In the pre-dawn light, Ottie’s face seemed different than usual. But I tend to skim over details first thing in the morning, while I try to hurry myself along and I didn’t pay much attention until, out of the corner of my eye, I saw an unidentified white substance on the living room floor. Following the trail all the way into my office, I stopped in my tracks. Christmas had come early, at dawn on a week-day apparently, and the entire room was blanketed in white.

Upon closer inspection, what used to be a very large, rectangular floor pillow I had inherited from my mother’s boyfriend and that, with a matching companion, had lived with me in Milan, crossed the ocean to Los Angeles and resided in every apartment and house ever since, had been thoroughly and methodically gutted, white feathers strewn all over the floor.

The culprit’s head was peeking from around the corner, white feathers stuck to his nose and covering his entire body in a white fuzz that made him look as if he had aged overnight. Pretending he had nothing to do with the destruction at hand, not realizing he had the proof plastered all over him, he watched me curse in every language I had available that early in the morning, vacuuming, sweeping and trying to harness the feather debacle into the trash can, all before a cup of coffee had passed my lips. Not content to have caused a wreckage, he chose to sleep in it.

Pet owners love to recount their animals’ foibles as if they were children’s accomplishments. They do sometimes make for a good story and all my friends find Ottie’s adventures delightful –  I suppose I do too, once some distance has been put between whatever disaster and its culprit. But I assure you that the instinct to strangle him while I was brushing him in the backyard trying to restore him to his natural color was strong.

To add insult to injury, Ottie refused his breakfast because he could tell I was upset and there is no convincing him to eat while I am upset. No wonder he ended up with an ulcer.

I often think that Dennis the Menace had nothing on my dog. My new neighbour called me a few days ago. “Are you missing your dogs? Because they are here with me. Can I keep them for a while? They are so well-behaved!”

Well, just don’t let them anywhere near feathery pillows lady. And don’t come to me for damages.



Filed under pets


  1. That story is too funny. One morning I woke up to find toilet paper running along the carpet and into the livingroom. I have 4 cats. Which one was the culprit is unknown, though it could have been all of them. I didn’t have nearly the trouble cleaning up as you did, but all the same, I know what mischief makers cats can be. Gotta love ’em for keeping us entertained in some odd way.

  2. Despite the occasional havoc, I couldn’t live without them!

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