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HOLLENBECK: Life with pets is challenging but absolutely never, never dull

October 24, 2011

Living with pets presents unusual challenges at times.
Sometimes the challenges can be BIG, particularly if humans get involved and the humans don’t happen to be on the friendly side of the animal.
Case in point: A flooring project done at our house a number of years ago.
The work entailed ripping up old carpet to replace it with a vinyl-like floor that looked like hardwood.
Everybody at the carpet store was wonderful in accommodating me in what I wanted.
There were no problems until the actual work started.
The installer began the work, then told me he had to go back to the store “for a few minutes.”
The “few minutes” turned into eternity evidently because we never saw him again. It turns out he had a severe allergy to cats and was experiencing a reaction to those that live in our household.
I understand allergies and I was extremely sympathetic, but for the life of me I can’t imagine anybody who has allergies that severe being involved in carpet installation in the first place, particularly the removal of the old stuff, which can send just about anyone into a sneezing fit.
I never figured out that situation entirely, but the store sent out another man who completed the work and we were all very happy.
We used to have a really precious cat, a tiny little grey ball of fur, named Little Girl. She was as affectionate and sweet as a cat can be.
But she had one major flaw: She was fascinated by electrical cords.
I couldn’t count the times we had to replace the phone cord in our bedroom because she would bite in in two.
We’d start to use the phone and get nothing. A check of the cord invariably would reveal the problem: Little Girl had struck again.
The phone cord wasn’t her only target. She also had a penchant for my husband’s razor.
It wasn’t as easily repaired as the phone cord. That involved a trip to the razor repair shop.
The proprietor never seemed too surprised to have the razor back in the shop and told Ed we were among a class of many.
He noted that one customer had a pet rabbit whose handiwork — or rather toothwork — sent his razor in for repairs much more often than Ed’s was there.
The latest fiasco occurred recently at our house when a home health nurse was there to set things in order after Ed returned home from a hospital stay.
While the nurse had me in the kitchen instructing me on how to use a telemonitor for taking his daily vital signs, she left her laptop computer on a table in the living room.
I pretty much “got” what I needed to know in my lesson and we walked back into the living room. And there a surprise was awaiting us.
“Oh, Mrs. Hollenbeck!” the nurse exclaimed. “I think the cat’s been playing with my computer.”
Indeed Taxi, our black and white lovable but curious cat, he had been busy.
The key covers on the woman’s laptop were removable and the cat figured this out pretty quickly.
These were scattered all over the table.
The nurse was polite, but perturbed, to put it mildly and I couldn’t blame her. Fortunately, I quickly discovered that each cover would fit only a specified key.
It was a lot like working a jigsaw puzzle. The regular letter keys were easy to correct because of my zillion years of typing and using a computer, but when you got to the other keys — like for scrolling up, down, wherever — it was a little trickier.
Eventually, I got them back in place, but it was somewhat of a challenge.
I’m still amazed that Taxi could do this. Evidently, he got one off and then was so fascinated with the process that he just kept going.
I probably don’t have to say that the next time she came to the house, she kept her laptop close at hand.
And I don’t think she spoke to Taxi.
Lynda Hollenbeck is senior editor of The Saline Courier.
lyndahol@yahoo.com

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