For the next ten days or so, I'm holding down the fort a few towns over, in a house that contains about 25 birds (most small), 2 cats, 2 goats, and a very grumpy dog. I've been here nearly a full 24 hours and its been entertaining to say the least.
When I arrived last night, Lulu, a little black, low-to the ground black mutt thing, was PISSED. At first I (stupidly) thought she was happy to see me as she flung her small, compact body to the front door and proceeded to bark as loudly as possible through the mail slot. "Hi Lulu!" I said as brightly as possible, knowing that she could be "weird," grumpy and/or shy. Wow. I was barked and growled at consistently, and when I finally backed off, Lulu hid in the bathroom for over an hour. Damn. It was so tiring trying to win her over, I said "screw it" to errands and grocery shopping, dug through the fridge and found some beer and left over fettuccine and plopped on the futon to catch some Grey's.
The homeowners called from JFK and I told them about the problem with Lulu. They pretty much had no recommendation, with the husband saying that when his wife is away, Lulu acts exactly the same around him. Great! My only true worry, once I figured out that Lulu was not actually going to bite me, was that she would refuse to go out and pee. I tried to coax her out several times last night with cheese, with positively no luck. Oy.
I'm staying in the homeowner's room because they have the most comfy bed and a sweet flatscreen. That's where Lulu sleeps. Needless to say I was freaked out: 1. Lulu could jump up and eat my face while I slept 2. she could jump up and eat my face AND pee on me while I slept 3. she could run away to another room and never come out for the rest of my stay and pee and poop in some random part of the house. Eeeh. I called Jamaal and told him all my many dog woes. As a pet-less man, he had little advice. I finally decided that there was nothing I could really do (without getting bitten at least) and turned out the lights to go to bed....
.....only to feel Lulu hop up on the bed and curl up next to me around 12. What the hell? I was sure she'd growl and bite, but nothing, nothing but sleeping. At 2 I woke up with Lulu in my face..licking me. What? This happened every time I shifted, as if she was checking to make sure I was OK. When the sun came up (and the birds started SCREAMING!) Lulu turned over, looked at me, and went to hide under the bed. Normally when someone does that after sleeping with me I am gravely offended, but since this individual had just wanted to bite my hand off, I decided not to read too much into it. Lulu resumed hiding and growling for all of today until 3pm - yeah 3 PM probably almost 48 hours since she had last peed - the spirit moved her to walk down the back stairs and take a leak. She even frolicked in the yard for a bit. Such behavior is rewarded with a large slice of cheddar cheese. Sure, she may have gone back upstairs to hide, but at least we made progress - she's not going to eat me in the night, and her bladder is not going to explode. Rockin'
Meanwhile, the other creatures are an absolute breeze. The cats are my buddies. Cats can be so weird about people, but these two cats are compensating for the anti-social dog. Nancy and Loretta (a la Nanci by Toad and the Wet Sprocket) are sweet kitties who like to curl up and nap OR "help" with whatever task I'm trying to complete at that moment in time. Here they are:
The macaws are big and scary. I'll try and get some pics later. I bring a broom with me whenever I go into the barn, where they are free-flighted. While it is scary to have them able to pounce on me at any second, it's sooooo sooo much better to have them out and about than confined to a cage where they will only get more pissed off at me. There is also an aviary full of cockatiels that are twitchy as hell, and a room of amazons, but they are caged as well, and therefore totally non-threatening (to me at least). Oh, and a room full of caged conures...and the goats....so yes, it's quite an adventure over hear, but we all seem to be settling a bit better. I'm sure I'll have more to blog about later too...I can say that now because I know the animals aren't going to kill me in the night!