Thank you for all the help yesterday. Andy came home last night, ran upstairs, and bounced up and down on the bed, chanting, "Can we get one? Can we get one???" I'm still very conflicted about it, and Andy admitted he isn't completely convinced himself. When I asked him what all the jumping on the bed was about he said, "Well, when one person's a'gin [against] it, doesn't one person have to be for it?"
Interesting argument. We'll be married ten years tomorrow and this is the first I've heard of this one.
Of course I'm thinking about us — well, me, really, because I'm the one who is home all day every day and will be on puppy duty — but I'm also thinking about the pets, about the equilibrium of our household. We have three pets now. Violet, our first cat, we got thirteen years ago now, in Missoula. Our second cat, Bridget, is seven, and she showed up as a stray kitten in the driveway. And Audrey — you know Audrey. She's six. She's our first dog, outside of the family pets Andy and I grew up with as kids. I'd inexplicably wanted a corgi ever since I was a little girl. And Audrey has been the perfect, perfect dog for us. She loves everyone, and everything. Things get a little hairy when people come over because she gets so excited, but I've even kind of stopped worrying about that. She is very attuned to us and to the energy in this house. She's sensitive but laid-back, happy but not hyper, friendly but quite independent.
That said, I've watched her with other dogs, and I can't say one way or the other if she's a dog's dog. My sense is that she's a people's dog; when other dogs are around she tends to either chase or be chased by them, but in sort of a worried, "What's-happening-here?" kind of way. As a herder, she likes order, not chaos, so she'll try to herd running things. I don't think she'd be overjoyed to have a puppy, but I think she'd probably get on board. She tolerates small children, but she doesn't seek them out. At all family parties or when we have people over, there is a point where she'll go seek out her quiet corner, and you can see that she is ready for her alone-time.
I know that when we got Bridget, the second cat, it was very hard on Violet, the first one. I mean, Violet was FURIOUS. She would sit on the railing above the landing and swipe at me when I'd try to go up the stairs. She'd growl at me whenever she came near me, which wasn't often. This was my VIOLET, my blossom, my sweet girl who rode on my shoulder everywhere I went, purring contentedly in my ear, for the entire first six months of her life, and had barely left my side since. I was heartbroken. At first everyone said, "Oh, it's tough at first, but they'll work it out!" When I had to start carrying a spray bottle around the house for protection against my own cat, it was horrible. I'd tell my friends, after this continued for a few weeks, and they'd still say, "Don't worry, they'll work it out!" but they'd say it worriedly, their optimism slightly feigned. It took a long time for the cat to tolerate the new kitten, and they are not "friends" even to this day, seven years later.
That said, the Bee is unlike any cat I've ever met. She has more in common with a . . . squirrel . . . I'd say, than those of her own species. A few mornings ago, I was sleeping in. Everyone else was downstairs, and suddenly I felt the Bee alight on the bed. Five or six times she walked up and down the length of my (top-sheet-only covered) body, and when I say "walked" it was more like . . . a drunken goblin doing a firewalk, all fast and wobbly. Back and forth, back and forth. Wide-awake, I held my breath and didn't move a muscle. This unexpected attention from the Bee is rare, precious, and more-than-a-little nervewracking. After prancing up and down my trunk like a strung-out miniature racehorse, she stopped to knead my (top-sheet-only covered) ribcage with her tiny, needle-like claws. Finally I said, as anyone would:
It was more than she could handle. She jumped six feet straight into the air, flew across the room, out the door, down the hallway, and halfway down the stairs before her feet touched the ground. So, I mean, what is that. It really is no wonder that Violet, the grande dame, the stately, even-tempered dowager queen, is thoroughly unimpressed and in every way displeased with this skitzy, troublemaking, unbalanced princess. The Bee chases her from her food bowl, jumps on her from behind the side wall, bats at her temples with her sharp paws. No provocation needed; if you're breathing, you're her target. For the patrician Violet, this behavior is beyond the pale. The look on her face is consistently like, "Someone do something. Do something."
Now I know that dogs aren't cats, that cat society is more complicated and . . . edgy. But I have many, many times taken Violet in my lap and whispered quiet apologies to her, my first girl, for bringing the little terrorist into her happy home. I believe, in all honesty, that Bridget's arrival and subsequent installation in our family aged Violet tremendously. She has never really been the same, and I bear some guilt about that. I do love the Bee, and I understand her, in a way; she was a street urchin after all, untouched by human hands for the first seven weeks of life, and deserves some leeway, and certainly needed us and our home. But if anyone's alpha around here, it's the Bee.
What if Miss Lizzie Lemon, as cute as she is, turns out to be Audrey's Bridget?
So I don't know. Still thinking.