Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Argos in Flight!

Well, that's what it seemed like, anyway.  The next door neighbor invited us over into their backyard so that I could take the leash off and let him run a little bit.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have NEVER taken Argos off of the leash since we got him (he runs free in the house, of course, but isn't able to get up much speed inside.)  There's a couple of dog parks in the area, but any time that I can get him there, there are a lot of other dogs, and I haven't felt comfortable just turning him loose into a playground full of everything from Rotties to teacup poodles.  Don't get me wrong, he gets exercise; we take him for two fairly lengthy walks a day, in addition to his regular potty breaks.  It's just all on-leash, and at the pace that I can walk.

It took him awhile to realize that he was ALLOWED to run... the neighbors' Golden Doodle, named Cooper, was doing his BEST to get Argos to run and play with him, but Argos was having none of it.  I finally had to run out into the middle of the yard.  As soon as he saw me doing it, he started chasing me, and then just ran laps around the yard as fast as he could go for several minutes.

I cannot describe how awe inspiring it is to see him do that...  I've seen greys run before, of course, but I guess since they weren't the dog that I'm head over heels with, it didn't have the same impact.

Luckily, we're getting a fence soon.  Last time I posted I mentioned that we were getting an estimate on a fence...  the estimate came in, and it is within our budget, so, yay!  We'll be getting one.  A couple of things have to happen first.  Next week, we're supposed to have a residential land surveyor come out and peg off our property lines so that we know for sure that we're fencing OUR land and not someone else's. And we have to have a tree cut down...  it's growing diagonally, and is going to interfere with the new fence.  I've been hesitant to cut it down because it's a cherry tree, but then I discovered that it is infested with carpenter ants.  So I got a quote on that today.

So, even with the tree calculated in, we're within budget.  This makes me happy!

Though the way that Argos was running around the neighbors' yard, I realize that he is going to be leaping off of our retaining wall whenever he possibly can...  I'm not sure that I like that idea because I don't want him to get hurt.  So I may plant a row of shrubs over the retaining wall, in hopes that they'll deter him.

I didn't even think to get pictures of him while he was running...  I was too caught up in the moment, I suppose (and a little worried that he and Cooper might fight).  So here's a picture of him afterwards, when I've brought him back inside.  Doesn't he look happy?

And of course, he was famished after the three minutes of running, so he had to have an evening snack...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fences and Fireworks and Naps Oh My

Tomorrow night, we have someone coming to our house to give us a quote on installing a fence in our backyard.  I am very excited about this!  Not so excited about the amount of money that we are going to have to spend to do it, but I guess that's just part of it.

Argos is looking forward to having the fence too!  That will mean that he can run and frolic in the yard without having to have his leash on all of the time.

Here is a shot of part of our backyard.  You'll see part of the neighbor's fence in the background, but it isn't tall enough to contain a determined greyhound.  At least, one who DOES jump, no matter that they tell you that they don't tend to be jumpers.  I have no desire to see my dog racing down Murray Avenue, a busy street not far from our house, so a TALL fence it is.

I look forward to being able to see him play in his own backyard.  I think we'll get him a wading pool too - I think that he would like that, especially during this hot summer!

The cats are less impressed about the fence, though have no doubt about it, they will be fascinated by all of the activity in the yard when there is finally a crew there to put it in - they will be perched on window ledges all over the backside of the house, staring at the crew all day long.  Hah.  That isn't creepy or anything, no.

Other than that, we have had a very lazy weekend.  (Well, I slipped outside for a couple of hours early Saturday morning to finish mulching my hillside, but came back in when it started to get too hot.)

Here is Romeo, napping.  You'll notice that he has completely rejected the "kitty papisan" that I bought for him.

And here is Charlotte, napping.  (I told you that it was a lazy Saturday!)

And here are some pictures of Annie and Bit proving to Argos that they are not scared of him.  (And him being an absolute doll about it.)

Oh, and one more flattering picture of Romeo.

The Bit versus Romeo wars actually got more intense yesterday, which completely baffled me... I'd thought that they were starting to settle down.  But then I realized what was happening - Bit was being the aggressor, as usual, but Romeo was actually starting to fight back, which was different.  He must be starting to feel a little more at home.  Maybe it made him realize that he was being pushed around by an 8 pound cat that is a little more than five years his junior!

(Incidentally, he is NOT 16 pounds, like we were told when we adopted him.  We took him for his initial vet check-up, and were told that he is actually 18.9 pounds.)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Petco Meet & Greet

I just thought that I would make a brief update to say that Argos did very well at the meet & greet yesterday.  He was friendly towards people of all ages and sizes, as well as their dogs when they brought them in.  Even though they had the Pomeranian rescue group right next to us!

There was another greyhound and her person with us, so we weren't trying to do it all ourselves.

And there were little Italian Greyhounds there!  I knew that they were smaller versions of a standard greyhound, but I had no idea of how tiny they were...  I guess I always pictured them about Whippet-sized.  These were more like very slender, long-legged chihuahuas.  Very cute and well-behaved.

Argos had a blast.  He enjoyed all of the attention, but we also bought him a red lobster squeaky toy.  He's been playing with that thing all day today.  It makes me laugh to see him at it, backside up in the air, tail wagging.  *chomp squeak * chomp squeak * chomp squeak*

The only time that we had to actively "reel" him in was when he spotted a white mousey in one of those glass cages.  He raced over there and had his snout pressed up against the glass staring in.  He tried to go back over there a few times, but eventually gave up on us, realizing, no doubt, that we were big party-poopers and weren't going to get him a mouse.

Anyway, we will definitely volunteer for meet & greets in the future.  It's good to know that he can handle it - and really, it's for a good length of time - two hours - so he doesn't start to lose patience and want to go home.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Driving me Crazy

Annie is driving me crazy!  What happened to that sweet, mild little girl that I brought home from the shelter almost two years ago?  That Annie was eager for attention yet frightened of it at the same time, so would dart up to you for a little bit of petting, but then run away after a moment or two.

Not that I want my cats to be frightened of me.

But THIS Annie demands attention nearly constantly, and it getting more and more insistent on it.

I think that it's the new cat in the house.  If forced to guess, I'm going to say that she needs to be reassured of her place in the house, and part of that is to reassure herself that she is still in favor with me.


How this translates into real life, is that she is never very far away from me if I'm in the house.  She wakes me up every couple of hours.  She insists on being petted, and if I stop for any reason, she bats at my fingers - with claws.  She never draws blood, but I think puts just enough into it to let me know that no, seriously, she wants me to keep petting her now.

She also hisses at the other cats if they try to get too close to me, even Charlotte, who she was always at the very least leery of, if not completely terrified of.  Now, Charlotte gives her that "look" that she has, and Annie usually backs right down, but that she hisses to begin with is a surprise to me.

Yesterday I was getting dressed and she jumped up on the bed to be near me.  This happens every day, so nothing unusual there.  But Argos walked around the footboard of the bed to stand next to me, and Annie hissed at HIM, and then started smacking him in the face before I could stop her!

Argos didn't even react to it, darling boy.  I'm assuming that Annie wasn't  using claws.  Still...  not a great habit to start.  I did yell at her about it, and she ran off sulking.  Oi.

Last night, she wanted me to pet her all night long...  and sleeping was no excuse!  She even went so far as to go behind me (I sleep on my side) and smack me on the back to wake me up.  She was rather upset that I sat up and scolded her instead of giving her the petting that she wanted.  She kept insisting on being petted, and eventually got herself banished from the room.

I'm hoping that she settles down once she realizes that Romeo isn't going to take her place.  I think that it's a good thing that we're at our maximum legally when it comes to animals... I'm not sure that I could handle this inter-cat political situation again, at least any time soon!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Life with Carnivores

I realize that I haven't made a lot of posts lately - mostly because the animals are keeping me SO busy that I don't have time to stop and write about them.  Well, to be fair, a HUGE portion of my time has been taken up with late Spring/early Summer planting, which is coming to a close really soon.  In May and early June I tend to work VERY hard in the garden.  After that it's just maintenance for the rest of the summer, and it's too hot to start any large landscaping projects by then.  The animals are very glad when I come back into the house and pay attention to them.

Much of our work has been to get Romeo acclimated to his new surroundings - we knew it was going to be tough, because we were introducing a 7 year old male cat, very set in his ways, and very upset that he was taken away from his previous home, to three very stubborn female cats.  Or rather, two VERY stubborn female cats (Charlotte and Bit) and one mostly submissive cat with her stubborn moments (Annie.)

It's going much better now than the last time I posted.  Romeo is out of "quarantine" and is allowed to roam the house at will.  He still spends most of his time in the guest room.  I think it's his "safe room."  Here is yet another picture of him on top of the radiator in there.  It's his favorite perch in the house, which is why so far all of my pics have been of him on that.  He does get down, really.

Much to my surprise, Charlotte is not the cat that we are having the most difficulty with.  Oh, don't get me wrong, she hisses at him if he accidentally walks too close to her (believe me, he tries not to!) but she is mostly content to pretend like he doesn't exist.  No, the problem child is Bit.  She will not leave him alone... stalks along behind him constantly, and will hide and then leap out on top of him deliberately, usually when he's trying to use the litter box or eat food. He's actually a bit frightened of her, for all that he weighs exactly twice her weight.

Here's Bit, looking a bit sulky after I made her leave Romeo alone long enough for him to eat.

Charlotte insisted that I take her picture, and even gave me a beautiful pose:

And then I decided that I couldn't leave Annie out.  It was hard to get a decent photo of her, because she was being very shy tonight.

Argos is the one that we are having the absolute least amount of trouble with.  The only tense moment was when he FIRST realized that Romeo was in the house, which was when Romeo wandered past him in the living room.  He started to go into that "greyhound chase mode."  Jeff and I recognized it right away before he got so fixated on Romeo that he wouldn't notice us at all, and both said "No Kitty!"  Argos looked surprised and disappointed, but we haven't had any further problems out of him.

Here's Argos, looking handsome on the couch.  You'll also note that he looks really happy.  I'm sure it had a LITTLE to do with the fact that I was sitting next to him, but it probably mostly was because he had just finished up a large milkbone.

Argos has been very patient with us being so focused on the cats for the past couple of weeks.  And of course we try to give him lots of attention too.

This weekend we're volunteering at a Petco Meet & Greet...  we take him into the store, and set up a table for Steel City Greyhounds, and then just stand there in the doorway when customers come in.  If they have questions about greyhounds, we answer them.  And let them pet and feed Argos, and let him show them what great pets greys can make.  It's for a good cause...  I have to say that I smile every time I see someone out walking a greyhound.  (Or really, any kind of dog, but greys are near and dear to my heart.)

Off to bed.  I'm wondering which of the cats will wake me up tonight... they've all wanted reassurance, and it seems like they most want it in the wee hours of the morning.  Or maybe it's revenge for bringing home a new cat?  I guess I'll never know.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Getting Along

Or, as it is in our household this week, NOT getting along.

The "girls" are not accepting Romeo as quickly as I had hoped.  I know, I know, he's only been with us for a little over a week, so I'm probably trying to rush things too much.  But I just want to know that everything is going to be peaceful in our house... and peaceful it ain't, not right now anyway.

Romeo is still in "isolation" in the guest room for now, though we do try to break it up for him a little bit so that he doesn't feel like he's in prison.  And there are "visiting hours" in which we have him interact with one of the cats, usually Charlotte.  Charlotte is the queen, and the one that is going to have the hardest time adjusting to having a new cat around... she is not used to having her authority questioned!

And she was more than happy to assert her authority... over and over and over again.  She growled at him in a way that made her sound like something out of a horror movie.  He DID back off a little, so I'm hoping that means that the pecking order is slowly being established.

Strangely enough, he is not at all afraid of the dog.  Jeff said that they were nose to nose, checking each other out the other night.   We are keeping a close watch on Argos, though, because at least in the beginning, he thought that it was acceptable to chase Romeo.  I think he "gets it" now, though, that the "No Kitty" rule applies to Romeo too.  Just a few more reminders and I'll feel reassured that he really REALLY gets it, though.

I swear, I feel like a diplomat trying to broker peace between two countries in the middle-east... more pictures to come.  I do have more pics of everyone, but haven't gotten them onto the computer yet.  Soon!