With all the wildlife around our new home, you’d think I’d be afraid of the huge coyotes, the bobcat slinking under the window, or the javelinas staring at me through the gate. But no, I’m afraid of a neighbor’s dog.
A coyote has been hanging out on our wall.
I’m not sure if it’s an irrational fear or not. You should see the dog! I’ve been walking along the road outside our development for my morning walks. One side is backyards of houses and the other side a nature’s preserve. The views across the street are breathtaking.
The dog sits in his backyard and barks at me as I walk by. He’s a big, ugly dog with a nasty growl and bark.
I was okay with it, thinking there’s no way this devil-looking dog can get outside his fence. But then one day I faced the dog being walked on a leash by the owner and their young teen son walking a huge pit bull — who looked friendly compared to the beast. The devil dog lunged at the end of its leash, growling. The woman holding the leash pulled on it precariously. I crossed the street from the sidewalk to the open nature’s preserve.
“I’m afraid of your dog!” I called out.
“Oh, he’s fine,” she said.
I hoped she could hang onto that damn leash! I wish he was wearing a pinch collar or at least a choke chain.
Back at home I googled vicious dogs and looked for the breed. I found it. Presa Canario. Here’s the website where I found the picture.
I found this photo online. It looks like the neighbor’s dog.
This is what I learned from one of many websites I clicked on.
This breed is widely considered to make for a loyal pet and a first-rate guard dog when raised properly. But it also has a reputation as a fearsome fight dog with an aggressive streak when it is not well trained. Unfortunately, Presa Canario attacks are known to happen, and can prove deadly.
So, I don’t feel secure about this dog. I don’t know if he’s well trained or not. Whenever I go out walking and spot the woman with her dog, I turn the other way. I wonder why they need a pit bull and a presa? Isn’t that overkill? I’m sure they sleep well at night, though.
I find myself second guessing where to walk. I think I’m overacting and my walks aren’t as enjoyable. I may have to get back to the pool!
Olive outside at our old home.
My other fear is that my kitty Olive will get outside and tangle with the wildlife. She went outside at our old home and loved her time outdoors. So far, she runs the opposite direction and hides whenever a door is opened.
This little guy is more my speed than a presa. It’s Waffles the pug snuggling my daughter.
Do you think my fear of the neighbor’s dog is irrational or not? How would you react in my situation?
How are our furry friends handling the stress of the pandemic? Do they like having us around all the time? Well, according to a dog training expert I heard on the radio, if man’s best friend’s behavior has changed, then they may be stressed out. (I’m sorry I can’t remember the name of the dog trainer, but he had some really good advice.)
If we are stressed out, our dogs may become stressed, too. Barking more than usual, destroying things or being super clingy are signs of stress. The trainer said the best thing to do is not yell at your dog when they are barking or rifling through the trash, but instead say, “Come!” Next, work with them for a few minutes so they get focused. Run through a few sits and stays. Our dogs live to please us and they are dying to work for us. Spending a few minutes throughout the day with short training sessions can change their destructive behavior and make them feel better.
If you’re a dog owner, Nelson recommends making adjustments now to help dogs that might experience separation anxiety when you’re not constantly around.
Start by resuming former routines you might have dropped, such as waking up, getting dressed and leaving the house.
“Whether it’s just for 30 minutes or an hour, where you go pick up a coffee through the drive-thru and you sit in your car for a while. It gives your pets a little bit of time without you,” she said.
If you can, Nelson said to try to make your departure time as similar to your usual workday routine. Some dogs might need to revisit the habit of having to spend time in their crates.
Signs of separation anxiety can include dogs destroying things or overly grooming themselves.
“Really good exercise can help a lot with these pets. A tired pet is a good pet,” Nelson said.
The article also talks about cats and typically they aren’t as happy as the puppers to have us around all the time. That’s because cats like to be left alone and they like privacy. They probably believe we are invading their space. Cats definitely differ from dogs — they aren’t living to please us.
Waffles the pug.
How are your pets doing during the pandemic? How have their schedules and routines changed?
I’m a cat owner now. For most of my life, I was cat and dog owner. My cat is Olive and she’s going on nine years. We got her when my son left for college. He’s allergic to cats so we waited until he was out of the house. Olive is really my daughter’s kitty, but she didn’t take Olive to the snow in Salt Lake City during college, even though Olive would have done well with all her fur and polydactyl paws. Then my daughter got her pug Waffles and the two creatures don’t mix. Olive remains my only pet now. I worried about moving her from the only house and yard she knew in Palm Springs to our new home in Arizona.
She used to go outside for about 10 to 12 hours each day. Now she’s strictly an indoor cat due to the wildlife around our house. So far we’ve seen coyotes, bobcats, javelina, hawks and owls. People warned me that cats wouldn’t last an hour outside. I was afraid she’d go nuts. I thought she’d sneak through my legs whenever I opened the door. But the opposite is true. Olive runs and hides under the bed if a door is cracked open. I think she must smell the danger outside.
Olive jumps in my lap for attention and she follows me around the house. She plays with her toys in the early mornings. Then she stoically stares out the sliding glass door at sunrise. Watching. Waiting. For what? I think she was cut out for the indoor cat life.
In an article by Christopher Ingraham called “Dog owners are much happier than cat owners, survey finds” published in the Washington Post, he quotes lots of statistics that basically say that there’s little difference between pet owners and non-pet owners, but a huge difference in happiness between dog and cat lovers.
The well-respected survey that’s been a barometer of American politics, culture and behavior for more than four decades finally got around to the question that has bedeviled many a household.
Dog or cat?
In 2018, the General Social Survey for the first time included a battery of questions on pet ownership. The findings not only quantified the nation’s pet population — nearly 6 in 10 households have at least one —they made it possible to see how pet ownership overlaps with all sorts of factors of interest to social scientists.
For starters, there is little difference between pet owners and non-owners when it comes to happiness, the survey shows. The two groups are statistically indistinguishable on the likelihood of identifying as “very happy” (a little over 30 percent) or “not too happy” (in the mid-teens).
But when you break the data down by pet type — cats, dogs or both — a stunning divide emerges: Dog owners are about twice as likely as cat owners to say they’re very happy, with people owning both falling somewhere in between.
Dog people, in other words, are slightly happier than those without any pets. Those in the cat camp, on the other hand, are significantly less happy than the pet-less. And having both appears to cancel each other out happiness-wise. (Since someone’s bound to ask, it isn’t possible to do this same type of analysis for say, rabbit owners or lizard owners or fish owners, since there aren’t enough of those folks in the survey to make a statistically valid sample).
These differences are quite large: The happiness divide between dog and cat owners is bigger than the one between people who identify as middle and upper class, and nearly as large as the gap between those who say they’re in “fair” versus “good or excellent” health.
However, correlation doesn’t equal causation, and there are probably a number of other differences between dog and cat owners that account for some of the differences. The General Social Survey data show that dog owners, for instance, are more likely to be married and own their own homes than cat owners, both factors known to affect happiness and life satisfaction.
Previous research on this topic yielded mixed results. In 2006, the Pew Research Center found no significant differences in happiness between pet owners and non-pet owners, or cat and dog owners. However, that survey did not distinguish between people who owned “only” a dog or a cat, and those who owned “either” a dog or a cat, potentially muddying the distinctions between exclusive dog and cat owners.
A 2016 study of dog and cat owners, on the other hand, yielded greater happiness ratings for dog owners relative to cat people. It attributed the contrast, at least in part, to differences in personality: Dog owners tended to be more agreeable, more extroverted and less neurotic than cat owners. And a 2015 study linked the presence of a cat in the home to fewer negative emotions, but not necessarily an increase in positive ones.
We’ve always had dogs. But after Angus, our big yellow lab, who died at age 15, I just don’t want to go through the heartache again. Right now. In the future we’ll see.
Angus and Sherman
It’s so hard to say good-bye. It’s not fair that our pets live such short lives. I have two friends that lost their best friends in the past few weeks. One lost Beckham, her Aussie, and another lost her glorious golden last week at eight years old. My heart grieves for them both.
Lola (RIP) center, with Waffles and Gracie.
What is your opinion on dogs versus cats? Do you have either or both and do they make you happy?
I have learned that it’s not a good idea to put out dry food for a stray cat. Do you know what happens? More cats appear out of nowhere! Just like that! Who knew?
It all began on Wednesday when my dear friend from Snohomish came over with her Cabi clothes. (Cabi is Carol Anderson By Invitation, a shopping experience where you invite your friends into your home to try on outfits with a ‘stylist’ who helps you put together outfits.) For the past few years, Tonja, who is a top notch Cabi stylist—top 10 in the nation, top notch—has come from our hometown to my house and I’ve co-hosted parties with a friend. I love the clothes BTW. And this year’s Spring 2019 Collection is inspired by the colors of Palm Springs.
Wednesday night, Tonja and her husband, dropped off the clothes for the Thursday night party. We set up two clothing racks in our living room and off they went to their hotel. Our door was open and Loud Mouth Cryer Cat walked right in, like he/she owned the place! We have never seen this cat before in our lives, but honestly, you hear this cat well before you see it. Our kitty Olive, who barely knows how to meow (it’s more of a muffled “meh”) stood and stared. They stood and stared for about 15 minutes with this new creature crying in a loud guttural voice from under the clothing rack. The sound of nightmares!
Come on in, don’t wait for an invite, Cryer Cat.
I tried something crazy. I shut the back door and Cryer Cat was locked inside. He/she promptly went nuts and ran straight up the wall caterwauling (cat-er-walling?) for the few seconds I had the doors shut. Then she ran out as soon as there was an opening. I felt sorry for the kitty, although he/she looks well fed. I put out some dry cat food outside the back door.
Cryer Cat cried and cried. This went on from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. nonstop. Ugh. He/she found a particularly comfortable spot to cry right outside our bedroom window.
A Cabi cat stand-off.
The next day, I noticed the small dish of cat food was empty. I refilled it. A few hours later, I heard the crying again. So, I went outside to see if I could find the Cryer Cat. No luck. Instead, there was a large well-fed black and white cat at the food bowl. Olive cat stood a few feet away, staring. I heard Cryer Cat mewling around somewhere, along with other unidentified meowers. Maybe this idea of feeding a stray cat because i felt sorry for it, wasn’t such a good idea. I can just imagine what my yard would look like after a few more days of putting out food.
My daughter is coming home with Worldwide Waffles. She assured me there would be no more stray cats willing to risk our back yard ever again. I’m just hoping Olive doesn’t give up on us, too.
Waffles chases cats for sport.
If you’ve put out food for stray cats, how did it work for you?
I’m babysitting my daughter’s pug Waffles while she’s off visiting her brother and then studying abroad in Paris and Rome. I have him under my wing until August when she moves to Arizona and takes Waffles with her. He’s a sweet little guy without much fuss or muss, most of the time.
But, we also have Olive. Olive is a seven-year-old cat, who looks suspiciously like a Maine Coone. When my daughter was a sophomore in high school, my daughter adopted the young kitty from the Palm Springs Animal Shelter. Olive has become my cat and I’m pretty attached. She’s a pretty lame hunter, and mostly goes after worms and bugs.
The problem is Waffles and Olive don’t get along. Waffles is not quite two years old and likes to chase. Olive used to run. Then Olive would stay outside and wouldn’t come back until Waffles left. It wasn’t a long time, like a week of being an outdoor cat, while our daughter was home for Christmas or Spring Break. But now it’s going to be three months. I don’t want Olive to run away for good.
Waffles picture on “We Rate Dogs.”
Olive has changed her behavior to hissing and whacking at Waff. But it doesn’t intimidate Waffles at all and he gets quite growly and barky. He has a big personality and gets right in her face. It escalates quickly and gets noisy and rough. I don’t understand why they just can’t get along.
My pretty kitty Olive.
Do you have any advice for getting a seven-year-old cat and two-year-old pug to become friends?
My favorite graduation picture of my daughter and Waffles.
I’m proud of myself today, because I started off the week with 5:30 a.m. practice. I’ve been trying to get up, half-heartedly I’ll admit, for the past month but the comfort of bed is just too much for me at 5 a.m. An extra hour of sleep usually wins out. But, today I did it. I made it to practice on time, began my workout in the dark and found joy in watching the views of the sunrise and pink-hued mountain change color during my workout.
I find a lot of happiness and excitement in the little things in my days. Our lives are made of small moments strung together and if we spend too much time worrying or focusing on the past or future, we miss the little bits of joy in the present.
Happiness is my daughter with her puppy.
Here’s a list of moments that make me truly happy:
Hearing the birds sing early in the morning.
My fourth flip turn during my second 200 at practice this morning. I nailed it.
Having lunch yesterday with a good friend and spending a few hours catching up with our lives.
Noticing that a family member got their dish off the table, into the sink and miracle of miracles—into the dishwasher.
Olive the cat honoring me with her presence and stretching out for a cat nap while I’m laying on my side. I have to be careful not to move, so she doesn’t fall off.
Olive the cat in our back yard.
My kids calling just to talk. They aren’t asking for anything and there’s nothing big going on.
Sitting under an orange tree in my back yard reading a really good book.
Walking with my husband and marveling at the beauty surrounding us on a weekend morning.
Reading a positive comment on one of my articles.
Checking things off my to-do list and feeling productive.