Friday, June 12, 2009



I used to be able to multi-task fairly well but apparently I'm not so good at it these days. Last night, Spouse and I were to pick up our granddaughter for an overnight here at our house. I thought I was doing well in getting everything organized for the evening and the next day.
Anytime we leave the house, we put Mandy, our big cat-chasing dog, in her "house" (or crate or big cage - whatever one calls it). I did that last night. She went into her house as asked and I closed the door behind her, but didn't latch it. I went to the kitchen to get some water for Mandy's bowl and must have become sidetracked because I never got back to the cage, apparently never latched it, and didn't give it another thought. I still haven't figured out why that happened, except maybe I'm losing more brain cells than I thought I was. On the way out the door, I opened the cat room door to allow my cats to come out and play while we were gone. Of course the dog was secure in her house - or was she?
We picked up our granddaughter, took her to dinner at Cracker Barrel, and stopped for ice cream at Dairy Queen on the way home. We had a great time and I had no reason to worry about anything. I knew the cats were playing and the dog was probably sleeping.
When we arrived home, Spouse pulled into the garage since it had begun to rain. We approached the door which leads into the house and I told Granddaughter that one of the cats was most certainly standing at the door ready to dart out when it opened. As I said that, she opened the door a crack and I thought I heard Mandy's tags jingling, but it couldn't possibly have been Mandy. She was secure in her house. Oh no! My stomach began to churn and my knees became a little bit weak for a few seconds. Granddaughter said, "Mandy's here at the door, Nana". It was only then I remembered leaving the cage door unlatched and I thought my heart would stop. I am always so careful - obsessive even - about making sure I have the dog secured before letting the cats freely roam. How could I have forgotten to latch the cage door? Spouse said, "I'm sure glad I'm not the one who left it unlatched".
I could only imagine what might be waiting for me upstairs. Spouse said he'd go up and check things out and let me know what, if anything, had happened. He called down and said he'd seen all but one cat and they looked fine. In fact, he said, everything looked fine. There were no signs of a chase or a struggle, no tufts of cat fur on the carpet, and nothing out of place. I was cautiously optomistic after hearing that, but there was a cat yet to find.
Spouse handed me Mandy's leash and I led her upstairs and put her back into her house. That time I knew I latched the door because Granddaughter insisted on double checking, which was ok with me. Apparently I need someone to double check me these days. Spouse said cats had come out from under the bed, one had been under a livingroom chair, and one was still curled up in the bathroom wash basin, of all places. Maybe she felt safest there. One was still missing and that caused a bit of alarm until I checked under the bed and saw my yellow boy, Casey, lying on his side, purring loudly. He allowed me to pet him and finally came to me. He was not hurt, just scared. I think he was a bit more traumatized then the others, but not one hair was out of place.
Though I was relieved that every cat was safe (and Mandy could keep her happy home), I was shocked that I'd been so careless. Some time ago, my vet assured me that Mandy was neither vicious nor was she a "cat killer". I was skeptical, but that big ol' dog proved the vet right. Had she wanted to harm a cat, she probably could have. I don't know how long she was out of her house, and I don't really want to know. It doesn't matter. We're going to work more diligently to help Mandy be civil with the cats. We won't leave her out with them if we're not here, but she and they really do need to be able to tolerate each other. That was another lesson learned and I'm starting to wonder if there will ever be a time I won't have to learn all my lessons the hard way.

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