Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Dog's Life 4

Who's on second and what's on third?
We're trying to figure this out now that the first and the last are gone.
Stella was the only animal -- pet -- when we landed in Nova Scotia as permanent residents over eight years ago; then along came Fern, the stray cat, and Abby, the puppy. Archie joined us two and a half years ago as a kitten and he hasn't showed up at the screen door clawing to get in so I'm assuming he's settling into his new home where no one is mad at him for catching hummingbirds and chickadees.
For a couple of years, I'd look down at the four furry faces staring at me as they waited for me to dole out their treats and wonder, "How did we end up with so many animals in the house?"
Within eight weeks, we lost two of our pack. The first and the last are gone, leaving holes in our hearts, space on the couch, and the two middle kids re-establishing themselves in this new order.
And they are quickly adjusting. Both are more relaxed, more tuned into us. Fern isn't checking over her shoulder or sleeping with one eye open in case someone is waiting to pounce on her and Abby doesn't have to compete with Stella for our attention. It's nice to get to know her as a single dog, to see her personality come out, to see her calm down and refocus. We are enjoying the changes: she barks less, listens more and is easier to control. She even spends more time chewing a bone instead of obsessively hiding it from Stella.
Sometimes less is more.

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