We settled into a long stretch of comfortable being with dogdom, about 4 years in all with little extraordinary in the way of happenings and events. Doppler slowly, in the slow way only a fast dog can, slowed down a bit in terms of his frenetic puppyish chasing madly hither and yon. A household routine took hold and everything held an even keel.
One of our first abodes in our new home town of Bend, Oregon was a minuscule rental house will all of 600 square feet. The main attraction of this shack was that it was freestanding and it allowed dogs with relatively little fuss (in other words, you didn't have to sign away your annual income and your firstborn to have a dog in the house). By the time we had found this place we had already accepted the fact that we would have to find a rental that would allow a dog because the alternative, giving up Doppler in order to find a place to live, was not tenable.
This little place, which has long since succumbed to the bulldozer, was one of three tiny houses where a variety of young wanna-be professionals/entrepreneurs lived. We quickly made the acquaintance of our neighbors and started sharing hotted up barbecue grills and the like. The back house had a young man living there for a short time at the beginning of our stay. He ended up moving to Portland and left behind his cat, Pumpkin, in the care of our other neighbors until such time as he could find a place that would allow cats. He gave them a huge jar full of change to pay for cat food and Pumpkin took to living under the houses in the crawl spaces. As summer wore into fall, the former neighbor made contact periodically and we wondered if he ever would collect Pumpkin (who was, as you might have imagined, a very fluffy orange tabby).
Doppler, it turned out, was very tolerant of cats. If they ran, he would chase, but if they stood their ground and swatted, he would respect. Pumpkin was one of the latter types and had both Doppler and the other neighbor's dog at quite the respectful distance.
Bend was a wonderful town in the mid-1990's. It had a lot of characteristics of other towns we had traveled through on our early retirement trip (other stories to come) and we had decided to try to make a life in Bend. I was working retail into the early evenings and Eric was working retail into even later evenings so I often found myself alone, with or without Doppler, watching TV.
One bitterly cold night, after stoking the little woodstove into producing the 80 degree hot house that was inevitable because any stove was too big for this house, I propped open the front door to temper the heat. After a few minutes I felt I was being watched and looked up to see an orange face peering in the screen door. Being a total soft touch, I thought for perhaps a few moments before opening the door to let Pumpkin in. He walked over and sat on the hearth in front of the wood stove as if he'd done that for years. We spent a pleasant evening watching TV until Eric came home. His words, upon entering and taking in the scene were, "So, do we have a cat now?"