Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Good Dog Gets Better; A Great Cat Says Goodbye

For Feline and Furball Plus Feathers Friday:

Sorry I forgot to link in last week despite a few doggish entries. Before I get started, let me just link to one from this past Sunday:

Take Your Dog To Church Day 2008

But that's not important right now. I'm going to write a little bit about a recent improvement in Pepper's behavior, but first I'd like to say something about Carly's cat Elvis, who died on Wednesday.

So Long to the Coolest Cat

Elvis graciously loaned his image
to Barack Obama's campaign.

Ever since Carly started her original blog Ellipsis back on AOL in 2003, her cat Elvis was a major part of both her writing and photography, just as he was a major part of her life. It's hard to tell where the actual cat ended and Carly's storytelling skills began, but clearly he was pretty extraordinary. This was a cat who wore Halloween costumes and other attire at times, not just passively cooperative but actually willing to dress up for Carly's camera. He was highly photogenic and very affectionate. He had a cordial relationship with other cats and at least one opossum, but his lifelong best friend was Carly herself. I never met Elvis, just as I've never met Carly in person, but both of them gained numerous friends and fans through both versions of Ellipsis. I'm one of them.

Carly and Elvis were both diagnosed with diabetes a few months apart from each other, and Carly managed the condition for both of them with considerable success. The same cannot be said for Elvis's other recent diagnosis, cancer. Even with treatment, Elvis was living on borrowed time, and Carly knew it. As with my dog Tuffy's cancer, when the disease returned, it was fast and fierce. Elvis's quality of life was severely impaired. On Wednesday, by appointment, Carly did the kind thing, and said goodbye.

All of Carly's readers, myself included, will miss this remarkable cat and Carly's tales of his adventures. But that pales in comparison to what Carly was probably feeling today.

Pepper's Progress

I think it was on Saturday that I broke the rules at Miko's Corner Playground. I abandoned Pepper and Cayenne for about ten minutes, leaving them completely unsupervised while I rushed off, by necessity, to a nearby restroom. I know, I know: shame on me, right? But I'm glad I did it.

Pepper has a turning point.

Since Cayenne arrived at Casa Blocher and settled in, I've wished the two dogs would even out a bit in behavior. Cayenne has been a little too dependent, Pepper too independent. Call Pepper over, either at the dog park or at home, and she would probably go the other way, even if the person doing the calling had a treat in hand. At the dog park, Pepper would run off or lag behind, sorta-kinda following Cayenne or me but at a distance, out of reach. More than once I've had to chase her, trap her or apply trickery to get the leash back on her for the ride home. Cayenne, on the other hand, spends most of her time at Miko's Corner walking just behind me, not quite in heel position on her invisible leash.

Why, it's Pepper! Practically on the path with me!

But on Saturday when I got back from the rest room, Cayenne and Pepper were right by the gate, waiting for me, ecstatic to see me again. Since then, Pepper seems to appreciate my presence more, and is more cooperative and friendly. Until now it's been a struggle to get the choke collar and leash on her, but suddenly this week it's gotten easier day by day. Either she's no longer trying to evade it, or she's starting to cooperate because it means she gets to go to the dog park and back. Or something. Maybe her little scare on Saturday is irrelevant to this change in behavior, but I think it made a difference. Either she's more interested in having me around now, or she's trusting me not to take her somewhere and leave her behind forever, as happened to her repeatedly before she became a Blocher. Or both.

Is Cayenne less dependent? Maybe.

Has Cayenne changed? Is she more dependent, more independent, or neither? I'm not quite sure. She still follows me around the look most of the time, but I thin she may also be spending a little more time with other dogs. At home, I think she may be spending a smidge less time dogging me.

Be sure to check out (sometimes)photoblog on Friday for this week's collection of critters.



alphawoman said...

I am sad about Elvis. I recall all those cute posts and pictures. Iam so sorry about this.

Carly said...

Thank you Karen

I am sorry, I didn't see this last night. I haven't been doing much today, but I am glad I found out about this lovely tribute. I miss him so much, and so this just touches me and makes me feel happy that he could touch others.

Those puppies of yours have captured my heart, especially the red dog, Cayenne. She has a goofy quality to her that stikes a cord in me. Tuffy Toro was such a wonderful doggie, I think she would have been my good friend as well. Animals make our lifes so much nicer I think.

Thanks again for your sweetness.