Most Thursday nights find us visiting the nursing home with Bunny and Flattery. Normally, Mr. Taleteller also accompanies us, but last night he had a meeting to attend. My original plan was to just go with Bunny and let Flattery hang out at home. I feel like I can interact better with the nursing home residents if I just have one dog to keep track of and to be perfectly honest, I feel that Flattery needs a bit more supervision than I can always give with two dogs in tow. If she ever got a chance to get a taste of someone’s food while I was distracted for half a second, she would forever be on the prowl for her next snack while we were visiting. However, my husband decided to be really helpful as I was getting ready to go and he took both Greyhounds out to the car for me. I knew that taking her back inside and leaving her behind at that point was going to result in a bigger mess than I wanted to face when we got home, so I threw caution to the wind and took her along.
Flattery is actually a very good nursing home visitor. She has no reservations about going up to people and likes to do some of her tricks to entertain the masses. I don’t think it’s possible that she could ever get too much attention and she works hard to convince each person she meets there that she is terribly neglected and needs to be petted and fussed over. She could win an award for her performance. Benji and Lassie have nothing on her acting skills.
The first part of our visit had gone really well and Flattery was really working her magic on the crowd. There are several sort of hubs of activity where we stop to visit. We had stopped at two and things had gone very well. As we approached the third lounge area, the residents there perked up and began to get very interested in the girls. It’s one of their biggest fan clubs. We started with the first couple of people and the plan was to work our way through the line of the group.
As we got to the third person, Flattery’s attention was suddenly on — something else. I know her well enough to read her body language and it was saying something pretty clear. Next to the woman was a sort of half wall divider that sectioned off the lounge from the walkway and at the end beside the woman had a planter with some thick, leafy real plants of some sort. I’ve been visiting this particular nursing home for over ten years with various Greyhounds and I’ve always heard that there’s a resident cat there, but I have never seen it for myself. My first concern was that we were about to finally see the elusive feline for the first time, much to Flattery’s delight. I began to worry that I’d be writing a blog post about how my dog ate the nursing home cat.
Bunny, on the other hand, was completely unaware of anything that was catlike. She was busy getting her neck scratched and pretending that Flattery wasn’t there intruding on her moment to shine. I decided that I was safe focusing all my attention on Flattery for the next few minutes and I pulled on her leash a little to get her attention. My little raptor was clearly distracted, although she wasn’t leaping and lunging for a chance to attack. She was watching intently as she tried to reason out what she was seeing. I looked at the plants to see if I could spot the phantom cat, but I was having a hard time believing that a cat could be in there.
A little twitch of the ear told me to look a little to the right and suddenly I saw it. Flattery was being pranked by a stuffed cat that one of the women a few wheelchairs down was holding. When she saw us looking, she even held it out and offered it to Flattery who licked her lips in response.
I had to chuckle to myself and then I just had to shake my head. This is not the first time Flattery has been fooled by a stuffed cat. Time after time she falls for this trick at the nursing home. Once, she nearly grabbed one from the top of a lady’s shelves in her room. Last week, she became fascinated by one that someone had left on a big table in the center of the main lounge. I’m not sure what it is about these stuffed cats that is so intriguing for her. When we take our nightly walks, there are feral cats all over town that dart this way and that and she barely notices them. Put a stuffed cat in front of her, however, and she become Flattery The Mighth Huntress.
At this point, I feel that real cats have little to fear from her, but any stuffed cat is fair prey. I admit, I am baffled by what the lure is. She’s not even that crazy about stuffed toys to play with in the house. I just pray she never gets a taste of a stuffed cat, or who knows what she might do.