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I love my dogs and tolerate my cats 

by Ron Holdraker
May 24, 2024

The Holdraker household is full of...fur. It’s everywhere -  and numerous air filters have little effect on its spread.

This is the result of three Cavalier King Charles dogs constantly shedding. No amount of brushing deters the gathering of tumbleweed-like fur balls circulating around the house.

Then there are the brother and sister cats my Wife Patti so wanted because the dogs always ignore her. They add a mixture of gray and brown fluff to the mix of shedding.

Scout is the handicapped dog that has cost millions in medicine and ongoing therapy for a really bad hip. He also has a flatulence problem that will knock your socks off if in close proximity. Luckily, I found a special dog food that when mixed with his regular kibble seems to quell the smell.

Checkers is the rescue Cavalier King Charles that is 90% deaf. Yeah, it’s a real treat to get him to move, or do anything. At 8 years+ old he tries to keep up with the herd, but it definitely is a challenge.

Dewey Dog is going on 3 and has an attitude barely exceeding my own for dominance. He is the one running in circles around the yard, always looking for a challenge to defy.

All three dogs have "special" needs for nutrient delivery. There is a shelf in the house with nothing but assorted canine meds for arthritis, itching, scooting (look it up) and other various dog maladies.

Feeding times are 4:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and nobody, but nobody wants to get in the way as they return from outdoor romps. In the afternoon feeding I bellow the charge theme as all three dash for the backyard.

The feeding and ‘treats’ routine must be done in a timely manner. All three have a built-in timer, and if I am off time, six eye stares begin. How in the hell do dogs know time!

Sometimes Scout’s tummy is off kilter and he will sit and stare at his bowl, growling at any of the tribe nearing his dish until he feels the right moment to down his mix.

Then, there are the two cats, Jinx and Janie. Although they were adopted to soothe Wife Patti’s dog abandonment, they immediately took to me. If I lay back in the recliner as dogs each find their place on, or near me, one of the two cats will nudge their way through to lay on my chest.

The cat laying is rather ominous since de-clawing  cats is illegal. The slightest provocation and the lying cat  leaps from the sleeping position imbedding sharp claws into my chest, or crotch. Yes, I have the scars if anybody ever want to see them.

So, how does the dominant male of the house (I think that means me) divide attention between the menagerie of dogs and cats?

It is a balance thing. Checkers needs a small amount of attention, but is the subservient, too-friendly dog willing to retreat.

Scout has a way of moving into place and wanting the belly and leg rubs to relieve his day of limping and pain.

Then, there is Dewey who has no qualms about just jumping into the frey by throwing himself belly-up across my chest.

Each needing, wanting their share of attention from the guy who works endlessly in the office, or in his gardens.

The nice thing about dogs (and cats,  I guess) is that no matter how dirty, sweaty, or smelly Dad can be, he is always at the ready for some needed attention. The same cannot be said of Wife Patti.

Bedtime means it is tooth brushing time for the dogs. No, we have not even considered trying to brush the cats’ teeth. Some dogs are eager for the nightly ritual, others see it as a chore. Once done, it is time for the nightly pee in the backyard and retreat to their favorite dog beds in our bedroom.

Sometimes, just sometimes, they miss the 4:30 a.m. wakening and sleep through until 5 a.m.

It is a grueling routine, but one I have adopted. I admittedly fear the  undeniable day when one, or more, must leave this earth and leave a hole in the daily schedule and in my heart. Oh, yeah, the cats too.

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