I already posted today, but I was just thinking about Hurley and Simon, and realizing how much better I feel when I focus on them. I’m not with them physically right now, but remembering how they are and who they are is comforting. I’m really so lucky to have them. I’m lucky to have such well-behaved, interesting pets.
I’ve taught Hurley to go get the mail with me after I get home from work, off-leash. The goal was to make sure that if were to ever get off-leash for some reason by accident (or run out the door) that he would respond to my commands and come when called. I want him to learn to ignore distractions and always focus on me.
It’s been going really well. He knows the phrase “go get the mail” and knows I like him to walk right at my side in the heel position as we go down the driveway and sidewalk to the mailbox. Once we get to the mailbox, he knows to sit and wait for me to get everything out. Then, I say “go back up to the house” and he runs ahead of me, down the sidewalk and up the driveway. At the front door, he stands and waits for me to get there and let him in. Sometimes, to test him, I say “go back up to the house” but then yell “wait” or “stop” and he does… he stops in his tracks and looks back to me for the next command. Therefore, this little project is achieving what I want: a dog that is as well-behaved in off-leash situations as he is on-leash.
Simon isn’t do much learning these days, although we’re close to getting him to go “around and through” for a treat. “Around and through” is our term for “go around my legs in a figure 8 pattern.” Hurley does it very well. So now it’s Simon’s turn. But all Simon ever wants to do is meow repeatedly at me and rub against my leg. (He’s quite the talker.) Either way, it’s fine. He’s cute and doesn’t beg for stuff, so he’s allowed to be himself.
Last night as I brushed Hurley’s teeth and moisturized his paw pads with bag balm, Simon hopped up next to him and watched. He sniffed Hurley, watched what I was doing closely, and seemed generally concerned about what I was doing to his friend. He licked one of Hurley’s paws, and reached a paw up to try to touch the toothbrush when I was wiping it off with a paper towel. It was all kinds of adorable. Just to see what he’d do, I rubbed a little of the bag balm on one of his paws, and he wasn’t too crazy about that. 🙂
Sometimes, I wish I wasn’t so damn impressed and entertained by their friendship, because I really could sit and watch them play for hours. The way Hurley play-bows and hops towards Simon; the way Simon opens his mouth and pulls a paw back in the air and then swats at Hurley; the play-biting; the times Simon holds Hurley down and licks his head and ears; and when Hurley goes after Simon with a wild smile on his face whenever I use the vacuum or a small, noisy appliance in the kitchen (mixer, blender, salad spinner, etc). I don’t know why that is a cue for them to start playing, but it is.
Simon is always in the front window as I drive up to the house at the end of the day. He stretches and I can see his mouth moving as he meows, and then he hops down and he and Hurley meet me at the garage door. It’s so cool that they both happily welcome me home. Simon trots after me as I put things down, go to the bathroom, turn on the A/C, etc… just meowing away as he tells me some apparently-important stuff about his day. I love it. It’s incredibly charming.
I feed Simon on the second shelf up on the bookshelf in the kitchen. The other day he leapt up there when he was in one of those run-wild-through-the-house, looking-possessed moments, and he skidded into his bowl of food and it went everywhere. He and Hurley both raced to try to eat up as much scattered food as possible, but when I yelled “LEAVE IT” they both stopped and left the food alone as I cleaned it up. It was pretty cool. They stood there, side by side, watching me, waiting for me to ‘release’ them so they could do whatever they wanted. To see a dog and a cat behaving the same way, at the same time, almost made me cry for some reason. They’re little angels. I know they are with me for a reason. They’re meant to be my sweet little guys. I love how they both came into my life rather unexpectedly, and it worked out so perfect.
Ahhh. Weird, but my headache has subsided somewhat as I typed this. I’m telling you, pets have magic powers to heal us. (Anyone who says otherwise is an asshole.)