Happy Birthday to the best Cat Dad!

Today is a very special day. It’s my husband’s 21st birthday! I would write about how awesome the present I got him is and how surprised he was, but he opened it almost two weeks early when he got into the amazon box before I realized what he was doing. On the plus side, he got a ton of use out of his present already, so it’s safe to say that I did okay picking it out!

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Aren’t they cute? They’re about ten ounces, so it’s perfect for his morning coffee. Plus cats and coffee are just a great morning combination, don’t you agree?

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Today, J also has his first day of teaching at the school he’s contracted with. He’ll be teaching ESL to the parents of students from the Academy. This is really exciting, as J has a knack for languages and a real passion for helping people. After he gets done with work, we’re headed out to a local restaurant for small plates and wine- gotta celebrate legal drinking age somehow, right?

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Anyway, today’s Tail Wag Thursday is dedicated to J. He’s a loving pet dad and ready to rescue any animal that crosses his path, whether it needs it or not. We have five cats, two dogs, and a beta fish currently. The beta fish came from the first school that J volunteered at, and was named Spider-man by the eager school kids. I’m pretty sure Spider-Man is much happier here with us, as J is obsessed with making his fish friend as happy as possible.

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J is also the excitable dad to two dogs, but not the one in the picture. Our foster dog, Minnie, loves seeing her daddy, and whines if he’s been away from her for too long. Rio, our dachshund mix, loves to cuddle up with J at night (and take his spot when he isn’t expecting it.)

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As for the cats? You’ve never met a better cat dad than J. He’s always up for a rousing game of “chase the toy mouse,” and he willingly gives our cats their weekly medication, even though he risks losing a limb each time.

So happy birthday, J! Our pets and I wish you the best birthday ever and thank you for being the best friend, husband, and pet dad in the world.

Fuzzy: A Memorial.

Justin and I had an apartment together for about a week before we realized we had sorely over-estimated our storage space. Clothes were scattered everywhere, waiting for a drawer or closet to land in. After several days of hoping the mess would go away if we denied it long enough, we sucked it up and headed to Target to buy organizational supplies.

Target was right across from a Petsmart, and on the day we went, there were signs throughout the shopping complex about a pet adoption event. We had paid the pet deposit at our apartment in hopes of moving two elderly cats Justin had owned for years in with us, but they weren’t well enough to travel. And, I convinced Justin, it didn’t hurt to just look.

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As soon as I walked over to the pets, I caught eyes with a tiny black kitten that would soon be mine. He wasn’t very tame, all his friends had been adopted, and he had been trying to find a home for about three months. It seemed like no one wanted him- and he didn’t want anyone either.

That was enough for me. In just a few short moments, I had paid for him, bought a litterbox and some cat toys, and he was coming home with us in a cardboard cat carrier. He spent the first three days hiding, and the next few months attacking our feet while we tried to sleep at night.

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Fuzzy was always by my side in our apartment, and he rode down to Georgia in my lap when we had to move thanks to some illness complications I was having. (Namely, I couldn’t breathe because of a huge thyroid cyst.)

Fuzzy lay on my lap in the days I spent recovering after surgery. He bonded with the other cats Justin and I picked up along our life journey.

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There was even joking talk of having him in our wedding. I think we would have done it had he not hated everyone but his family.

When Justin and I decided not to have kids, also for health reasons, I was a little sad. But Fuzzy was my furry son, and he filled any nurturing gap I had in my heart.

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Yesterday, he passed suddenly. It was almost instant, due to a heart defect we didn’t know he had. He was only a little over two years old. I’m crushed: I have never bonded with another animal quite like I did with him. After a rough week attending funerals, this is the last thing I could have dreamed of.

Fuzzy was a beautiful cat. I miss him terribly, as does the rest of my family. The other cats have been searching for him, which makes this even harder.

Goodbye my precious fluffball, you are loved.

New Family Member?

A few days ago, my family got the surprise of our lives. When my dad went to the farm to put the sheep up for the night, the number of sheep was wrong. Luckily, we hadn’t lost any. There was one more than there was supposed to be.

My dad’s sheep, Teaka, had another baby. When we bought her, she came with her daughter, Abby. The woman who sold her to us warned us that she might be bred, but since Dad is notorious for wrongly guessing when and if a sheep is pregnant, we weren’t expecting much.

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Here’s the new baby! She’s still wet in this picture, and she’s still unnamed. We’re thinking Lady Baba, a riff on the pop singer, but my little brother says no. Either way, she’ll be named soon, and she’ll be growing, just like our other new arrival, Frederick. He already has little horns, and he’s only three weeks old. They grow up so fast!

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My friend keeps telling me how much she looks like a Holstein cow. She kind of does! We don’t know who the father of this little angel is, so we don’t really know where she gets her pattern. We do know, however, that her older sister is a little angry at her. We had to separate the mom and baby from the big sister, because the big sister was hogging all the milk. Since Abby is more than old enough to be weaned, it’s no big deal on that front, but it is the first time she’s been separated from her mother. Teaka is taking it pretty well, since she has a new little one to baby, but Abby has been pitching a fit. Luckily she’s with her friends, Sophia and Nikolai, along with Sophia’s cranky mom.

Although we were not expecting the unnamed baby sheep, we’re happy to have her.

Hopefully this is the only surprise we get this week, as I’m headed to Vanderbilt Hospital for a rheumatology appointment, and my grandpa has recently been in the hospital. Surprise sheep? Good! Surprise costly diagnoses? Not fun!

 

 

Minnie’s First (Real) Walk

Today was the fiance’s off day. Usually on his off day, we load up the dogs for an adventure. They get a ride, a picnic, and a walk in a place they’ve never walked before. There were a couple of problems with this today: it’s storming, and our new foster dog, Minnie, still isn’t 100% sure what exactly she’s supposed to be doing on her end of the leash.

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We still wanted to get some exercise for both us and the dogs, so we decided to leash them up and head out for a walk down the street. Since there are a lot of pets and kids in the area, the dogs would be getting all the smells and excitement of a normal walk, but without the chance of getting caught in the middle of a severe storm. I thought this would also be the perfect time to get pictures of Minnie for the adoption website, so potential adopters can see her in her natural habitat. It turns out that Minnie, unlike our last foster dog, is not photogenic. Minnie darted this way and that, making it impossible for my poor iPhone camera to focus in on her. Finally, I asked J to get down and take a photo with Minnie. It worked about as well as you can imagine. Minnie was delighted, giving J sloppy wet face kisses. J was less delighted, as he was suddenly covered in forty pounds of wet dog.

I was finally able to snap a picture of Minnie as she was distracted by someone else’s dogs, who started barking as we walked by.

Image Isn’t she pretty? Minnie is doing a lot better than she was at the shelter. We think she only needs a few more weeks before she’s ready for someone to give her a “furever home!” Hopefully by then she has realized that the leash is not for chewing.

Foster Dog Finds a Home.

We started fostering almost by accident. My mom had received some free Alpo products, and she and my dad drove to the local animal shelter to make a donation. While she was there, she found out that the shelter was currently experiencing an overload of cats and a shortage of foster families. On the spot, she decided to foster two cats. As she was filling out her foster application, my dad alerted her to a small problem: they had no way to get the cats home. My mom called me to bring down two of our cat carriers. While we were there dropping off carriers, I offhandedly mentioned that we should foster a dog, since we have a lonely dog and a fenced-in backyard.

And so, fifteen minutes later, my fiance and I walked out with an Australian Shepherd mix named Cooper. 

Image When we walked out with Cooper, he was scared of everything. He had panic attacks during car rides, shivered when we tried to pet him, and generally spent most of his time cowering with his tail between his legs.

One month later, Cooper has found a home. He’s doing much better now. He is a dog that has never met a stranger, he can’t wait for car rides, he walks on a leash, and he answers to his name. Today is our last day with Cooper before we take him to meet his new owner. 

Luckily for Cooper, who still has some residual issues from life in the shelter, his new owner is someone I know very well, and they can call for advice about any of his strange behaviors. He will also still get to see us from time to time, which is great, as he’s been given a place of honor in our upcoming wedding.

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Cooper finding his “furever home” is a bittersweet moment for us. Although we will miss him, it’s great to know that we were able to help him find a better life. There’s not too much time for us to be sad- tomorrow we are also getting our new foster dog. We know nothing about the new dog yet, and I’m trying not to have an expectations. 

It’s sure to be an interesting experience both for us and our new foster.