In case you were wondering…

… Yes, all of our animals have jobs, and compound nicknames.

Phineas, the big dog, is known as Security-Dog.  He was born a security dog.  He takes great pride in patrolling his domain at all hours, keeping us safe and secure from all threats, man or beast.  He knows more about physical security than most people I know.  I have seen him literaly keep one eye and one ear on the AC repairman, whilst simultaneously keeping the other eye and other ear firmly trained on the front door, just in case more of them were coming.  His only professional flaw, if you can call it that, is target discrimination.  He is not convinced, and will not be convinced, that large waterfoul do not present a clear and present danger to our safety.

Guiness, the all black kitty, is called “Princess”.  She was born and raised a barn kitty, but has very quickly taken to what she considers to be the elegant sophistication of modern suburban life.  As a princess, she does not work, per se.  But if she’s available she will offer her services as personal bodyguard.  If you go outside to do some yardwork (not involving power equipment, in which case you are entirely on your own) she will escort you.  If you sit down to pull weeds, she will sit behind you facing the other way, to watch your back.  I assume this is behavior she learned down on the farm, where kitties had to stick together lest they be trampled or eaten by larger beasts.  She is completely unaware that her role is rendered moot by Security-Dog.

Drake, the white kitty with a nub for a tail, is known as Anger-Management-Kitty.  He is so named for his tendency to transform into a wild Incredible-Hulk-esque flailing, shredding, bobcat-like creature if you attempt to touch his nub, or rub his tummy for half a second longer than you should.  Do not make him angry, you would not like him when he’s angry.  Drake’s job is this:  He has been appointed the official Curtis-waker-upper if the cats are out of food in the morning.  He accomplishes this by jumping up and down repeatedly on my chest.  The other two kitties watch from a safe distance.  I attempt to retaliate, but in the morning he is quite nimble, whereas I have not been nimble since the late 80’s, and even less so in the morning.

Osiris, the black and white kitty, has two nicknames.  One is “Sylvester”, based on his dead-on impression of the cartoon kitty when startled.  However his primary nickname is “Obsessive-Compulsive-Kitty”.  He is so named on account of his job, which is this:  His duties are to closely monitor all three cat food bowls, and notify me immediately the second one of them drops even imperceptibly below the full mark.  (Unless of course it is morning, in which case he is to immediately inform Anger-Management-Kitty, who will then proceed to awaken me with circus-like abandon.)  Osiris is well suited to this job, being both an obsessive-compulsive and a brilliant conversationalist.  He speaks frequently and eloquently on all manner of subjects.  He speaks in complete sentences.  He will carry on entire conversations.  Aside from the words for “treat” and “lizard”, I have no idea what he is saying.

Sam, the little dog, is just called “Whiney-Dog”.  His “job”, if you will, and only discernable talent as far as I can tell, is to whine incessantly, often for no apparent reason.  Since coming to live with us, I have given him two other jobs. One – don’t poop on the patio, and two – don’t walk into the pool.  After years of training, we now enjoy moderate success on both fronts.  We’ve also managed to replace most of the whining with “use your big dog voice” barking, which I take as an improvement.

Drake the Bouncer-Kitty

Drake, our white, stub-tailed kitty, (aka Anger-Management-Kitty) apparently will abide no fightin in his establishment.  He was lounging by the pool this morning while the dogs were eating, when the dogs get in a fight over their food.  Drake jumps up and runs TOWARD them, as if to break them up.  The dogs had separated before he got there, but not before Phineas, the big dog (aka Security-Dog) got the advantage of Sam, the little dog (aka Whiney-Dog).  No damage done, but Sam, his cheek firmly planted in Phineas’ mouth, duly screamed and yelped until released.

Excitement over, except, at this point Drake (who I should point out is noticably smaller than both dogs) MARCHES over to Phineas, gets right up in his face and does that hissing-spitty thing cats do when they wish to express extreme disapproval of the present situation.  I’m pretty sure that if translated to English I would have heard him say “Bad dog!”  Phineas, now simultaneously stunned and chastized, has nothing left to do but back up, turn, and walk away.  I’m not sure about this, but I think I saw Sam smirk.

Afterwards Drake and I had a little conversation about the dangers of meddling in the affairs of dogs.  Something along the lines of… Do not meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and quick to anger.  Do not meddle in the affairs of dogs, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.  Okay, so, that wasn’t exactly the conversation, but it was early, and my mind was still trying to work out whether Drake was incredibly brave, or incredibly stupid, or perhaps both.  My only conclusion – sometimes there’s a fine line between brave and stupid.