Decisions, decisions…(aka “and then there were none.”)

5 Mar

For the first time in well over 17 years, there are no furry companions to care for in my house.

I most definitely do not like it–talk about empty nest syndrome!

When my children left for college I missed them–still do, as a matter of fact–but my pets were always there for me, cheering me up by virtue of being here and loving me back, regardless of anything else going on with my life.

Then there’s the fact that at times there were more pets than I could fit in a house this size comfortably (I’m a sucker, ask my offspring).

Warning: long, self indulgent, meandering post below the fold.

(tl;dr version: pondering whether to adopt a dog or to buy a washing machine.)

I inherited Candy from my ex (long story, don’t ask) in December 1997, and she ruled the roost until she died in late January.

In May 1998, my daughter called, “kitty, kitty” from the car window, and a beautiful purebred blue point Siamese cat literally jumped into the car through the window. It was obvious she had given birth very recently, but thought we looked we could not find her kittens. Kitty joined the household then and there, and lived with us and in our hearts until she suffered a terrible stroke in December 2011.

In July 2000, Laika crossed the street in front of my car, chased by a landscaper from a neighboring property. A large mutt (she tipped the scales at just over 140lbs), Laika was incredibly gentle and well behaved. The vet thought she had some German Shepherd in her, and calculated that Laika was probably 8 years old. Her only quirk? I belonged to her and to no one else. Laika took possession of the house the moment I asked her in, and engaged in a sustained battle of wills with Candy–who thought I belonged to her exclusively–for the next eight and a half years. When walking with her, Laika would insert herself between me and my children until I let go of the kids’ hands. When sitting on the couch to watch tv, she would sit next to me and push away the kids and the cats until they gave up.

As much as I have loved all my pets, I have never loved another animal the way I loved Laika, and to this day I have tears in my eyes as I type, because I miss her so fucking much. Making the decision to let her go in December 2008, even knowing her quality of life was increasingly poor, was one of the hardest decisions I’ve made.

In December 2001, as a Christmas present for ourselves, my offspring and I bought ourselves a baby ferret, the cutest weasel that ever lived. Our Bebé lived a happy and long life, leaving us as a very old lady in March 2009.

Alana, a purebred yellow Lab with behavioural issues, was also given to me by the ex very late in 2002–November or December. She was just over two months old, and it was me or Animal Control. Until the day she died, poor Alana was afraid of men–the ex again–and of everything outside. Cars, bicycles, people, the dumpsters, the mailbox…everything.  Her other issue was that she also ate everything she could reach: table legs, chair legs, window sills, base boards, carpet, vinyl flooring, wooden cabinets, curtains, appliance cables, socks, shoes, zippers and only dog knows what else.

Amazingly, Alana was incredibly resilient and passed everything out, without any issues, for the next eleven years. Then, a neighbor threw out the remains of a roasted chicken in the wilderness area by my house. I couldn’t get the full bone out of her mouth, and my poor, sweet Alana ended up with a perforated intestine. I had to put her to sleep in June 2013.

(Do not get me started on the war with that neighbor that is still going on to this day. The asshole, the fucking, careless, sonofabitch asshole.)

Shadow, the most beautiful, and biggest, black cat I’ve ever seen, followed me and the dogs home in December 2004–and you know the rest.

Pounce was given to me in late July 2009. That little comical furball grew almost as large and tall as Shadow, and perhaps even a shade heavier than her. When a coworker had to move without warning in January 2010, I agreed to foster Cleo. Little did I know that her owner would up and quit, never contacting me again. On top of that, shortly after, there were four kittens to find a loving home for (after I had them, and their much too fertile parents spayed and neutered).

Cleo herself was adopted by a neighbor a couple of years later, and I think she’s much happier in a house with fewer pets to compete with.

Shortly after Cleo left, in September 2012, my son asked me to foster his own two cats, two lovely black cats he had adopted while attending CalTech. Sadly, Coraline died very unexpectedly just over a year later. Zeus, fortunately, thrived.

My son moved to his own place nearby in September last year, and a few months later asked for his cat back. What’s a mother to do?

In view of this, I started pondering how soon I could arrange things to visit a shelter or rescue, and find an adult large breed dog, preferably with a dark or black coat, because those are the most difficult to place, through no fault of their own, and they deserve to be loved and cared for.

Of course, and since money is always tight–the AC died in the fall, my washing machine quit mid-November, and I am traveling to Mexico to celebrate my mother’s 80th birthday in May–I was thinking to wait until the end of this year.

Then my son asked me a couple of weeks ago if he could also have Pounce, the last cat standing, because he didn’t like the idea of both cats being alone while their owners were at work. I repeat, what’s a mother to do?

For the few among you who lasted this long–here, have a cookie–and kept count–here, another cookie, and perhaps some ice cream–there have been many furry creatures living, often at the same time, in what is actually a fairly small house with a small yard.

(Not being furry, I didn’t even count my son’s snakes or my daughter’s fish.)

Now there are none.

Not a single pet.

Were she in my shoes, my mother, who resented every. single. pet. we had as children, would be ecstatic.


Let’s go with ‘not happy’ and leave it there.

A friend who knows me well asked me if I would be interested in this two year old Australian Shepherd mix who needs a home. The evil woman showed me his picture, and of course I fell head long in love.

The catch? He’s fostered, and the rescue organization is asking for an adoption fee between $300 and $500.

Did I mention that I have yet to replace the washing machine?

Decisions, decisions…

I guess I can continue doing laundry by hand–I do live in Florida, after all.

16 Responses to “Decisions, decisions…(aka “and then there were none.”)”

  1. Lori 05/03/2015 at 1:06 PM #

    It’s easy to adore you. Get the washing machine. Then go to the Humane Society.

    • SuperWendy 05/03/2015 at 2:11 PM #

      What Lori said 🙂 Or, with your track record – just wait. A stray will inevitably find you. Sort of like an AztecLady homing beacon….

      And I want ALL the cookies LOL

      • azteclady 05/03/2015 at 7:32 PM #

        A homing beacon *snort*

        But you are not truly wrong–the only thing that has kept my neighbors from foisting unwanted cats and dogs on me for the past few years was my insane schedule. It was extremely hard to catch me.

        That has changed in the past few months, though, so it could easily happen now.

    • azteclady 05/03/2015 at 7:30 PM #

      Aw, thank you, Lori.

  2. Julaine 05/03/2015 at 2:50 PM #

    I vote for a trip to the Humane Society, as well. I did without a washing machine for 6 long months while my new house was under construction and everything I owned was in storage. There are lots of work arounds for doing laundry but I can’t imagine living without a furry family member.

    I got a new kitten 7 weeks ago. I forgot how much fun the new baby stage was and just how quickly it passes. 1.5 lbs when I brought her home and on Monday when she was at the Vet for her 3rd round of vacinations…already 3.5 lbs. O.o She is passionately dedicated to becoming one with her food bowl, that’s for sure.

    Whether you wait for one to show up, or you go in search…you won’t regret it.

    • azteclady 05/03/2015 at 7:34 PM #

      I have never regretted opening my heart to pets, even though I always miss them so horribly when they leave us. I confess that I admire people who foster pets, because I know that if I were to foster, I would end up adopting–and the house, she is small.

      And let’s hear it for kittens! We tend to think that children grow up fast, but kittens truly seem to become full grown over night, don’t they? Much more so than dogs, I think.

  3. bamaclm 05/03/2015 at 7:36 PM #

    Wow, I didn’t realize – is animal rescue a business now, instead of a charity? I didn’t realize it would cost so much. You could get a purebred for those prices.

    Another vote for the Humane Society. Save an animal’s life and have your cake and eat it too as far as the washing machine is concerned. 😉

    • azteclady 05/03/2015 at 7:43 PM #

      Well, several of the rescues around here have no funding, so the adoption fees go to pay for vet bills, which are often very high for rescued animals. They are either old, or mistreated, or both, so they need a lot of care and medication. For puppies, they need spaying/neutering, etc.

      Also, at least around here, many rescues do actual home checks and shit, to make sure the rescued pet doesn’t end up in a worse situation than the one it was rescued from.

      All that costs money, ergo, high adoption fees.

      I checked the Humane Society earlier, and their adoption fees, depending on the dog, go from $150 to $300–which pays for vaccinations, neutering, microchips and the rest.

      I may have to wait until I come back from Mexico either way, because otherwise I would have to put the poor thing in a kennel while I’m gone–and not only would that put me in the hole further, it’s not fair to an animal to ‘abandon’ him so soon after adoption, I think.

  4. Deirdre 07/03/2015 at 3:36 AM #

    We paid $150 for our rescue cat, so I understand. We also bring home-grown catnip to the shelter (which makes us super-popular), and when she decides she doesn’t like that dry food any more, we deliver the rest of the bag to the shelter.

    Sorry you don’t have any furbabies, but I’m sure you’ll find the right one at some point.

    • azteclady 07/03/2015 at 8:57 PM #

      I made the mistake of visiting the dog in question, Brew, and now I desperately want to bring him home with me. He was rescued out of state and is still in treatment for heartworm, so he may not be ‘adoptable’ for at least another month. We’ll see then.

      • Deirdre 07/03/2015 at 9:06 PM #

        Well, at least you have a month to figure it out. If you aren’t able to adopt him, I hope he gets a good family.

      • azteclady 07/03/2015 at 9:20 PM #

        The people involved in the rescue are very dedicated, so I’m sure he will. But I so hope it’s me! *getting clingy already*

  5. kristiej 07/03/2015 at 11:17 PM #

    I had just got a cat after Ron was diagnosed though I wasn’t planning on getting any more cats. I thought she would be company for him. After Ron died I got another one for me, but they both died before their time; one was hit by a car even though I was determined to keep her an indoor cat and the other died of something else after going all feral on me a couple of times and scaring the shit out of me.
    And that was it. I was never going to get anymore animals of any kind. Then a year and a half or so ago, I found myself talking to the smoke detector because it was making funny noises that kind of sounded like a guinea pig we had when the boys were small and I realized I was going to have to get another pry. I ended up getting two kittens from the same litter. I call them Munch & Fin ( if there are any Law & Order SVU fans, yes I’d like to get an Olivia and Elliott). I LOVE these 2 cats. I talk more about them than I do my kids.
    All of this is to say, as others have, yes to the Humane Society. For me and I think many who live alone, pets are more than just mere pets. They are the living things that are there when we come home. They welcome us in the mornings (even if it is because they expect us to feed them). They help keep the loneliness at bay.

    • azteclady 10/03/2015 at 12:40 PM #


      When number one offspring took Pounce, I thought to myself (for about two hours), “hey, no responsibilities, no planning required–want to go somewhere, I just up and go! yay!”

      Then I started to check Animal Control and other shelters where they do kill animals which are not adopted within a certain period…

      Which reminds me, I mentioned my dilemma to number one offspring, he told me, “you really should consider getting a ‘sucker’ tattoo somewhere…like, on your forehead.”

      I am loved, hm? 😛


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