Andy and Dougy are cat-wise in many ways, but they know very little about dogs. Earlier Q&A sessions with Ms. Zulu, Anarette’s beautiful border collie, gave insights into what cats and dogs think about each other.
Nonetheless, when the news about Benji appeared in a recent blog post, the boys were incredulous. Ms. Zulu, clearly an exceptional dog by cat standards, began to make sense to the boys once they heard her answers to their (frankly, blunt) questions.
Now, here’s this new pooch! Oh, he’s a cutey, posed there with his toy, but that might be a diversion to make cats forget he’s, erm, “a doggy”!
“Let’s contact Anarette” Doug (the human one) suggested. “You want to know about this Benji, and I bet you’ll find out he’s no ringer. What do you say, Andy? Dougy? OK!?”
The boys agreed it would be worth a try, though they aren’t sure if they can resist puppy breath, which everyone knows is intoxicating!
Let the Q&A’s begin:
A: We’ve heard puppies are like kittens, only doggier. What truth is there to that?
D: Were you at the shelter long before Anarette found you? Were you frightened or were you with other doggies, maybe even litter mates? You know Andy and I are litter mates, and we spent time at the veterinarian’s with our mother and another brother and sister. Our brother and sister went to South Dakota, where they hate each other. Andy and I occasionally squabble, but mostly we are best buddies as well as brothers. Do you have any brothers and sisters?
B: I was there for about five days. Luckily I was with my five brothers and sisters and I was the first to go to my forever home.
A: Does Ms. Zulu like you? I mean, she’s a herding dog by nature, and puppies are like cats: They just resist herding! Does she try to keep you in line?
B: Ms. Zulu likes me if I don’t nibble on her, then she wants to retreat. Unfortunately she had an ACL repair and fractured her tibia so she is not allowed to play at all for at least four weeks. I cannot imagine life without play. Maybe your readers can send lots of healing wishes to Ms. Zulu; I think that would help her.
B: Mmm, I have to think about that…. I like to do that before I start on something. And you want to know a secret? If you sit pretty and put on your cute face, you may get a treat. It has worked for me many times already.
D: Be that as it may, Benji, we can’t help but notice how handsome your coat is. Brindle, isn’t it? And that’s the prettiest white cross on your chest! Even a cat can see you are, erm, adorable. Does your human encourage this?
B: I hear that a lot; that I am adorable. As I mentioned, this works in my favor. And yes, my coat is called brindle; not sure who I got it from. Herbert also mentioned the cross. Anarette told me that it is an angel. I am not sure what angels are though, but it must be good because I get lots of hugs and scratches when she says it.
A: You look like you are as big as Dougy and I are. How big will you grow up to be?
B: I was told that I may grow up to about 70 or 80 lbs. I am around 11 lbs now. I try to look bigger than I am. I think I succeeded in the picture you have of me. I want to play soccer and hope to attract a soccer contract. Anarette tells me I can become a movie star with my pretty face.
D: I think of Benji as a small long-haired rat-looking doggy, which certainly not what you look like! Why is your name Benji? Is it a family name? Is it short for Benjamin?
B: Excuse me I am not a rat, although I am sure there are very nice rats out there. They get such a bad rep. Anyway, you guessed right, my name is short for Benjamin. My full name is Benjamin Griz de Tiger. Griz was my shelter name. No idea why; maybe they thought I was a grizzly bear. But the Tiger name is because of my stripes and the way I follow toys in the chase game and walk in tall grass.
B: I love to climb the boulders that are in my backyard. I make it look easy, but don’t be fooled; these boulders are humongous. It even took me a couple of tries before I got the hang of it. I think I am a mountain lion.
What is your favorite game? Favorite food? Are you spoiled or are you a good doggy?
- So many questions; one at a time please! My favorite game is definitely the chase game; although I like to just hang out and chew on something too. The chase game is a toy on a stick that seems to be moved around by the human. I will tell you a little trick that I learned: it applies to any game but I will explain it with the chase game. At all time during a game, maintain the three Ps: Persistence, Patience, and above all a Positive attitude. I am now at a point where I taught my human to hang the toy close to my mouth instead of constantly moving it around. It is more rewarding and costs less energy on my part not to move until the toy dangles near me; this is as you may have guessed the Patience part as you have to resist the urge to chase the toy. Second, it is important to be Persistent in my laid-back behavior. Third, I learned to catch it and then drop it quickly, instead of waiting for the “drop it” command. The pay-off is way greater (i.e. more treats). I put on a cute and happy face (Positive) to ensure that I get the treat; I think I have perfected this part. My favorite food is anything that you can put in your mouth; I am one hungry bugger Anarette tells me… She also tells me that I am a very good doggy. She has to keep an eye on me, but that is because I still have to learn a lot (I like to maintain this impression as it also gets me more treats).
D: Shhh! Be nice, Andrew! He’s not spoiled, he’s just a wee one, so don’t be mean to him…just yet! (Once he’s full grown, we can revisit this policy!)
A: I’m sorry, Benji! I just remember a big dog at the veterinarian’s that was not nice to me. I suspect you’d give me a big lick across the face if I were where you are. Would you chase cats?
B: I will just pretend not to have heard the not so nice part Andy said. I had not seen cats yet, until you two called! I might chase you, but then again I might not. Wait, Anarette says something… Oh, she tells me that I probably wouldn’t. I tend to sit down when I’m faced with a new situation. I seem to contemplate a lot (remember the laid-back look trick!).
D: Have you chased cats? Mailmen? Rabbits? Anything else?
B: What are rabbits? Mailmen are nice, they bring toys!
A: Well, it seems like we’ve heard some really unfair and slanderous things about doggies because we were lead to believe all doggies chased things and chewed them up. Of course, we heard that from another cat. Hmmm!
B: Don’t believe everything you hear or read. Just observe it with your own eyes first.
D: Our favorite toy resembles a bird. Our favorite fun activity besides playing with our favorite toy and eating and sleeping and taking cat baths is watching birds out the back window. What’s your favorite activity? Is it naughty or nice? (Our favorite activities are often “naughty”, according to our human, but he isn’t a cat, eh?!)
B: I love all kinds of toys, but the ones where food rolls out are the most fun. Do you have any food for me? I can sit and look adorable if that helps.
A: How old are you?
B: About nine weeks and counting.
D: Did you cry when you first moved to live with Anarette and Ms. Zulu or were you a big boy?
B: I only cried for a bit the first night. After Zoe gave me Ducky to keep me company, I was fine. She is my big sister and said she did not need Ducky as much as I need him. I love Ducky. He does not mind that my teeth are sharp. Humans do though; they are so sensitive. They yelp when I barely touch them with my teeth. Would you mind? Let me try. Oh, you don’t want me to?
A: Well, that answers a lot of our questions, but we will be watching you….!
B: And I will watch you! And remember, I will get a lot bigger!
D: Andy! What did I tell you about being nice to Benji! He’s just a puppy, and he seems like a pretty nice one at that.
B: Wooff! Wooff! (that translates into I agree in Benjinees)