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2015-01-22

Animal house

Mikie Baker

Maybe living alone isn't so lonely after all. I'm on a six-month, self-imposed sabbatical from dating. I decided I needed some time off just to reset and get to know myself better. It's going fairly well because I've discovered I like to laugh at my own jokes.
There have been some perilous moments along the way, including a couple of major family holidays spent unaccompanied. I'm proud to announce I came through it without so much as a slight nervous breakdown - all because I was too busy being a human slave to the animals in this house.
When did they begin to run me? Has it been a gradual takeover or did they simply pounce the second I was the only one living here? No matter their evil plot, it certainly worked. I spend my days opening and closing the doors for their every outside whim as well as feeding on cue. I feel like Pavlov's Dog.
The Master of the House is Marshmellow the Dog. She's almost 13 and somewhere last year she hit that magic age where she decided she'd do what she dang well pleased. No longer worried about herding every neighborhood dog or cat that sauntered by, she also gave up on maintaining her figure. The Dancing Dog has turned into a treat addict. I think she needs to join Milk Bones Anonymous.
I'm certain these are the thoughts going on in her canine brain. "Ok, I just came in from outside so I deserve two treats. I'm going to bark at the deer out front eating my Master's potted plants so I deserve two treats. Oh, good. She just sat down on the couch. Time for more treats." Just who's training who around here?
And then there's Chuck. He's my orange tabby that is extremely near sighted (he spends hours attacking dead bugs), has major bladder problems (could appear in a prescription drug TV ad for those that go too much) and he tends to wander off for a couple of weeks a year only returning when I've just about given up hope.
Because Chuck has this wandering problem, I keep a collar on him at all times. It has his emergency information (if lost, please call this poor desperate widow who spends her days screaming his name all over the Hill Country) and a bell. The combination of the two makes Chuck jingle and clank. It's my way of knowing where he is - inside or out - at all times.
The only problem with this arrangement is that Chuck likes to walk around in circles all over the house incessantly. I don't mind it except when he does this "sharking" routine at 2:30 in the morning. It wakes me up and then I can't go back to sleep.
The other day I had the bright idea to put Chuck on "mute" at night. I took his collar off before retiring and had the first good night's sleep I've had in months. It only took Chuck three or four days to figure out that he could silently jump directly on my sleeping body in the middle of the night and bite my nose to wake me up - so much for the mute button.
And then there's Sammy the Siamese Terrorist. I'm simply the slave here to serve his every need after another one of his all-day hunts.
Nope. I'm not lonely at all, but I'm pretty certain I've learned that my single life has simply gone to the dogs - and cats.