Friday, March 21, 2014

How Did My Animals Handle Moving?

My animals made the transition surprisingly well. Reggie, my Yorkie, wanted to mark the new place the first time he visited. I guess I couldn't blame him too much. The house did smell like a doggie bathroom when we first moved in. It only took me fussing at him 3 times before it sunk in that it wasn't OK to mark indoors. Since then he has been good as gold.

I was most concerned about my cat, Singha. He is an indoor/outdoor cat who is extremely nocturnal and wants to wake you up at 3am to let him out. If you don't comply there will be consequences. A friend suggested I keep him inside the new place "for a few weeks". That would never happen. I once kept him indoors for 14 days while he healed from surgery. Neither of us had a good time. I got very little sleep. He was constantly looking for a way outside and I have the claw marks on my wall to prove it. I decided to leave him at the old house on the day we moved because of all the chaos and open doors. I returned to Tacoma the following day to gather him up and bring him to his new home. I placed him in a travel crate for the drive. Once at the new house I put his crate and his enclosed litter box into the back bathroom, where I could close the door. I opened the door to the crate. He slowly slunk out of the crate and into the litter box, where he remained for the rest of the day and night. I went into the room frequently and talked to him. The next day when I checked he had moved from the litter box and had wedged himself behind the laundry bin. He stayed there for the rest of that day. The next morning he was still behind the bin but it was apparent he had ventured out long enough to eat half of his cat food. We were making progress. I continued to check on him frequently. That afternoon it was just he, I and the dog in the house. I decided to open the bathroom door and see if he would emerge. Pretty soon I see his head peeking around the corner. Little by little he would venture out, then retreat back into the bathroom. Then he would come out a bit further. Pretty soon he was snooping all around the house. That night he started mewling to go outside but I wasn't ready for that. He was being very vocal so I closed him back into the bathroom so I could get some sleep. The next day he was feeling very comfortable around the house. a few times during the day I would let him outside but I stood where he could see me and called him back after a short time. We repeated this a few times throughout the day. I wanted him to know where his home was. Later that night, when he asked to go out, I let him. In the morning I called him back and he came running. He has been fine ever since. The bonus for him? His dad now lets him sleep in the bed.

That leaves Shirley, My last remaining hen from my small Tacoma flock. Shirley is 4 years old. She was still laying eggs but 2 months before my move she stopped laying and her health was obviously declining. I was hoping she would live long enough to make it to Winlock and experience what it is like to free range. I don't have a proper coop here on the property but there is what I think was a goat shed. It consists of 2 rooms and has straw bale sides. The top is canvas. I hoped Shirley would hang out in there. The first night I went to check on her and found her outside the shed, wedged up in a bit of fencing. I rescued her and set her inside the shed. She remained inside the shed for 2 days, even though the door was open and she could leave at any time. On the third day I saw her out eating some bugs near the shed.

 I went to check on her later and couldn't find her anywhere. She wasn't in the shed, or anywhere in the orchard. I though something must've got her. I was heading back to the house when I saw something moving in the pasture next to the orchard. There was Shirley, happily gobbling bugs. I checked at dusk and she was back inside the shed, roosting up on top of the partition between the rooms. That is where she sleeps every night. Her days are spent free ranging our property. Yesterday she made a nest and laid her fist egg in a very long time. Today she laid another. I think she loves her new home.



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