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 Category:  Humor Non-Fiction
  Posted: July 9, 2021      Views: 146
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BethShelby is retired from the printing and commercial art field. She is married and has four children and three grandchildren. She and her husband presently live in Tennessee.

Painting, photography, and writing are her passion. She has ha - more...

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Chapter 3 of the book Animal Antics and Interactions
A continuation of the saga of pets in the Shelby family.
"Perils of a Pet Owner, Part 3" by BethShelby

Although the Long Haired Chihuahua puppy my daughter brought into our life was evidently pre-programed to run at every chance she got, she seemed to adapt well to her new home. She slept with me at first, but since she always ended up at my feet under a ton of covers, I feared she would be smothered and made her a bed of her own. 

Mitsy was a lap dog. She was terrified of thunder or loud noises, but fearless when it came to other dogs. Because she wasn't afraid, I could put her in the fenced area with the other two dogs to do her business. I don’t know if they recognized she was a dog, but seeing as she didn’t fear them, they stayed clear of her. If one of them happened to be in the house and ventured near her food bowl, she would pierce their ears with her sharp yelps, until they would slink away with their tails tucked between their legs.  She was so tiny compared to them, they feared her much like an elephant might fear a mouse.

My daughter, Christi, had a friend who came over for massages. He really liked Mitsy and enjoyed picking at her. She adored him. The second he walked in the door, she would become so excited she would pee all over herself. She was very choosy about her friends. She either loved or hated people instantly. More than once she bit people with no provocation. She was an ankle biter, but if I happened to be holding her to prevent her escape when they came in the front door, she would aim for their nose. My cousin from Texas who I hadn't seen for 20 years came, and when I tried to hug her, she got a severe nose injury.

When Mitsy was teething, in spite of all her chew toys, she preferred electrical cords, which meant I had to unplug everything in the house to keep her from getting electrocuted. I still have boxes full of small appliances with loose wires hanging from their cords.

Before Carol introduced the Chihuahua pup into our lives, my dad lived with us for two years after Mom passed away. When we brought Dad home, we also gained a cat. He was Mom’s pet and it wouldn’t have been right to leave him behind. I knew Dad was attached to him as well. This 14 lb. animal was a cream and yellow mix with blue eyes. He must have had a name, but it has slipped my mind if such a name ever existed. For want of a name, I’ll call him Claws because that is the thing which stands out the sharpest in my mind. He certainly knew how to use them. The trip from Dad’s place to Chattanooga, which normally takes five to six hours, was made to seem ten times that length, by trying to control a pitifully yowling wild cat, that had never been in a car before. I know they can be tranquilized, but it hadn’t occurred to me to expect that any animal could be so freaked out by a car. Thankfully, after a few weeks my injuries healed.

Claws spent a lot of time in the room with Dad. Since his room was on the first floor and ours was upstairs and too far away to hear if Dad needed anything, I left an intercom open between the rooms. Dad couldn’t seem to remember that we could hear everything that went on in his room. He was a person who, when aggravated, was prone to using some very colorful language, which wouldn’t do to repeat. When Dad was petting the cat, it was possible to tell the second the purring ceased and the claws dug in. Dad's conversation went something like this, “Ahh… you’re Daddy’s sweet kitty. You’re a good cat and I love you. DAMN YOU! Get down you &#%!@?!.  I’m going to hang you by your tail and skin you alive.”

I have no idea where Claws picked up the fleas, but he got a bad infestation. I had the not-so-bright idea that the quickest way to get rid of the fleas on him was by a chemical dip. It was about the dumbest idea I have ever had. Picture trying to dip a tiger convinced you’re attempting to drown him, and his only chance of survival depends on doing you in first. The trip to the emergency room for a tetanus shot and to patch me up was all it took to convince me there has to be a better way to deal with fleas.
Time passes swiftly, and sad to say, Kokomo, Cody, and Claws all crossed the Rainbow bridge. Our Pet Cemetery was growing. We talked about getting another outdoor dog. I found a Blue Heeler, which is a type of Australian cattle dog, on Craig's List. She was a year old, had been spayed, and was up-to-date on vaccines.  Her owner was willing to part with her, because she liked to swim in both a ditch filled with muddy water and his swimming pool. Roxie came with us willingly, and never gave any indication she missed her previous owner. She was the most high-energy dog we'd ever met. She seemed thrilled with her new home, but she politely declined to be penned up.  

We quickly learned that she had no intention of leaving our yard, or going any further than the small gold fish pond for her daily swim. We had nineteen acres of mostly woods, but she had no desire to go on a walk-about unless she was accompanying one of us. As long as she had a frisbee or some other toy in her mouth, she was a happy dog. She could play for hours all by herself. Since we had no cattle, she was content to herd squirrels, mosquitoes or anything else which moved.

She was perfect for my husband, because he liked working outside, and Roxie enjoyed doing her playing beside him and warning him of anyone approaching. She was an excellent watch dog. Delivery men and strangers were initially afraid of her, but she made friends quickly with anyone we introduced her to. She slept inside at night, but she loved the outside and couldn't wait to get out every morning. I had no complaints about her, except no toy we bought for her ever lasted long. She loved riding in the car but couldn't sit still. She spent her riding time snapping at dust mites, lit up by sunlight. She got along well with all the dogs our kids brought over. She tried to make friends with Mitsy, but Mitsy was a little snob who only tolerated her.

I don’t know if we got better with animals as time went on, but Mitsy and Roxie were certainly our favorites. Maybe we just got lucky. Speaking of lucky, Lucky was the name of our horse. That is an adventure story for another day.  



The book continues with Story of a Dog named Bozo. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
This is the third in this series. The first was written over ten years ago, but you will find in my portfolio by name as Perils of Pet Owner. Part two will be expiring soon and is also in my portfolio.
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