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