Under Santa Fe Skies

by Susan Tungate

Abandoned, Tortured, and Starved!

It started like any other day. I was hanging out with My Person in the kitchen, watching her make coffee, when her cell phone rang. I hear: “Yes, thanks for returning my call. I need someone to pet sit over a long weekend.” Oh no. “I have a cat and two small dogs,” she says. “One of the dogs, Georgia, is a little shy.” Well, that was more kindly put than the groomer, who said with an edge, “Georgia has an attitude!”, but I digress.

At some point later that day, Sofie starts barking her lungs off. I awaken and naturally decide to join in because I know that is what dogs are suppose to do. In walks a woman who I would judge to be in her late seventies with preternaturally dark  hair.

“Well, hi! Aren’t you two the cutest puppies.” Sycophant Sofie jumps up to be petted. I give a small wag to be polite. Just as The Woman leans her face into mine and starts to reach for me, My Person says, “Don’t pet Georgia, remember, she will scream.” The Woman’s hand hovers over my head for a second, then, as if a child told not to touch the hot iron, she goes for my head and I let out the most ear piercing scream I can muster and run under the table. “Oh,” she says. “She really does scream.” Idiot.

My Person proceeds to explain the ins and out of the care and feeding of the three of us. She goes on and on and on but she also has typed it all down on paper, because that is her way. I hear snippets of what My Person says from my post under the table: “Harry is an indoor cat. Never let him out….No, please don’t sleep over…Last call outside should be about 7pm then off you go… Sure you can make breakfast here…Oh, no, no need to vacuum, it is a bit temperamental…Please don’t go into my office because I have things piled all over the room for a project…”

Then My Person says, “If Georgia hides under the bed, do not feed her under the bed or she will never come out. Lead her out with pieces of dried chicken.” YES! I love dried chicken. Note to self: Hide under the bed.

Then The Woman says, “Where is your TV?”

“I don’t have one. It broke this summer and I decided not to get a new one until the lead up to the political conventions is over.”

“Good idea! It is so stressful. I saw the Guan Yin statue on the patio so you must be a Democrat and I am a Republican, but don’t worry I hate Trump, he is a clown. I support Rubio.”

“Well, ok then, ” My Person says as she composes her face, “good to know.”

“I’ll need to use your computer over the weekend if that’s ok. I have bills to pay,” says The Woman, as if she were asking to use the toilet.

“I’m sorry, but no. And please, again, don’t go into the office.”

I am thinking she has to go so I sneak over to the carpet in front of the couch and do what I have never done in the eight years My Person and I have lived together: I make a very small, really fairly discreet deposit. Not two seconds later The Woman eyes my social statement and tells My Person who exclaims, “Georgia! Let’s go outside. What the heck was that about?”

GUESS, I want to say. Take one guess. You have a law degree for goodness sakes, but seeing this is a feckless effort (and yes, dogs know the word feckless), I run under the bed, shaking my head at the futility of it all.

The Woman then asks how to use the radio. “Not a radio,” My Person explains. “It is an iPod.” The Woman does not know how to use it, so My Person shows her.

“Is that a second iPod on the shelf? What’s in that?”

“Classical music. It works the same way as the other one.”

The Woman finally leaves. We go about our lives. I have dodged a bullet. Until one morning before sunrise, My Person feeds us, picks up a bag and walks out the door. I know this is not good.

DAY ONE

A few hours later, in walks The Woman carrying several bags. I run under the bed. During the next few hours, I hear the sound of pots and pans, the smell of oatmeal, the sound of coffee beans being poured into the burr grinder and the grinder crunching the beans, I smell coffee, I hear stuff being moved around in the freezer, the sound of the contents of a kitchen drawer being dumped out on the counter. I hear Sofie and my names called to go outside, a call I ignore under my post. I hear our food, my food, being poured into my bowl. I do not move. I hear music. I fall asleep.

When it is dark outside, The Woman calls My Person. I hear: “Georgia has not come out all day. She is under the bed….no I did not try the chicken…ok I will roll up the rug…ok…ok…yes, Harry and Sofie have been great…Ok…Bye.”

So I am thinking we are going to do the dried chicken thing and I will fly out the door to pee and back to eat my dinner before heading under the bed, but no. The Woman says goodnight and leaves.

DAY TWO

The second day is best explained by The Woman’s call to My Person late in the day: “I got Georgia outside! I am exhausted and shaking. I just made myself a cup of tea. Well, this morning she was in the office. I shut the bedroom and bathroom doors, took two chairs and trapped her. It took eight hours but slowly I pushed her inside the chairs to the patio door. I opened the door. It took 15 minutes of my pushing and her screaming twice, but she finally went outside and pooped. Where was Harry when the door was open for 15 minutes? Oh, he was on the couch encouraging her to go outside. Well, I knew it was a risk Harry might run outside but I thought I could catch him. Ok. I won’t do it again. Ok. No, I did not try the chicken. Ok. No more trapping her in the chairs. Where is she now? Oh, she ran like hell and is hiding in the furthest corner under the bed. Ok. Ok. Have a great time! Bye bye!”

Then she placed a bowl of water and a bowl of dry food near the end of the bed and  left the house.

What The Woman did not say is that she pulled up the bed skirt and planted a huge, industrial strength flashlight under the bed, aimed straight at me. Why? I do not know, but I am a deer in headlights. I don’t dare budge.

DAY FIFTY

I have lost all sense of time. The Woman arrives. She sticks her evil face under the bed, hoping, I think, to find me dead. My hope is the battery will die before I do so I can die in peace.

Speaking of dying, I hear her turn on the vacuum cleaner in the office. Two strikes. Then I hear silence. The vacuum, il est mort. Dead. Broken. From under the bed, even with the light in my eyes, I watch her spread the body parts in the hall.

DAY THREE HUNDRED

I no longer know if it is summer or fall. Hope is vanishing. I am hungry and boy do I have to pee. The Woman’s cell phone rings and I hear: “You landed! Great. Ok. An hour? Ok. Well, I usually like to be here when people return, but ok. Ok.  It’s been great! Thanks again!” And The Friggin Woman leaves.

I run out as fast as I can and pee a rivulet where the rug use to be.

Not too long after, I hear My Person’s car coming down the driveway and Sofie hears it too and Harry jumps on his perch and we are barking and twirling and wagging our tails as our precious Person walks in the door, saying, “Hi there! Let’s go outside Georgia and Sofie! How are you guys?” I run outside, knowing in about five seconds she is going to find my river of shame, but I do not care because she is home!

Footnote: For the next day or so I watch My Person as she finds the detritus of the weekend: the broken vacuum lying in state in the hall, the silent coffee grinder no longer able to move its burrs, the kitchen drawer rearranged, rubber bands placed around the can openers, the freezer containers placed in a bin, the jar of coffee beans now beanless. At one point she leans down and picks me up. Holding me close she says, “I am so sorry, Georgia. The Woman is off the list.” And I wag my tail.

Ask Georgia

Dear Georgia,

I saw this poem and immediately thought of you. Hope you like it.

Best,

Greg from NYC

 

“Dog’s Bedtime Prayer 

Now I lay me down to sleep,

The king-sized bed is soft and deep.

I sleep right in the center groove,

My human beings can hardly move.

I’ve trapped their legs, they’re

tucked in tight,

And here is where I pass the night. 

No one disturbs me or dares intrude,

Till morning comes and “I want food!”

I sneak up slowly to begin,

And nibble on my human’s chin.

For morning’s here, it’s time to play,

I always seem to get my way. 

So thank you Lord, for giving me,

This human person that I see.

The one who hugs me and holds me tight,

And shares their bed with me at night.”

 

Dear Greg from NYC,

Do you have a camera in our bedroom? This poem pretty much

nails the situation, or at least it did.

When it was just Harry the Cat and moi, we arranged ourselves for

minimum intrusion on human space. I took the head and he took

the feets.

Then Sofie arrived a year ago. All was chaos. Harry was over on

the left side with Sofie. I was on the right.

Our person was pinned. She soon became a sleep deprived  animal

sandwich.

So one day when she was away, I called a meeting. I explained we needed

to show some of  that unconditional love people rave about. Since this was Sofie’s

third home after two stays in prison, she was amenable to any plan

to make our person happy. I suggested we all line up on the right side

of the bed like one human body. I picked the middle position. I figured the

middle position was closest to her hand for a quick pet. Then we flipped

a coin for the other two positions. Heads, her head. Tails, her tail.

That night, when our person slid into bed, I assumed my position.

Then Sofie jumped up and headed to the bottom of the bed. Harry settled in

the pillow position.

This is how we sleep every night. Of course, it is a total mash up in the

mornings, pouncing on her stomach and licking her face, but our person seems

to like that. 

Greg, I hope you and one and all  have a Happy Fourth of

July weekend. Remember, when the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

bring your dogs in the house so they can hide under the bed. That’s where I

will be.

Love,

Georgia the Dog

 

Ask Georgia

My person and I have a Sunday afternoon routine. Sometimes Sofie the Dog comes with us. Sometimes she doesn’t. We stroll just a few blocks to Sanbusco Center where we  walk around Teca Tu, my favorite store in the world. Check it out.

In fact, six years ago I was adopted right in front of the store. I was a little crazy eyed excited that day as you can see.

Normally our routine is  the same: We walk in the front door where all the toys are displayed.

My dear friend Mira comes around from the counter and gives me a treat. I love Mira.

 

We leisurely stroll by the rawhide.

We walk to the back of the store.

And I drink from this amazing water fountain that makes the water turn around and around in the bowl. I want one of those but have been informed it is not going to happen.

A few Sundays ago, we walked in and my person stops dead in her tracks a few feet inside. I pull to get to Mira and my treat but she is not budging. Then I hear her screech, “Oh look! Laaaaaambchop!”

She loses her mind. There is a basket of large ones and a basket of small ones. My person is transported back in time, telling Mira how she always watched Shari Lewis and Lambchop and even made her own sock Lambchop. I am thinking the makers of this Lambchop are really calculating, smart marketers to appeal not to me, Georgia the Dog, but to these baby boomers.

Eventually Mira does give me my treat and I have my drink of water. As we start to exit,  I can tell my person is still fixated on Lambchop. We almost make it out of the store when she picks up a small one…for me, she says..for Valentine’s Day.

I am not certain whose Valentine’s Day gift this is in reality, but I have come to like the little thing. We only take it off the shelf to play with it when Sofie is out on the patio; otherwise she who shows me no respect would steal this one, too.

So Happy Valentine’s Day to you all. Remember, the best gift is rescuing a dog or even a cat from prison. You save a life and receive the gift that keeps on giving of unconditional love.

Love,

Georgia

Ask Georgia

Dear Georgia,

My wife and I are wondering how things are going with the new dog Sofie.

We are considering adding another dog and are looking to you for inspiration.

Is Sofie adjusting? Everybody getting along?

Best,

Wondering in Washington

 

Dear Wondering in Washington,

Sofie did get stuck in Harry the Cat’s house this week which cracked me up.

But she is really happy to be out of the shelter.

And we are all getting along just fine.

Go save a dog (ok, or even a cat) from prison today!

Love, Georgia

When Harry Met Sofie

Dear Georgia,

Hey, Georgia, your brother Harry the Cat has a question for you.

What the heck were you thinking? You and our person drove off Saturday

morning to buy cat and dog food and three hours later you come back

with this thing:

Don’t try to deny you were there, because I have proof  you were at the

scene of the crime. This is you smiling for the camera as our person completes the adoption paperwork:

What do you have to say for yourself?

Harry the Cat

 

Dear Brother Harry,

Look, I was adopted. You were adopted. Little Sofie needed a new home,

a new name cause the shelter named her NALA of all things, and some

decent clothes. I know things were rocky the first day with your having that

hissy fit and all, but order has been restored. I even share my ducks with her:

And you know the best part? Sofie distracts you from

trying to play with me. You provoke her now instead of me and, unlike me who did not

take your bait, Sofie will chase you down the hall as you run for your life

to jump up on the dining room table. Good times! I do promise you this Ark is out of room.

Love,

GA the Dog

Ask Georgia

Dear Georgia,

I am thinking of adopting a Bernese Mountain dog from a shelter. Any advice as to how to make my dachshund who is 12 years old comfortable about adopting such a large dog ?

Sincerely,

Worried About The Wiener Dog

 

Dear Worried About The Wiener Dog,

First, here I am giving you four paws up for adopting a dog from a shelter. We shelter dogs are forever grateful to our people for removing us from prison and putting us up on a pedestal where we rightfully belong. So yea you!

Now to your Wiener dog issue. Let’s get a visual here. A standard size dachshund weighs between 16-32 pounds and has stubby little legs. I moi self personally weigh about 13 pounds and have the same legs as a dachshund plus maybe two inches, legs I apparently inherited from my person. Exhibit A:

A Bernese Mountain dog weighs between 80-110 big ones and stands about 25″ tall. Exhibit B:

Basically, your Wiener dog could stand directly underneath the BM dog with plenty of head room to spare. One good wack of that BM dog’s tail and you can kiss your Wiener good bye! I mean the pillow size fur balls the BM dog sheds could suffocate Wiener! On the other hand, little Wiener could attach  herself to BM dog like a barnacle and drive the big dog nuts. That said, there is hope.

 

I read up on this topic and spoke to the Chihuahua down the street who lives with a newly acquired big retriever. One factor is the sex of the BM dog. Seems it might be better if your BM dog is the opposite sex of Wiener. The most important factor, though, is personality. If Wiener is a confident, assertive, controlling little thing, then she would prefer a laid back BM dog. Match the energy levels, too. Since Wiener is a senior, she probably would not like to hang around an energetic crazy puppy. The best fit might be a young adult, low energy laid back BM dog. 

 

You can find tons of material on the internet on how to handle the introduction. I’m thinking that first meeting involves lots of treats and an exit strategy for Wiener dog. Good luck!

 

Yours,

Georgia the Dog

Have a question for Georgia? Please leave a comment or send an email to her person.

ASK GEORGIA

 

Dear Georgia,

We recently brought home a tiny  kitten. Have any advice?

Sincerely,

Happiness Is a Warm Kitten

 

Dear Happiness Is a Warm Kitten,

Yes,  I do. Take the little fur ball back where you found it.

Next question.

Yours,

Georgia the Dog

 

Dear Georgia,

I have been dating a man for about 6 months. Throughout the entire time

he seemed to really like my four year old Pomeranian. Yesterday he said he

would like for us to move in together, but he had to confess he really didn’t like dogs.

I don’t know what to do. On the one hand I really like this guy, but on the other I

love my dog. What should I do?

Yours truly,

Dilemma in Dallas

 

Dear Dilemma in Dallas,

Let me tell you a little story my person told me.

When she lived in Atlanta, she had a cat named Sherlock. At the time of this story she and Sherlock had been together for about four years. She had been dating a handsome, interesting, fun loving journalist for about seven months. She really liked him, and the Journalist and Sherlock seemed to get along great. One night the Journalist took her out to dinner at a romantic restaurant. In the middle of the candle lit dinner, the Journalist looked deep into her eyes and said, “I would really like for us to move in together. I love you and would like to take our relationship to the next level. I have to confess, though, I truly hate cats. They just freak me out. It’s pretty much the cat or me.”

Without hesitating my person responded, “Did you want to break up now or wait for dessert?”

Enough said.

Yours,

Georgia the Dog

 

Do you have a question for Georgia? Contact her through her agent at Contact Susan on the blog. Be patient. Georgia likes to nap.

Grumpy Cat InFURiates Harry and Other Updates

Hi, Georgia the Dog here. Yesterday was one of the best days of my life. Seriously. I laughed all day. When Harry the Cat heard Grumpy Cat just signed a movie deal, Harry was beside himself. He sprawled in bed all day flicking his ridiculous raccoon tail crying, “I can do grumpy! I shoulda gotten the part. Why should I be punished just because I am beautiful?” In case you don’t know about Grumpy Cat, he is one funky looking cat who always has a frown on his face. He became famous when his people posted a photo of him then a video on the internet. The guy has his own website, for goodness sake. In any event, I have my own column, Grumpy Cat has a movie deal and Harry’s got zip. Life is good.

 

copyright Russ Hedrick

And speaking of life is good, I am in love with un vrai français Arthur who lives in Paris. Voila adorable Arthur holding a baguette in his mouth. Strong but gentle. Kind brown eyes. A great tail. Alas fate has placed our hearts an ocean apart. We can meet only in our dreams. But, wait, maybe we can skype!

I also want to give a big hello to Tui, pictured below doing her beach babe pose. Tui was born and raised in New Zealand but settled recently in Santa Fe. I wish she could have brought the water with her.

 

copyright Daryl Stanton

So that’s all I have for now. Be kind to your four legged friends.

Harry Gives Four Paws Up to “Sad Cat Diary”

 

Hi, Harry the Cat here. While The Dog’s away, this cat will play with her column. A reader from New York sent the “Sad Cat Diary” video to me for my review. I can only say I found it profoundly moving, truly poignant, an unflinching portrait of the lives of felines. Take a look  here.  And I soldier on, soldier on, soldier on.

Harry the Cat

 

Got Your Ducks In A Row?

I’ve got all my ducks in a row now. You?