Our dog, Music, was raised by five cats and some humans during her tender puppy years when she lived with her first pack. Because she was surrounded by so many feline creatures at such an early age, we think those cat qualities rubbed off on our precious canine.
The day Music found her new pack was the day my three young children and I were visiting the Animal Humane Society. The sign on her cage said that she was being surrendered because her family was moving. This is when we found out that her family had included so many cats. The sign also said that Music was three years old, and that she was a cocker spaniel and black lab mix. This combination of breeds gave her the sweet face of a cocker spaniel with black and curly, floppy ears and a long thick curly tail. Other people visiting the Animal Humane Society that day may have thought that she looked scruffy because all her fur was strewn about and very long. But when we saw her, we knew she was the dog for us.
Music was lying on her belly with her front legs stretched out in front of her. The volunteer who helped us told us that Music had to have individual counseling for several days because she was distressed about being surrendered. Music patiently stared out at us with sad eyes through a chain link cage. Now that I think about it, she did have a distant look about her that could be considered to be an attitude that might be becoming of a cat. All the other dogs were jumping and barking at us, trying to get out of their cages. It was if they were yelling at us and saying, “pick me, pick me!” Music’s quiet ways drew us to her. Little did we know that even though she looked like a canine on the outside, part of her was a cat on the inside.
Music bonded with our family right away. She hopped into our car, and as I drove away and peeked at her occasionally through the rearview mirror, it looked like she was smiling. It was if she knew exactly what was going on – that we were taking her away to live with us.
When we took her for her first walk at our neighborhood park, she was very much the dog we expected. She greeted other dogs in the usual manner, and we thought her social skills looked normal. She pranced along besides us at a very happy gait.
After we had lived together for a little while, we got used to Music rubbing her face into the carpet and then lying on her back and twisting and turning. It was a good dog way of scratching herself. Then she would yawn, but that yawn sometimes sounded like a “meow.” She also had a cat dance of rubbing her ears and neck against human legs. We thought, that is something a cat would do.
Sofas are off-limits to many pets, yet our dog would jump up on the arm of our sofa and gaze longingly out of the picture window that looks out over our front yard. While perched there, she would warn us of approaching humans or canines, and other times she would patiently wait for one of her pack to arrive back home. I always wondered if this was a trick that she learned from one of the cats.
Thunderstorms and fireworks made Music fidget as if she was a scaredy cat. Any blasting sound would cause her to either jump in between my husband and I while we were in bed sleeping at night or to pull out insulation in the basement thinking she was going to dig her way out to escape the noise. A trick she knew was to stand on her hind legs and open the basement door with her paws. Yes, she knew that all living creatures were suppose to go into the basement when the weather got bad.
Even though I thought of myself as an animal lover before Music came to live with us, I learned that animals have their own individual personalities. Those puppy years are tender years. Let it be known that everything that a cat teaches your puppy will influence that puppy throughout the rest of their life! It was nice having a dog that thought she was a cat sometimes.