My mother and I decided this week that when my apartment lease expires at the end of April, Trudy and I will move in with her and Dexter. This was not the original plan but it will be lovely to be able to spend more time with them both. They live in rural Washington which is a definite (and often very charming) change of pace. At the same time, my vintage apartment in downtown NW Portland is the most fun, interesting and beautiful place I’ve ever lived so it will be hard to leave this as well as my friends. Nevertheless, I feel good about this decision and I know it’s the right one.
My mother and I both LOVE living alone — so there’s that. But we both see advantages to living together at this particular time, for many reasons. I now have a huge amount of sorting, deciding, discarding, selling and packing to do — all of which will take me away from my novel — but I also intend to savor my last few months of living here.
There are two others whose lives are about to change dramatically because of this decision. Trudy, the 16-year-old cat, who mostly loves to sleep and cuddle, will be living with Dexter, the 22 lb Havanese who likes to chase things and bark. Mom and I will soon find out if the Dexter and the Trudy can be friends. I’m thinking that one key factor will be having an area — most likely our bedroom upstairs while Mom and Dexter can be downstairs mainly — where Trudy feels absolutely safe, knows that nothing unpredictable is going to happen, and knows that no Havanese is going to be snuffling or sniffing her.
I’ve known Dexter since he was a puppy. I love both him and Trudy dearly. He will not want to hurt her at all but his “intense interest” and barking may freak her out. My mother’s house overlooks a golf course with a pedestrian path and he sits by the patio doors downstairs and of course barks at anyone walking on that path. However, my dream is that ultimately the four of us can spend time together in the living room so that Trudy isn’t isolated upstairs whenever I’m downstairs. I especially hope this because Trudy loves sleeping in sun puddles and the only ones in my mother’s house are in front of those patio doors.
Naturally Trudy’s attitude about all this will be: “If you really loved me, we wouldn’t be moving.” But for many reasons it’s time to make this move. One thing that makes me feel good is knowing that soon Trudy will have my mother’s love and attention as well as mine. It’s true of course, that whenever my mom has come to visit me, Trudy has always looked at her askance with an “Oh — you again” attitude, and made it very clear that she didn’t think much of this development. But I’m confident that with time and patience, and the help of Amy Shojai, Trudy will open her mind just a crack. Amy is a CABC (certified animal behavior consultant) who is going to help us with this transition. Interesting times ahead — in more ways than one.