Monday, February 18, 2013

Cleo and Cassie

A dog may be man's best friend, but two can sure raise a ruckus!  That is the lesson we have learned when we expanded our family by one dog. 

Cleo is a sweet and docile Maltese who has lived with us for more than seven years.  From the very beginning she was a wonderful and loving pet.  While she was feisty and playful as a young puppy, she settled down into a quiet and loving routine as she grew older.  Of course, being a lap dog, she craves human companionship.  Since our family members have very busy schedules, she relies on the care of our live in nanny on weekdays.  We call our nanny the "danny", or dog nanny.

Cleo only barks when the doorbell rings.  Then she offers each visitor an opportunity to scratch her back.  It is always funny watching her back up into a stranger's leg.  Most shopkeepers and neighbors know Cleo, and say hello. Meanwhile, Cleo has cultivated friendships with other neighborhood dogs, made during her daily walks.

Cleo also loves to travel.  She is quiet and calm on airplanes for hours at a time.  She is an annual guest at the Hilton Hotel in Ft. Collins, where she enters confidently, walking in and out of automatic doors with purpose.  It is an amusing site to see.  She navigates the snow and frigid temperatures of Vail, Colorado, although it can be hard to detect her whereabouts in the white snow. 

Cleo was the queen empress of our household.  But that changed this past September.

Cassie and Cleo on Valentine's Day
Enter Cassie, a purebred Pomeranian puppy.  Cassie is brash, endlessly curious, overly energetic and tireless.  This dog thinks she is the center of the universe.  At seven months, she is already a bit taller than Cleo, although much of her mass is hair.  She is a puffball.

She loves to play fetch.  She yips and whines to get attention.  She barks shrilly when someone rings the doorbell, competing with Cleo's more traditional bark.  Together, their dissonance can be grating.

Getting these two polar opposites to come together can be quite challenging.  Cassie pokes Cleo with her nose, prodding her for a play date.  Cleo, already jealous about having to share her family with this intruder, responds by diving under a nearby sofa or bed.  If Cleo is trapped, she growls and lunges at Cassie with great ferocity.  Of course, Cassie thinks it's a game.  So human intervention is constantly required.

The dogs now pretty much live separate lives in the same house on different floors.  At least twice a day the dogs are placed in the same room together.  While there has been some progress, we have a long way to go.  Cassie is an early riser; she sounds the alarm by 6am.  Cleo is content to sleep late.  Cassie will chew on anything in reach, pens, paper cups, and even shoes.  Cleo has no interest in such trivialities.

I have taken the dogs on walks together on several occasions.  Cassie walks with swagger, her nose held high in the air, as she pulls me forward.  A nearby shopkeeper calls her sassy.  Cleo walks with caution, her nose to the ground, as she lags way behind me.  Cassie bounces and darts from one point to the next.  Cleo is methodical and predictable.  At times they crisscross and tangle up their leashes.  One thing for sure, these ladies just don't ever agree on anything.

Cleo will celebrate her eighth birthday this summer, while Cassie celebrates her first.  A joint birthday party is planned--although it may be held on separate floors.  

So it goes with our perky Pomeranian and mellow Maltese.

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