One of the lecture tapes from the Seeing Eye talks about pack dynamics: the idea that the dog needs to know its place in the hierarchy in your home. I've been thinking about this a lot since getting home. There are a lot of dynamics here for Loretta to figure out, and I'm not even certain that I understand them. If I don't understand them, how will I weave her into this complex team that has been working like magic for several years? In a way, this is all stuff I have been working on for a while--it's part of why sometimes my cats fight. People may not like to admit it, but cats are social beings, too; and when there is order in the house, there are no cat fights.
So who is where, and whose job is what?
As far as I can tell, Inca pretty much rules the roost. She orders the filling of the feeder, the giving of pets, etc. Sierra takes a close second--and she can order me to bed when Inca won't have anything to do with me because my brain is acting up. Sable stays in the background but wants attention now and then and even wanted something in the way of training for a while. Ideally, the cats work around each other to meet my various needs as well as ask for their own to be met, alerting me to the activity of my brain and my asthma attacks and requesting attention because they need their own personal reassurance.
Meg fit into all of this nicely. She was with me when the cats couldn't be, and at home she loved on them too. It's hard to really assign all of this a hierarchy; but there was certainly a structure to it. The only key that I can find is that everyone had expectations to meet and everyone got their needs responded to. That is about all I can give to Loretta; but she is understanding that there is structure. She saw Sierra chase Inca away last night, and she tried to do the same. I had to correct this and teach her that Inca is good. Today, fortunately, things are going well.
I am falling asleep writing, but I do want to note that Sable is now walking through the room without flinching. "Cat" is really taking off now!