My Blog Journal


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The Crazy Cat Lady Goes To The Dogs?

Dog in a field.

Will you stay with me, will you be my love? Among the fields of Harley….

Thank you to everyone who visited my Etsy shop this weekend! Several of the orders were shipped off yesterday, several more this afternoon, and the remaining few will be mailed tomorrow. :)

I had an interesting exchange at the post office yesterday.

I typically purchase my shipping mailers directly from my local branch, and as I was standing there sliding wrapped magnets and bookmarks into cardboard envelopes, a gentleman joined me at the back counter.

He began addressing his mail, but then stopped and asked me,

“How do you spell ‘Bethlehem’?”

I gave him the spelling ~ twice ~ but he still struggled to remember the second “H”, so after a beat, I handed him one of my finished envelopes and pointed to my own address.

I live on Bethlehem Court.

So does this gentleman. Surprise! We were neighbors.

Then he asked me for our zip code. LOL!

He looked at me at last, and said,

“Aren’t you the lady with the two young children, who walks her dog every morning?”

“Haha, yes. That would be us.”

“I’m the guy who lives on the corner with the small dog.”

“Oh, okay. Wow, well it’s nice to meet you.”

I had no idea what to say to the dog-owning stranger who was my neighbor, but I found it ironic (and slightly embarrassing) that I was packaging CAT ART ~ because I am a cat artist ~ while this man recognizes me as “the lady with the dog”.

Lovable Harleykin!

Lovable Harley

When did I become The Dog Lady?!

I’ve never had a dog before in my life. I grew up in a strict two-cat family.

Childhood experiences with aggressive dogs had left me determined to never own one. In my mind, even the friendliest dogs were ticking bombs waiting to unleash their teeth of fury on me.

My children, on the other hand, have always been fascinated by dogs. I was able to make excuses about our lease not allowing for dogs, but when they learned we were buying our home, “adopting a dog” became a hot topic. Even my husband was in favor of getting one, as he’s grown up around dogs and assured me that most breeds are lovable and loyal.

I was outnumbered when a friend of mine shared a dog’s profile on Facebook, who was in need of a new home.

A boy and his dog

I found myself driving to Westminster to pick up Harley, a six-year-old pit-bull mix.

Seriously?! A Pit-bull.

Of all the dogs imaginable, I never would have expected to bring a reputed killer breed into my house.

Harley's favorite wooded park

However, my friend assured me that this dog was gentle with children and cats.   She had known his former owner, who was suffering from health problems and could no longer care for him. She had spent time getting to know Harley and vouched for his good behaviour.

I put my faith in her word, and crossed my paws that I wouldn’t regret it.

Harley must have sensed my doubts, because he latched himself onto me like a toddler, licking my face at our first meeting and nuzzling me all the way home in the car.

At home, he waited for permission to get onto the couch, and once granted, he curled up beside me.

Dog kisses

Teaching me to trust him.

Somehow I have become his chosen person; he looks to me when it’s dinnertime, and I am the lucky one who walks him to the park as often as weather permits. I wait while he sniffs and pees on every stump and shrub, digs in the earth a bit, and continues to sniff the leaves.

Our walks usually last an hour or more, and have become something I look forward to… unless it is cold and wet. :P

A dog in the woods.

The cats were naturally less than thrilled by Harley’s arrival. They hid in our bedroom for a full two days, prompting me to move their litter-box and food bowls upstairs as well.

Merlin was the first to venture downstairs and assess the situation. Dominic is a scaredy-cat, and would quickly exit the room when he heard the click-click of dog claws coming. Merlin would stand his ground and hiss in defiance.

Cat stalking dog

It was interesting to watch as they adjusted to his presence. They are still not on speaking terms with him, but they tolerate being in the same space, even sharing the bed together.

I caught Dominic sniffing Harley’s face last night while the dog slept! :)

I title this picture: "Upstairs Downstairs" .... the aristocat and the slave dog. :)

I title this picture: “Upstairs Downstairs” …. the aristocat and the slave dog. :)

There are moments when I see him yawning or chewing on his rope toy, and my eyes are drawn to the sharp rows of teeth. He still makes me nervous.

I tell myself that he probably makes potential attackers nervous, too. Although if anyone tried breaking into our house, they would only need to toss him a biscuit and he would happily wag his tail and invite the thief inside.

WHAT?!?

Adopting a pit-bull has been enlightening for me, although it has left me wide open to unsolicited advice and warnings about “good dogs gone bad”.

But I also have had strangers stop me on the street to compliment my dog and pet him.

It is almost as if dog-owners are in a special club, and whenever they see you walking yours, they nod and greet you as a member. With secret handshakes and passwords.

The $1,000,000 question is whether (and when) I will begin painting dogs…..

Pit-bull Harley looking out the glass door

We shall see. ;)

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