Who’s Being Trained?

(G) Anyone who’s ever included animals as part of their family knows the training process is a complex one. Depending on the type of animal you adopt the level of care varies.

You get some fish and the commitment is rather limited. And there’s not much training other than, stay in your fish bowl. If you do it wrong you’ll be looking at their upside bellies before too long. Nobody wants that.

As you go further up the chain with the animals that can “talk” their demands can be a bit more vocal. Let’s take my cat Basil. He has a penchant for singing the “song of his people” around 3 or 4 am. He doesn’t always want anything but he wants us to know that he’s awake and now we are too.

Hmm, who is being trained?

Lowi and I were questioning just this concept recently.

One night/early morning last week I was awakened by a loud noise. I wasn’t quite sure what it was and held still listening. Within a few seconds I heard another crash. I didn’t know what was happening but I got up to check it out.
I turned on the light in my kitchen and looked into my living room to find my cat, Basil, standing on the sofa just as he was pushing a book to the floor. I quickly surmised the two previous sounds were of the TV remotes making contact with the floor.
You see, hard things hit hard wood floors rather loudly and it gets your human to react.

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Sir Basil waiting for me to jump at any moment to meet his needs.

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And what did His Highness need at 4 am? Well, you see when you’re a cat and you get so old and rather chunky that you can no longer jump up onto or off of the sofa, you need a step stool. Our master’s, I mean feline’s, step was moved too far from the sofa for him to access it comfortably. So what’s a cat to do but make as much noise as possible until this error is rectified.

I confidently come down on the side of Basil being the trainer and me… yep, the trainee.

Then there is my other fur ball, Parsley. She’s an affectionate, sweet, and delightful feline soul but, make no mistake, she’s stubborn. It’s her way. Period. It’s less noticeable because she does it with a purr and a head butt to lull you into thinking it’s your idea but it’s not. She’s calling the shots.

Parsley, as I mentioned several weeks ago, had a mild stroke and she is now eating baby food because it’s the right consistency for her to handle. That part is no problem. What is a challenge is that sometimes you have to hold the plate right up to her so she doesn’t have to stand. That standing is so inconvenient and unnecessary when you can get your human to do it for you. Let’s be clear, she can and is able to stand, run and walk. She is perfectly able-bodied. She is also perfectly in charge.
I know this because sometimes you just don’t want to eat off the plate so you refuse food until you coax your handmaiden (me) to feed it to you from her very own hand.

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Parsley has found a nice, warm resting place on a fleece blanket with a heating pad underneath. Oh yeah, and a blanket overhead so it feels more “den-like.”

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Again, I am pretty sure I am the one in training.

I am so well trained that when I get up in the morning, everyone gets fed, medicated, watered and loved on before I eat or get anything else done. I also arrange a special blanket on a heating pad for Parsley so her elderly bones are warmed periodically through the day.

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Yes, it’s good to be Basil and Parsley. They are excellent teachers and clearly I am a highly trained student.

(L) As G said, we were discussing the royalty that lives among  us, I mean our pets, last week.  While she detailed the story of how Basil likes to train her at 4am, my giant beast of a dog was barking incessantly.  Just like when my toddlers were young and had needs while I was on the phone, I took care of Samson’s needs.  I fed and watered him just a little earlier than normal.  I let him outside and I even gave him a treat to just quiet the little pony for a few minutes.  It didn’t work.  He had been walked for an hour, been fed, played with, and loved on all day.  Finally, I told G I had to go because I couldn’t stand to listen to him for another second.  I had to see what was wrong with him.  I sat down on the sofa and Samson promptly jumped up onto the ottoman and went to sleep.  I am not kidding.  This exact same scenario happened the next day leading me to believe that Samson does not like me to be on the phone.

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Day 1 of jealous fit.
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Day 2 of jealous fit. He can’t even look at me because he is so upset with me.

My little rescue, Stevie Nicks, actually has taken some training since we brought her home last June.  For months, she had a lot of anxiety when I left the house and no matter how much I walked her or she went to the bathroom, she would always have an accident when I was gone.  So lots of treats later she is much better.  She stays in her crate if I am gone for more than an hour now and she rarely has an accident.  She still screams like a little hyena when I return, but at least I don’t have to clean any messes.  Like, Parsley, Stevie Nicks is much quieter about getting her needs met.  Like when she wants love she just jumps into your lap and crawls up your chest like a little infant and rolls over so you can rub her belly.  She also sleeps with us.  She timidly starts out at the end of the bed like she is just happy to be anywhere but the streets.  Then when I wake up in the morning she is on my pillow with her little head resting on my neck.  As soon as she detects movement or even a flutter of my eyelids it is over!  She begins pawing at my face and whimpering until I get up and take her outside and feed her.  Once all of her needs are met she runs back to bed for a little  more shut eye.  I mean, you can’t expect her to get up at 6am.  It’s a long day for a little pup.

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Clearly, our great Jedi Masters  have trained us well.  Can you say wrapped around their little paws?

Sunshine & Sarcasm,

Lowi & G

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