The Zoo in Scotland

Ringo (dog) and Squeaky (cat) watching people from our window in Amsterdam’s Red Light District

We have five cats (Bonnie, Nuntis, Squeaky, Missy, and Mable) and four dogs (Barney, Coco, Dakota, and Ringo). It was a lot of pets to have in a two bedroom apartment in the Red Light District when we lived in Amsterdam. The apartment had a small patio and no back yard, so we took them on constant walks. We also used a dog walking service. They would pick up the dogs once a week and take them to a field or to the beach to get exercise. They loved it, but of course they came back absolutely covered in mud.

Scotland is a much more practical place for our pets. Our house has a fenced in back yard. The cats would never go outside in Amsterdam (except one cat would escape into the apartment building stairwell and run upstairs to poop on our neighbours welcome mat). Now the cats are outside almost all of the time. They wander the neighbourhood a bit, but are pretty good about staying close to home.

When we were moving to Scotland, we looked for a dog walking service similar to the one we had in Amsterdam. One of our challenges is that the two male dogs (Ringo and Barney) have not established who the alpha dog is; and they are constantly growling at each other trying to sort it. They have had a few fights. We decided to use two walking services so we could split up the males. One of the walking services is a day care where we can drop off /pick up Ringo and Coco. They go to the beach or to other sites. The other service picks up Barney and Dakota. They go on long walks and stay at the owners home to hang out with other dogs. It works out pretty nicely and gives us a pretty effective built-in back up plan in case one walker is unavailable.

One positive part of being furloughed from my job is that I can spend more quality time with the pets. They seem to love it. We continue to use the two walking services to maintain the routine and to hopefully help keep them in business. At some point, I should be able to return to work. My job requires traveling to different sites, so I’m trying to make the most of this time with them at home.

Today, Coco is having some surgery to remove a lump on one of her mammary glands. She had some lumps last year and they turned out to be benign. I’m hoping that that will be the case with this one. She’s 10 but still has the energy of a puppy. She has a certain phobia with different types of floors. I’m not sure if it’s the pattern that she doesn’t like, or if it smells strange to her. The vet is at the back of a pet store. Coco hates the store’s floors; and I have to carry her every time we visit since she refuses to walk on their floor.

The current pandemic rules require the veterinarian assistant to meet me outside to get the dog. The poor assistant had to carry Coco and she is a bit heavy. Fingers crossed that the surgery will go smoothly and that this tumour will also be benign.

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