Although my parents always had a dog, I chose to celebrate my independence many years ago by getting my first cat. Taphne. I’d always liked the name Daphne, and this little lady, who liked to wake me up by standing on my chest and licking me on the nose, was a tabby. So “tabby” plus “Daphne” equals “Taphne.” Hmm. No wonder the spell checker is going crazy!
I don’t recall what happened to Taphne other than an unwanted pregnancy when someone kept her for me once, but my first wife and I had a number of cats (only one or two at a time, though, and frequently with one of a long line of dogs). I made sure to end up with Erica, a tuxedo cat, when my wife and I parted ways.
When Kathleen and I got married, she brought Dirk with her. He and Erica got along reasonably well, although she wasn’t thrilled at having to share the house with a stupid boy cat after being top dog–uh, top cat–for a year. She was a bit of a snob, anyhow, and Dirk was friendlier than he was intelligent.
After Erica died, we got Ashes from one of the local humane societies. We didn’t name him–his “foster mother” had done that–but the name fit. When he was young, he had some tiny splotches of gray on the top of his head, but they disappeared as he got older.
He fit into the household reasonably well with Dirk, but Dirk died eventually, too.
The years passed. We still had Ashes, but Kathleen and I both wanted a dog. My ex- and I had had a miniature dachshund years earlier, and that’s what I expressed a strong preference for while we were researching possibilities. Remembering what Cindy (she was actually AKC-registered as Cinnamon Lady XIX) had been like, I also requested that we name the new puppy Happy even before we met her. I knew the name would fit, and I was right.
I am occasionally.
We weren’t concerned about how Happy and Ashes would get along, but we weren’t prepared for their strange relationship. Happy is typically very friendly, and she couldn’t understand Ashes’ standoffishness. Periodically, however, Happy would lie down on her back and allow Ashes to bite her. Usually on a pinch of lose skin.
We shrugged. Ashes wasn’t actually hurting Happy in spite of an occasional yelp.
But what became a frustrating problem was the fact that–whenever we would attempt to give Ashes some loving attention–Happy would come along at top speed to join in the fun. And inadvertently chase Ashes off. More than once we would pet Ashes when he was lying on top of the rocking chair when Happy came charging along, wiggling with excitement. Even two relatively small animals could knock that rocking chair over with that much momentum.
There were other issues. Like Ashes wanting to eat breakfast at least thirty or forty minutes before we got up. And that was on week days! Use a self feeder? Ha! Not with Ashes already being overweight. So overweight that when he used my stomach as a springboard–with claws he wouldn’t allow us to cut–he left scratches on me and puncture marks in my clothes. Not good.
I’d been wanting to find him another home for quite a while, but only within the past week has Kathleen agreed. Practically as soon as we posted Ashes’ availability on Facebook, we heard back from a friend who was vacationing in Canada at that time, but who’d planned to get a cat when she got home. And it didn’t matter that ours was eight years old.
Ashes is in a good home now, and Happy is happy being top dog. Much to our amazement, she doesn’t show any signs of realizing that her old playmate is no longer around. And we can sleep until the alarm goes off!
We feel good about our decision.
What about you? Have you ever needed to get rid of a pet? How about sharing a comment?
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