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The Consummate Suckers

>> Friday, November 6, 2009

We have a fur problem.  I'm going broke feeding and vetting our furry friends, and do not have enough laps or hands to pet everyone who wants attention at once.  I trip over fast-moving objects continually.  A day after vacuuming there are tumbleweeds of fur again, which grow to incredible proportions. These days I vacuum solely because I am afraid one of those tumbleweeds is going to develop a personality and we'd have another mouth to feed.

The breakdown of the fur problem is as follows:

Of course, we have the basset hounds.  We went to the Humane Association for one dog, and came home with two.  Why?  Because they're so cuuuuute.  And they're litter mates - we don't want to separate them!  And they're special needs but that's okay.  We can work on their extensive behavioral issues, deal with digestive problems, and take care of a stump.

Note to self:  in future remember that if a dog has been available for adoption at a shelter for 6 months, there's probably a reason no one has taken it home before now.  Especially when they're purebreds. 

It took us a year to get Lucy housetrained (and she's still not exactly reliable), there are baby gates in nearly every doorway, Simon has destroyed countless pairs of shoes and thus far one rung on the antique railing, and between the two of them we need new carpets throughout the entire house.  They are unruly (to say the least) when there are guests in the house.  They've injured us countless times by taking off down stairs while we're attached, slamming their hard heads into our noses, knocking us off whatever we're seated on, or all sorts of other exuberant obnoxiousness.  There is no amount of exercise that will wear them out, and no amount of rewarding good behavior will get them to knock off the bad.  When you ask one of them to "come", s/he will calmly look at your hands, and if no treats are detected, s/he will bolt the other direction.

They can't be separated for more than a few minutes without one or the other suffering a nervous breakdown.  They have both been known to engage in spite peeing (i.e. peeing on the side of the bed belonging to the human who has just finally lost his/her patience and shouted at said hound).  They flunked their first obedience class quite dramatically, and I think were allowed to graduate the second time only because the trainer didn't want to deal with them again, despite the fact that she has raised and trained and competed with basset hounds for 25 years.  They drove her nuts.  Hell, they drive ME nuts.

Despite the fact that I want to strangle them on an almost daily basis, I love my dogs.  That we still have them proves that a) we're insane; b) we take our commitments to our pets seriously when we adopt, and c) they got ridiculously lucky that we had lost our old beloved dog and were looking for a new one at the precise time they were at the shelter.  No other humans would have kept them this long, I swear.

So that's the dog factor.

Then, there are the cats.  You've already read about Tucker, who we rescued from a dumpster long ago.  He's destroyed furniture, clothing, bedding, woodwork, and carpeting by peeing on it.  He won a many-years-long fight about whether he gets to go outside by battering at our defenses and whittling away at our nerves, until between the two of us humans we had one nerve left and he was getting on it.

But he's cute.

By the way, he bosses everyone else in the house.  The humans, the cats, and the dogs.

We actively went out and adopted Sneakers (the stripey one below) when our old dog was getting decrepit, because we were afraid Tucker would be too lonely when our old dog died.  Ha.  Tucker hates Sneakers.  She's sweet, but a little off.  No one in the house quite understands her.  She is slowly destroying the wooden railing in the attic by clawing it to pieces, despite the dozen or so different types of scratching posts and blocks available to her.  And she has the most irritating meow conceivable and never shuts up.  We have the Fran Drescher of the cat world.

Our cat Wednesday (the black one) I guess we actively adopted too - my paralegal's brother took in a stray cat that had kittens.  We took the miniature one.  She weighs 6 ½ lbs and is full grown.  To put that in perspective, Tucker weighs 12 pounds and Sneakers (a.k.a. "fatty") weighs 13.  Weenie is the One Good Pet.  She's cute, fuzzy, affectionate, and always in a good mood.  Her only flaw is that every once in a while she'll pee on some random object.  Considering that nearly every surface in our house has been peed on by somebody before, though, I understand her thinking the entire house is a litterbox.

This is Sneakers looking through the space where the railing rung was before Simon ate it:

Mind you, these are not the only three cats we've had.  We also took in one extremely sickly stray who only lived for about a year after we adopted her.  Then there was Maxfield, who was an adorable fluffball of a cat who spent his first six months in our house flailing, clawing and hissing when anyone approached him.  Spouse and I still bear scars from him.  He lived entirely in our spare bedroom for six months.  Spouse let him in one day, scrawny and matted, because "he was just so cute."  Just about the time that he settled in to being the most affectionate squishball of a cat ever, he developed severe urinary tract problems.  We paid for surgery to essentially turn him into a girl to prevent him from blocking, but it was unsuccessful.  I still miss him.  $4,000 dollars later.

So, you ask, why am I going through this list demonstrating our insanity?  Because, now there's Rocky.

Because we're insane.

Rocky is Tucker's boyfriend.  They sleep in an excruciatingly cute pile of paws and tails and whiskers on the porch.  They've been buddies since Tucker started going outside a year ago, but we've never been able to get close to Rocky.  We assumed he was as wild and feral as the rest of the feral cat colony in our neighborhood.  Apparently not.  After a year of coaxing, he actually allowed Spouse to pet him this morning (there was food involved).  Damnit, if we can get close enough to him to pet him, and we're feeding him, then we need to get him to a vet for a checkup and shots and worming and neutering.  I promise, he very obviously needs the last of those items.  And if we're feeding him, petting him, and taking him to the vet, that does rather make him ours, huh?


Well, Rocky, welcome to the family.


Ellen Rathbone November 6, 2009 at 11:13 AM  

Good-hearted people are sooo hard to find. Hooray for you and spouse for taking 'em all in! I've gone thru my own share of furballs (four cats, four ferrets, two rats and a dog), and am happily down to just one cat and the dog now. I have nightmares of finding an animal in my house that I've forgotten and has been starving (and without water) for weeks (and yet, miraculously, is still alive). Keep up the good work!

Sneaksleep November 6, 2009 at 12:45 PM  

I knew as soon as I read the title of this post that you had taken in another pet. At least Tucker likes him--and he *is* pretty cute. I don't know how you do it, but I sure respect you for it!

Woodswoman Extraordinaire: November 6, 2009 at 1:26 PM  

LOL, Sneaksleep! We're that predictable, huh?

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