It was late Wednesday night. I was getting ready for bed. From outside through the window I heard a terrible yowl. It sounded cat-like, so of course my first panicked thought was, “Ralph!”
I ran for the front door calling for Matt as I went. Baxter had heard the yowl as well, so he was right with me. I snapped on his leash and we dashed outside. Matt headed for the barn, Ralph’s usual hangout. I realized that neither Baxter nor I had thought to grab a flashlight, so I ducked back inside for one. Then Baxter and I headed for the back of the house where the yowl had originated. Despite my best whistles and even with the flashlight there was no sign of Ralph.
I was thinking clearly enough to realize that our puppy is a pretty sniffy guy, so when it seemed like he’d caught a scent, I trotted along behind him, holding tight to the leash. Down a little hill, up a couple of steps, across the patio, over to the stand of pines and then in the weak beam of the flashlight she was there. A grey furry ball huddled at the base of one of the big trees.
Between the dark and the yowls and the scents, Baxter was a bit excited, so he forgot about all of the good lessons he’s learned over the last little while. Specifically, he forgot:
- Cats are boring.
- We don’t chase kitties.
- Ralph is Julia’s and Matt’s cat. I have to be gentle with things that belong to Julia and Matt.
I’m sure you can guess what happened.
As Baxter took off after Ralph, he pulled me off my feet, down a hill–a little one but it was steep, and towards a thicket. It was only a second or so, but it’s one of those moments that seems much longer than it actually is. All I could think was, “Holy cow he’s strong. I can’t stop him. How far is he going to drag me?”
Baxter did stop before we got too far into the thicket. I had dirt under my fingernails, mud on my palms and grass stains and a scratch on my knee.
Oh, and did I mention I was wearing my pyjamas? Ten minutes ago I was headed to bed! How do things like this happen?
Matt, who was on the opposite side of the thicket, was unsure who needed help most. Remember, this was in the complete dark and even with my flashlight we couldn’t see very much. We determined that I was okay. Matt should focus on convincing Ralph to come out of the thicket, and I would deal with the moron dog.
Okay, he’s not a complete moron. He did find the kitty.
Baxter and I went the opposite way around the house to walk off some of our excitement. Matt has a better whistle than I do, so Ralph eventually came to him. He checked her over, and she seemed to be fine. We have no idea whether she yowled or she made someone else yowl.
My grass stains and I finally headed to bed. Baxter was too restless to sleep. Eventually he convinced Matt to take him outside again for a final check to make sure all was well at the farm.
By the next afternoon, Baxter and Ralph were calmer, but not entirely easy with each other. (And by the way, this picture is incredible progress considering that a year ago Ralph couldn’t stand the sight of any dog, and Baxter’s reaction was to pursue her (literally) even more aggressively).
Oh the adventures of country living.
Have you ever ended up with grass stains on your pyjamas? Has anyone else ever tried to teach a dog and cat to get along?