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A ‘Tiny Home’ Animal Story

By on January 1, 2018

Saga of Squeaky the Cat & Texas the Dog

After Bob and Linda Caffee’s adored Cocker Spaniel, Molly, passed away in 2015, fate played a role in bringing companion animals back into their lives much sooner than anticipated. In edited excerpts from a story that first appeared in the ExpeditersOnline.com
e-news, Linda recounts how a chance encounter with a sick kitten started a new chapter in their “Tiny Home Animal Story.”

After Molly’s passing, Linda and Bob happened to encounter a sick kitten that LOUDLY vocalized he didn’t feel well and needed help. As they’ve been known to do, Linda and Bob stepped in. Not being “cat people,” they had a lot to learn, and this goofy, little barn kitten became a great teacher.

“First, we spent hundreds of dollars on several vet visits and essentials to make the kitty comfortable in his new home,” said Linda. “Before long, he was healthy, free of worms, and full of himself. He was a handful as he played, and we usually looked as if we had run through a blackberry bush, since he hadn’t learned to control his claws. He was destroying the interior of our truck, and we faced a choice: either the kitty or his claws had to go. The decision to declaw was not taken lightly, as we knew he would require protection for the rest of his life.

“Well, we still have the little monster, and he’s still bossing us around. What an absolute joy this goofy cat has become. He is easy going, as long as he’s with us in our tiny home or at our St. Louis home. He likes to look out the truck’s windows, but that’s as far as his connection to the outside world goes.

“We named him, “Squeaky,” since he vocalizes a lot. He’s quick to tell us when the silver bottom of his food dish appears, his water is a drop low, or we’ve been away from the truck too long. When we get up in the morning, he likes to greet us. He’s fun to engage in conversation. When I ask him a question and pause, he meows, and as the conversation progresses, his meows will change. I can’t imagine life without this cat. Yes, just ask Bob, I’ve become one of those ‘crazy cat ladies.’”

Time for a Puppy

Last May, Bob and Linda decided they were ready for another dog that would help make them more active. For Linda, the choice was easy. Her favorite companion dogs of all time are German Shepherds, which are known to get along with cats. The puppy could also be a playmate and companion for Squeaky. After a lot of searching, they found Texas, a 12-pound pup, and brought her into the truck.

“We haven’t had a puppy for 20 years, and boy oh boy, is she a handful, said Linda. “I don’t know how we got so lucky, but Texas came to us truck broken. Not having any accidents sure was a relief.

“She doesn’t have time for cell phones or computers, so when we’re stopped, she wants to get out and walk and play ball. On the road, Texas and Squeaky sleep a lot, thankfully. As far as I’m concerned, Texas is brilliant, and I see her becoming a wonderful companion. She likes people, likes to walk, is very smart, and learns commands quickly.”

Tiny Home Dog & Cat Reality

So far, however, Texas has been a bit clumsy. She frequently steps in her food dish and spills her water. A no-spill water dish solved that problem, but Squeaky couldn’t drink from it. The closet door was modified with a small opening that he fits through so he can eat and drink in peace, sort of. Sometimes Squeaky forgets to pull his tail in, and Texas can’t resist the temptation to chomp on it. The resulting howl is enough to make one think he’s dying. Squeaky has also become quite good at getting Texas in trouble. Linda swears Squeaky sits back and laughs as Texas gets lectured for her bad behavior.

The cat litter box was hidden under the bench seating, so Texas could not access “kitty snacks.” Squeaky accesses the litter box through a vent hole. To free up space for animal food, treats and dental bones, Bob and Linda’s supplies were consolidated, shoes were thinned, and precious closet shelf space was more efficiently allocated.

“With all of Texas’ toys and chews, our truck looks like a puppy playpen most of the time,” said Linda. “She’s still trying to figure out where her feet are. While Texas is growing fast, now topping 60 pounds, the 12-pound Squeaky still rules the truck. Everyone is happy wherever our expediting travels take us. While sharing our space with two pets certainly creates more work, they bring a lot of peace, joy and comfort to our ‘Tiny Home.’”

Bob and Linda Caffee have been expediters since January 2005. They’re also 2014 TA-Petro Citizen Driver Honorees and Freightliner Team Run Smart Pros. Linda is the current President of Trucker Buddy International. 

For them:

• Expediting isn’t just trucking; it’s a lifestyle.

• Expediting isn’t just a lifestyle; it’s an adventure.

• Expediting isn’t just an adventure; it’s a job.

• Expediting isn’t just a job; it’s a business.

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