Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

© 2006-2018 All rights reserved

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Maggie on the Steps II

by Maggie Mae Mushko
(one-year-old border collie)

Yes, it’s true. I’m addicted to playing ball on the steps. I get nervous if Mommy doesn’t open the door to downstairs every night so I can play. Sometimes I ask her first thing in the morning to open the door. She keeps the door closed so the cats won’t go downstairs.

Those unfamiliar with border collies might think I’m a bit obsessive. Or compulsive. Or something. But playing ball on the steps is how I practice my herding skills.

During the day, I stay outside in the kennel with Jack, Emma, Hubert, and Harley. Let’s make one thing clear: these dogs are not my pack. They are my flock. My job is to watch them and keep them in line. Often this entails chasing Harley and wrestling him to the ground, but that’s another story.

At night, I am the official house guard dog. Each evening, Mommy takes me inside and bathes me. I love baths! I have a tub of water in the kennel so I can hop in and bathe myself whenever I want. Mommy and Daddy are my pack. Mommy is the alpha dog, so she’s the one I listen to.

After my bath, I ask Mommy to play stepball. Sometimes she will throw the ball for me; other times I have to throw it myself. Or nudge it with my nose. Sometimes I use a tennis ball; sometimes my squeaky ball.

The other night we added a new aspect to stepball: cat herding. The evil cats wanted to go downstairs. Dylan, Eddie-puss, and Camilla ran past me. Mommy yelled, “Maggie, get those cats!” so I had to drop my ball and round up the cats and make them go upstairs. Mommy was very proud of me. It is not easy to herd cats. They’re devious.

Last night, two of them rushed me again. I managed to get Dylan to go back upstairs, but Camilla held her ground. Well, held her step. I locked eyes with her in the best border collie tradition. We must have stood there staring at each other for two minutes. Nose to nose. That cat was stubborn! Finally she cheated—she smacked me on the nose and ran past me. Mommy had to come downstairs and help me herd that deceitful cat back upstairs. Then I went back to playing stepball for another half-hour or so.

It is much easier to herd other dogs than it is to herd cats.


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