Nick: Daisy’s Nemesis – A Look Back
Today I am taking another look back to the early years when Daisy came to live with me. This is an old blog post from Daisy’s blog, “Daisy the Wonder Dog (and how she found her inner Lab).” It highlights the progress Daisy had made after I adopted her in 2007.
I thought it might be a fun read for you today. When I first brought Daisy home, she had to deal with a lot of new things – car rides, new people, wood floors, strange sounds, and… a cat with a bit of an attitude.
Progress with puppy mill dogs can be made. It takes time and patience and often happens in fits and starts – for every step forward, there are two steps back, but it is so rewarding when you start to take those steps forward. The key is to never give up hope. You need a lot of patience and understanding. You also need learn to learn to celebrate the small successes.
This post is from December 4, 2008, a little over a year from the date Daisy first came to live with me.
Daisy may be a Wonder Dog to you and me, but to another member of our family she is something completely different – an interloper.
You see in addition to Daisy, I also have a cat named Nick (short for Nicodemus). Nick is a character. Weighing in at about 20 pounds, he has all the attitude and personality that befits a cat his size. He rules the house with an iron paw and meows until he gets what he wants – and I do mean UNTIL he gets what he wants. Turning the water on in the sink so he can drink from the faucet is NOT an option; it is an expectation. Petting him when “he” wants to be pet is a rule. And, although I have repeatedly told him that it is “I” who pays the mortgage on our house, he still raises a ruckus when I change positions in bed at night. He has decided that who pays the mortgage is not a pertinent fact in his world. Attitude is everything when you’re a cat, and if you are a cat owner, you know exactly what I mean!
One of Nick’s favorite activities is intimidating Daisy. He likes to remind her where she stands (relative to him) in our household. When I first brought Daisy home, she was so afraid of this unusual looking animal that she would purposely avert her eyes so as not to make eye contact with him. In fact, she always went out of her way to avoid him. So what did Nick do in return? Why, of course, he sat down in front of her and stared her down until he felt that she was sufficiently intimidated. After that, he would stalk out of the room, satisfied he had done his job.
When I invited Daisy onto my bed on the Fourth of July (fireworks scare her), she immediately laid down next to me. What did Nick do? He meowed in protest, sat down in front of her and gave her the “evil eye” until she got off the bed. He even went as far as to walk over to her and sniff her as if to say “You stink. Get off MY bed.” I am not kidding. Did I mention he has an attitude?
Since then, Nick has taken to circling the perimeter of the bed whenever Daisy enters my room. This is to prevent her from even considering jumping up onto the bed at all. Basically, he’s taken to heading her off at the pass.
When Daisy wants to come into the bathroom to say “Hi” to me in the morning, Nick races to beat her there. Then he blocks her entrance by sitting down in the doorway and staring at her. Daisy usually backs off and goes back to her favorite spot on the couch. Nick, seeing that his job is done and that he has sufficiently scared Daisy away, heads back to my bedroom to once again claim the bed. His job is done.
Unbelievably, Nick has even managed to intimidate a few of my clients. One time he cornered Lucy, a Lab mix, in my office. He just sat in the doorway and stared her down. She attempted to go around him, staying as close to the wall as was possible, but Nick just turned on his “evil stare” and she backed up back into my office again. I finally had to rescue her from the dangerous beast.
Lately, Nick has taken to jumping over Daisy to get to me. Sometimes he even jumps up next to her, walks right over her, as if she doesn’t exist, and climbs into my lap as if to claim me as his own. I’m starting to suspect that this power hungry, ego-driven feline has become a little too big for his britches. I mean establishing who’s top dog (or in this case, cat) in the household is understandable, but perhaps he has taken this a bit far.
So, I’ve been working with Daisy to assert a little bit of dominance herself. At the very least, I’m trying to enable her to move about the house without “super cat” restricting her movements. And, progress has been made. She is now more comfortable coming into the bathroom to say”Hi” to me in the morning. With a little encouragement, she actually walks past Nick, still avoiding eye contact with him, and will come to sit beside me. She also is more comfortable jumping up on the bed (on occasion) – mostly because she has seen other dogs do it with no fear of “the cat” being on the bed. She is also getting used to Nick jumping over her to get to me. In the past, she would run for her kennel (i.e., her safe spot), but now she remains lying beside me, ignoring Nick and his antics.
Once again, I am amazed at Daisy the Wonder Dog’s strength and resilience. Her past may have been awful, but the progress she makes every day is impressive. She is becoming more self-assured and confident, even engaging other dogs in play. And, she has taken her nemesis, Nick, head on and started to deal with him in a way that is respectful but not fearful. What else can I say… Go Daisy Go!