We had the opportunity to do some dogsitting and cat care in the Monterey area for two wonderful pet parents. They entrusted us with their little Coco, an adorable two year old girl of mixed breed, and Lulu, the male orange tabby. “Mixed” households can be interesting — sometimes dogs and cats don’t play together well, but there two were fun to be around, individually and together (although Coco gets very jealous when Lulu’s getting the attention!).
Dogs have a wonderful gift of making an open heart sing — their innocence and openness to experience really connects with that memory of being a child in love with life. Little Coco girl has the special gift of giving that momentary connection to virtually everyone she meets — watching people who caught eye of her brighten with joy became a wonderful add-on to the fun of being out with her.
Coco is an intriguing breed mix (Tibetan spaniel?) that just turned out to be practically perfect in every way :). At about 15 to 20 lbs., she’s sturdy, athletic, endlessly cuddle-able, and very transportable, besides being highly intelligent, social, and eager to please, with a sunny disposition to boot.
Coco has a housemate, Lulu, an affectionate, yet independent, and very curious orange tabby. Lulu will keep to himself as the situation requires (he has a doggy door for indoor/outdoor access as he chooses), but he certainly seems to prefer engaging with people — we moved one of his toys into the room where we watched movies, and it was so much fun watching him discover ways to play with it when we were there! Like many cats, he also enjoyed being in physical contact with us at night, sleeping in the crook of a bent leg until his internal alarm clock rang his “I’m hungry, right now!” bell (usually pre-dawn, of course).
When people hear we watch cats, too, we often get the question about cats and “gifts,” a particular hazard with indoor/outdoor pets. It’s not a regular occurrence, but, yes, Lulu was very demonstrative about his affection. How thoughtful, in cat world, to forego a tasty mouse you’ve killed to offer it as tribute, you would think “they” would be more appreciative! Although we understand the nature of the compliment, we could have done without Lulu’s rodent cuisine!
The Monterey area has a terrific amenity — in addition to dog parks and off-leash open space, they have a beautiful and spacious beach where off-leash dogs are welcome! Coco’s enthusiasm for beach play is infectious — that ecstatic smile and uninhibited romping made many beach goers’ faces light up. This is a link to a video we shot of her (or you can just click the picture!)
Leaving these two after our dogsitting and cat care duties were complete wasn’t easy (even when the owners came back, both Coco and Lulu spent one more night cuddling with us in bed!), but they have such wonderful, loving parents, we’re just happy we have the opportunity to spend time with them!