We’ll show you how to potty train a dog or puppy to easily ring a bell when they need to go out. It’s a very easy thing to do, having taught our grown dog to do it in 3 days and our new puppy in about 5 days.
We’ve also got a great tutorial on how to make the posh bell shown including a free download of the “ring bell for service” text! Make sure you check out our other furry friend posts such as Keepsake Puppy Paw Prints and our 5 Minute Puppy Dog Bow Tie!
Potty Bell Supplies
NOTE ABOUT HOOKS: The hook shown was purchased at Hobby Lobby. It’s used upside down from how it would normally be used. Whatever hook you use must have some type of loop that allows for you to hang your bell on and make sure it sticks out far enough to not hinder the bell. We link to one that will work below, on Amazon.
- One bell about 2″ in size Liberty Bells We purchased ours at Hobby Lobby. You can also use a large jingle bell or 2″ cow bell.
- A small wood plaque (we used a 3×5 purchased from Hobby Lobby) Similar plaques (these are a bit larger)
- Paint for plaque. We used Krylon Seaglass Satin.
- A hook that has the correct layout. (We purchased ours at Hobby Lobby.
- Command Strips to hold it
- Silver split ring or ribbon to hold the bell onto the hook.
- Ring bell for service printable below
Rather Buy One?
Bell Text in Different Sizes (pdf)
How to Potty Train Using a Bell Instruction Sheet (pdf)
Though its free, we always appreciate donations.
Gather the basic supplies.
Paint the hook and plaque.
Attach your hook upside down to the top of the plaque.
Download and print the “Ring Bell for Service” on the paper or sheets of choice.
There are a variety of ways to place this on your plaque. You can Mod Podge it on or you can print it on ink jet clear label sheets which is what we did.
Using Command Strips, hang your bell next to the open edge of your door. Make sure it’s at nose height for your dog.
Download our instruction sheet on how to teach your dog to use their new bell! Barnaby, shown below, learned in 3 days.
Make this framed keepsake dog or puppy paw print to have forever and memorialize your furry friends. It’s both classy and meaningful! It doesn’t matter what size your “puppy” is. It makes a beautiful gift for family, friends or your children. (I’ve been told its great for kitty cats too!) You might also enjoy learning how to simply and inexpensively make personalized dog bowls or make sure your little guy or gal is styling with our 5 minute puppy bow ties!
Puppy Paw Print Supplies
IMPORTANT: Dogs that have longer fur will be next to impossible to get a clean paw print unless the fur is trimmed. Also, many dogs do not like their feet touched. Don’t ever force your dog to do something that scares them.
Gather your supplies. You can use regular paper but watercolor paper gives a much nicer print and finish!
Paint your palm gold, making sure to cover it well.
Make sure there are no gaps in the paint.
Make sure you plan ahead for your frame so you know exactly where your hand needs to be placed. Press your hand down firmly on the center of the paper. You may need to take your other hand to help with pressure. It’s a good idea to do some test runs to know exactly how much pressure to use.
The final print.
Feel free to touch up any gaps if needed.
Take your little pups paw and press it into the ink. Do some test runs on the paw print also before doing the final.
Press the paw in place.
Frame your art and hang!
In this article I share the unique story of how we found our newest family member Oliver Sprout. There’s also a free potty training puppy chart you can print out to help keep track of your own puppy’s schedule! Plus you can also read how to make darling 5 Minute Puppy Dog Bow Ties like the one Oliver is sporting! Don’t forget to make your little one his own Personalized Dog Bowls!
Time for a Dog
We’ve always had a dog in the house for most of our 37 years of marriage, but when we lost our last dog Maggie, I took a break. I started feeling a strong need for another dog a while back and it finally felt like the time was right. I asked my husband Roy to pick it out without me. I know that’s a bit odd but Roy is incredibly intuitive and I knew he would be led to the perfect dog for us and I didn’t want my funky vibes messing things up. I told him to just use his intuition and that’s all that mattered. Breed, age, size was of little importance. Within a week of my decision he had looked at a few dogs but none were “our” dog. Then on Saturday August 13th a friend told me that the Humane Society was set up at the local Petco.
Off to Petco
I told Roy about Petco and off he went. He told me he walked into the store and there were lots of puppies in crates. He looked at them all and noticed there was one in a cage by itself that was just sitting there staring directly at him while all the others were doing their own puppy thing and ignoring him. All of a sudden there was some loud noise in the store and the dogs started barking and going crazy. All except that one pup who just sat there not making a peep, staring at Roy. Roy went over to it and stuck his finger in the cage and the little guy nuzzled up against him. He took him out and within a few minutes knew this was our dog.
Roy called me from Petco and said “I found our dog but I’m not going to send you a picture”. He wanted me to be surprised. The little pup slept on his lap the entire way home. He called me when he got near the house and I went out to greet him and took the little ball of fur and it was love at first sight. We brought him inside and our 10 year old granddaughter Alyssa was there at the time. After a minute or two she said “He looks like an Oliver.” I said “Well I’ll be… he does look like an Oliver.” Now the Humane Society had given him a temporary name of “Sprout and that seemed likewise fitting so we named him Oliver Sprout.
The gal at the store also told Roy how they got the pup. Someone saw this little bitty thing walking out of a field all by himself somewhere in town. Good person that they were, they picked him up and brought him to the Humane Society. I thought maybe that’s where the name Sprout came from… because he came out of a field and he was so tiny.
A Special Dog
Oliver is a calm loving little guy who likes to snuggle and is very playful as most puppies are. He’s taken a particular attachment to Roy and Roy to him.
When I went to bed that night I let Oliver lay by me for a few minutes which he did as calmly as can be. Roy came in to get him to take him out with him and another interesting thing happened.
Now, Roy has a connection with animals in general and all of them are drawn to him, but he’s never been over the top with them. He’s not been one to kiss them and he doesn’t care to be licked. When he picked up this little pup, he kissed him on the top of the head, and went out. That was when I really knew this was a special dog. As kind and loving as Roy is to animals, I’ve never seen him kiss any of them including our past pets.
Roy with Oliver the day he brought him home.
I told Roy the next day I think Oliver Sprout walked out of that field looking for us and was waiting for Roy to come into Petco, that’s why he was sitting there so calming looking at him when he came in. That’s what I choose to believe anyway. One thing is for sure, Roy and I and Oliver’s life just became much richer.
Humane Society Etc.
Please, if you’re looking for a new family member, go to your local Humane Society or shelters. Change the life of a pet that was unloved or needs a new caring home and change your own life at the same time.
CLICK ON EACH IMAGE
Potty Training Puppy Chart
Though its free, we always appreciate donations.
What’s cuter than a puppy dog? A puppy dog wearing a bow tie! We’ll show you how to make a set of puppy dog bow ties in just a matter of minutes using felt, hot glue and some elastic. You can use one elastic neck piece and a variety of bow tie colors that you can easily change using Velcro. Your little furry friend will be styling around town in no time! If you’ve got a new puppy in your life, hop over and grab our free Potty Training Puppy Chart and also read the short story about how the pup you see in the photos, Oliver Sprout, came into our lives. Also, don’t forget to read “The Dangers of Rawhide” and grab our free chart of snacks its OK to give you dog.
Puppy Dog Bow Ties Supplies
Felt is perfect for these bows because of how light weight it is. And of course it doesn’t fray, so no sewing is needed! You can either glue your bows directly onto the elastic or make them removable with Velcro.
- Felt (soft type)
- Hot Glue Gun
- Black 1/2″ elastic. (Or larger for bigger dogs)
- Thread (for tying small bows
- Free pattern below
We used felt because its lightweight and the edges don’t fray. It makes perfect bows and comes in a huge variety of colors!
Using our pattern, cut out the bow pieces. This shows a set of each size.
Fold/pinch the center of the large piece as shown.
For smaller bows its easier to use a piece of string to tie them in the middle.
Once tied glue the center piece onto the bow using a small amount of glue to reduce bulk.
Trim off the extra.
A perfect bow!
Gluing Larger Bows (no thread version)
You can use hot glue to secure a larger bow. Use very small amounts as you don’t want to add to the bulk or heaviness of the bow. Place a small dot in the center.
Pinch the bow together to hold it.
Place two small dots on the outer edges of the bow.
Quickly pinch those down in place. You can now glue the center piece around the middle of the bow.
Measure around the dog’s neck with your elastic. Make it “lightly” snug.
Glue the elastic edges together. You can also sew it if desired. The neck piece is meant to be slipped over the dogs head and around his neck.
You can make several of these and glue each bow on or you can place a piece of Velcro onto the neck piece for changing out bows. Cover the seam with the bow or the Velcro.
For removable bows place the opposite side of the Velcro onto the back of your bow.
If its not sticky enough or you’re using regular Velcro you can hot glue it onto the bow. The three different sizes of bow.
By Jennifer Hull, Operations Manager/ Pet Care Specialist/ Central Pet/ Owns 2 dogs and 5 cats
Unknown to many pet owners, rawhide for dogs has no FDA regulations and causes hundreds of cases of sickness and death each year. If you have a canine companion, chances are you’ve spent countless hours perusing the pet store isles for toys and treats to keep your little one busy. If you’re like me, and have multiple pups at home, finding a healthy but affordable option to treat all of them can pose a challenge. Growing up I always had pets at home and rawhide treats were a staple for our household. They were cost effective, came in bulk packages and were available in a wide selection of colors, flavors and shapes. It wasn’t until I got older and had a dog of my own that I began to research what goes into the treats my furry children consume.
My first dog, Jack, was a black lab mix who LOVED to chew. Naturally, I turned to the treat that I was familiar with. Large bags of “all natural” rawhide chews. Affordable and long lasting and Jack loved them. I knew enough not to purchase anything that wasn’t ‘Made in the USA’ and to look for the ‘all natural’ label, but that was about the extent of my knowledge. Over the years Jack must have had hundreds of these flat strips of hide. Did he die? No. Was he poisoned? No. So why the concern with rawhide, you ask. Where do I begin?
There were multiple occasions that Jack would chew the rawhide bones or strips into soft, rubbery, saliva soaked pieces. While attempting to swallow these pieces he would gag, regurgitate and then pick it up and try again. There were a few times that we all came running to pull the slobbery mass from the back of his throat, ensure that he wasn’t going to die, and then tossed it out only to replace it with a new one. This got me thinking. Was this just my dog’s inability to be patient enough to chew his food properly? Or was this a common occurrence for other pets as well? After I began researching the product, I was blown away by what I found.
Choking & Death
In the US alone, hundreds of dogs die each year from these seemingly harmless rawhide treats. What they don’t tell you on the label is that the rawhide you are feeding your beloved pups may cause contamination from bacteria or chemicals used when making it, (a process I recommend you read up on), digestive irritation from chemicals or bacteria and, more commonly, choking, blockages and death. Yes, MORE commonly. The truth is the chances of contamination or digestive irritation are fairly typical among most pet treats. Your pet may have an allergy, be sensitive to specific ingredients, have a sensitive stomach or run the risk of getting salmonella or E coli from poorly processed treats. But this applies to most all pets and treats out there. It’s the ‘death’ part that I want to focus on.
If your pet swallows these slobbery pieces of rawhide they run the risk of those pieces becoming lodged in the esophagus or other parts of their digestive tract. These rubbery chunks can pass through the stomach, undigested, causing blockages in the intestine without any immediate sign of distress. Depending on where that blockage is located and its size, your vet may be able to remove it through their throat. However, once it’s made its way to the stomach or intestine, abdominal surgery is required. This, of course, is assuming that you catch it in time to save them. An unresolved blockage will lead to death.
Safe Fruits & Veggie Treats
free printable pdf chart
What to Watch For
Below are some of the key things to look out for when it comes to a blockage or illness from a rawhide treat.
- Repeated swallowing motion
- Refusing to eat
- Inability to have a bowel movement
- Signs of abdominal pain
- Fever or lethargy
If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian. Of course prevention is the key.
Tips to Prevent Problems
But your pet loves their rawhide treats and that’s all that fits into your budget, you say. Like I stated earlier, my Jack must have consumed hundreds of these treats over his life and he never died from them. But there are a few things you can do to greatly lower the risk of your dog choking or having a blockage if they still chew on rawhide.
- Size: First, when buying rawhide make sure that the treat is proportionate to your pet. Don’t give small chews to large dogs and monitor your pet when they are chewing on their rawhide treats. If your pet whittles their chew down to a piece they could potentially swallow, remove the chew and throw it away.
- Ground Rawhide Treats: While large rawhide bones and strips last longer, there are rawhide treats made from ground up rawhide. They come in a variety of shapes, colors and flavors. These are sometimes more of a treat than a chew, depending on your dog’s chewing strength and habits, but they break down and can eliminate the risk of a blockage.
- Buy USA: This is all we carry at my store. There have been several cases of contaminated treats from China. Researching that topic will turn your stomach when you learn what chemicals and “meat” is used in many products from China. As with all dog treats, know where your products come from and what’s in them.
- Don’t Believe Labels: ‘All Natural’, ‘100% digestible’ and ‘Made with real <whatever>’ can actually mean just about anything! You’d be amazed what they can get away with putting on a label. Do your research and make the best decision for you and your pet. A very helpful site is www.dogfoodadvisor.com which gives detailed information about what is in many brands of dog food.
- Recalls: Watch for product recalls due to contamination and other issues by following sites such as www.petfoodrecall.org
Bully Sticks. This brand made in U.S. These are incredibly popular and good for dogs. If you don’t mind where they come from. Ü
KONG fillable toys: These can be filled with a variety of treats such as peanut butter, applesauce etc. Then frozen. Made in the U.S.
West Paw brand Zogoflex is a line of toys made for heavy chewers and they have a lifetime guarantee and are made in the U.S.
Nylabone Dura Chew Hollow Stick. The pug in our family adores this thing as is but you can also fill it with treats.
I’ll admit it. A black light flashlight is fun to play with. But aside from the novelty aspect they also have a variety of practical uses inside the house and out that you never thought of! The flashlights are very inexpensive and small so you can easily carry one with you. Read on and learn just how helpful a black light flashlight can be. By the way, it would be a perfect addition to a Well Organized Junk Drawer. We put ours in our “Mini Toy Box in a Drawer for Adults and Kids.”
A word of warning though… in some cases ignorance can indeed be bliss. Just saying.
Black Light Basics
Without boring you with a bunch of scientific stuff, basically a black light emits ultraviolet rays which are invisible to the human eye. It makes any item glow if it contains phosphors. Phosphors are any substance that absorbs energy and re-emits it as visible light. All you need to know is that there are many things that have phosphors. This is what makes a black light flashlight useful.
Black Light Flashlight
There are many options for black light flashlights. The one on the top left is what we own. Most small ones run between $7 and $15. Depending on what you want to use it for, you may opt to pay more for a larger one. Here is a UV marker you can use to protect your property. We talk about that below under security.
Uses for Your Black Light
IS YOUR MONEY FAKE?
Newer money has been equipped with florescence of bands that show up under a black light.
Anyone who’s watched a crime show is probably aware that body fluids show up under a black light. Hence they are great for detecting pet stains.
This photo was an example using this black light flashlight.
In case of theft your valuables can easily be traced to you if you’ve marked them with a special UV marker.
We used this UV Pen. PEN
Allow the ink to dry before touching.
Ink can be removed with cotton ball and alcohol.
HOW CLEAN ARE YOUR HANDS?
Kids not washing their hands good enough? Give ’em the old black light test!
SHOPPING FOR USED FURNITURE
Checking out Craig’s List for a used couch? Pack your black light for some on the spot icky stain sleuthing.
INSPECTING FOR MOLD
Yep, mold is full of phosphors hence you can easily detect it by shining your black light flashlight onto it. Another good idea of your buying a home.
BUYING A HOME
A black light will come in handy for checking for a variety of things, the aforementioned mold being one of them. On the slightly more disturbing side you could also tell if there are blood stains on the floor.
We’ll show you how to make a DIY dog bed from a suitcase! It’s a fun project that you can style however you like. With the attached toy holder made from a mail bin, your pup will love it!
The one shown is made from a military shipping case which was perfect, but any straight sided suitcase without padding would work. You just need half of it. We’ve got step by step photos for you to follow along with. Once you’ve completed this project you can make a set of matching personalized dog bowls!
DIY Dog Bed Supplies
- 1/2 rectangle type suitcase or military shipping container (found at thrift store)
- 2″ wooden dowel cut down for legs
- 2×4 (cut down for inside brace)
- Peg board (cut down for pillow top)
- Old pillow
- Thick soft fabric to cover the pillow stuffing.
- Button Kit ( to make matching buttons from same material.
- Spare old buttons for the bottom of the tufting under the peg board
- Spray paint
- Staple gun
- Mail holder bin (attached for toys)
- Clear coat
I found these military shipping containers at a thrift store.
Tape off any areas that you don’t want painted. I liked the vintage look of the hinges so I decided to keep them. Then spray paint the container your color of choice. I recommend at least two coats.
Measure the interior of the container and cut your peg board to fit. Try to align the holes evenly from each edge so that you can accurately measure for your buttons when it comes time to do the tufting. Uneven holes mean uneven buttons.
I used a reciprocating saw to cut the shape but a circular saw would work just as well.
An old standard-sized pillow was used to create the padding. Depending on the size of your container you may need to remove some of the filling from the pillow or use a larger one. Either way, cutting a small hole in the pillow will allow you to reach a hand in and reshape the filling, which can sometimes be uneven and bunched up.
Be sure to check both sides as you staple to ensure that the pillow lies evenly. Adjust the filling as you go if needed.
Be sure to pull the pillow tight around the edges. If too much of the filling wraps around the edges as you staple, then your bed top may not fit into the container.
Trim off the excess material after stapling to prepare for the fabric.
Folding over the edges of the fabric prior to stapling gives the bottom a more finished look. I would recommend placing staples no more than 1/4″ apart to ensure they hold up over time.
Measure for buttons and circle the peg holes prior to tufting to ensure they are evenly aligned. Then thread a long needle with a thicker thread and tie an old button to the end. Thread the needle up through the marked holes on the bottom and then re-insert it about 1/8″ away from initial point, back through the same peg hole beneath. You’ll have to press down hard on your pillow padding to get it through. You’ll want to do this twice, adding your finished button to the top on your second round. Once you have pulled it back out of the bottom for the second time, the attached button gives you leverage to pull the string tight and create your tufted look. Then wrap the string around the button a few times, tie it off and cut.
Second time out, string through your button and reinsert.
Measure the length of your container and cut two 2×4’s to fit inside of it lengthwise. If you are using a shallower container you may need to use 2×3’s or even 2×2’s. Keep in mind that they should rest on the bottom of the container and their tops should be at least 1″ below the top of the container.
Outline where your support beams will go and drill holes so that you can attach them with screws.
With the support beams firmly mounted to the interior of the container, place the pillow inside. It should be a tight fit so be sure you don’t tear the fabric as you press it into place. The peg board bottom should rest firmly on the supports below. If everything lines up, remove the pillow and prepare to install the feet.
I opted for a simple 2″ dowel for the feet, cut down to 3″ lengths.
Measure and mark where the feet will go. Drill holes through the container to attach the feet. If you purchase self-tapping screws you may be able to screw the legs on directly through the container depending on what materials the container is made of. Being that mine was a metal-like fiber glass I opted to pre-drill small holes and used the self-tapping screws
Once complete, spray paint the legs and apply a clear coat to protect the bed from scratches. I would recommend at least 2 coats to hold up against little paws and the occasional cleaning. I suggest using clear coat over it when finished for added protection.
Right before I put my top back on I opted to attach a small mail bin that I picked up at a craft store for $5. This gave me a place for my dog toys and a name plate. I spray painted it the same white and installed it to one side of my container by drilling holes and using some old, small bolts.
Your dog can eat in style with these classy personalized dog bowls! (Cats too!) Nice pet bowls can be expensive. Not these! $2.00 was paid for the set. Just grab some nice ceramic bowls at the local dollar store and then add your pets name either with paint pens or labels.
Supplies for Personalized Dog Bowls
- Ceramic or glass bowls from the dollar store.
- Paint pens, labels. (I used a Silhouette machine for mine but any labels can work.)
- Waterproof clear coating of some type to go over labels and any painting you do.
- For paint pens, paint on your design. You can coat it with a waterproof coating if desired or you can place your ceramic bowl in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes which will set the paint. (Make sure the bowl can be placed in an oven.) HAND WASH ONLY.
- For labels, attach them to your bowl and coat with a waterproof coating. HAND WASHING ONLY.
Get some ceramic bowls from your local Dollar Store. Mine only had dark colors. If you can get white ones, you have more options for paint pen colors.
Draw on your designs. If you make a mistake you can quickly wipe it off. If it sets you can wipe it off with rubbing alcohol.
Any type of labels will work as long as you put a clear waterproof coating over them. I had a Silhouette machine I used for mine.
Your little dogs can be part of the Halloween festivities with these darling small dog Halloween costume ideas. All you need is some inexpensive craft foam sheets, glue and Velcro. We’ve got all the pattern basics you can download. Keep in mind that these are general patterns as each dog is unique so you’ll have to adjust them for your little guy or gal. These are super lightweight.
And of course a special thank you to our daughter Amy’s little dog Barnaby who was beyond tolerant in trying on our costumes. He got a treat after each outfit though so he was a pretty happy camper.
The Mad Hatter, Wizard and Superman costumes were the creation of my daughter Jennifer and her son, our grandson, Ashton.
While visiting us for a week they spent an entire day brainstorming ideas, created the patterns and then assembling the costumes.
Supplies for Dog Halloween Costume Ideas
NOTES: These are for small dogs only. Our little pug was 14″ tall from the floor to his shoulder and his was 11″ around his neck. The patterns are general in nature so take them and adjust as needed for your own dog. Cut them out on paper first to test the size. There are specific notes for each costume below. We used hot glue for our foam. This takes a minute for the glue to cool and hold well and must be held together during that time. Clothespins work perfect for this. The directors are minimal as we’ve relied on photos to show you how they go together.
- Craft Foam Sheets, 12″x 18″ size. (Make sure you get the larger size)
- Glue, we used hot glue
- Elastic for hats
- Cloth tape measure
- Clothespins OPTIONAL (These are a huge help in holding pieces together while they dry.)
- Markers, glitter, glue (Optional)
Pattern Packet Download
IMPORTANT: Craft foam is very light weight but even so many dogs do not like having things on their heads. Please don’t force a hat onto your dog if it bothers them. You always want to place your dogs comfort as a priority.
Print out our patterns. Measure your dog around the neck, body etc. Cut out test versions on paper, adjusting as necessary for your dog. Once you’ve got the right size, cut out the pieces on your foam. Pay attention to which pieces have to be cut on the fold.
Mad Hatter Dog Halloween Costume
This costume is fairly detailed. Remember, the patterns are one size and you will need to adjust them for your dog.
Wizard (Gandalf) Dog Halloween Costume
The hat on this one is a bit tricky. After measuring for your dog, cut out templates on paper to test how they go together. We did a paint wash on ours but that’s not necessary.
This hat needed extra support as shown by this circular piece we glued on underneath.
Flower Dog Halloween Costume
Necktie Dog Halloween Costume
You can try it without the brace piece.
This is with the brace piece added.
Dog Halloween Costume
This goes together the same as the wizard cape. Cover the seams with ribbon.
Superman’s curl is optional.
Bat and Angel Wings Dog Halloween Costume
This is a very simple costume. We did learn that the wings tended to slip around the dog so it needs an extra brace from the body piece to the dogs collar to hold it into place. We also added a pipe cleaner halo to the angel wings but it was a bit wobbly.
It was fun watching Barnaby run around with this on. The wings will flop up and down as if he was trying to take flight. This one did need the added brace as shown on the pattern to help keep it from slipping.
Titled Images & Collages
6:30 am this morning and it’s still dark outside. I walk down our stairs to get my breakfast with just enough light to barely see the steps. On my way back up, as I’m about to round the mid-step turn, something with claws reaches out and swipes me on the shoulder completely freaking me out... yet again. Its our daughter Amy’s cat “Love Cat”… which seems a misnomer at that particular moment.
Amy purchased him from the “kitty pound” a couple years back. He was a fully grown, tubby black cat… the kind no one wants. Adult is strike one. Black is strike two. And because we prefer skinny things in this society, tubby, strike three. But Amy looks beyond social conditioning and goes for what feels right in the moment. Love Cat felt right. The pound folks had named him and Amy kept it.
Now before you think I’m trying to demonize this cat, he was chosen because of his loving nature. He’s a very calm soul, revels in being petted and is virtually maintenance free… which I guess most cats are. He was quite skittish for a long time, having been mistreated in his past, and he spent most of his early days with us hidden in some obscure spot. But after a while he got over that for the most part. He also has a penchant for lying in the oddest places, most times right where you have to step over him. He never keeps to the same location. I have found him comfortably laying on the fireplace hearth, curled up on a bunch of smashed boxes by the back door, tucked away in a lower kitchen cupboard and sprawled out in a doorway with half of him in one room and half in another. However, recently he’s started repeatedly staking out a spot on the upper landing of the stairs.
I really doubt that there is any ill intent in this latest locale. Sometimes as I step over him in various places he will reach out with a little swat of his paw as if to say “Hey! Stop and give me a scratch will ya?” Which I usually do. I simply think he has found that his new strategic location is perfect for garnering such attention. He can lie there and casually “reach out” to anyone who happens to be going up or down. Its just handy. And for a laid back, overweight cat, handy is good.
He doesn’t realize that its dark and so is he. He doesn’t understand that as I traverse the stairs in the black silence, my mind elsewhere, that an invisible furry claw reaching out of the darkness to grab me might possibly cause me some distress. Of course he doesn’t get that… he’s just a cat. Right?
I went to visit my kids in Arizona for a few days in December. My daughter’s son Ashton has a rescue cat named August or “Auggie” for short. When he first came home as a kitten he spent a great deal of time in Ashton’s room so they could bond. Ashton would dangle a pencil off the edge of the bed regularly for him to play with. The cat now has an affinity for them. He can find any pencil anywhere and will carry it around, bat at it and even fetch and bring it back if you toss it. I of course had to write a poem about him. I caught photo’s as best I could but the little bugger moves a lot.
THE PENCIL CAT
By Nancy Rector
Other cat’s they love their twine
A ball of yarn, some catnip fine.
A mouse to chase, a cricket fat.
But Auggie, he’ll have none of that.
No scratching post, no warm soft bed,
His tastes run more to wood and lead.
Yes, pencils are his cherished toy.
Their slender goodness brings him joy.
None are safe with him about.
His innate sense seeks each one out.
So should you come to visit here
It’s best to keep your pencils near.
AUGGIE PLAYING FETCH