Day to day musings of a cat minder/ sitter in North Tyneside and Newcastle upon Tyne . For details of services go to

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Friday, 16 November 2007

Strange Days

Strange Days , these last ones . The day job was dominated by an air of expectation on Wednesday morning . I had convinced myself that A would survive as she had kept going through two nights of surgery . I was unable to grasp that someone of her age , with two children , could not survive .

But on Wednesday morning we got a message through that she died the previous night .
It was like that moment in the middle of Winter when the snow starts falling outside and everyone looks out and there is a hushed silence , a sense of awful wonder and amazement that this has happened . We all know snow , we see it , we either love it or hate it but each time its there , its new and we all look at it with a fascination . And it brings an odd , eerie silence with it .

That's how it was .
Only there is nothing wonderful about death .

We spoke to each other , we decided things that needed to be done , but it was all new . Every one of us there has been bereaved , we all know this place , where it takes us , yet each new journey into loss is different .

Then , the news that one of our other colleagues who has had a chest infection for three weeks and has been home , has been diagnosed as possibly having TB .

At four fifteen I left the office , before time but with a pile of work to do at the weekend .
This was the first day both D and I had been out together and Nat was going in to walk the dog herself after school .

As I drove my phone rang , N on the phone in tears saying the dog was attacking her and she was frightened . I asked what she meant and she said the dog was over excited , would not calm down and was growling and scaring her . I was very close to home so told her to get out of the house straight away , pick up her mobile and her keys and go out into the front away from the dog and I would be home in two minutes .
I was stopped at every red light , rang her while at one and she said she was sitting in the porch .
And when I got there , there she was , looking small and lost , and near her , a spider . N is not a fan of spiders . But I guess the spider was less of a threat than a marauding dog .

I listened whilst she told me what had happened . Alice had been out with her for a walk then on their return she had got very bouncy , jumping from sofa to chair and when N told her to calm down she started pushing N around , paws up on her arms and coming at her from behind . She had growled and frightened her beyond belief , so much so that she couldnt move .
We agreed that Alice is a pack animal and was probably trying to work out her place in the pecking order and that she thought she might come higher up than N .
That it was important she saw that she had made a mistake and that N was boss over her . N agreed that she wanted to go in , so we approached her and I encouraged N to do what I had seen dog trainers ( and our neighbour Sam do with her dog recently ) , make her lie flat down and realise we were boss . We told her in no uncertain terms that we were in charge and she would not behave like this . N was great , very brave after she had been scared and we talked about whether we could keep Alice , though I was clear that I thought we could manage this and N was clear that she loves Alice and if she had known what to do she would have been ok .

Alice responded well , was affectionate to N again , calm and silly . Its hard to imagine that she had been so over bearing but on a couple of occasions she has been like this with me and has responded immediately when Ive spoken to her and told her to calm down .
I rang our neighbour who had agreed to walk her at lunch time and she had had no problems at all . Alice had been calm and friendly with her . I guess ed my theory about the pecking order was probably right and my sister has often talked about how their dog regards her partner Peter as Top Banana , with the boys in the family coming next , then Laura at the bottom of the pile .
Ive seen this in action myself as Grommet( who is a terrier) has a party trick. If you leave a ten
pound note sticking out of your pocket Grommet will slide it out and trot over to Peter and quietly present him with the booty . If Peter isn't present it goes to George , then Harvey comes next . Laura rarely gets a look in , even though she both walks and feeds him .

Since then peace is restored on the home front .
Alice s future is safe with us . She has worked out our routines mostly and the puddles have stopped ( three in total in fifteen days is probably not bad ). She has made an effort to ingratiate herself with N ( going up to her in the kitchen and leaning up against her , staring at her and generally being a loving dog again ) .

As for things elsewhere , they cant be other than dire .

1 comment:

BetteJo said...

So sad about the death, just hard to wrap your mind around. No illness really, just gone. Sad.

Sounds like you guys are all figuring out how to help Alice adjust, it can't be a piece of cake the whole way, there are bound to be bumps in the road.

Hope the cats are adjusting!

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