Ray was standing in the middle of the room with a bone in his mouth, his tail swinging uncertainly. My throat closed and tears stung my eyes. I knew that Ray thought his favorite game of keep-away could get his cats to come out of hiding.
"Gimme that bone, Ray," I said to the dog, my usual announcement that I was in on the game.
Ray's tail started wagging in earnest as he turned and headed for the stairs. I followed, calling "Gimme that bone!"
As I reached the landing, Ray a few steps in front of me, I noticed Chester coming up the front walkway. Just what we both needed to take our minds off, I thought, a visit from Chester.
Chester came with our new neighbors and is the pugs' 14 year old cat-brother. Not only is he the world's friendliest cat, he is also the world's most mellow. I haven't written about Chester before because I thought my first posting mentioning him would be about the tragic death of the neighbor's cat at the mouth of the overexcited blind hound. Quite frankly, it still could happen. Chester has NO fear of Ray. Which is turning out to be a good/bad thing. Ever since Chester started coming by, which was about a week after the neighbors moved in, I have spent part of almost every day trying to desensitize Ray to Chester's presence and to convince the hound that Chester is part of his pack, but I've had mixed results. Although Ray seems to love (the taste of) the cat, he also seems to think Chester is some kind of wind-up toy that, if nibbled or nudged enough, will slap Ray in the face. On occasion, Chester obliges. Ray likes it.
As we headed down the rest of the stairs, Chester saw us through the glass door, picked up his pace a bit, and meowed. Ray, still with bone in mouth and now with ears deployed in Dumbo mode, stood alertly inside the door as I went out to give Chester a good petting.
Since I had been in the middle of something when I went to check on Ray, I reentered the house and headed back upstairs. Five minutes later, I was done. As I exited my studio, I noticed Ray, still alert but now lying upright on the stair landing, still with bone in mouth, still with ears deployed in Dumbo mode, and with eyebrows now doing the Flatley on his forehead, intently 'staring' down at the front door. Chester was staring back in.
I laughed. Obviously the dog was worried about Chester stealing his bone.
Followed by the dog, who was still holding his bone, I went back down and opened the front door. Chester moved away a bit.
"Ray do you want to come out and say hi to Chester?" I said to the dog who was standing on the threshold.
Ray stood for a moment thinking about it. I waited, ready to grab the dog when, as is his wont, he made a dash to meet his new friend.
But instead of rushing out at high speed and tap, tap, tapping around to find the cat, I watched, astounded, as Ray, tail swinging and bone still in mouth, picked his way slowly out the door, down the first step, and once on the walkway, gave a come-hither look over his shoulder. Obligingly, Chester followed.
Eyeing the dog suspiciously and laughing myself silly, I knew that Ray was luring that cat out into the open so he could better eat him.
Tail still swinging, Ray slowly continued onto the front lawn. Being no dummy, Chester followed only as far as the patch of dirt that now borders the new walk and sat down.
Ray stopped when he sensed the cat wasn't following him and circled back around. Watching the dog curiously, but not apprehensively, Chester waited until Ray looked like he was going to walk right over the top of the cat, then slowly made his way to the azaleas bordering the front porch and laid down in the shade of one of them. Still with bone in mouth, Ray stopped, laid down on the walkway nearby, placed his bone across one shoulder as bait, then stretched out his neck toward Chester to show him easy access to the treat. Chester approached to see what kind of treat was being offered, but for some reason, was not enticed by the large, rolled rawhide.
After watching this scene play out, and still waiting for Ray to make his move, I squatted between the two friends, petting each in turn, ready to make a grab for the dog. I didn't have long to wait.
After a few minutes of pretended disinterest, Ray couldn't take it anymore. He leapt to his feet and made a grab for the cat. I grabbed the dog. Unconcerned, Chester never moved.
*Court is in reference to the fact that we live on one. It's a pun.
|Coming up the walk|
|Getting ready to set the trap|
|Watching from the shade (eyes without a face in background)|
|Checking out the bait|
|Changing his mind|
|No stupid here|
|Getting ready to make the move|
|Making the move|