The truth about our cats and dog

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Almost a month after the fact, I can now admit that we had some definite concerns and reservations about bringing home Danny, the rescue dog.

It certainly wasn’t because we didn’t think he was the most adorable, lovable and well-adjusted dog we had ever met. And, it certainly wasn’t because we didn’t have enough of those recyclable newspaper bags around to clean up after our little Shih Tzu. I knew there was a reason why I renewed the newspaper subscription.

Quite honestly, the major sticking point for us was that there were already two other four-legged creatures in our home.

You see, the lingering question for Sheryl and I was how would Danny be able to co-exist with Winnie and Marley, our Manx cats who have had the run of the house for nearly six years? How would they react to the newcomer who happened to be a dog? Would they welcome him with open arms or open the door and demand he leave?

Incredibly, it’s been a seamless transition.

As we began to intensify our search for a dog, we asked many questions and did some extensive research on the topic of cats and dogs living under the same roof.  Pet psychologists were coming out of the woodwork. As best we could determine, the experts recommended separating them from each other or, at the very least, keeping the dog on leash indoors for several days.

Our attempts at this strategy lasted but one night. After we brought Danny home that first night, we gave the cats a brief glimpse of him before sequestering him in the laundry room. But, all he did was scratch at the door and display his vocal chords. We quickly learned that he has a rich, baritone bark, unlike other small dogs that tend to yap.

So, we freed him from exile, er, the laundry room. With his newfound freedom, Danny proceeded to roam the entire house, exploring every nook and cranny. And, when he did encounter Winnie and Marley, there wasn’t any hissing, barking, scratching or clawing. We couldn’t believe our good fortune.

This was such a relief because we had heard horror stories about the relationship between cats and dogs. One article stated that it could take several days for them to be comfortable with each other or as long as several months before the two species could be trusted to be together unrestrained. The article added that both parties would need to be restrained –- the dog on a leash and the cats in a carrier so they could have face-to-face contact without hurting the other. Sounds like the second coming of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

So, here we are nearly a month later and contrary to popular belief, Danny, Winnie and Marley have defied the odds and managed to co-exist famously. They have become the three amigos. Sometimes, you just happen to draw the winning ticket.

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