Thursday, March 21, 2013
Five Furry Friends, Part II
The humane shelter--imagine all the stories that are within those cages. Someone later said, "Your chosen puppy won the lottery that day!" There she was--a blonde lab, so small and cute as a button. Of course, the name had to be perfect for her. Amber, like amber fields of grain.
Why get a puppy in January??? Here we go again, potty training 101--how we all forget! We taught her early to sleep and stay in the basement unless we were home. Forgot about the whimpering and crying at night, too. We put up an electric fence this time to assure that this one would not wander.
Life was fine but in April of that year, my father-in-law took a turn for the worst with his cancer and was not given long to live. While at Grandpa's, he came up to my youngest son and handed him a a tan and white kitten from a barn litter just born. "I picked the nicest one for you, Ben." What could anyone say?! We had just gotten a puppy in January and now a kitten! I had never had a cat before, never really wanted one. Dogs were my forte. To say the least, the cat went home with us in a shoe box.
Two furry friends at once now. What to do with a kitten? Name? Mother was called Fluffy and kitten looked very furry, so Fuz it was. Later, he would be known as Little Lord Fauntleroy, Leroy, or Cat--funny how cats end up with so many names! I understood T.S. Eliot so much more now.
First lesson: When losing a cat, don't look low necessarily, look up, too. Then there is the kitty litter box. Now there are claws. Tried to keep the dog and cat separated, but looking back I made a lot of mistakes. Both dog and cat co-existed just fine. Funny part was, Fuz acted more like a dog than a cat. We could let him out in the yard and he would stay in the yard! If he wanted to go further, we trained him to stay in the yard and that was fine with him. He would go in and out just like a dog and sun himself on the porch. He was so furry and matted and we didn't have AC, so I would take him to the vet for a shower and shave every summer. He loved it. He would come home and just strut around.
I became a cat lover, too.
Amber eventually had to have ACL surgery--didn't know dogs could have this condition. I think this weakened her and gave her great pain. Boys were all in college or away at work now. One day when my oldest son came back from Alabama, Amber, who was 12 now, couldn't get up. This was the day I didn't want to see arrive. I was glad my son Eric was there. He had grown close to Amber, taking her for walks in the field nearby.
Eric knew she had to be put down. I was glad I didn't have to make this decision alone this time. We managed to get her in the car. I just couldn't go this time. The vet administered the shot in the car. We were all there to bury her in the garden and now called it Amber's Garden. This pet was the hardest yet to let go.
That left Fuz. He was a constant lap cat now. He wasn't jumping much at the age of 14 now. It was time for his shots and the vet discovered that he had cancer. I didn't know this until my husband called me from the vet while I was at school. What to do? Once again, I had to make the decision then and there during class time. We buried him in Amber's Garden, too.
That was it, I told myself--no more pets, no more training, no more worrying, no more sorrow.
My son Eric has 2 labs, and I see Shadow and Sienna a lot. My middle son has a dog, and I get to see Wrigley. Ben and his wife Amanda have 4 cats: Marshall, Miss Kitty, Ramsey, and Bill. I still enjoy dogs and cats, but I do miss that pet at home who's always waiting for you no matter what.