Tag Archives: dogs and cats

# Cats and Dogs Are Friends

“I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks”.

Daniel Boone

The last few weeks have been terribly confusing for yours truly. We all know about the dreadful events which have taken place right around the world. Being quite the philosopher, I often wonder what the humans are doing to our planet. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before they either blow us all up or we all get fried to a crisp.

It’s hard being a bystander. I had hoped things would improve in the New Year but it’s only got worse.  But what can I do? I’m only one dog. Yet, I am not any ordinary dog. I have magic powers. Well, that’s what I call being smart and finding solutions to age-old problems. That has to be a sort of magic.

Rewinding the clock, I considered what I could change in the New Year. As we all know, a new year is a clean slate and anything is possible. Of course, like all good dogs, I wanted to put my best paws forward. However, as I’ve had no luck with dieting and I’ve never smoked or taken drugs, I was stumped.

That was until Mum heard about this new idea of choosing a word to define your year. Mum’s word for 2015 is “love”. That sounded very inspirational but being my usual enthusiastic, over-achieving self, I decided to aim a little bit higher. Why settle for just one word when I could achieve so much more with these three words:

Change the World

Earth viewed from space.

Earth viewed from space.

I know you probably think that I’ve set myself the ultimate in impossible goals. However, quite frankly, it has to be easier than losing weight. These love handles of mine have definitely become permanent fixtures.

It was this quest to change the world which launched my journey into the perplexing field of philosophical research. From there, the Golden Rule certainly seemed to be the best way forward but further analysis confirmed that there is indeed an exception or challenge to every rule. For me, it was cats.

There was also the matter of my canine companion, Lady, who chews up my tennis balls without any consideration about my feelings at all!! This travesty posed yet another challenge to the Golden Rule. As I said, the Golden Rule works well when everybody follows it but when someone bucks the system, where’s the justice then?

Or, do we just hope karma intervenes?

Being somewhat jaded and disillusioned, I briefly turned to the dark side , investigating a different ideology: Do unto others as they would do unto you. While I could see that this approach could result in both good and bad outcomes, I thought it was all too easy to just start living for No. 1. That was definitely NOT where I wanted to end up. After all, while I’m not responsible for the actions of others, I do have to live with myself!

So it seems that my ideological journey went around in a great big circle and I was almost back to the beginning again. Back to the Golden Rule and trying to work out how I could be nice to cats.

Somehow, Odie pulled it off.

Odie loves Garfield but what does he get in return?

Odie seems to love Garfield unconditionally.

This was all well and good in theory but like all of my philosophical theories, difficult to put into practice.

To be nice to a cat, I actually had to get near a cat and even that was impossible. You might be surprised but I’ve never actually met a cat let alone tried to converse or conduct any type of meaningful dialogue with one. The closest I ever came to fraternising with a cat was when I bailed up that wretched thing, I mean, the nice cat from next door. I’d had that cat cornered until Dad suddenly appeared, grabbing me firmly by the collar, allowing my guest to escape before we’d been properly acquainted. Needless to say, she never came back.

Cats aren’t exactly innocent either.

"The cat next door" slashing Snoopy's doghouse

“The cat next door” slashing Snoopy’s doghouse

Firstly, let me mention my friend Snoopy and his encounters with the  savage cat next door to him. He is an extremely vicious cat who terrorizes Snoopy and Woodstock. Whenever Snoopy mocks the cat from across the yard, the cat slashes and Snoopy’s doghouse or sometimes, him. Charlie Brown usually ends up having to buy another doghouse, as a result.

Then there’s Garfield who constantly berates Odie.

Garfield needs to learn the Golden Rule.

Garfield needs to learn the Golden Rule.

I guess it’s probably due to heated moments like this that humans have decided to keep us separate: dogs here, cats over there. Even when I go to the vet, cats are inside, dogs outside. As I said, we live in divided worlds.

However, how is separation and ignorance building bridges between cats and dogs? Bridging the gap and trying to overcome our differences? It’s not.

The time has come to start bridging the gap uniting cats and dogs through love, understanding and forgiveness to create a better world. To achieve this, we  at least need to interact and get to know each other better. After all:

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

The trouble is how do we break the ice and get the ball rolling?

All I do know is that if I want to change the world, it all begins with me. I have to be the change.

Back to the lab… A protocol is definitely required to improve relations between dogs and cats.

How to Become Friends with Cats

  1. I drew a picture of myself being nice to cats and stuck it up inside my kennel. Perhaps, if I could visualise being friends with cats, that could be a start.
  2. I keep repeating “I love cats” over and over and over again. I’ve even stuck a flag on top of my beloved kennel: “I love cats”. While I still make the occasional slip of the tongue, surely, it must sink in eventually.
  3. Feed your enemy. As everyone knows, the easiest way to the heart is through the stomach. I retrieved a dead fish from the beach and shoved it under the fence. I had thought about sharing my bones and even throwing my ball to the cat next door but I soon realised that cats don’t value either of these canine pursuits. This is what’s known as the Inverse Golden Rule “Treat others as they would like to be treated”.
  4. Find a dog who lives happily with a cat and request an introduction. After all, a dog just can’t approach any old cat and say hello. I’d be torn to shreds by their dreaded claws.
  5. Start small by taking very small steps.  Cats and dogs have been fighting since forever. It’s going to take time for things to change:

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step”- Lao Tzu

6. Learn from the past but make a new beginning.

7. Forgive.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.

Mark Twain

However, while I thought I was a real genius putting this protocol together and was expecting a Nobel Peace Prize for my efforts, a cat appeared in my backyard last night. I don’t know how much you know about dogs. Although we try to be good,  we’re actually reactionary by nature. We act first and think later. So despite all my philosophical research and heartfelt desires to be nice, I failed. I still took off after that cat at full speed, barking with the same vicious growl that I usually reserve for the posty. Yet again, I’d fueled the war between cats and dogs despite my best intentions.

Back to the drawing board.

Bruce the Shark smiling at the fish.

Bruce the Shark smiling at the fish.

This time I decided to try social media. Suffering from creative block, it took awhile to get the creative juices flowing. However, inspired by Bruce,  the Great White Shark in Finding Nemo. I developed my own hash tag:

“# Cats and Dogs are friends”.

Now, I just need to get the word out.

That means Mum has to learn how to twit or was that tweet? I can’t remember but I know it had something to do with those wretched feathered things that keep invading my backyard and tormenting me so much.

Well, she’s always telling me that an old dog can learn new tricks. Now, it’s her turn.

Wish me luck. As always, I need plenty!

xx Bilbo

 

Grouchy Dog’s Growlings

“All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed.
For after all, he was only human. He wasn’t a dog.”
― Charles M. Schulz

After my previous analysis of the Golden Rule and uncovering its shortcomings in the cat department, I returned to my research.

I was starting to study situations where cats and dogs not only co-habitate but indeed have become family… even friends. This was most intriguing research because until now, I had never thought that was possible. I was astounded.

Just when I was starting to prove that the Golden Rule was actually more than theory and had real world applications, yet another exception arose.

Here's Lady all sweetness and innocence murdering my ball.

Here’s Lady all sweetness and innocence murdering my ball.

Lady, my canine companion, not only stole my tennis ball. She killed it, pulling out its fur tuft by precious tuft. It was agony just standing around watching without being able to growl, let alone snap. That’s what it means to truly follow the Golden Rule and I didn’t like it.

There's certainly no Golden Rule at work here!

There’s certainly no Golden Rule at work here!

After this devastating experience, I’ve become a little disillusioned with trying to change the world. Instead of the Golden Rule, I’m now considering a different path:

“Do unto others as they would do unto you.”

This seems a much fairer system. That way, if they steal your ball and chew it up, you can destroy their ball…or at least claim theirs as a replacement. After all, why should you go without?

“There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supercedes all other courts.”

Mahatma Gandhi

I have also learned about this mighty force called karma which strikes the offender down and really makes them suffer. Apparently, God, fate or the universe pays them back for doing the wrong thing. It’s like being struck down by lightening. This sounds brilliant…absolutely brilliant! That’s what I call justice.

I love karma. Indeed, I’m wishing a bit of karma on my Lady friend right now!!

It sounds so much fairer than turning the other cheek and putting up with their bad behaviour. It would also ease the load on our judicial system.

You see, the Golden Rule works well when everybody follows it but that’s my point. Most critters don’t. Whether you’re talking about humans, dogs and especially cats, that seems to be a universal thing. Everyone is just out for themselves. It ‘s even dog eat dog out in the real world.

Say I was to stick to my beliefs and stand by the Golden Rule. What would happen to me then? With everybody else just out for themselves, I’d just get bullied, walked over and turned into a flat and furry dog mat.

Indeed, that’s been my experience already.

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”

Haile Selassie

I’ve ready told you about what Lady did to my ball but the horror doesn’t end there.

Once I’d finally retrieved my ball, somebody, I won’t mention any names, hurled it into the water again just to drive me stark raving mad. You know how it is. As soon as anybody finds your Achilles heel, they just have to twist the knife and make you suffer. We might not have rabies in this country but I can tell you, I was starting to froth at the mouth from all this stress. Overcome with righteous indignation, my blood was also starting to boil.

Disconsolate, completely and utterly shattered, I was trying to follow the Golden Rule but nobody else was. That’s when I decided the Golden Rule was never going to work. Instead, I had to look after number one.

As I’m sure you can appreciate, that’s a huge philosophical shift and it takes quite a shove to get this big dog to budge an inch. (That is, unless you call “Lady” in which case, I’m there in a flash!!)

Then, as if I wasn’t already emotionally overwrought, I had another look in the water. My ball…my beloved tennis ball which had already been mauled and defluffed… had sunk to the bottom of the ocean.

Heartbreak!

This isn't some exotic tropical fish!! No! It's my ball!

This isn’t some exotic tropical fish!! No! It’s my ball underwater!

Of course, Dad had no sympathy. When he saw me peering forlornly over the edge, he just said:

“It was your own @#$% fault for chewing holes in it you @#$%$#@ dog!!!! He hasn’t been very supportive of my ball fetching career and is inclined to call me: “pest dog”. Talk about showing no respect!!”

Perhaps, I might have punctured my ball in a moment of exuberant, over-enthusiastic chewing but there’s a much more likely culprit and we all know who that is.

My ball after the mauling.

My ball after the mauling.

I know you humans keep telling me that I can’t keep blaming Lady for everything and that I need to take responsibility for my own actions. But fair’s fair. The photos say it all. Lady might have us all under her spell. However, she’s a real little upstart who’ll settle for nothing less than world domination and that all starts with me.

Anyway, following through on my new philosophy of “Do unto others as they would do unto you”, this is my new action list…so much for being a good dog. I’ve decided to go for justice instead:

  1. Drop the kids’ iPad minis in the water and watch the entertainment begin. See if their tortured little faces end up on Funniest Home Videos and see how much they like that!
  2. Ditto for mum and her camera.
  3. When it comes to Dad, I might revisit one of my past crimes and chew through his beloved network cable (again) and see whether he takes responsibility. After all, it wasn’t me that chewed through my tennis ball.
  4. Last, but by no means least on my list…Lady. She’d better watch out the next time she finds rabbit road kill. Next time, she’s going to share!

However, like all my great philosophical theories and rants, there’s always an exception.

You see, while the family might pick on me where my ball is concerned, they actually do a lot of nice things for me as well. Based on this list, I will need to action the following:

  1. Feed them and keep topping up their drinks. This means I’ll need to sign up for some kind of gourmet cooking course. Masterchef, Julie Goodwin, just opened a cooking school locally so I might just have to pay her a visit. She might even off load some of her scraps to a very deserving dog.
  2. Take the family for walks. While they can be a bit slack in this department, I’ll be a lot more considerate and make it a daily or even twice daily treat.
  3. Throw the ball for them: xxwhile they don’t support my ball fetching training quite to the level I’d like, they still oblige. Again, like the walking, I’d ramp this up a bit and really get their heart rates thumping.
  4. Plenty of pats and cuddles.

When you weigh things up in the end, there does seem to be a balance of the good and the bad.

However, while I have managed to develop quite a list of all the good and thoughtful things the family does for me, I’m still not so sure about Lady.She is still only young and I certainly didn’t have this well-developed sense of morality when I was a pup. Yes, I admit I moved like a bullet train once that mighty lead snapped onto my collar. I also admitted earlier that right in the middle of Mum’s worst health dramas, I was fretting and chewed through all the computer cables under the house and was lucky to escape with my life. I could feel this little zap zap in my teeth. I could have been an instant hot dog.

Lady might only be an oversized pup but she definitely seems to be more decorative than useful. That said, not everybody was meant to be useful. Some can get by just by fluttering their puppy dog eyes. Indeed, from what my research has uncovered, being decorative definitely pays much better that philosophical research.

My kennel could certainly do with an upgrade so maybe it’s time for this dog to learn a new trick.

Until next time!

Loving thoughts and deeds,

Bilbo

PS Despite all my grouchy rantings today, I still agree with Cat Stevens:

“I am confident that, in the end, common sense and justice will prevail. I’m an optimist, brought up on the belief that if you wait to the end of the story, you get to see the good people live happily ever after.”

Cat Stevens