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When JNerd and I married, we were apartment dwellers. Though I had dogs all of my life, most apartments don't allow them. I wanted a pet, so we had a cat. But not just any cat. Kalila was amazing. She was a Russian Blue with the softest fur, greenest eyes and quietest meow I have ever known before or since. You could throw a toy mouse down the hall and she would fetch it, bring it back, and wait for you to throw it again. You know those little brown salt-and-pepper moths that get into grains? We would get them in our little-used spare room and she would lead us there to hunt. After picking her up, she would stand on her hind legs on JNerd's palm, and catch the moths off the wall, often near the ceiling. Think: the Dobie-Matic from Far Side. She would also do acrobatics trying to capture a feather on a wire. Flips, backflips, it was a sight to see. She was very polite, unless you were eating chicken, and then she would sit on the arm of the couch and bat at your hand with her paw. Sort of the cat equivalent of tapping you on the shoulder.
About a year later, we acquired Beleu. Small, grey and fuzzy, his quiet grey eyes missed nothing. He picked me as I walked by a pet store near the coffee house where I worked. He reached his paw out, grabbed on to my sweater. Of course, I had to stop to disentangle and that's when he got me. I took one look at the small ball of fluff with the serious eyes and, boom, I was his. I hadn't intended to bring another pet home: Kailey was pretty happy being on her own. But he just spoke to me, and became a member of our family. He was small enough to sit on our record player and in JNerd's hand. In fact, that is where his name came from, the big gray bear in The Jungle Book who would float down the river on his back. Beleu loved to be on his back, much like his namesake. We were happy, the four of us. In fact, there was a time I thought the two cats would be the only babies. It didn't work out that way, and a couple of years later (four years from the time we got the cats) our first baby was born.
The cats settled in well with JBug. They treated her like one of their own. The day after she was born, JNerd brought a hat and a blanket home with her scent on it. Before she was born, we made sure to let the cats see, sniff and thoroughly explore her room, and her belongings. So once we brought her home, it was really rather anti-climactic. I could almost see the thought process: they sniffed her head, and her car seat, looked at us, then yawned and retreated to the corner to sleep. "Oh, that's what all the fuss was about, hmm?" New addition added, they seemed to say, "What's for dinner?"
When we moved to a one-level house from an apartment (which had stairs and a paranoid mama with a toddler) we decided to get a dog. At that point, I hadn't had a dog in many years, but still remembered the way they lavish affection upon those they love. So we started looking. JBug was 18 mos old and I wanted them to grow up together. After a lot of searching, I found Tess. Given up by a family who was moving to the beach and didn't have a yard anymore, she was just waiting at the shelter. She was 7 months old, and her name at the time was Lady. She looked anything but. Scraggly, tall, half chow-chow and golden lab (which gave her a decidedly rakish terrier-like face). She was gangly, and goofy-looking, and it was love at first sight for us both. Even when the animal control officers tried to tell me that I didn't want her because she was "mean" (she was afraid of men in uniform) I knew she was the one. Because I have a lot of experience with dogs, I tend to trust my judgment. I was right. Tess never forgot that we gave her a "forever home." She was always so grateful and beyond sweet. In fact, there were times I felt so guilty because she seemed to love us so much, that sometimes, I just wanted her to GO AWAY. With little kids,a dog that needed so much love was the last thing I wanted. But, like a child, she was mine, and I loved her. Tess was with us for twelve years, until she died of cancer in 2006. That was a year after we lost Kailey to kidney failure. She was 13 and a half Six months later, Beleu, at 13, perished in the house fire, along with Siobahn, our 7 year old cat, and a 4 month old kitten, Maia. After that, we were done with pets for a while.
Currently, we have Perry & Winkle (Twinkie) a brother and sister who were rescues from the park where we meet every Monday. They were so small we had to feed them by bottle, teach them how to eat and I had to teach them to use the litterbox. They are pretty nice cats, and like us, though they still have a streak of wild in them at times. I love cats, I really do. The warm lump of fur in my lap is one of life's great comforts, it's true. BUT.
They're going to hate me in about a week. I am bringing a new puppy into the mix. And nothing will ever be the same again.
T, who is so excited I can't hardly stand it