Thursday, June 27, 2013

Gross toes

I am from the south...and bitch as we do about the humidity, it serves a purpose. It keeps us from drying out and shriveling up. I have been in Pueblo Colorado this week. Besides being the Federal information pamphlet Mecca, it is the driest place on the planet. Every day has had triple digit temps and single digit humidity. Just look at my damn toes. I'm going to try to go in for a pedicure this weekend. I expect you will see shrieking little Cambodian women fleeing in the streets.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

From there to here: Part Deux

Okay, so where were we? Let's see, when we left off at my last blog post, we had thankfully avoided adopting Not-Oscar (aka Puddin' 3).  Things were quiet for awhile and drifted from Fall into winter, when, lo and behold, this showed up on the day after Christmas:

 This dog wandered around in our neighborhood for a couple of days.  He had a collar on, but no identification.  After seeing him narrowly miss becoming nothing but a greasy spot in the road, the kiddo insisted on letting him into the backyard to avoid creating a new speed bump on our street.  We put out flyers, made sure he was well fed and watered...and...nothing.  No one called to claim him, no local Vet's office recognized him.  I didn't want this dog...and honestly, he didn't seem to really want us.  He was an older dog, and whatever language he was used to hearing, it apparently wasn't ours.  Nothing we said to him: "Food" "Stay" "Come" "Go" produced anything but a blank look.  He ate our food, drank the water we gave him, but wasn't really interested in any other interaction.  He had zero personality and zero interest in becoming anyone's friend be it human or animal.  Oh...but he did have a remarkable ability to somehow squeeze through the cat door on the back porch and somehow find any source of electricity available and shock himself into a seizure.  I'm not kidding.  We found this dog behind the counter on the porch where there was this 2 1/2 inch gap and he'd dislodge the cord for the heater and try to fry himself.  The lights inside would dim and we'd find him on the porch convulsing.  This happened at least 3 times.  We tried three different barricades before we could stop the idiot from doing that.  Naturally, we took to calling him "Sparky".  Not that he ever answered to it, or anything else we said...but it was descriptive and more polite than "Damn dog."
Sparky was with us for a couple of months when one day he slipped out of the fence...I saw him rounding a corner of the across-the-street neighbor's backyard.  I yelled for him...he never flicked an ear.  We honestly scoured a half mile radius looking for a dog that everyone in the house (other animals included) were completely ambivalent about for days but never found a trace of him.  Our hypothesis is that he finally remembered whatever non-English-speaking home he had come from and high-tailed it back.
The equilibrium of our household returned.  But only momentarily.  These next couple of entries, I'm afraid, are all on me.

The place where I work is very close to the county animal control center. Animal. Control. Not Animal shelter.  This confuses a lot of people...they assume that this facility is there to help find homes for animals.  You can adopt there...if you move fast enough.  Sometimes this place doesn't wait a full 24-hours before putting the animals it collects (or are dropped off) down.  Also?  There had recently been an investigative piece in our local paper where they uncovered all kinds of atrocities going on there.  Not kidding...I'm talking criminal indictments were made.  But folks CONTINUE to drop animals off in this horrible cage right outside the gates.  Several of us at work had taken to stopping and rescuing any animal we saw in there while driving in to work and putting out a call for someone to adopt them, or at least finding a no-kill shelter to take them.  One day, one of my co-workers stopped and got this little lady out of the Death Pen:

She appeared to have recently weaned a litter of puppies.  She was some type of Chihuahua/Dachshund mix.  She was sweet as pie and stank to the high-heavens.  My co-worker was about to leave for the weekend, but thought that on the up-coming Monday, she could probably find a place for her in a no-kill shelter if I could foster her over the weekend and run her by the vet's office that we'd been working with that would give our rescued animals a once-over and basic shots for a very discounted rate.  I took her home, bathed her a dozen times and took her to the vet.  He assessed that she was about three years old and would never weigh more than ten pounds.  I brought this "foster" dog home for the weekend.  The hubby had her in his lap the whole first evening.  The next morning, after she climbed off of our bed, she went to curl up with all three of the cats.  By that afternoon, she was Simba's best friend.  By the second night, the daughter had named her Libby. Sigh.
(For those keeping score:
Dogs: 3
Inside cats: 3
Outside cats: 1)
I once again declared: "No. More. Animals! This is it! Period!" Even though I was the one who had brought the latest one home. 
A few months later, there was Maxx. This too was all me:

Maxx, when I still thought I was "fostering" him.

Maxx today.  He's ginormous, BTW
I had never, ever intended to have FOUR cats inside.
However, sometimes we get what we need, whether we intend for it or not.  Not long after we formally adopted Maxx, we started to notice Baby (Jeff's funky old yard cat) failing.  While going through the long, long fight to get Baby to rally, I am so thankful that we had Maxx.  He was loving and playful and just what all of us needed while we faced the inevitable with Baby.
We had our 3 dogs. We had four inside cats (Maxx was getting so big, you almost had to count him as a cat and a half.)
And then what happened, Marianne?  Well...the kiddo was out selling ads for the upcoming year's football program (she's a cheerleader...also known as free labor for anything football-related).  While making her rounds, she came across this tiny, precious, helpless, wee little thing:

"Absolutely not!" I said. "Right Jeff?" as I walked into the living room to find her perched on his shoulder, purring her little kitten purrs into his ear.
"Um, yeah, of course not."
I addressed the child using her first, middle and last names, "You'll have to take her back where you found her tomorrow!" I said this while the little poot hopped down to run and play with Simba who immediately turned her into a little white and black spitball (she was clearly having the time of her soon as he quit, she'd rub around on his legs until he did it again).
"I don't care how cute she is!  Five cats in the house is crazy talk!"
"Mew!" she said to me in her little kitten voice.
"But I can't take her back there!  I'll try to find her a home.  We'll just keep her until I find her a home!"

And here we are.  She's still not named...but I've been out-voted on this one.  She IS the most precious little thing you've ever seen.  Everyone loves her.  The other cats don't even get in her way at feeding time.  And usually, they act like a bunch of psychotic, furry piranhas that haven't seen food in a week at dinner time.

For the record, names that have been suggested and rejected at this point:

Also for the record, the count is
Dogs: 3
Cats: 5


Fine.  Her name is Daisy.  Daisy Fay (as in the Great Gatsby).  Daughter wanted something literary and she DID read the The Great Gatsby recently (she's also a sucker for anything Leonardo DiCaprio in it)

From there to here...Part One

I know. I KNOW. I swore never, ever again. And yet, here we are. With another damn cat…not even A YEAR since I took in the last one, swearing that he was ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY the last new animal to cross the threshold.

To recap:

We had a fully functioning baseline of animals to begin with…

Rosie, the three legged dog (inside/outside):

Three indoor cats:

Pluto and Kendall:

And Jaxamoe:

(Spooky picture, right?)

Outside, the hubby’s funky old yard cat, Baby:

For a few years, we had a ferret as well…but Janie went to ferret heaven after only 5 years due to thyroid issues.

We rocked on with our well established eco-system. Everyone was happy. Everyone knew their place…I was reasonable high in the pecking order, so I was content.

Then, one fateful day in May of 2009, this happened:

My daughter found him over at her friend’s house…the runt of the litter who had been abandoned by his mother. He was all gummy-eyed and sickly…but how could I not agree to take him in? He weighed 7 freaking ounces, for crying out loud! He was so small that we couldn’t really tell what he was…assumed we had a girl and named him Isabella…a couple of days later when the vet confirmed we had a male, we changed it to Izby. It took us several months to get him into perfect health…we had a couple of real scares where he got sick and we rushed him to the Animal ER. He’ll always be a small, wee kitty, he will always be bow-legged. But he fit into our family quite seamlessly…

We lost Jaxamoe not long after to a virus that his breed (Bengal) is particularly prone to catching, so we only had 4 inside cats for a little while…during which Izby never broke 3 lbs. By the time Izby reached his full growth of 7 whopping pounds, we were once again at three indoor cats.

We passed almost two whole years without any animal additions. Then the kiddo got old enough to date…and along came a boy that wanted to show her the depths of his affection by bringing her this

I freaking DARE you to tell me you could have resisted him. Even though I KNEW he would not stay a little ole fur-ball forever, that he would one day be big enough to counter-surf and set off the seat-belt alarm in the car…even though I knew the reputation of Golden Retriever puppies for chewing on everything in sight…one look into those liquid, big brown eyes and I was completely owned by that dog. We welcomed Simba into our fold as an indoor/outdoor dog like Rosie. I will say…he surprised me very much with the chewing thing…he never put tooth to anything that wasn’t food or one of his allowed toys. He is, however a retriever breed. Which means he likes to retrieve things. All. The. Time.

Pictured here: six of the eleventy-dozen tennis balls Simba has. We had to put them on the mantel to keep him from trying to retrieve all six simultaneously. (He could get two into his mouth, but would lose one when he’d try to go for three. He was obsessive/compulsive about trying) Simba came to us very young, and was half-raised by cats. He’s never really embraced the concept that he can’t do everything that the cats can do…and has no real concept of how much bigger than a cat he is.

So okay…we now stand at:

Indoor/outdoor dogs: 2 (or 1 and 3/4)

Indoor cats: 3

Outdoor cats: 1

That’s reasonable. I mean, I know it’s more than most people would really want…but we weren’t in any danger of an animal planet police raid or a staged intervention or anything. I declared that we were at capacity. I even managed to hold strong through several attempts by the child to breach my defenses

This is a cat. His name is definitely not Oscar. He was looking for a home, but it was not mine. My daughter found him starving outside of the 32degree yogurt place and because I am a great, big, huge SUCKER with absolutely NO backup from my husband, not-Oscar was brought home to stay in the kiddo’s bathroom while I frantically tried to find him a permanent home. He was INCREDIBLY sweet and very purr-y. I could feel myself caving when…only a couple of hours into the second day, my friend Annette found not-Oscar a home. A guy she worked with had a liking for yellow tabbies. His original yellow tabby, Puddin’, had been around about 8 years and apparently weighed 15 pounds…his second yellow tabby had actually just started hanging around his house and coming in through his cat door on his own…for several days, he and his wife thought Puddin had just developed the ability to open the space/time continuum and appear in two places almost simultaneously. When they realized the fact that it was just a Puddin doppelganger, they took to calling him Puddin 2. This couple had no children and spoiled their yellow tabbies rotten. Not-Oscar was crated and taken by these kindly people…off to begin his new life as Puddin 3.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief as I realized what a bullet I had dodged. I set the kid down and told her IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that we weren’t taking in any more animals…To be continued…