Donna Fielder: Pets have ‘master’ trained to perfection

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“It is apparent, Donna Kaye, that the inmates are running the asylum over there.”

This comment came from my friend John Wayne, who had called to inquire about my health and was listening to Chloe chew on the phone cord and Ranger yelling at me in the background.

I suppose he’s right. They do have me well trained. I don’t know exactly when the cats and the dog began running things, but I have to admit that they do. But hey, it’s all going pretty well, so why challenge them on it?

I was trying to read my most recent Facebook posts. I keep up with more than 600 “friends,” and sometimes it takes a fair amount of time to get through it all. And anyone who is owned by a cat will tell you that cats don’t have a lot of patience.

Chloe jumped up on my desk, walked casually across my keyboard and plopped down between me and the computer screen. I picked her up and put her on the floor.

Back up she came, this time writing a few chosen words with her feet as she trod on the keys. I would tell you what she said, but my editors wouldn’t let me get away with that kind of language in a newspaper.

About that time the phone rang and that was not good news to felines at 6 p.m. Supper time. So Chloe began chewing the cord and Ranger ran into my home office yelling at me at the top of his lungs. They are both big gray cats and they do tend to throw their weight around.

So I hung up and walked into the kitchen with the two of them winding through my legs. Their food bowls were half full. But it wasn’t fresh, supper-time food, you understand. And they like fresh.

So I dutifully poured a small amount to top off each bowl. They sniffed it. Each of them ate one kibble, and they were done. It wasn’t that they were hungry, you understand. It was just that it was supper time, dang it.

I reached for my glass to get some ice water and pushed it under the fridge ice dispenser. Ranger came running, yelling loudly again. And like Pavlov’s dog, I reached for a bowl and shoved it under the lever and dumped a bowl full of ice in the cat’s water dish.

Ranger likes ice, you see. If I don’t put ice in his water, then he pokes his head in my glass and drinks mine. Even if it’s a mojito in there. One thing I’ve learned is that a cat is not a happy drunk and it’s better to give him his own ice.

Before I ended the call with John Wayne, I acknowledged that he was right.

“Yeah, Kiefer’s the same way about his Frosty Paws,” I said.

Kiefer, who had been dozing on his back with all four paws in the air, sat up and started barking. He knows that Frosty Paws is his doggy ice cream and he knows that it lives in the freezer.

I got some out, but before I put it down for him, I nuked it in the microwave for 20 seconds. It’s too hard, frozen fresh out of the freezer, for a little white dog, so I have to soften it up a bit.

On the trip to Fredericksburg, I fed Kiefer some of my strawberry milkshake with a spoon. Christi was scandalized.

“But he likes ice cream and I didn’t bring his Frosty Paws,” I explained.

That didn’t mollify her, and she was still pouting when we stopped at a park to let him stretch his legs. I met a nice couple there with a little dog named Mindy.

Kiefer and Mindy had the beginnings of a thing going on when her parents picked her up and carried her down farther into the park to a set of swings. One of the swings was made for toddlers with straps for safety.

Carefully, they put Mindy in the swing and took turns pushing her. Mindy’s ears blew in the wind.

Christi looked at me hard.

“Don’t even think about putting Kiefer in the swing,” she said. “Or I’ll drive away without you.”

Reminds me somehow of a time many years ago when we lived in the country and our neighbor had a passel of big dogs he took everywhere with him in of his pickup truck.

He had too many to fit comfortably in the cab, so one big mongrel rode outside. On the front. Like a gigantic hood ornament. With his ears blowing in the wind. I never saw him fall off.

Obviously, that dog was the head lunatic in the asylum across the road.


DONNA FIELDER can be reached at 940-566-6885. Her e-mail address is

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