interspecies dependencies

the above photo is of gamin, my feline roommate. as mentioned in a previous post, he recently had an abscessed wound from fighting. the details that i neglected to mention are that he had to have a drain put into the abscess, a bunch of stitches, a course of antibiotics, and was house-bound for over a week.

to provide context: gamin is a very independent cat. under normal circumstances, i would see him maybe twice a day, during which time he would make incessant and horrid scratchy yowling sounds as a demand for food. sometimes, he might nap for a few hours on the couch. on rare occasions, he might demand to be cuddled, by forcing all twenty-five pounds of himself onto one’s lap and biting at hands/feet/other convenient body parts until he is stroked. unfortunately, the petting quickly overwhelms him, and he then lashes out with claws and/or more biting. he draws blood, then runs away. frankly, it can be a difficult relationship to negotiate.

also: he doesn’t use a litter box.

so. to suddenly have this cat wounded, drugged, and indoors was… interesting. he was very cuddly, and unusually quiet, and fairly pleasant. if i didn’t have so much respect for his dignity, i would have photographed him: between the plastic cone around his neck and the shaved portion of his backside, he looked very silly. the entire experience was highlighted by my own sudden illness, because it meant that both of us were bedridden. unfortunately, every time i got out of bed, i had to clean up his diarrhea from the floor.

luckily, he has healed up well.  also, i came up with a new way for him to access the little window in the bedroom, so that he can come and go on his own.  it involves a carpet-covered ramp and shelf, and now he spends a great deal of time just sitting up there, looking down on the world.

enter the other animal:  b has gone away for the weekend, and i’m taking care of dawson.  those of you who know me in real life will know how much i’ve missed this dog since the breakup… losing him has been one of the easiest things to mourn from mine and b’s relationship.  so, i am glad to have him for these couple of days.

however!  wouldn’t you know it, that he’s sick?  i came home from work mid-afternoon yesterday to diarrhea all over the living room.  awesome, just awesome.  then he moved on in to vomiting, but luckily that occurred outdoors.  now it’s saturday and i’m supposed to be volunteering at the annual “shop the wild” event out @ royal roads, but he woke me a few times in the night to go outside and i don’t want to leave him alone at home.

i have to say:  i am grateful for this apartment if only because it is all laminate flooring.  my last place was mostly wall-to-wall carpet, and it was wretched to clean.

thing aren’t all bad, though.  i have schoolwork and house projects to do, so am content at home.  also, dawson still has a bit of energy and we’ve gone for a couple nice walks.  last night i took him through the ecological restoration part of the park across the road, and i was reminded of the feeling of safety that comes with the company of a large dog.  that portion of the park has no lighting, and even though i like to think that i go anywhere i want, i hadn’t walked through there at night since dawson left my daily life.  it was good.  i felt invincible.

following the waterside path, we went under the bridge to come back on the home side of tillicum, and passed a group of teenage boys who were loitering and arguing loudly.  they stopped when they saw us coming, and one of them said, “nice dog”… to which i replied, “thanks.”  if i’d been alone, or even with another human, i don’t know if i’d have felt so comfortable at a moment like that.  but with the dog…  at first glance, he comes across as simply big;  it takes a while for most folks to notice his limp, and of course it isn’t obvious when he has some sort of gastro upset.

i don’t really know for certain that dawson’d be much use if i was in real danger, but he’s intimidating none the less, and i like that.  if i were in a better headspace, i’d probably be getting my own canine companion right now… we’ll see.  maybe in a few more months.  maybe when i get into grad school.  maybe when i’ve forgotten about all the animal shit i’ve been cleaning up these past couple weeks.


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