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I hope you can help me. I read all of your blogs, but have not seen a problem like mine in them.
I am a spider. I used to live in the human’s house, but she had some kind of fuzzy gadget that she used to brush away my webs. I looked around and found a barn on the property that is much like yours. The door has a top part and a bottom part. The weather here is warm and the top part of the door is left open.
The open door is ideal for building my webs. I have a lot of babies and there are plenty of flies to catch in my web to feed said babies. My webs cover the whole area of the open door. They are architectural marvels and quite beautiful, as well as useful. My youngin’s are never at a loss for a tasty fly meal.
At this point you must be wondering what my problem is. Well, I’ll tell you. The human comes to the barn every morning, half asleep and not paying attention, and BREAKS MY WEB WITH HER FACE. Then SHE gets angry and calls me names that you would not believe. Seriously, I have to rebuild the web, and SHE’S mad.
BB, how can I make her stop face smashing this lovely structure that is so important to food gathering for my hungry babies?
Dear Webless Charlotte,
My research assistant, Cordless and I put our heads together to come up with an answer to your problem. We think we nailed it!
Lately we have noticed little twinkling lights adorning the houses, shrubs, and trees around the area. We asked Anita what they are for and she said they are holiday decorations and would be removed in a while. We thought that was strange, but chalked it up to unexplainable human habits.
We decided that if you put little twinkling lights all over your web it would keep the human from smashing it with her face!
Problem solved. Are we good, or what?!
What’s that? I just heard the feed bin open. Got’ta run……………….
I am a young, happy kitty, except for one thing. I ITCH!!! I have scratched my ears so much that they got infected. My whole body feels like it is on fire. My human stopped giving me my favorite treats and may change my food. She says I might have food allergies. I am afraid she will stop feeding me because of this allergy thing. I love to race around the house, climb up the curtains, and knock things over. I need food, especially treats to keep up my energy.
Please tell my human not to stop feeding me.
You poor baby. Cordless, my research assistant, and I were horrified at the thought of not being fed. She checked this out right away. Cordless tries to explain her results to me in some kind of research talk that I don’t understand. She said she Googled food allergies. My eyes just sort of glaze over when she uses these words. I told her to stick with “field reporters”. (Get it? We’re horses. “Field” reporters. A little equine humor there.)
Back to your problem: Cordless tells me there is such a thing as food allergies! We thought there had to be a mistake. Could this be some of this fake news humans talk about? Then we heard about something they refer to as “alternative truth>” We gave loud horse laughs and rolled on the ground at that one. That must be an example of human humor. It’s a good one. We decided that nature could not be cruel enough to take our food away. Just to be sure, we asked Anita if she knew about this.
Anita said food allergies are true. At first we just stared at her in disbelief, then we asked if we could catch it, and if we did, would she stop feeding us.
Good news. She didn’t think we would catch it. Oh, and you have good news, too. That is that you are still allowed to eat, but you get different food. Sometimes you even get food you will like.
I know that in Anita’s work she often asks us questions about what hurts or what make us itch so it can be fixed. Hope that helps.
Got to run. The feed bin was just opened and my food is about to be served. We wish you well with your itch and your food,
BB and Cordless
Dear BB. The problem is, his human is stupid. Some humans are so stupid they seem beyond hope. That is the case for this poor dog’s human.
She needs to take him to training and she needs to learn how to reward him for not barking unless an unknown person comes into the yard. Or, she needs to keep him inside more, to specifically guard the house. As long as he is outside, he will guard the air, and the entire neighborhood…and it is a shame his efforts have not been properly appreciated by one and all. Instead, he is punished, when it is his human who should be punished.
I’m sure the neighbors wish his human would wise up. They must have visions of her moving away and taking the dog with her. Maybe the neighbors should come out and yell at HER when she finally comes out to drag her poor dog inside. Maybe they should yell, “You stupid woman! You are a terrible neighbor and a terrible dog owner!”
I, being a cat, have a melodious voice, as do BB and Cordless. My voice is quite impressive, but cannot be heard outside. I do sometimes hear dogs barking outside, and there are two, who are new to the area, and who sound “sharp and yappy”, according to my Adopted Mom. She calls their human “ That Stupid Woman” because the dogs bark to be let inside, but That Stupid Woman does not let them in right away. My Mom has yelled, “Shut UP!”very loud, too. Honestly, the yelling sounds as bad as the barking, but that’s between you and me.
Abby, the pretty Golden Retriever who lives in a house in back of us, only barks a few short, pleasant sounding barks when her human throws tennis balls out for her to rum and fetch. I used to like to sit up at the den window and watch Abby, when I could still see clearly. Abby’s polite barks are ok.
But back to my own finely tuned Vocal Instrument: I time my complex operatic arias for morning, when I want my Adopted Mom to give me my delicious treats. I skillfully emulate the late Maria Callas’ full throat technique until my adopted Mom is energized and alert enough to start Treat Time.
After my robust A Capella performance, I resume Quiet Mode and Conversation Mode, which are less artistically demanding. We Great Ones know that the instrument of The Voice must be rested in order to preserve quality. Maybe the Watch Dog would benefit from a “Less is More”approach. Or, maybe he should look for a better home.
Blackie the Wonder Cat
I need help. I read one of your blogs once from a dog who trained his human to go for walks, open doors, throw a ball, and a bunch of other stuff. My human does all that pretty well, but I am stuck on two big issues.
First of all, she calls me a “watch dog.” Seriously? It sounds like I just lay on my back in the yard and WATCH planes fly over. NO! I am a Watch Dog, Listen Dog, Smell Dog, and Protector Dog.
If there is ANY sound or movement I bark loud and long. I announce that I am big, mean, and ready to attack intruders. I even bark if the wind changes direction. You never know where danger can come from. I am allowed to spend my days in a fenced in yard and just go in the house at night. I love this arrangement. I am on duty while the male human is away during the day and off duty when he is there, but I can help him if needed.
This all sounds wonderful, but there is a problem.
When I bark at intruders the female human comes out and barks, too. I am barking about being mean and dangerous. She only barks, “SHUT UP. SHUT UP.” Does she think intruders will come in the yard and talk? I then have to bark louder to make my threats heard. She barks her “shut up” barks louder. As if this isn’t bad enough, the neighbors join in, chanting the “shut up” bark. Of course I have to bark over all the voices. My throat gets sore and I want to stop, but they won’t let me.
It gets worse. She suddenly stop barking, grabs my collar, and drags me into the house – in front of everyone. I am humiliated. No intruder would ever fear me.
BB, how can I get her to just let me do my job?
Dear Protector Dog,
My Research Assistant, Cordless and I reviewed your problem. We don’t bark. When it is time for Anita to give us our meals we whinny. We usually start about an hour before she is due to feed us, just in case she might forget. The sounds of our whinnies are melodious and pleasant so nobody would dare chime in and ruin the wonderful feeling they evoke.
Even though we do not have your problem we both feel you should continue to bark louder until your human gets the idea. Make sure you resist her efforts to drag you into the house so that she really gets the message, and intruders will know you are still a threat. Some humans are quite clever; some just take a little longer to get it. Let us hope your human is one of the smarter ones.
I imagine you have never gotten a letter like this before, and will never get another.
I have lived across the street from you for nine years and never knew it was YOU! When I sat on the window sill and looked out sometimes I would see you and Cordless relaxing and eating grass. OMG, I was witnessing greatness and did not know it.
Sorry, I digress. My human, The Big Guy (TBG) and I lived a quiet life alone and got along fine. One day it all changed. Have you seen the humans talk to a little flat box that they hold in their paw? It’s like they have an imaginary friend. They sometimes get emotional, or angry, or laugh. It’s almost like they believe they are actually talking to someone real. I don’t usually pay attention, but one day I heard my name mentioned, so I listened. TBG was telling the box that he had to leave his home and didn’t know where he was going to be. He talked about me. He didn’t know if he would find a place where I was allowed to be with him. He was very upset, and asked the box if it would let me live with it. I couldn’t believe my ears! I was NOT going to live in a tiny box.
A few days later TBG got the little cage out. I hid and chuckled while he walked around the house calling my name. Then I got hungry and hollered for my dinner. Can you believe he grabbed me and stuffed me in that cage? Well, I bit his finger hard and he hollered louder than I had.
After he stopped the flow of blood and bandaged his finger he carried the box outside and down the driveway. He crossed the street and up another driveway where I could see you and Cordless behind a fence. He took me into the house and Anita was there. They talked to each other for a while and I could see my bowls of food and water, and my litter box nearby. After a while they let me out. I was very cautious as I checked the place out. There was a place with some shelves and a bunch of books on them. I dashed behind the shelves and hid. They would never find me!
I heard TBG leave and Anita said, “Good night Gypsy.” And then she went to bed. She didn’t even look for me. I found out later that she could see my tail and knew where I was the whole time. There was a dim light on, so I snuck out, ate, drank, and used the litter box, and hid again. After four days I let her see me as I waited for my food.
Here’s my problem. Two weeks have gone bye and I find that I like Anita. She talks to me and feeds me every day. I even started to let her pet me a little. BB, I feel like such a traitor. What will TBG think if he finds out that I’m quite content here? I don’t want to hurt his feelings. Please tell me what to do. Should I bite Anita? I don’t want to.
Not to worry. No, don’t bite her. She gets real cranky if you do that. Cordless and I are not allowed to bite or kick her. We just put our ears back and make mean faces at her if we are angry. Just talk to her if you want her to know something. She listens. She doesn’t always do what you want – like give you more treats – but she listens.
Anita has one of those tiny boxes. Sometimes it plays a little music and she tells it, “I’m with the horses and I’ll talk to you later.” I asked her what that was all about and she said it was a cell phone. I still don’t understand. Whatever.
Cordless, my Research Assistant, and I had a chat with Anita. She told us that it was perfectly okay to like more than one human. She and TBG agreed that he loves you and you could live with Anita and be happy. He knows you will always love him, and if he ever has a place where you can be with him he will come and get you. You are not a traitor.
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I need your help. I have always been there for you to freely give advice, but now I am in BIG trouble. If you could just send Anita a note, or one of your e mail things to let her know she should not be mad at me I would really appreciate it. We animals just send thoughts to each other, so even send her a good thought about me that would help.
Here’s the first of the two events that happened:
Anita has been nagging (pun intended) me to write my blog. She even had the nerve to tell me that if I didn’t get a blog out my readers would forget me. She actually said that! As if that could ever happen. Now you know how humans don’t have much expression. She never moves her ears while we are talking. When you are talking to me there is little doubt about what I’m feeling from how my ears are positioned. Not so with humans, so they are harder to read. Sometimes, if I tell her something funny, her mouth changes and she makes a sound that’s kind of like a whinny, but the ears stay still.
Anyway, I told her I had my blog in mind and would get to it when I decided to get to it. No ear movement, but I sensed that she was not happy with my answer.
Okay, now for part two; the part where I got in real trouble. It has been pretty warm here lately, and Cordless and I were thinking of shedding our winter coats. It’s a good thing we didn’t because last night it got really cold and windy, and started to snow. Then little balls of ice started falling on the roof of the barn, making loud scary noises.
Our barn is quite nice. There are doors at the back of the stalls that are always open so we can go in and out to the pasture as we please. When I heard the scary noise I ran into the other stall. I heard the noise there, too, so I ran back to the first stall. I kept running back and forth, but I had to chase Cordless out of my way to do that. She finally just stayed outside.
I do regret to say that I didn’t think much about Cordless during my state of panic. When Anita finally got there to feed us (She claims that she got there the same time as she always does. Yes, she did, but that could be earlier if she tried harder) Cordless was wet and shivering, and had six inch long, thick icicles hanging from her face, neck, belly, and just all over, and a coating of icy snow on her back. She was still afraid to come into her stall, but Anita talked her into it. I was warm and dry.
Anita fed us and got Cordless dry and deiced, and I went to walk into Cordless’ stall to see what was going on. Bad move.
I didn’t have to see her ears – she was MAD – at ME! She made me stand outside in the wind, snow, and ice balls for a few minutes. She asked me how I liked that. I already had my ears back, so she knew I didn’t like it.
I told Cordless that I’m sorry. Now I have to act sweet and contrite in front of Anita for a few days. Sometimes life is hard, but I’m up to it. I will be writing that blog in a few days. Please send good vibes about me to Anita.
Love to all,
Update from Anita: I was worried that Cordless would get sick from her ordeal, but she was fine at dinner time and came right into her stall to get her meal.
I am a beautiful, intelligent, somewhat independent cat, appropriately named Princess. I “run a tight ship” in our household and my humans cater to all my wants and needs in a timely manner. Recently they walked in the house together and the male human was carrying one of those nasty crates I have to ride in to go to the vets. I didn’t want to get too close, but I realized there was already something in the crate. On closer inspection I found it to be a cat. A CAT! I turned my back on them to show my disapproval and gave one of my endearing growls to reinforce that disapproval. I don’t know what they were thinking, but they then let the aforementioned cat out of the crate, and then — get this – fed it some of MY food. Needless to say I was furious. However I am very smart. I waited. I stayed aloof as I watched them both give this intruder attention and affection. When they got ready to get in their bed that night I made my move. I gracefully jumped onto the bed, looked the female human square in the eyes, and peed on her pillow!
I expected her to be humble and contrite. I was shocked! She used that very loud, annoying voice that humans can get, and told me that I was bad! As you can imagine, I was astonished. I marched to her closet, found the slippers she wears so much, and squatted down to pee on them. Now, BB, you have to give me credit for even trying to conjure up more yellow water, but this lesson for her was important.
Did she learn? NO! I can’t even believe this part. She picked me up, walked over to my bed and picked that up, and put me in the garage along with the bed. When she closed the door I used my own very loud voice, but to no avail. I have spent the better part of five days, alone in this garage. They take me into the house at times and I see that cat who caused my problems. Of course I growl (in a less endearing way now). As soon as I start to voice my opinion I am returned to the garage.
BB, you talk to the humans. Please tell me how to get through to these misguided people that they need to get rid of the intruder and bring me back into the home.
Call me “Princess in Exile”
Dear Princess in Exile,
Cordless, my research assistant, and I had to read your letter several times. We are still confused about some points.
First, we are not sure why you are being punished since you did not bite or kick anyone. Growling is not usually cause to be isolated. Of course you would be angry if they gave your food to the other cat. Who wouldn’t?
Second is the part about “jumped on the bed.” Maybe we just express ourselves differently. Our rooms are called stalls. We eat, sleep, and rest in our stalls. There is “bedding” in our stalls, so I guess that is what you are talking about. We don’t jump onto the bedding, we just stroll onto it. When we are out in the field and we have to pee or poop we just wander in and do our business. Anita cleans our stalls twice a day with a pitchfork. Cordie and I feel that she would miss doing that activity if we didn’t do that for her. We do want to keep her entertained. I even march through to poop piles and kick it around so she has to work harder to pick it all up. Just more entertainment.
We also found the word “pillow” to be confusing. Cordie takes her job as Research Assistant quite seriously, and she is very thorough in her work. She did not find anything about a pillow that would apply to our bed. Neither of us has ever seen a human’s stall, so we can’t figure out why a pillow would be on it. Wouldn’t you trip over it while you were walking around?
We shared the decision that you should keep acting the way you have been until they Get It. It also sounds like they should learn how to use a bed properly.
Note from Anita: There are many ways to introduce a new animal to the household to avoid problems like this. Call me if you need advice.
Before I get into my blog I want to thank you for all of your well wishes. The disease that attacked my eye seems to be completely under control. I take my Chinese herbs every day and have not had the need for any of the gooey medicine in it for over two months. My eye is clear and my vision perfect. I am very grateful.
This blog is very different than the one I intended to post. Anita and I could not agree on how to mend the issues, so we will leave that up to you.
Previously I wrote a blog based on a question from a dog named Nelson who was training his human to throw the ball, open the door, and so on. I received so many responses from my readers, especially ponies, that I was going to write a “How to Train Your Human” article. Anita was totally against that idea. Her thought is – you’re going to just love this – everyone should have a job to pay for food, lodging, treats, and other treatment. When I stopped laughing I asked her what her job was. She told me that she takes phone calls to help humans and animals resolve their problems, or she may go to barns to chat with humans and their horses, dogs or cats. Sometimes she travels around the country to teach other humans how to understand us. (I still don’t believe she fits in those objects I see flying high in the sky. She swears she does.) Big deal, right? How does this pay for things?
Anita told me that when you give value, you should receive value. A pony has the valuable job of keeping a child safe and doing his walk, trot, canter, jump stuff, and he is rewarded with the value of food, treats, and a good home. I asked what she got for working with the animals. You’re gonna’ love this, folks. She said “money” that pays for feed, hay and treats for Cordless and me. I didn’t buy that for a second. All that stuff just shows up as if by magic. It was her turn to laugh. I asked her to show me money. She reached in her pocket and pulled out a green, wilted paper. OK, green is good. I sniffed it and it was awful. I didn’t even want to taste it. What is neteller used for? Valuable? Hah!
I asked if Cordless has a job. Anita said she had a job as a race horse, but she got hurt and could no longer race. My mother, Briana was quite ill and about to leave her body and I would be here alone. Cordy was brought here to be my companion. She also chases any dogs that come in the field.
We stopped talking about neteller cashout and I thought about all of it for a long time. I still don’t get the “money” idea. I guess that’s some weird human invention. We talked some more the next day. Anita said, “There’s more that we won’t even discuss. Taxes.”
I had her there. I know all about taxes and shopping with neteller. A halter, saddle, bridle, or harness is called “tack.” Two halters would then be called “taxes”. Don’t complain to me about the value of a halter. I don’t even think I need one.
I began to wonder and worry about casino payments. Anita had a job, Cordy had a job, and it seemed like everyone else had a job. If I didn’t have a job would I stop getting food, hay, and the rest of life’s pleasures. I asked Anita and she said my job was to bring her joy – and I did it beautifully.
What’s that? The feed bin was just opened. Got’ta run………………