Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Our Little Hula Dancer

Amber dancing for a treat.

Amber dancing for a treat.

We had our dog trained to perform tricks for her treats. We would have her sit up a lot, but for the best treats, she had to dance.

We'd call her, then when she arrived we'd hold up the treat about shoulder high and say "dance, dance, Amber!" She'd get up on her hind legs and bounce up and down with her front paws waving in the air in unison. It was very cute. Sometimes she would get her front paws going from side to side as well as up and down as she danced on her hind legs.

Our gray cat, Phillip, was jealous. He was jealous of the attention Amber got when she danced, and he was often jealous of the really good treats she was getting. Sometimes he'd try to steal her treats. But when she'd earned her treat, we were firm. She got the treat, he had to stay away.

One of the most coveted treats was meat trays. The little styrofoam trays from underneath roasts and hamburger were fun for them to lick clean. Fortunately neither of them showed a tendency to chew on them at all. Usually, I would make Amber dance for the meat tray, then Phillip would get to lick any juice off my fingers.

One night when I started dinner, the cat and the dog took up their usual positions. Phillip curled up on one of the chairs at the table in the kitchen and Amber laid just outside the kitchen with her head just in far enough that she could see me. She knew that she wasn't allowed in the kitchen unless invited (we like to keep pets and hot oven doors away from each other), but she knew it was OK if she kept her body on the carpet outside and stuck in her head to watch (with her soft puppy ears perked up for when I called her.)

I was making up a pot roast. I'm sure both of them recognized what I was doing as soon as I pulled out the roasting pan and started the oven. I washed the potatoes and carrots, cut them up and put them in. I prepared the onions and sliced them and put them in the pot. Then the meat came out of the fridge.

I could sense the anticipation as I pulled it out of the wrapper and put it in the pot. Amber's head was inching a bit further into the room. Phillip wasn't making a point of having no interest in what I was up to, he was sneaking a sidelong look at me.

I put the pot in the oven, then made sure the meat tray was clear of any plastic or absorbent pads or anything.


She came in like a shot. I saw Phillip watching with open interest. His eyes were locked on the meat tray.

I picked up the meat tray and said, "Dance, dance, Amber!"

She hopped up and gave me a really good dance. But I saw Phillip move, too.

I looked up, and saw him sitting up on the chair. He was raised up on his hind legs, with his front paws held up and out in front of him. He was dancing!

He couldn't do the up and down bouncing very well, but his rotund little belly was swinging from side to side. He looked like a chubby little hula dancer.

The cat got the meat tray. I apologized to Amber and let her lick my fingers, then gave her a doggie treat. But this time, Phillip got the meat tray.

Phillip in the kitchen chair.

Phillip in the kitchen chair. The fluffy rump in the lower left is Amber.



Mrs. Who said...

Cats can hold on to their dignity for only so long, lol!

Kim @ What's That Smell said...

Dogs and cats living together??? It must be anarchy!

Love the hula dancer!

Aloysius said...

What a cute story!

Cat Yarns at Blogged Add to Technorati Favorites