Sunday, January 2, 2011

COASTAL YARNS by NEIL COLEMAN

Here's another recurring theme in our house. I am sure many of you (OK-- well one of you cause that's all I have reading my blog at the moment-- Doug's my acorn).

There are two pets in our house; a lovely four year old cat called Jasmine and a recently arrived Jack Russel puppy  names Perdy. When friends heard about this arrangement they thew up their hands in horror.
'Dont you know that Jack Russel's  and cats don't get on--- it will be bedlam,' they said.

They were right. Bedlam arrived, right on time, in vast quantities. Initially Perdy observed from her containment. She drilled jasmine with her enquiring looks, trying to make out why "Puppy" Jasmine didn't introduce herself formally. At first, Perdy was only allowed out of her pen for relatively short periods of time as we completed her toiletry  training. She learned quickly to tell us when she needed to go outside to christen the lawn.

Jasmine in the meantime, regarded Perdy in her usual imperious manner; a trait that she still struggles to maintain. I suspect that there was a good amount of disdain shown towards us, as if to say---'What the hell have you introduced into this bastion of calm. Life was so good until you brought this black spotted thing into my home--- yes my home--- after all, you are only a tenant here.'

We tried to ignore the accusing looks, even after the card arrived. Yes, someone had the cheek to send a Xmas card on Jasmine's behalf. I mean she's clever, but  she hasn't learned to write or use the postal service--- yet.
You can guess what the card said.
 'Either the dog goes or I do.'

It hasn't quite come to that yet, but there have been moments when we wondered if they would ever get on. But nature has a way of working things out---- sort of. Actual fights haven't really eventuated. Perdy has this way of stalking Jasmine, in a mongoose-like fashion. She approaches and crouches as if to pounce. When Jasmine finished her spitting and meowing phase, she attempts to swipe Perdy with her claws. Perdy always jumps back, retreating to a safe spot. Jasmine just misses and quiet returns for a moment. Perdy of course, is far from finished. She waits until Jasmine  flees and jumps through the hole in the gate (its there  to allow access to the gate latch). Occasionally  Perdy manages to nip at Jasmine's fleeing leg, but I don't see any sign that she actually connects.

Some of you may be worried that Jasmine is getting the short end here. Don't worry. She has her way of stalking Perdy too and then taunting  her from a height. Its almost as if she is saying--- 'Bring it on bitch--- I'm ready when you are.'

Similar behaviours can be seen when  Jasmine is  passing through the cat door (which now serves as a doggie door too). Perdy takes delight in attacking, just as Jasmine is halfway  out the door. Perdy doesn't get it all her own way. If she is silly enough to follow Jasmine out the door, she is regularly the target for a pissed off pussy. So far, Jasmine hasn't caused any serious damage with her claws, although I have heard Perdy yelping a couple of times.

It is my belief that things aren't too bad. I am sure that Perdy just wants to play. We have observed them many times outside, interacting in more pleasant ways. Jasmine likes to watch  when  Perdy is in one of her early evening manic phases. You know the one, where dogs seem to go crazy. Perdy runs and jumps in a circuit, her little bottom bobbing up and down as she streaks around the small section. It only lasts a few minutes but Jasmine almost turns her head in a full circle as she trys to keep up with  Perdy's wild display.

I am almost certain that they cooperate when it comes to hunting. A few weeks ago a suicidal mouse was crazy enough to come into the section. Perdy and Jasmine immediately morphed into deadly hunters. They cornered the poor beast from two sides and eventually it was Perdy who proudly brought a wiggling mouse into the house. She was furious when we took the mouse from her.

Whilst all is not peaceful  in this formerly tranquil haven, things have settled to a predictable pattern. The fact that Jasmine just cruises imperiously past Perdy when she comes in for her meals, indicates that she has reached a level of tolerance that will prevent us having to choose between our two  beautiful companions. They are both here to stay. I guess it is us who will have to accommodate them.

 Cheers