Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Phoenix 2014 - Dogs, Cats and Creepy Crawly Things

My hosts have a dog. Although I am no stranger to them, we always had outdoor dogs growing up and several of our friends have dogs, we do not. We own a cat, or more accurately, a cat owns us. It has been a number of decades since I have lived with a dog. Being with one day to day is one of the experiences that make these visits novel for me.

Our cat has a schedule. She allows us to believe that we have set this agenda although I secretly understand that the opposite is the real truth. Each morning, promptly at 6:00 a.m., the time I wake up, her food bowl is refilled and crunchy treats, important to her dental health, are doled out. I, many mornings, find her in the hall staring at the bedroom door as I emerge. On those days where she feels that I have tarried too long in bed I can hear her scratching her paws against the door. Once in the kitchen god forbid I should attempt to brew coffee before attending to her. She makes it clear that such action will provoke an unpleasant reaction.

Dogs are more grateful. They may enjoy walks, even to the point of learning what the word "walk" sounds like, but they do not ask for them. When it is clear that a walk is in the offing they behave as if is is the greatest point in their life thus far, each and every time. A dog may beg for food, but, if it's request is ignored it will amuse itself with some other activity until it is fed. Again, the food or treat is accepted with a level of gratitude that a cat would find not only unnecessary, but demeaning and beneath it's dignity.

My hosts dog has a habit of lying it's head across one's leg while at the dining table. Apparently it's more softhearted dad will occasionally reward this action with a tidbit from his plate. Although it tried this tactic with me, she met with no success. I did admire her tenacity however since she repeated the action at every meal.

Dog's follow their people around the house, tails wagging. Cats assume you will always be there, after all you have been so far, off and on, so there is no need for such an overt display of affection. People love their dogs, cats allow themselves to be loved, up to a point and within reason. If you have the time space and schedule for a dog they are a wonderful companion. As we have none of these we have a cat. A spoiled princess whose pampered life I sometimes envy.

I enjoy this time with the dog. I watched with amusement as she interacted with other dogs at the park. There is a childlike innocence to dogs. She was sweet and wonderful company as she laid near me in the back yard, both of us soaking up the warmth of the desert's spring sunshine.

During my stay I discovered that I was not the only guest. A scorpion had taken up lodgings in the laundry rooms overhead light fixture. Judging from photos posted by my hosts on Facebook, this is not an uncommon occurrence. It became a ritual each time we entered and left through the laundry room door to check in on it and see what new portion of the opaque fixture it had chosen to explore. Sometimes it's great to live on the 9th floor, as I do, where any such visitor would pass out from exhaustion before dropping in on us.

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