My Fur “Children”

I’m one of those odd individuals who thinks of her pets as “children”…little beings that are completely dependent on me for food, hydration, shelter, and the best thing of all….lots and lots of love. Of course, I realize that caring for animals in no way equates to raising children, but since my husband and I don’t have children, this is as close as we’re getting.

Our cat’s name is Disney…named, of course, for one of my very favorite things. She came from a local no-kill shelter as a kitten and was my Christmas gift from my mother-in-law the Christmas after my husband and I were married. At the time I’m writing this post, she’ll be 19 in a few days. She’s starting to slow down a bit and has some trouble jumping, but she still plays like a kitten every now and then, and still loves to curl up on me and purr herself to sleep. She’s one of the only cats I’ve ever known who can telegraph her mood with her eyes and her tail. She expresses herself in some of the most unusual ways, such as if you come to visit, and she likes you, she will turn her back you and raise her tail, showing you her “third eye”. Wise guests know that then, and only then, is it safe to try to pet her. She’s a tiny cat. The most she’s ever weighed has been just over 9 pounds, and that was just four years ago. When she was younger, she had asthma that we tried all kinds of treatments for, including ear paste, pills (which involved burrito-wrapping her in a towel and praying you didn’t lose an appendage in the process), shots, etc. Magically, she seemed to outgrow it. She now takes a pill for high blood pressure every day, but doesn’t mind, considering she gets treats to go with it. We also have her on Cosequin for her joints, which we mix into wet food. She really enjoys that, and starts asking for her wet food each day between noon and 2:30, which is problematic, since we don’t give it to her until 5:00pm.

Our dog’s name is Jazzy….named for Princess Jasmine from “Aladdin” – the animated version, not the live-action version. She’s part lab, part chow, and yes…she has black spots on her tongue. She’s 10 now, and came to us from our local Humane Society when she was about 6 months old. She weighs about 75 pounds, and is very curious about her tiny, sassy-beyond-all-reason kitty sister, but is also quite frightened of all the noise and hostility that comes from Disney, so she steers clear. Because of the size difference, we play it safe and keep them separated, which neither one of them really object to. When Jazzy first came to live with us, we thought it was going to be perfect. We have a large back yard with a 4-foot fence all the way around, so we figured she could get lots of exercise and would be fine in our yard. We realized when Jazzy was about a year and a half old that we adopted no ordinary dog. This dog is far too smart for her own good, and figured out how to climb a chain link fence, and then decided that climbing was just too time-consuming, so she just started jumping the fence. Since she discovered this fun activity as an alternative to listening to us, we put her on a 40-foot tie out when she goes outside. Never fear…we don’t leave her out for hours on end, and when she is out for any length of time, we supply her with water and a place to go for shelter.

Jazzy “smiles”. No, really. She smiles. The first time I saw her do it, I was picking her up from puppy day care, and she came out wagging her tail like crazy and baring her teeth at me. I thought maybe she was having some stress at day care, so I talked to our dog trainer about it, and she asked if her other body language was showing any sign of stress, and I told her “No, she’s just as happy as can be and wiggly all over”. She said “Some dogs are smart enough that if their humans smile at them when they talk to them, the dogs learn to smile back” and sure enough…Jazzy smiles. I try to take pictures of it, but she’s either too fast for me to capture it, or she looks very mean. She’s just a big softie…unless you’re another dog. Then, she really has no purpose or wants anything to do with them.

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