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For the second morning running I was awakened by the dogs, but this time not only did they jump up on the bed and trample me, they barked. These are BIG dogs and when they bark it resonates through the concrete in the walls. So not only was I squished, but also I got the fright of my life. If they had not been standing on top of me I would have probably ended clutching the chandelier. I am now wondering if this is a preview of my coming life? Will I now get used to being trampled awake with my ears ringing? I sincerely hope they do not make a habit of it. Maybe it is just now because it is new and I keep struggling trying to control them that they take perverse pleasure in thwarting me. I am trying to convince myself that they will eventually stop when they become bored with this game.

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Living in the house with ten pets has its pros and cons. True it is a big house and the cats have taken up the top floor where I have a large storage room and the maid’s room and bathroom, as well as the roof, for their domain. They usually come down during the day when they want to eat, drink or go to their litter. Other than Snow and Pixie, the rest are usually up there on the third floor. Both Snow and Pixie have learned that sleeping is safest on high surfaces, so Pixie sleeps on top of the fireplace mantle while Snowy on a console outside my room. Though the latter sometimes sleeps on a rather low coffee table in the living room, but I scared the living daylights out of the dogs to touch him while there.

Life between the cats and dogs has settled into a kind of habit, a routine. They have now each set their boundaries and each is falling into a role, which they have all tacitly agreed to. It is a must that every once in a while one or the other of the dogs must chase Pixie ‘pour la forme’ as it behooves a dog seeing a cat. The dog takes just a few quick steps towards Pixie who runs a few steps then stops to start bathing, and the dog just swerves at the last minute and pretends that he has accomplished his duty. My poor Snowy fares rather badly in these encounters, as he does not play the game. He stands still so they are all over him licking him and he is trying to wiggle out from under them. I know exactly how he feels, as this is what happens to me when they wake me up in the morning.

These cats and dogs have developed a feeling towards one another. If any one of them is in distress or hurt they all rally around a bit out of curiosity but still trying to see what is happening to whoever is in distress. Quite often Cookie gets fits of coughing that sound much worse than they actually are. When this happens the dogs, and cats, gather around her and look worriedly on till she stops. Then they start sniffing her to see that she was all right. When Petra and Troy are playing roughly and one of them inadvertently hurts the other who cries out, immediately the furry family is on alert and gathers to see what was wrong.

This caring extends to a kind of cooperation between the species. I have jumbo kitchen towels all over the house, usually kept up on the mantle to keep them out of the reach of the dogs. These are there in case of any ‘accidents’ that occur and which need to be cleaned up immediately. With three dogs these ‘accidents’ are sometimes huge. If the dogs get a hold of these kitchen towels, that is the end of that. This morning I woke up to a demonstration of how this cooperation between the cats and dogs works out. Pixie, in a generous mood, jumped up on the mantle and threw down one of the jumbo kitchen towel rolls. When I came out of my room I saw that the house had been re-decorated during the night. It was like the aftermath of a parade with all the confetti strewn everywhere.

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The relationship between the dogs is something else. Though Frisky had defended the terrible trio when they were babies from Pixie’s attacks, he got it in his brain that he is their leader and kept chastising them for everything. As they kept growing and he remained the same size, the dynamics changed, and though he still thinks that he has the right to chastise them, they now answer back, especially Petra.

Though Petra has fully come into her own, yet the day she first saw her reflection in the glass of the balcony window she had a panic attack and stuck to me like glue till I took her over and she saw that this ferocious strange looking dog did not attack her. Still, this terrible trio does not have an inkling about their strength yet. Just the other day they were in the garden next to the small pool when Frisky ventured in to drink and they thought he was going for a swim. They started horsing around with him and kept dunking him under the water and it was only when my houseboy alerted one of the gardeners to what was going on that he was rescued from a real possibility of drowning. Poor Frisky kept shaking for half an hour afterwards and was traumatised for the rest of the day.

I am trying my best to instil good habits with these dogs as they really do not know their strength and they are still growing. Once fully grown I sincerely hope that they settle down a bit. I hope they do. This is what happened with my first tribe, Caesar and company, at the age of two years they started to settle down and were more mature and responsible. So it looks like I still have a year and a half to go before that happens. I hope both the house and I survive it.

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