I thought my world had turned completely upside down in 2002 when my calico kitty, Jool, adopted me. She’s a terrific cat, but it’s been a wild ride, to say the least, having two cats who pretty much hate each other and who live to antagonize every dog they meet.
Little did I know that was just the beginning!
New Year’s Day, 2008. I shared my life with two cats who pretended not to adore me when they weren’t bringing me “presents” and two dogs, a dachshund who relished ignoring me and a sweet cocker spaniel who had single-handedly saved me from overwhelming grief.
Saved me from grief, yes, but it would take more than B’Elanna’s cocker spaniel charm to save me from myself.
Even if you don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t take drugs, or engage in any other risky behavior, it’s still possible to self-destruct. From the inside out.
January 13, 2008. A call from a panicked friend. Someone found two puppies on the side of the road in East Texas. He can’t keep them. She took them, but can’t keep them, either. What can she do??
Enter these two precious puppies into my life. It was love at first sight.
But I couldn’t keep them. I had four pets in a two-pet-limit apartment complex, thanks to an animal-loving assistant manager who amended my lease agreement.
And then it was time for me to take them to an adoption event.
But I couldn’t.
Chassie, with all her spunk and kisses and happy-happy-happiness made me laugh out loud all the time. Ginny (whom I named after my Aunt Ginger because of her soulful eyes) was just beginning to come out of her shell. She was just beginning to like sitting in my lap, being held and petted. When Ginny would cry – and she cried all the time at every little thing – Chassie would pounce on her, play her out of her sadness. These two pups were never out of each other’s sight.
How could I let them be adopted separately? I couldn’t.
But it was more than that. Although these puppies were a whole lotta work – puppies always are – they were shaking my life up in other ways. Good ways. Keeping them was an opportunity to embrace change, a kick in the butt to jump up out of the rut I’d been in since my boys had passed away.
So I set off on this grand adventure. Most of my grandiose plans have somehow been waylaid. Or run over by a Mack truck. Or hit by a bus. Or something.
But keeping these girls? Not a bad plan at all.
They keep me on my toes, for sure. Most of my friends and relatives think that when I adopted them, I took on too much. That’s because they see how much work they are, but they don’t see what I get in return.
I wish you could see unconditional love.
I wish all the naysayers could crawl under my skin and know what it feels like to have the absolute worst day of my life end with 60 lb. Ginny climbing up into my lap, leaning into my chest, head on my shoulder while she carefully, tenderly licks my hands.
Or when I stand outside and watch Chassie bounding across the yard like any card-carrying gazelle would.
Or when I watch them hide behind trees, stalk each other, and pounce with all the fury of 3 month old kittens.
It just all melts away.
All the bad.
Because Ginny and Chassie are experts at what they do.
They’re a gift.