>Puppy Syndrome

>Just when I’d begun to think Libby was a big dog, she starts acting like a puppy again.

Libby turned one year on November 13 and I realized that she hadn’t had any accidents or chewed on anything prohibited for some time. I began to feel as if I could trust her and thought, “You know, she’s really not a puppy anymore.”

For months, I had been able to leave Libby in her crate upstairs until 7:30 or 8:00 am. Between 5:00-8:00 am is my productive peak, and I was incredibly thankful that Libby had finally gotten past her early morning rising. I treasured those precious first few uninterupted hours each day.

Enter Thanksgiving break and our college daughter with her cat.

A cat and a dog in the same house create an entirely new dynamic. Especially when the cat has a severe case of social anxiety.

LIbby just wanted to be friends, but the cat would throw a hissy fit whenever Libby was in sight. Things gradually began to improve after extensive behavioral conditioning.

College daughters are not on the same time schedule as their old folks at home. About the time we go to bed, she’s just gearing up for the evening. When we get up in the morning, it’s the middle of her night.

College daughters and their friends like to watch movies at night, and our TV is upstairs. So Libby’s bedtime crate relocated to the basement bathroom, directly under my office, which is beside our bedroom.

Every morning Libby heard our alarm ring and my chair creak. She began waking up at 5:00 am. And in spite of being moved back upstairs, she’s still waking up at 5:00 am.

I mourn the departure of my early morning period of peak productivity. I feel like a mother with a teething baby who recalls with fondness the former days when mother and child both slept through the night.

After Libby had been outside at 5:00 am this morning, she wouldn’t settle down on my lap and disappeared. Although I have been able to trust her not to get into any mischief lately, I thought I ought to check on her when she didn’t quickly return. As soon as she heard me coming, she came running as if to say, “I’m being a good puppy,” which is a dead giveaway that she hasn’t been. And I found confirmation in a wet, chewed edge on the couch cover.

Libby rarely chews on anything except her toys, and I’m sure she’ll eventually and definitively learn that the couch cover is off limits. And I suppose it’s possible that she will return to her former good sleeping habits soon.

But our college daughter and her cat will be home for an extended stay at Christmas.


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