Daisy versus the Beast
Daisy versus the Beast
By Tony DeLorger © 2011
Daisy our Staffy, was about eleven years old when Beast our cat came on the scene. Daisy, apart from puppy preschool, had never been socialised with other animals. Her life was lived in our backyard and of course in the house, but she slept in her kennel on our back veranda.
Our concern was that’s dogs and cats just don’t mix unless brought up together, and that Daisy being three times bigger than Beast would if given the chance, have Beast for breakfast. So initially, Beast spent his daylight hours in our front garden and Daisy in her backyard. At night Daisy came into our rear TV room and Beast locked into the front part of the house.
During the day when Beast was inside, he would stand at the glass sliding door to our back veranda and peer out longingly. Daisy, whose kennel was two metres away would walk over to the door and sit staring at Beast. If I were there, Daisy would give me this look of betrayal that I must admit made me feel like a real heal. The new kid on the block was not going down so well.
So in my wisdom, and with all good intentions, I decided these natural foes would become bosom buddies. As a consequence I devised a plan of controlled visits in our TV room. Each evening I would open the doors so both animals had access to our TV room. Daisy, who was completely obedient, was told to leave Beast alone and she tried. To Beast this big black jaws of death was not to be trusted.
Daisy would sit at my feet looking up at me as if to say ‘You’ve got to be kidding. There’s this fury thing invading our home, and I’m not allowed to do anything?’ Beast, regardless of feelings of trepidation, would approach in stealth mode to at least have a sniff of this black intruder. He skirted the tops of shelves, lounges and coffee-tables to get a closer look. Daisy would remain eagle-eyed, trying not to appear inquisitive and pay the least attention.
It was like cowboys and Indians. Daisy was moseying down the canyon below, knowing that he was being watched. Beast sat on the ridge, armed and ready for action. A sole buzzard circled above in the dry heat, waiting for the inevitable.
If Beast startled, Daisy would respond and off they’d go. Daisy would chase anything that moved and Beast just wanted to live. After a stern, ‘Daisy!’ she would respond quickly and come back with a decidedly guilty expression. Beast would sit under my bed until Daisy was safely outside.
This went on for weeks. Daisy soon learned that chasing the cat was not what we wanted. Beast learned that I would not let Daisy eat her, so he felt a bit more secure, and even cocky. Daisy thought she had been replaced, that furry critter staying in her house like that and Beast realised the big jaws of death was not going anywhere.
Over the following months the two eventually tolerated each other; they would meet, have a sniff and move on. Beast always sat on the arm of the lounge and Daisy snuggled on the rug below. If Daisy got up and went to get a drink, Beast would lean over and swipe at her as she passed. No claws, just a gesture.
Unfortunately our dream of them snuggling up together and being best buddies was never realised. Daisy passed on last year at the age of nearly fourteen. Beast now patrols her beloved backyard and no longer has to concern himself with the black jaws of death. Given time, I believe that we could have achieved our dream and that it is possible for these two species to be friends. But the memories of their times together will live on.