Creature Comforts

Daverio pets’ meeting minutes

May 2, 2017

Main agenda: Discussion of the new dog

Attendees: Walter (moderator), Miriam, and Kevin (collectively, “the dachshunds”), Wyatt and Virgil (the cats), Tom (the tortoise), Jenny (the turtle) and the Fish Cooperative (represented by the largest goldfish)

Walter: Call to order. Ahem … Grrrr … WOOF! Settle down, everybody!

(various animal noises petering off to silence)

Walter: We have agreed to table our normal agenda topics until next month’s meeting in favor of devoting this month’s meeting to one important subject: the NEW DOG.

(murmurs, meows and various grunting noises)

Kevin: But what about my petition to get myself re-admittance into the “master” bedroom? I said I’ll be good and won’t make any messes or growl or make trouble …

(various moans of annoyance)

Miriam: Kevin, nobody will sign your stupid petition — everybody knows you can’t be trusted to behave yourself.

Kevin: Can, too!

Miriam: Not!

Walter: ORDER! (silence) Thank you. Now, the NEW DOG was added to our household sometime around Jan. 19. Since it is now May 2, and she is still with us, I feel it is safe to assume her to be a permanent resident here. I know you all have concerns, so please wait to be called one at a time. Miriam.

Kevin: I want to go first!

Walter: Kevin, grrrr! Miriam, your concerns?

Miriam: Well, as is true of all dogs unfamiliar to me, I initially wanted to bite her face off. Still do sometimes, but I’m finding that’s happening less and less.

(murmurs, grunts and meows)

Miriam: I know, I am surprised, myself. She’s kind of growing on me. Of course, I’ll never admit I “like” her, I find myself not despising her.

Kevin: How come when I was just a wee-puppy, you spent my first two days here sitting in a snit on the couch with a mean look on your face? It seemed like forever before you would play with me. What’s so special about THIS dog?

Walter: Kevin, you are speaking out of turn. But, you are asking some pertinent questions, and so I will ask Miriam to address this.

Miriam: Well, Kevin, for one, you were an annoying, tiny puppy with no manners — you didn’t know ANYTHING. I didn’t sign up to be your mom, but I had to whip you into shape, all the same. By the way, you’re still annoying, but I know how to handle you now. This NEW DOG is different. She isn’t a puppy, she’s like a year and a half old. She already had some social skills, and although we were not fast friends, we have come to a mutual respect.

Kevin: It helps that she’s got you by, like 46 pounds.

Miriam: And you, by 48! What’s your point?

Walter: Thank you, Miriam. Kevin, since you can’t seem to wait your turn, please go next.

Kevin: FINALLY. So, she’s big and hairy, she steals all of my toys, she runs too fast and she pins me to the ground when I get mad at her — which makes me madder. I wanna bite that goofy grin she has all the time right off her face! And they let her in the girl’s bedroom! She’s NEW, and they let her in, but keep me out! It’s not fair.

All: UGH.

Walter: Kevin, please, no more about bedroom access privileges.

Kevin: But …

Walter: Let’s hear from the cats. Wyatt.

Wyatt: She sniffs my butt and follows me around. Seriously, she gets a little personal back there, but at least she doesn’t climb on me and do obscene things like the dachshunds. She chases Virgil, which is hilarious, so that gets her some positive points from me.

Virgil: Good to know you’ve got my back, brother. I could have been maimed!

Walter: OK, Virgil, let’s hear your thoughts.

Virgil: At first, things were great. She stared at me — from a distance, and she seemed extra cautious around me, which brought out my inner ferocious tiger.

Wyatt: Your hours-long unblinking stare and lightning fast attacks were impressive, even though it was a total bluff. She’s got your number, though, am I right?

Virgil: Yeah, she figured it out, and I have to run from her.

Wyatt: You know running makes dogs chase you, right?

Virgil: Shut up, Wyatt.

Walter: OK, let’s hear from the reptiles. Jenny.

Jenny: (snaps her beak)

Walter: Uh, does anyone here speak turtle?

Walter: Huh. Moving on. Tom.

Tom: (silence for several minutes)

Walter: Ohhh Kaaaayyyyy. Fish.

Big Goldfish: Ploop.

Walter: Uh, there’s clearly a language barrier with the cold-blooded sort. Also, they are contained to their glass boxes and don’t have a lot of involvement in the household. I move to disinvite them to future meetings.

Miriam: I second that.

Walter: All in favor?

Miriam, Kevin, Wyatt, Virgil: Aye.

Jenny: (snaps beak)

Big Fish: Ploop!

Tom: (turns away to go sit on his rock)

Walter: The ayes have it … I think. At least, I didn’t hear any nays, so motion accepted. Well, that leaves me, then. I think the NEW DOG’s nice. A bit big, she really doesn’t bug me at all. She’s got a sunny outlook, which is a plus. Oh, and maybe if we make nice with her, she’ll share some of the stuff she steals off the counter. Those cupcakes and chicken cutlet looked (and smelled) amazing.

Ivy: HEY! What’s happening? Nobody said we were forming teams. I want to be a captain! Are we choosing team members, ’cause I want Miriam and Walter.

Kevin: Get out, NEW DOG, we’re having a MEETING.

Ivy: Cool, what’s it about? Can I name my team? I want us to be “THE FASTEST MOST AWESOME-EST FIERCEST DOG TEAM EVER.”

Kevin: That’s a dumb name — it’s way too long. And dumb.

Ivy: You can be on my team, too.

Kevin: I guess. What game are we playing?

Ivy: I dunno. We can make that up. How about “get the squirrel?”

Kevin: Oooh, I’m in! Hey, we need to do some surveillance at the window to get ready!

Ivy: Let’s go!

Walter: *Sigh* Meeting adjourned.

Daverio is a veterinarian at Williamsport West Veterinary Hospital. Her column is published every other Sunday in the Lifestyle section. She can be reached at