Eli is a cat with a unique job…he’s a dog trainer.
Eli was found one morning asleep in a dog house with two dogs. No one knows where he came from or what his background was, but Eli loves dogs and dogs, sooner or later, love Eli.
When the dogs’ owner contacted Lori Stevens of Patriot PAWS Service Dogs to ask if she wanted a cat who loves dogs and who is apparently loved by dogs, Lori said yes. One of her placed service dogs had recently chased a cat, so it had become apparent to Lori that Feline Tolerance needed to be added to her dog training curriculum. And so it was that Eli became a dog trainer.
It appears that Eli has never met a dog he doesn’t like. Most dogs are immediately drawn to Eli in a curious “What kind of dog are you? Let’s be friends.” way. Some, though, appear to be a bit hesitant as if thinking that there’s something different about this “dog”, perhaps wondering if it’s OK to like him & consequently warming up to him a little more slowly than most. And then there are the few whose instinct to bark and chase kicks into high gear upon first meeting forcing Eli to run for higher ground. Eli then sits and surveys the unenlightened canine from the safety of his perch as if mentally preparing his lesson plans knowing that his services are definitely needed with this one. And so selflessly, day after day, Eli works with these dogs, enduring the barking and running to escape the oncoming assault. But through patience and perseverance and, in very rare occurrences, claw deployment, the age-old game of dog vs. cat slowly begins to turn in Eli’s favor, and eventually, he wins. The dog has been trained, against instinct, to tolerate felines, and Eli’s job is done.
But there’s always another day and another dog to train, so in his downtime, Eli plays with and sleeps among his canine friends. They’re all one big happy pack, oblivious to their differences, setting an example that we humans would do well to follow.
Eli is truly a cat in a dog’s world, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.