Two dogs, two cats, one hamster, one beta fish, and who knows how many pond fish. I can't count them as they are blissfully in frozen animation under two feet of snow.
I'd add more to the brood, but I'm already up to my ears in care taking duties. I've always had pets. Many times more than one at a time while growing up. But this is about the largest group of animals that I've had in my lifetime thus far.
There have been many throughout the years.
The early years for me included Tuffy, the sixteen pound tabby cat. Puffy, the Shepard mix dog. Poncho-the Chihuahua mix followed by Poncho2, and Rex the 1st.
Rex was a gorgeous dog. Pure white German Shepard with clear blue eyes. Then Puffy led Rex on a hike and Rex never found his way back home. So we ended up with Rex2. Dad called the APL and they had a white German Shepard. My dad figured that it 'had to be him', went and retrieved the dog. Lo and behold, it wasn't. Still a cool dog, but he growled at my brother anytime he went near him. Rex2 holds a special place in my heart. For five years I got away with tormenting Charles' because I had Rex2 for backup.
There was Elliotto Gozaimashita, Norman, Buster and Max. All great cats that thought they were dogs. Then Aarow (Border Collie), Cameron (Golden Retriever) and Ferris (Bouvier) who actually were dogs. I'd count Cameron #1(Golden Retriever), but we only had him for two days before he started with seizures. The vet said it would be best if he just put the puppy down. I cried for another two days. I thought it my fault, I felt responsible. It was so sad.
Puffy lasted the longest of all the animals I've ever owned. Seventeen years. Probably because she never got in any trouble (except her long walks sometimes) and was a medium sized dog. I was at college when my mother put her to sleep. She had a swollen jaw and found out it was mouth cancer. It took my mom three months to tell me. Only forced to do so the day before I came home for winter break.
"Honey.", my mom purred into the phone, "There's something I have to tell you......"
My mother was a super sweet woman, but as a teacher, she was the strong lead by example type. Lessons were learned in our house. No smoke and mirrors, everything was pretty point blank. My dad was a scientist so everything was just put out there and you dealt with it. We were an open family with no secrets. So to hear the soft, hushed, smooth over tone in her voice...I figured what she had to say must be a biggie.
"What's that, Mom. What's so important?", I replied. "I'm studying for my finals tomorrow and then I'm driving home." I really needed to concentrate. Tomorrows test were huge. This conversation wasn't helping me.
"It has to do with Puffy...." I felt a sigh of relief. At least no one had died, or was in the hospital. I figured she took one of her walks again.
"We had to put her to sleep, honey pie. I'm sorry."
"Mom! When? What happened?"
"Mouth cancer, dear. The vet said it was the best thing to do. She was in pain." my mother explained. "We did it on Monday."
It was Tuesday evening. I thought, 'Geez. Couldn't you have waited until I came home?'
What I didn't know then that I then learned once back home...she wasn't talking about the Monday past, but the Monday past past past past. Like three months prior past. Like the day after I left for school past.
But seventeen years is a long time for a dog to live.
Cameron lived to sixteen. Strangely old for a big 120 lb. dog. And Ferrris was a grand old age of fifteen when he finally went to the playground in the sky.
The number of pets that I have only lowers itself when one passes on. Over the years I've had to put four cats and seven dogs to sleep. It's never easy. Some were harder than others. I've never given one up for adoption. I know all too well how overcrowded the Animal Protective League is with unwanted animals and can't bring myself to add to it. Most adult animals don't have much of a chance for adoption, they end up euthanized.
That being said, over the weekend one of the little furry friends had to find a new home. There's always a first time.
Misty had to go.
Presently the cast of characters in the house is Stuey (American bulldog), Sienna (Labradoodle), Big Maw (whose real name is Little Miss Cutie-blame my daughter when she was 3 for that one) and Little Maw (whose real name is Misty). The hampster is Butterscotch and the beta is Blue. Can you guess their colors? Yup. Go figure.
Our pond fish all are known by name as well. Stealth, Shark, Bubble and Karat are a few. Google and Yahoo are in the pond as well.
I love my pets. All of my pets. Even the ones that don't do much, like the fish. They are an extension of my family unit. But when one doesn't comply with family rules, then you can't stay here.
Little wasn't listening. She wasn't playing by the house rules.
So she had to go....
And go she did. That ultimately was her downfall.
She went on my couch.
Then she went on Boo's bed. Twice.
And Boo's couch. Three times.
Have you ever smelled cat urine?
It's the worst.
It gives me headaches.
Just thinking about it is giving me a headache and the smell is long gone.
I took Little to the vet to see if it she was having a physical problem. Nothing. I replaced the litter boxes with new ones to see if that would help. Nope. I searched the Internet for clues and suggestions of what to do since this was a behavioural problem. Nothing worked.
So I found her a new home.
I felt badly about it. I wasn't positive who was the culprit. It was a 50/50 crapshoot at best. Was it Little or Big that has decided to use our furniture as an toilet? I never saw when it happened or who did it. But I had a good guess.
It's now been two whole weeks and we've not had another urine incident. Our house remains odor free! So I think I was correct in my deduction.
And I have a new cat.
Not a new cat, really, but Big is a whole new cat now that Little is gone.
She's now uber friendly once again. She had started to get quite skittish. As I think about it now, Little would wait and pounce/attack her when she would stroll into a room. She would do the same to me and I didn't like it, so no wonder Big became so testy.
Last night as I sat watching the Olympics with Sienna under one arm and Stuey under the other, Big jumped up and couldn't decide where to settle. She was purring do loudly I had to turn the TVs volume up. She'd curl up with Stuey and then cross to me. Knead me a few minutes and then rub up on Sienna. She was a happy cat. Very happy.
One big, furry, happy family. Once again.
And the bonus?
No cat urine. For over two weeks. And three animals that all get along.
Life is good.
Now where's that lint roller?