What do our pets do while we are away?

Published 10:58 am Friday, May 1, 2020


Coffee with Mimi

Now we know. With extra time spent at home in these last few weeks, we have learned a lot. Some information has been informative and enriching, perhaps life changing.  Some of our new found knowledge has been down right funny.

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For instance, what do our pets do all day while we are engaged elsewhere? We have three four-legged critters in our immediate family. The house is all in one piece when we return after work or errands. There is no evidence of a conflict between the two cats and one dog. All appear to have been content  

So, what do our pets do when we aren’t present? The cats do just what they do when we are around. They sleep a lot. They also, as it turns out, torment the dog.

Cats, in my experience, are sneaky creatures. At least ours are. They would like us to believe the dog is the bad guy, always being the first to engage in rough housing.  

Don’t get me wrong. Our dog loves to get into a tug of war with a cat’s ears. The cat sets up a squall while she is being twirled around the floor by an ear. One would think she is being tormented to within an inch of her life by the mean pup. We rush to the defense of the cat, separating the two. We fuss at the dog.

You would think the cats were in peril of losing body parts if this sort of behavior goes on all day when we are not around to rescue them. Hah! Those darn cats, especially the larger one, give as good as they get. It has come to light that the cats are just as likely to initiate the encounters as the little puppy. I have actually witnessed the big cat lay in wait on a kitchen chair eyeing the puppy for an opportunity to pounce when the little thing is just passing by minding her own business.

Did the rascal actually think I wouldn’t see what was happening? In my experience, cats are just like that. Sneaky, and haughty.  I’ve never been much of a cat person. Now I know why.  

I don’t blame the dog one little bit for setting her own agenda when she is left to her own devices in a humanless house. But, we are in exceptional times. The house is almost never without a human being these days. At least one of us is at home and possibly attempting to do some tele or video work conferencing. 

After several days observing her routine, I am sure she does exactly the same thing whether we are around or not.  

What is the dog up to all day when not engaged with the cats? Guarding the house from all manner of perceived or imagined threats to our lives and property.

Most days, under normal circumstances, I am away from the house by the time the action begins. But, the times they are a changin’. Our dog’s work day begins with the arrival of the mailperson. Our guard dog knows the drill.

At the appointed hour she is perched on the back of the couch with a full view of the street and, very importantly, the street corner. She waits quietly. The mail truck parks at the corner, two houses from our home. Barking commences as the mail carrier exits the truck and begins the route. The carrier disappears while delivering mail to the porches of the between houses. For the moment, all is quiet on the northern front.

But, the dog knows. The suspect is just a few steps away and will reappear without a doubt. Sure enough, the long walk from the neighbor’s porch to our porch begins. Mail carriers should, if they can, wear ear plugs. The level of noise emanating from this one little pup is ear splitting, even with the windows closed.  

The barking becomes more intense as the carrier crosses the driveway to our porch and makes his or her way to our front door. The dog leaps off the couch and tears through the living room to the glass front door, which is within inches of the mailbox, barking ferociously the whole way. The mail is deposited accompanied by unimaginable barking by the dog. The carrier retraces the route off the porch to round the corner heading across our front yard to the next home. The dog returns to the couch perch, yelling at the top of her little lungs until the carrier is out of sight.

Lest you think this dog’s duty is done, no. The carrier continues down the street, crosses to the other side, and returns back up the street to the truck at the corner. The dog waits patiently with bark at the ready, as the carrier moves in and out of view. She rests only when the truck pulls away.  

It isn’t just mail carriers; we are well protected from all manner of delivery persons and general visitors.

There are ways to extinguish this behavior. I choose not to. Every being should have a purpose each day.