Cricket Feeds Herself, “You Call Her a Pet Sitter?”

From Cricket to her Mom:

“It’s ok mom, I figured out how to feed myself since your sister doesn’t understand my feeding requirements. And she calls herself a pet sitter…..”

"I had to feed myself!"

Molly and Gunner Proclaim, “Walks are required”


Molly and Gunner in the snow

"We walk in all weather"


Miss Amy (as we have been taught to call her) has been our dog walker for several years.  She isn’t all bad.  We, of course, prefer our humans but considering the options; no walk or a walk with Amy, we will choose walking any time.  She usually goes plenty fast except in the snow, she’s sort of slow for some reason.
Molly has her say: I am not crazy about new people, it’s not that I am scared, it’s just that strange people should be considered very carefully for many reasons.  When my mom rescued me I was scared but I was young then, I have matured quite a bit.  Miss Amy  was a suspicious character at first but I couldn’t resist pets when she sat on the couch giving them to Gunner and not me.  All he really cares about is treats anyway.  She takes us on nice walks, I don’t really care to walk away from home, what if it’s not there when I get back?  I do enjoy when we turn towards home though.  My nice warm bed, that the humans insist on invading, is there waiting for me.
Molly at home

Molly waiting for her humans.

Gunner’s Perspective: Miss Amy was my dog walker long before I allowed Molly to join the household.  I did all of the training, of both Molly and Miss Amy.  I wait at the window when I hear her car but sometimes she’s tricky and shows up in the wrong car.  This necessitates the defense of the house becoming the priority until she is identified.  She gives me treats but not nearly enough.  I don’t know what our humans have told her but I do need lots of treats, protecting the house is a job that takes a lot of energy and it deserves a lot of rewards.  I even protect the cats, though I can’t see their usefulness to the household defenses.
Gunner with Invisible kitty

Gunner with Jojo the cat

All in all we report that Miss Amy is better then nothing.  Our humans seem to like her fine so that says something even though all humans are sorely lacking in judgement when it comes to visitors.  You should smell some of their guests…..

Molly the Super Collie 1998-2010

Molly - My Girl

Long May You Run by Neil Young – Long My You Run Molly

I did not intend to start this introduction to our family with a sad story of loss, but I can’t speak in Molly’s voice any more, she left us today.  She died peacefully in my arms, in the car, (her second favorite activity was riding in the car) after playing her last round of frisbee, (her first favorite activity) modified for a dog who can’t quite get around.  We had a small burial and wake tonight and I am grateful for my pet loving friends and family who could come on short notice to help ease our sadness.

I wrote this essay for a dog essay contest about a year ago.  If you knew her you won’t be surprised by her antics and you probably know most of these stories but if you didn’t know her maybe you’ll see just a bit why she was so special to me and I hope it will give you a happy remembrance of a special pet who is gone.

The Adventures of Molly the Super Collie

When my mom gave me Molly the Border Collie twelve and a half years ago I had no idea how much trouble she would be.  Luckily, she has been even more fun.

I made the mistake of getting her while I lived in an efficiency apartment.  Border Collie’s are smart and very active.  Her first big adventure came on one of the first times out of the crate while I worked in the evening.  She leapt through a screen and played with the kids who lived in the complex until the pads of her feet were raw and bleeding from running alongside their bikes.  When I returned home she was waiting at the front door thoroughly exhausted for the first time in her short life.  We added rollerblading to her regular Frisbee work outs after that.

Molly's natural state for about 8 years.

As quickly as I could manage we moved to a house in a quiet neighborhood with a small yard.  I thought this would be just what she needed.  She soon learned to jump the fence.  Most of the time she only went over it into the adjoining yards to steal the neighbor kids’ and dogs’ toys and bring them home to add to her collection.  She did disappear once and was found within the hour, one street over, playing with a neighbor kid.  I installed a tie out system for her after this foray.

My mom has a cabin in Southern Illinois adjoining a national forest where we horseback ride.  Many people take their dogs along on these rides.  Molly with her energy was a perfect fit for joining us.  She loved it as much as my mom’s dogs did, and followed right along with little expeditions into the woods to follow enticing scents.  Half way through our ride, about as far as we were going to get from home, we realized Molly was missing.  We asked every passing group of riders and finally learned a dog who looked like her was following a group from a nearby campground.  After returning home I drove to the campground and found a little girl who was throwing her flip flop for Molly to fetch.  Molly has not been invited on a ride since, much to her disappointment.

I moved to a house in downtown that had a yard that could contain Molly.  The house was a double so we shared a yard with the other tenant.  The gate was left open one day.  Our other two dogs and the neighbor dog seemed not to care but Molly was long gone by the time the open gate was discovered.  She had recently pulled her tags off and I had neglected to replace them.  We searched everywhere with growing concern.  After a week of putting out flyers, combing shelters and rescue groups and running newspaper ads I had given up hope.  I got a couple of calls that I could tell weren’t Molly over the phone.  Then I got a call from a lady who lived over 20 miles from us.  It sounded like Molly but I didn’t think she could be so far away.  I wanted to meet this dog anyway.  When I arrived she was there with a ball in her mouth, as happy as could be, as if nothing had happened.  It turned out that she had been drawn to a construction site that was just a few blocks from our house by all of the noise.  After she spent the day at the site a worker took her to his mother’s house where she happily fit right in.  He was as sad to see her go as I was happy to have her back.

Two and a half years ago my husband, the dogs and I moved to five partially wooded acres near the end of a long dead end street.  Our house sits back off of the road at the top of a ravine with a flood plain below it.  Many people on the street do not have fenced yards and most dogs stay close to home with very few exceptions.  We spent a couple of weeks supervising and training the dogs in the yard.  For two years they all three stayed on our property for the most part.  One day last May, I let the dogs out about 6am as usual.  When I left the house about 9am Molly did not run to meet the car, this was unusual but not unheard of.  I phoned my husband an hour or so later to see if she’d returned.  She had not.  The worry and panic I felt was familiar to me.  I got home and went through the same routine of flyers, shelters and newspapers.  We had neighbors and family helping us search the woods, paying special attention to kids and construction sites.  At least she had tags with our address on them this time, they also had my husband’s cell phone, my cell phone and my mother’s cell phone since the dogs often stay with my mom when we travel.  There was no sign of her for two days.  Then my mom called me quite excited and said she had received a message from a man who said he had rescued our dog from White River while boating.  She had stayed on the boat all day as there was no cell phone reception to call.  She had apparently been perfectly happy to boat until they approached a small beach about 7 miles from where they had picked her up.  As the beach drew closer she became frantic to get off of the boat so they turned her loose where she wanted and called when they had reception to tell us where she was.  I headed out of the house to hike down to the beach and look for her.  I found her on the porch wet, dirty and exhausted.  There’s no way to know, but I suspect she was chasing a floating ball or stick and got swept away.  It’s possible that she spent a day and a night in the river before the boat picked her up.  Shortly after this adventure we installed an underground fence.

Molly has slowed down a bit with her advancing age.  I think that we have solved the problem of her adventures but with her, you never know.  If there’s excitement to be found she will likely find a way to join it.  I can only hope that if she does, she will once again find her way home.

9 October 2010

She is now at home in the yard she loved and in the hearts of those who loved her.

Molly plays her last round of frisbee.


Goodbye to my best friend.

Three Cats in Disbelief, “You Left Us? Again?!!”

Food at last!


We can’t believe that you left us with a part time attendant and took the dog to spend the weekend in the country.  As you can see we are starving here while you are gone.  We know she’s your cousin, can’t you get her to move it or something?  We require more attention and more food.  We had to pull the plastic food bin out from under the chair, open it and tear into the bag to get at the food last night to prevent starvation.  (We were sure to close the lid again as fresh food is important to us.)  Now our so called caretaker has put the food in the laundry room and closed the door.  What will we do later when hunger sets in?  Humans seem to have no regard for the delicate dietary needs of felines, at least not in this house.  The only kind words we have for her are that she pets us and acknowledges our exceptional attractiveness.  The fresh water and clean box are appreciated too.  Still, we prefer live-in care, see what you can do about that for next time.

Romeo, Peanut and Charlie

PS:  You can leave the dog in the country if you want.

A Letter From Cricket the Cat

My sisters cat, Cricket, has spent the last two summers with us.  She has claimed the upstairs as her personal domain.  She ignores our dogs and despises our cats, aka the”black devils”.  She wanted me to pass the following letter on to my sister shortly after she returned to California without Cricket.

Cricket and a tribble

Dear Former Caretaker,

The substitute attendant you have provided is adequate.  She does not understand that breakfast is to be promptly served at 5:00am each day and my pleas for sustenance in a timely manner go unanswered.  She is as much as an hour late at least once a week.  Dinner is served at her own pace too, but it’s usually early rather than late at least.  She does open interesting closets and cabinets from time to time to provide a bit of fun.  Fresh tissue paper to sit on is provided and maintained properly.  I haven’t puked once since you left, knock on wood.  I have allowed the attendant to pet me and I have graced her with a visit to her monitor on more then one occasion though  I have to share that space with tribble, whatever that is.  I have successfully banished the Black Devils from my domain and I occasionally torment the dimwitted dogs by meowing over the edge of the loft.  All in all, exile in the Hoosier state is much less stressful this time with the one exception that last time I was able to choose my own feeding routine since no one knew that I had unlimited access to the food bag.

Perhaps willing to take you back with appropriate groveling and bribes,