My baby is nine years old today.
Most of my life has been shared with animals. We had dogs as I was growing up and I badgered my mom into my first cat when I was 4 or 5 years old. Tiger used to follow me to school. She died after being hit by a car – the driver knew he hit her and still didn’t stop.
I’ve had a cat in my life pretty much continuously ever since. Cats are so easy for a working person, and mine have all been inside cats. K died of cancer at 11. M died of old age at 16.
The Poop was my first puppy. I raised her and loved her for all of her 14 years with us. She left us in September of 2005. While I was still slightly crazy with grief, we adopted our current dog, Bubbles.
Bubbles is a pure breed, adopted from a responsible breeder, who imported her and her brother from a Scandinavian country. While I have no doubt that every effort was made to shield both dogs from trauma during their long trip, Bubbles has been scarred by her experiences. This breed is slow to develop, but it eventually became clear that neither Bubbles nor her brother would breed. Bubbles was loved and adopted, but the woman developed such a severe allergic reaction to her that she wound up in the hospital. Bubbles returned to the breeder and anxiously waited for her forever home.
Enter us. We brought her home in October of 2005. For most of the first year, I wore the dog. She is a needy little thing. She’d wrap herself around my neck, she lays across my lap; I’ve spent hours rubbing her belly. She’s calmed considerably since the early days but she’ll probably always be high maintenance. I’ve christened her “the Most Annoying dog in the universe”. She’s my baby.
Our vet clinic hosts cats available for adoption from a local rescue group here in town. One day two and a half years ago, they had a litter available. Mama was young herself, a buttery colored tiger cat. Her youngsters were all torti’s. Three of them were still nursing off and on but were essentially weaned and ready to go the day I walked into the clinic with Bubbles. I was a goner.
Bubbles was not happy when we brought Spooky and Trotsky home, but she’s established herself as the gatekeeper of my lap and seems content.
The two sisters are very different from one another. Trotsky is our retriever. She’ll retrieve a toy all day long. She’s very social, stocky, and impatient with the whole grooming thing. Spooky, probably the most intelligent of the three, is dainty, cautious, and absolutely lethal to any insect that might come into the house. Collectively, they are the girls.
Bubbles may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but she is the most loving animal I’ve ever had. She adores me. She makes me laugh. She supervises every action I take.
When I made my last unsuccessful attempt to have a child, the best thing I did at roughly the same time was to adopt a dog. She made not having a baby okay. Twenty some years later, I’ve been overcome with gratitude on multiple occasions for that.