldn’t find it in my heart to thank her for a living room filled with chunks of brown paper along with many of  various and sundry items that had been in the bags.

If I was a good person, I’d have cleaned it all up before I left for work. But I  chose a different route: I left it all there and shooed Carmen down to where her girl slept.

Hey, who am I to deprive a sleepyhead of a wonderful wake-up surprise?

CATHIE SHAFFER can be reached at cathieshaffer@zoominternet.net