It is no secret that I love animals. I would say I am a dog & horse gal & would take in an elephant if the universe allowed it. I've always had animals around me. I have always had room in my life & heart to have dogs as companions & more recently as service animals. At present, we live alongside 3 Boston Terriers & 1 ornery & slightly demented Tuxedo Cat (a black & white).
I am not a cat person by nature but came across our Oscar by chance. A neighbor across our backyard saw the kitten (that's right, he was about 5 weeks old) chasing a bird. The neighbor was utterly incensed the kitten was being a kitten & picked up the kitten & threw him hard at a tree. All I could hear was that awful thud cry they make when no other sound will come out & then he took off like a bolt on his little legs.
We were heading off to a rheumatology apt I waited months to get so we had no choice but to leave & hope to find him when we got back. I could think of little else while we were gone & I was afraid he might be seriously hurt or stunned enough that made him vulnerable to other animals. As it turns out, this little guy was meant for us. When we arrived home & began to call out to him - "here kitty kitty kitty", he started to make his way to us, slowly & cautiously. He was timid & clearly suffering from being pelted at a tree. We scooped him up, let our Dutch Shepherd have her once over & approval & in the house he came. That was 16 years ago in August & I love him. Not sure if I'm a cat person but I'm his person. My husband says, "you and Oscar speak your own language & have your own special relationship. I just feed him". I believe animals pick their people & for whatever reason this cat chose me. 16 years of conversion therapy made me this cat's person.
Then came Bitsy. Whoa, is she a sassy lil` thing. Not mean, just very opinionated about, well, every d*mn thing if I'm being honest. She wants all the loving, on her terms only. She owns the bed and has her own hull pillow she sleeps with. She is quite a nurse if you're not feeling good & at 15, she still plays chase (albeit for shorter periods of time), is eager for her 'cookies' & takes no guff from the other pups or cat. She doesn't see very well & her hearing is slipping now but she is eager to live. She had a pretty serious injury in her neck some years back that now harbors some pain for her but when it's bad, she gets her meds. Otherwise, & except for 3 early knee surgeries, she is healthy & spry. She has her routines & she loves everyone, on her terms of course.
Most days she loves to lay about in the sunshine outdoors or on sunspots on the carpet or in her window seat. She is a busy lil` thing, often following us room to room for no other reason than we are hers. She is not ours; we are hers & that's okay. We've had her since she was 5 weeks & 3 days young. Other than surgery on her lil` knees or me being in a hospital, we are never without her nearby. This lil` gal & her papa have a routine. He gets peanut butter crackers or sandwich for a snack & while he is eating, rubs a lil` peanut butter on the plate. The whole time she tries really hard to sit, be still even if only putting a paw on papa's lap, she tries to show her manners. When he is done snacking, she gets her peanut butter & all is right with the world. They have had this routine for 14 years hence her nickname, peanutbuttahead.
And then, there are the 'bookends', 'the lil` sh*ts", 'the bonded pair'. These two were born on Christmas Eve, 2019. The man who did the 'honey bucket' work on our sewer tank was conversating regarding Bitsy watching him through a window & we found out he had a pregnant female. One thing led to another & don't you know he agreed to let us have a pup, if.... I told him, "I want only a male, don't care about color, eyes, birth order, nothing. Just a male". When the pups were coming, he kept texting me: "she keeps spitting out females" & would ask if I might change my mind or was I set on a male. No, I was adamant, I wanted a male. This female had quite a slew of pups & don't you know, near the end, out came a male. He was mine; I was his. The owner guaranteed him to me. So, hubs & I were invited over to visit with the pups so I could begin bonding with him. weekly. I fell in love, hard. BUT there was a lil` female who kept coming up to me while I was on the floor. She was persistent every single visit. I knew, they were a bonded pair.
That can be a hard row to tow in the best of circumstances & you have to be on your game if you're going to raise a bonded pair. One thing led to another, and she too became a family member. We couldn't leave her behind especially since we had already bonded with her. I would wear this gawd awful ugly long cardigan every visit. I never washed it so it would keep their scent. I would scoop them up and cuddle them in my cardi & continued that for the first 6 months of their lives.
He was as sweet as I had hoped for. We called him Quincy after the city of the original breeder of the Boston Terriers. She, Rosie (named after the lil girl in We Bought A Zoo - my husband says I remind him of her) was hormonally driven & prone to outburst & sniping at the other dogs which would cause a fight. I didn't want to fix her too soon as wanted both of their growth plates to have every shot at optimal health. Boston's are notorious for patella issues, so we wanted to avoid what we went through with Bitsy. Well, one too many attacks later, they were spayed & neutered, promptly (which I do with ALL of my companions). It was that or split the pair & we heavily debated this. I spoke with a BT rescue, and they walked me through some issues & solutions & off the ledge with Rosie. Man, I've heard of females who just don't do well with their raging hormones, but I had never witnessed it firsthand. The lovely lady helping me along emotionally stated "you're in the business of rescue long enough, you see it all". Dang. Fast forward 3 to 4 months post spay & the fights stopped, she began to focus on her training, and she became part of our pack. I'm experienced & I was exhausted. But now, I'm glad we hung in there. They came to us a bonded pair, good & bad. They became the three musketeer's & parts of the same pack.
Now the only thing that sets them off is in the yard in the way of a bunny too close to the fence or a wandering cat. Otherwise, they get along smashingly well. Quincy is still very sweet & calm until it is playtime. Then we let that burst die out & he calms himself down again. Rosie is pretty docile, goes about her business & is always on a walkabout. She loves the cat & they often play together. We taught her 'easy' early on as she is a large BT at 38lbs. The cat weighs roughly 9lbs on a good day. They all have their routines & favorites spots & love their cuddles. They are my service dogs & I am their 'master who meets their every need'. We are a pack!
They've gotten me through some rough times & continue the journey of healing with me. You see, I have C-PTSD caused by multiple traumas. Some days are better than others & some days it's all I can do to cope. Having these lil~ chits has forced me to engage even when I want to shut out. They provide comfort without forcing it upon me. They've learned the dance as I have theirs. Some days are full of energy & others are a quiet calm. Either way, it's all done in Harmony now.