As best I can recall, all of our pets have been rescues or hand me downs of some sort. Our miniature Schnauzer was given to us as a malnourished and abused puppy. It still has issues. Our three-pound miniature Pomeranian was left for us to care for by a soldier who was deployed and never called back to reclaim her. We’ve had them both for more than 10 years, along with other dogs, cats and a chicken.

The Schnauzer still takes an occasional notion to chase the cat outside, but otherwise the lives of the dogs have diminished to eating, sleeping and, well, you know the rest.

We’ve raised and adopted out a litter each of puppies and kittens through the years and remember well how they would wad up together as newborns. Even our Schnauzer stood guard over our cat as she nursed her litter. When the kittens were weaned and adopted, the chasing resumed.

I observed that our Schnauzer became quite territorial with time, warning the little Pomeranian with a crippled leg to mind her own business if she got too close. The dogs have their individual sleeping pillows and feeding stations. They are also pampered rotten.

I deal with this territorial thing regularly on the school bus I drive. The younger children who won’t move over on a seat must be continually reminded that a bus is not a taxi, and we share the ride.

Now that our dogs are in their teens in people years, they occasionally get their places confused. I also learned that I better not wear a cap when coming into the house because the Schnauzer may not recognize who I am. I’ll get it in the ankle for sure.

Add to that, the dogs are early risers with me. Light is often limited at early hours when getting the dogs out to take care of business. The trip to the back door must be accomplished promptly to prevent accidents, all while checking for other contingencies that may have occurred during the night.

After the morning outing and feeding at each other’s dishes, I have observed the dogs starting to share whatever nest they find first without even sniffing it.

I thought I was getting this figured out until my wife and I were having supper. Since we don’t follow sports, we turned off the news after the weather.

The stillness was suddenly interrupted by a yip and a snarl as the temperamental Schnauzer fended off the Pomeranian trying to climb into the bed with her. I guess I still haven’t gotten that lesson completely figured out.

John Ward is a staff writer for the Monroe Journal. He can be reached at

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