I love dogs. I am the kind of person who googles “cute puppy videos” on rough days. It works like a charm to cheer me up every time. When I was young, I had two dachshunds. When I moved out of my parents’ house, my mom kept the dogs, so for a short time in my life I didn’t have a furry companion.
In 2012, my roommate called to see if I would mind him bringing a puppy home “just for the weekend”. Yes, I minded, because I knew what would happen. We did not have the time for a dog. We did not have the money for a dog. He brought her home anyway. It was his boss’s dog. His boss was a raging alcoholic. This puppy was small enough to cradle in your hands, and she was a white fur ball that he had dyed a very vibrant blue. He sent her to this sleepover with no collar, no leash, and no dog food. He told us to just let her outside in our busy neighborhood and assured us that she’d be fine. She was 8 weeks old at the time. He told us to feed her “cheeseburgers, or whatever”. He was also a hoarder and told us that, at some point in the very short time that he was in possession of her, he had lost her in the house. For three days.
I tried so very hard to hate this little puppy that we had no room for in our lives, but she was just too cute, and I couldn’t let her go home to neglect and possible death. So, she squeezed through the cracks in my life and made herself at home.
She wiggled all the way to the center of my world, and we spent every day together, just me and my girl. As she got a little older, the blue faded into grey, then white, and I had to be away from the house for work a lot more, so I started the search for a friend for her. She’s little, being a Chihuahua-American Eskimo mix, but, boy, is she vicious. I needed to find her a playmate who was also a worthy opponent.
It was sad scouring the internet for puppies who needed homes. I find it horrifying how many people can just get rid of their dogs without realizing that they made a lifetime commitment to someone who has no say in what happens to them. One day, they just find themselves in a new place with strangers because their person “didn’t have time” for them.
Anyways, I found a Husky-Pomeranian mix on Craigslist. His owners were trying to get rid of him before they moved, saying that the new place wouldn’t let them have two dogs and they wanted to keep his sister. This is the first photo I ever saw of my boy Jackson:
He was so skittish when I went to go see him that it took me 45 minutes to lure him to me with snacks, but as soon as he came close enough for me to touch him, he dove into my arms and wrapped his little paws around my neck like an infant. He made me hold him that way all the way to the pet store, at the pet store, and for an hour after we got home.
So now I had two dogs. They like each other well enough. They clean each other’s faces, chase each other in the yard, and occasionally get into fights. But they missed each other like crazy the few times that they’ve been separated. Life was good; we were a complete family.
As luck would have, though, a few years later, we found a little more room, just enough for a kitten. Now, I am not a cat person at all, but this little kitten followed us home, and it was a frigid day for a scrawny little cat to be outside alone. So I let her sleep in the garage, fed her some chicken and set her up a snuggly little bed to block the draft. She would leave during the day and come back to us at night for food for a while, but one day I saw her blowing snot bubbles out of her nose, which is a thing I have never seen an animal do.
I brought her to the vet. Several hundred dollars later, they told me that she had an upper respiratory tract infection, an ear infection, and a sinus infection, among other things. I had to keep her inside so that I could give her medicine three times a day. I decided that she was there to stay, so my little brother and I picked out a name for her: Katniss. A name from his favorite movie, and I got to continue calling her Cat. Perfect.
So, with two dogs and a cat, I think that we are full. For now. All three need some special attention, but they are resilient. Casey is so afraid of strangers that she will stress herself sick, so she takes herbal supplements to soothe her on chaotic days. Jackson is a good judge of character, but he likes to bark a lot at new people, just to be sure they’re okay before he becomes their very best friend, which takes all of five minutes. He needs almost constant attention, constant reassurance, and quite a bit of patience; I am almost positive that has something to do with the BB’s that are lodged under his skin. And Cat needs extra help after the confusion of being raised as a dog and living with two crazy dogs.
Everyone needs a little special attention to grow. We’re no different. Thank goodness we have each other.