Jake is a handful at times, and he loves swiping things off any table or shelf. He’s also very vocal when he wants to be let into or out of a room, or when he tries to persuade either of us to give him a few extra bites of cat food.
Other than that, he’s really quite well adjusted, and has been a part of our lives for the past two years now. He’s generally happy, except when Naomi and I spent an inordinate stretch of time at the hospital. He got so stressed he pooped all over the sofa. You don’t often see a cat with separation anxiety, but Jake is it.
Naomi loves dogs, and we thought long and hard about adding a dog to our household. The canid candidate would have to get along with Jake. And whether or not Jake took to the new member was another issue we had to tackle. Cats are a different kettle of fish from dogs, as they say, although that’s an idiom/phrase that makes things a lot more complicated.
Therefore, a puppy young enough to train to be sociable with cats was the sensible approach, and we went to the usual pet shops and pet farms where I cuddled every cute puppy and said, “yes, I like him/her”. Thankfully, Naomi, being the experienced former dog owner, said, “you say that with every puppy we see, how like that?”
Scouring the classifieds was next, but texting different owners giving up their dogs for adoption was a challenge. Many didn’t respond, and several that did replied that their charges had already been adopted because the listing was put up several months ago, idiot.
We also made a trip to the SPCA, where we met Summer, a beautiful boxer who unfortunately needed a house with a yard for her to romp around in. We would’ve adopted her if we had a suitable abode. We consulted the people at the SPCA for a “dog that got along with cats and who would be able to live in a condo”, but unfortunately no suitable candidates were found.
Then came a flurry of SMS exchanged with someone who had a year old Jack Russell Terrier up for adoption, and who seemed keen on finding a suitable family for the pooch, who was described as having a quiet temperament – i.e. less frisky than your average Jack Russell Terrier.
We made an appointment for him to bring the dog over to see how he took to Jake. As expected, the dog, Mac, took an instant liking to the quick moving furry animal, and whined till kingdom come when he wasn’t allowed to play with Jake.
Jake was simply not impressed.
A week later, we made another appointment for Mac to come over and have a trial stay, and he came over with his kit of collar, medicine, chew toys and some dog food.
Three weeks after that, he’s still here, and has made himself right at home. In fact, a little too at home for our liking, as he’s not 100% house trained.
As for getting along with Jake, let’s just say it’s not exactly like a house on fire. Jake has stopped meowing his “this is my turf” meow, but isn’t impressed at Mac’s constant and persistent efforts to try to start a family with him.
But Jake does get his own back by taunting Mac, running past him and into areas of our apartment that he knows Mac can’t get to, either because it’s too high (bookshelf), or it’s a demarcated no-go area (kitchen/tv room). He also likes swatting Mac and swiping things off the table onto the hapless dog, like car keys and pens. I find it funny, but we really have to stop encouraging him, because it’ll be glasses and other larger breakables next.
We have a sunken-in living room which is three steps down from the main hallway, and when Mac and I come back from walkies, we usually find Jake hiding there, just below the top step of the main hallway, with only his ears and a little of his eyes visible, ready to pounce on an unsuspecting Mac.
Jake has also successfully attempted pawing pieces of Mac’s food (while Mac’s eating) into his own mouth. We’re not too optimistic about seeing both boys cuddling up to each other, but that’ll do. Mac has a couple of scratches on his paw and face to remind him (albeit temporarily) to take it one step at a time with their friendship.
It takes a bit of effort getting to know a dog you’re adopting, especially if he isn’t a puppy anymore. Mac was born a little over a year ago in a puppy farm, and apparently, he had fallen off from his cage and was sporting a limp. The puppy farmer then told Mac’s guardian that because of his limp, he wasn’t for sale but was available for adoption. Mac was then taken home and passed on to another family, where he lived for several months before a (human) member of his family got pregnant, and for that reason, they had to give Mac back up to his original adopter, with whom he lived for several more months before we contacted them.
It’s been a great learning experience for me these past weeks. Naomi is like the dog whisperer, which makes it a lot easier to understand Mac and how to integrate him into our family.
Mac’s naughtier than his apparent docile nature leads you to think, and so far, it’s also been a challenge trying to make sure he doesn’t think we’ve renamed him, “NO NO BAD DOG”, as a book we’ve been reading tells us that we might just be inadvertently doing.
Like most Jack Russells, he can get a bit boisterous with play, although we’ve found that when you chuck a towel or blanket over his head, you can pretty much deactivate him as he falls asleep almost immediately. Save for the time of course when I chucked a towel over his head and went out the bedroom, only for him to walk off the edge of the bed and onto the floor, and into the wall.
So much fun. We might just watch less tv.