Julie Seedorf: A blended family of fun, furry creatures

Published 2:22 pm Sunday, August 5, 2018

Something About Nothing by Julie Seedorf


We used to babysit our grandchildren when their parents needed time without the little sweeties. The grandchildren are now old enough to stay by themselves so we have graduated or maybe we have been demoted — I will let you decide — to taking care of our granddog, Zoey, instead.

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We like dogs. In fact, we used to have a few beloved ones, but now we were adopted by Boris and Natasha, our cats. They are used to ruling the roost, and they don’t notice if we leave them the run of the house while we go away. They are not as excited as we are about dog sitting.

Zoey is a big, black Labradoodle. A live teddy bear is a good description for her as she is not at all aggressive toward anyone, cats included.

The first time we took Zoey into our home, Boris and Natasha let her know who the boss of her was. They teamed up to keep her in line with a few hisses here and there. It took Zoey three days to realize she was four times Natasha’s size and three times Boris’ size. Once she did, she wanted to play. Boris decided he would hide under the bed for the duration of the visit while Natasha chose the top of the bed to watch through the door of the bedroom for signs Zoey was near.

The second time Zoey visited, Boris still hid under the bed and actually tried to teach Zoey how to growl when she tried to coax him out. Boris’ angry attitude could have had something to do with Zoey taking up all of Boris’ dad’s time as he is used to spending half his life on Mark’s lap. This time Natasha decided the chair under the dining room table was the place to observe the activities.

The third time, Zoey was with us for four days. We put a doll bed across the door between our kitchen and living room so the cats could get through if they wanted. Zoey is big enough to jump over it, but she respected the space or didn’t quite get that she could jump that high.

Natasha would pop out and tease Zoey. She rolled and rolled around the floor toward Zoey until the dog would investigate and put her nose to Natasha’s in a hello. Natasha then bumped her nose against the puppy nose, backed away and gave a non-threatening hiss. This happened often. Zoey wasn’t put off but would turn and look at us as if to say, “What’s her problem?” Boris sat and watched from the other side of the room as if he were bored. He no longer seemed to care if the big, black furry creature would notice him at a distance.

Nighttime came with Zoey sleeping in the family room and the cats taking their place on our beds, feeling safe with the doll crib in the doorway. The first night went fine. We all slept, but the second night I woke with a start when I heard a soft bark and then a tiny whine. Zoey’s head was propped on the doll crib, and she looked at me with sad eyes.  I gently told her to be quiet. I tried to take her outside, thinking perhaps that was the problem but no — none of those things worked. She missed my husband. Of course, he didn’t wake up and hear this — the same way he never heard the kids at night.

I got out of my warm bed, grabbed a pillow, stepped over the doll crib and went to sleep on the couch in the family room, leaving my husband and cats safely in the bedroom protected by the doll bed. Zoey settled down by my side, and I started to drop off to snoozeville.

Soon, something landed on me, waking me up. It was Natasha. She apparently missed me and decided she would sleep in the family room with Zoey and me. Of course this woke Zoey up, and it took a short time to get everyone settled down to sleep again. I am sure I was almost to snoreville again when I felt the back of the sofa above my head move and the sofa shake. Seventeen-pound Boris joined us and perched right above my head. All three creatures settled down to sleep, and now I was wide awake.

It took me a few minutes for the lightbulb to go on in my head. I moved to the family room so Zoey could sleep. I left the cats in their comfort zone, safe behind the doll crib so they could also sleep and now all three were out with me. Apparently I could have stayed in bed. I could have moved the doll crib so Zoey could have slept on the floor in the bedroom. Maybe Boris and Natasha wouldn’t have woke up, and I would be well into my dream about Robert Redford. Who knew they wanted a slumber party.

By the time you read this Zoey will have visited for a few days again. This time the doll crib will stay down. The critters that have been controlling my life when Zoey is there with their sly moves can fend for themselves. I’m letting the furry creatures become a blended family on their own.

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at hermionyvidaliabooks@gmail.com.