My cat is the best dog I’ve ever had (Part 5)

Part V: Purrsonality disorder

When you come home from work, it doesn’t matter how bad your day has been when your baby doggo greets you at the door, wagging and whining and panting furiously, bursting with excitement at your return. It’s like the world melts away and you regain the energy to take another stab at life.

I wish Dukie were like that.

As she hears the locks turning, Dukie whimpers excitedly that a family member has come home. When the door opens, she jolts in fright realising it’s me and runs under the bed. It doesn’t matter how bad my day has been, she unfailingly makes it worse by doing this. I wish I could stop being so hopeful.

Eddie, on the other hand, comes out of whatever squirrel den he’s been attacking and wraps himself around my legs. I sit on the porch and pat my legs for him to come and, like the obedient dog he is, he leaps onto my lap and settles down for petting.

Even when it comes to playing, Eddie is a better dog than Dukie. Dukie (when she hasn’t run away in fear), likes to play fetch. When I throw her toys, she will run maniacally towards the toy, run straight past it and then turn arbitrarily and run back towards me. And then she does it again. I have not thrown anything. Her mind has become enough entertainment for her.

Eddie will play something akin to run and catches with me. He will hide somewhere and pounce on me when he doesn’t think I see him. Or I’ll chase him around the house and then he’ll chase me back. We got him a laser pointer, since cats tend to enjoy that, but he loves running a lot more. You know, like a dog.

Eddie also obediently responds to his name. We have to holler maybe four times and he will emerge from wherever he has been, ready to do as we wish. Meanwhile, no matter how earnestly we call for her, Dukie remains under the bed, either licking herself or sleeping and just doesn’t give a flying fiddle. Like a cat.

I guess what makes Eddie such an ideal dog is that he behaves likes a dog but has the versatility of a cat. He’s like a self-cleaning dog that can also find its own food. All the affection and softness with none of the fuss. I treat him like a plush toy with a heartbeat and he still has unconditional love for me. I import expensive hypoallergenic shampoos and digestion-sensitive treats for Dukie and she reacts to me like a vampire would to garlic.

I haven’t given up on Dukie. I am a dog-lover and Dukie is – contrary to all observations – a dog. But obviously, my fluffy ginger-white Eddie has stolen this dog-lover’s heart. And as it stands, my cat is the best dog I’ve ever had.

 

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Eddie, licking the ghost of his testicles.

 


Read Part IV: Our Family – putting the fun in dysfunctional

Read Part III: Rejection

Read Part II: How to name a dog

Read Part I: How to name a cat

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My cat is the best dog I’ve ever had (Part 4)

Part IV: Our Family – putting the fun in dysfunctional

Our nuclear family consists of myself, Ema, Dukie and Eddie.

Ema is a stereotypical dad. She doesn’t do any of the actual child-rearing like bathing, doctor’s visits, etc. Instead, she comes home from work with treats for Dukie and Eddie and wins their affection through her purchasing power.

Dukie is daddy’s little girl. Whatever she wants, she gets from Ema. Ema happily obliges and then disappears to watch the telly, leaving me to trail Dukie to rub antiseptic onto her wounds.

Eddie, on the other hand, is a complete mama’s boy. I’ve stuck his neck in the cone of shame for days, forced antibiotic syrups down his throat, even castrated him – no matter, Eddie still loves me the most.

Poor Ema is a cat person and resents this. Ema does everything to make Eddie love her. She lets him suckle on her clothes, gives him expensive treats – she (even literally) lets Eddie walk all over her. When she finally coaxes him onto her lap and gets him to fall asleep like that, she’s in pure bliss.

Then I come home.

When Eddie gets a whiff of me, he wakes up, walks over Ema like she’s kitty litter and comes to me. I subject him to all sorts of over-affectionate abuse, throwing him around like a rag doll, poking him, squeezing him – doesn’t matter, he’ll just shake himself off and jump right back onto my lap.

Ema can’t stand this.

The problem is: Ema is a cat person. I am a dog person.

But:

Eddie loves me. I pine after Dukie. Dukie loves Ema. Ema pines after Eddie.

 

stick figures

We are all unhappy.


Read Part III: Rejection

Read Part II: How to name a dog

Read Part I: How to name a cat

My cat is the best dog I’ve ever had (Part 3)

Part III: Rejection

Dukie is the greatest unrequited love story of my life.

I cannot communicate to you how much my happiness depends on the love of a dog. While I was overseas, missing my pets, I would fawn after dogs in public, savouring the few times I got to pat the doggos while pretending to be interested in their owner’s lives.

doggo love me
“Doggo? Please love me.”

So imagine what it feels for me to be rejected by my own little one. The one I so carefully selected out of a foster home, making sure to get (a) an older pup and (b) a female, since these two categories are characteristically less adopted. She was the most conscientious decision I’ve made as a pet owner and she hates me.

She’s so sweet, even if a little bit wall-eyed.

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Those eyes are definitely not looking in the same direction

All I want to do is love her and tell her she is safe with me. But because I have been the one to medicate her, bathe her, take her to the vet, trim her nails, do all the unpleasant work in caring for another life, she is frightened of what my presence means. So when I come near her, my heart bursting with the need to love and cuddle her, she is torn between excitement at seeing me and raw, unadulterated fear of what I might do to her next.

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Am I too clingy?

All this tension reached a climax when Dukie developed rashes on three of her legs.

We tried everything at home: ceased using soap, altered her diet, applied betadine. She would just lick the betadine off and it wouldn’t get better. So I took her to the vet, who prescribed a course of antibiotics, an antiseptic cream and…

 

up
The cone of shame

 

The poor thing was so stressed by it but there was no alternative. Her wounds had to heal. And guess who had the honour of putting it on her every day?

After the week of medication had passed, she still associated me with the cone and would run away at the sight or smell of me.

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How I see us

 

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How Dukie sees us

To try and win back her trust, I left her alone completely, only interacting with her to give her pats, back scratches, and treats; in sum, positive reinforcement of my presence. To no avail. It’s been three months now and Dukie still runs away at the sight of me.

On the other hand, we have Dukie’s reaction to Ammi’s treatment of her wounds. Ammi used to ‘treat’ the dog’s wound with chilli powder, following a traditional treatment she had grown up with in her childhood village. She literally rubbed chilli in Dukie’s wounds.

But it’s me that Dukie hates.


Read Part II: How to name a dog

Read Part I: How to name a cat

My cat is the best dog I’ve ever had (Part 2)

Part II: How to name a dog

Duke is the dog every affectionate family dreams of having. Loving and obedient to his owners, ferocious – despite his diminutive size – to outside threats, and soft and cuddly to boot. He had eyes that you could read and communicate with. When he was afraid, I’d hold his little face in my hands, stroke his cheeks and I could see his pupils visibly relax, knowing he could trust my love for him. He didn’t know to sit, stay, or fetch, but he’d bound up to us when we came home, wagging his tail so furiously that his little body wagged along with it. Always patient with us and a caring older brother of our other pets, Duke was always there with his unconditional love to make the world feel ok again.

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This is not Duke

My brother and I adopted the dog above to replace Duke when he died. Duke’s death took a real toll on our family. Ammi and thathi refused to love again, saying they could not bear to go through the cycle of inevitable heartbreak again. As impetuous children will do, my brother and I disregarded their wishes, thinking we knew better, and surprised them with an adopted puppy.

They came around pretty fast though, my mother soon cuddling the pup like a baby and not letting her go.

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We let my parents choose a new name for her. They wanted to name her in honour of Duke ‘but it’s a girl, so it should be a female name,’ observed my father.

I started: ‘So Duch-,’

‘Dukie,’ my father continued with finality. I bit my tongue and affirmed, ‘Dukie it is.’

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This is Dukie

Read Part I: How to name a cat

Read Part III: Rejection

Read Part IV: Our family – putting the fun in dysfunctional

Read Part V: Purrsonality Disorder

Thathi’s response to ‘Father and Dog’

I sent my poem Father and Dog to my dad and he sent me this poem in response! He is definitely a sentimental person but he’s never written me a poem before! I was so touched and happy and this is the sweetest thing he’s ever done for me 🙂 so so happy. Little note: The two puppies he refers to in the poem are me and my brother 🙂

(Poem reproduced with his permission)

Love of a child is immaculate
Big hug is what, love or hatred
Physical love True No bogus
Reading Dads depressed mind is love genuine

Duke I told hold on Please
I go first, My selfishness 
Walks in a black bitch scaring Ammi
True love of Our two puppies forever Shines

Loving ,caring, protecting bounds beyond
Is it? Selfish, Possessiveness, madness or True love
Towards two Puppies Bamba and Cotta Road
Answer will be there, come gray hair