Friday, 5 March 2010

Dogs and cats


I have a good friend of many years' standing who I'm very fond of but don't often see as she lives in the wilds of East Essex in a caravan on the site of a garden centre, and I don't drive, and she works six days a week. She has asked if she can come and stay for a night over Easter - come one lunchtime and stay till lunchtime next day - which is great. Except....

Except that she has a dog, the love of her life, a little hairy Shi'tzu from whom she will not be parted. The two of them go everywhere together, even to work. It's quite a sweet little thing with huge, liquid brown eyes (and a hysterical yap which drives me mad). But...

... we have Flad, who is getting on in years and is very nervous by nature, and completely terrified of dogs. Last time my friend came, I had great difficulty enticing him back into the house after they had gone, and he was clingy and neurotic for days. I think the poor thing thought he had been rejected in favour of the mutt.

So, much as I want to see my friend, I can't dump the dog. Oh dear...

I adore Flad. I love him so much that, after I'd agreed yesterday that my friend could come, I then fell asleep and had the most dreadful nightmare in which poor old Flad was cowering on the floor, belly up in submission position, being yapped at by my friend's dog, then somebody else came in and brought a huge German Shepherd which walked over and put its great paw on Flad's chest. Flad seemed to faint. He passed right out and I picked him up and cradled him in my arms, and realised to my horror that my beloved pet was dead - he had died of shock.

I woke up sobbing, with my heart pounding, and now wish I'd never agreed that my friend could come because it's just not fair on poor Flad, who isn't terribly bright, and is a very dependent cat, rather stiff and rheumaticky, who wouldn't do well if forced to sleep out in the cold rather than on the armchair in front of the log-burning stove, which is what he usually does.

A few years ago, I was torturing myself mentally about exactly the same thing, as friend and previous dog were due to come for Christmas. How I wished that she would come sans dog. Then blow me down, she sent me a text to say it would be just her for Christmas. I rang to ask why and - please believe me, I hadn't put a curse on it or anything - the poor dog had died. I wouldn't wish it on her latest pet, I just wish she didn't have to bring it but her mantra is 'love me, love my dog'. But I love my cat! Help!

10 comments:

Jacula said...

I suppose the only thing you can do is be truthful with your friend about the cat/dog situation. Since Flad's the resident pet, he must come first.

If your friend wants to see you that much, she'll find a way.

Perovskia said...

I agree with Jacula. Flad's the resident pet and must be respected, as SHE expects everyone to "love" her dog.

Or..

Establish ground rules. Perhaps the dog can come, but only has access to or room, or by keeping x-room or x-amount of rooms off limits for poor Flad.

Sigh.. good luck. Will be waiting to hear how it turns out.

hydra said...

The house has a difficult layout because access to the cat flap is through the lounge and kitchen - which of course is where us, friend and pooch spend all our time. Once, I asked her to shut the dog in the spare bedroom, but a) she couldn't bear to be apart from it (it sits on her lap the whole time) and b) it barked so much we couldn't bear it and had to let it out.

Teresa Ashby said...

I agree with Jacula and Perovskia - it's Flad's house and he should come first.
Also if it's causing you so much worry and distress that you're having nightmares about it already, it's surely not worth it.
Does she realise how much it upset Flad last time she came with her dog?

Perovskia said...

As nice as I'm sure as your friend is, she needs to realize the universe does not revolve around her dog.

Having said that, Teresa's right - if you're stressed now, maybe it's best to not?

hydra said...

She has had cats in the past and hers lived mostly in the woods at the bottom of her garden in Holland and came home to be fed. I don't think she has ever experienced a home-loving cat like Flad. I have tried to explain but she is much stronger and louder than me, and jollies me along with phrases like, "It's only one night. He won't leave home just because of a few hours' disturbance. He's a cat!" So, at my normal cat-cuddling time of the evening when I would be watching telly with Flad spread all over me like a furry duvet, she will be sitting on the sofa with her pampered pooch on her lap whilst a little whiskery black and white face stares forlornly through the patio door, too scared to come inside in the warmth. It breaks my heart - yet Mr G overrules me when I say I'm going to ring her and ask her not to bring the dog. Believe me, if it was my house, and my rules, I'd say no. It took me hours to persuade him back inside after her last visit, and then he sank into an exhausted sleep on my lap and I was immobile for two hours as he was sleeping so deeply, I couldn't get him off me!

Teresa Ashby said...

If there's no other way, could you shut Flad in your bedroom with a litter tray and the radio on? At least you'd know he was safe inside.
I know exactly what you mean about the jollying along - I know people like that and they are very hard to argue with.
It's funny but I was walking along the sea front in Holland just last Monday.

hydra said...

Oh wow, Teresa. Whereabouts where you? My friend used to live near Hilversum but I have been to several of the coastal resorts (always on cold, windy days). I really love Holland. I've had such good times there.

Teresa Ashby said...

Oops - not in the Netherlands! I was thinking your friend lived in the wilds of east Essex and then you said when she lived in Holland - and me, Essex girl that I am - thought Holland-on-Sea!
I have never been to real Holland I'm afraid.
Sigh - I do feel a right twit now!

hydra said...

I didn't know there was a Holland in Essex, Theresa, How funny! My friend lives near Hullbridge.