Both our dogs were rescues. Our second dog, Fey, was rescued from the streets of South Central Los Angeles and never forgot it. She was loyal, well-behaved, and obedient.
And then there was Woofie. Our first dog ran away repeatedly. He went to science class at the local school. He created bizarre insurance claims. He dug up the yard. He snuck up on the furniture, curling up in Andy’s preferred recliner.
But worst of all? He was an unrepentant thief. Woofie stole socks. He gobbled up pot stickers cooling on the counter. Cookies could not be left unsupervised. Guests holding beers had to be warned that Woofie would try and knock over their drinks so he could lap up a cold one.
Woofie’s destruction decreased slightly after we adopted Fey. He stopped stealing socks. Toys lasted longer. Before Fey, he used to eviscerate even “indestructible” dog toys in under two minutes. After Fey, some lasted an hour—partly because Fey was quicker and got the toys first (even though Woofie always stole them in the end). We once gave Fey a special stuffed toy in the shape of a cake with candles that played “Happy Birthday;” she gently tossed it in the air and played with it for days, knocking Woofie down (and NOT gently) every time he tried to steal “her” toy. That cake toy lasted for almost 3 weeks before Woofie got it alone for thirty seconds and tore off the candles.
Woofie’s thievery evolved when our son was born. Baby D acquired stuffed animals by the bucketload. We’d have been grateful if Woofie had destroyed any of them, and so of course he ignored all of them. Instead, he lived to steal and eat Bob the Builder AND Thomas the Tank Engine, which sent Baby D into a towering toddler rages.
Baby D retaliated by trying to steal Woofie’s dog beds. Since Woofie outweighed Baby D by 60 pounds and could lower his center of gravity twenty feet below the earth, Baby D was unsuccessful in anything but getting his face licked.
Karma for our canine thief arrived in the shape of a cat. Boss Cat liked dogs; she especially liked smacking them in the face. While Woofie outweighed Boss Cat by even more than he outweighed Baby D, he respected Boss Cat’s formidable right hook.
We thought Woofie was the ultimate counter surfer…until we put Boss Cat on a diet. Nothing was safe. She stole cheese. She ate the yolks out of mooncakes. She ate the middle out of Thanksgiving pies. Cooling cookie carnage was constant during pre-Christmas baking. She stole rice, tofu, and even broccoli.
Screams of, “Ahhhh! CAT!” were common in the kitchen. So were yells such as: “I need to pee! Can someone guard the food?!”
We got a stainless steel breadbox. We had two squirt bottles to repel feline raids. Boss Cat’s onslaughts continued.
If food hit the floor, Boss Cat always got to it before Woofie. (Often she was the one who threw it on the floor.)
Woofie was left with no food to steal. But cat karma wasn’t done with him yet.
Boss Cat took the recliner that Woofie had rightfully stolen from Andy. He whined and poked her with his nose. She whacked his muzzle. Woofie was left to sit and stare at her with big, sad, puppy dog eyes. Unlike soft-hearted humans, Boss Cat was unmoved. She cleaned her butt and went to sleep.
Woofie retreated to his dog bed with a sigh.
Andy, who was firmly Team Dog, reclaimed his recliner from the cat. Boss Cat went to Woofie’s bed and curled up behind the dog.
“Aw, look, they’re buddies,” Andy said.
“Give it a minute,” I replied.
Boss Cat gradually uncurled, extended her claws, and pushed Woofie off of his bed.
Hard as Woofie tried, Boss Cat was the ultimate thief.
Or perhaps she thought everything simply belonged to her.