Friday, October 3, 2008

Access Control

The indoor animals - Loco and Minina - want out. The outdoor animals - Luna and Negra - want in. When a door opens, the feet play a part in controlling entries and exits of the creatures at the door. I am more interested in keeping the indoor animals in than I am in keeping the outdoor animals out.

The outside world is not safe for animals. We've had accidents here, and two pets have died as a result of being outdoors and unconfined. So keeping the animals behind doors, where they're safe, is my main goal. The pets don't see it that way though, they just think I'm a big meanie who won't let them go out and play.

Loco is the worst. He will be curled up on the floor, peacefully dozing. The next moment he'll jump up, rear up like a stallion and slam his front paws at the door with all his strength. The latch on the screen door gives way, the door flies open, and Loco is out - to chase the stray cat or dog, or the iguana, or run after the golf cart. If the gate is open, he bolts right out into the street.

My first reaction is to jump for the door and get it closed before Minina takes advantage of the situation and also darts out. Sometimes she's faster than I am, in which case getting her back in the house becomes my first priority. She knows the routine though, and she runs into the plants to avoid my attempts to grab her. My ultimate weapon is the hose. I turn the hose on her, and usually that directs her back to the front door and into the house to escape the water. Occasionally she runs down the side of the house, and then I have to climb through the plants to catch her. Once Minina is safely inside, I go after Loco.

If I'm lucky, Loco is right at the gate. If I am not lucky, Loco is down at one of the corners, and I have to find him and yell at him to come home. He usually ignores me until I am half-way down the road, and then he comes running back, zipping past me to get inside the gate before I do. I tell him he is a bad dog, and put him back in the house. He knows he did wrong, and flops on the floor.

The above routine is sometimes performed when I am least ready for it. Sometimes I'm in my pajamas. Sometimes I'm on a conference call. Thank goodness for the 'mute' button on the phone. Nobody has to know that I've been out rounding up animals in the streets while listening to their problems. Unless I happen to be the one hosting the call, in which case I am forced to keep talking while I try to quietly get things back in order. In that case, it's my facial expressions, body language and wild gestures that communicate my displeasure to the animals. They know I'm mad.

And here is the difference between dogs and cats. Loco knows that he did a bad thing, and he is apologetic and has a guilty look on his face. Minina - she doesn't care that I'm mad. Life is all a game to her. Minina is simply hanging out waiting for the next time Loco opens the door. The saying 'one door closes, another door opens' holds a different meaning here.

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