Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Pretty Rainbow Cat

A Stray Cat 

We owned Pretty Rainbow Cat when I was roughly four years old, so the details of this story are a bit fuzzy. Here's what I do remember:

We took in a cat that was living in our neighborhood because she was just too pretty not to! My older sister Megan and I named her Pretty Rainbow Cat because she was a black Calico, so she was basically all the colors cats can be at one time. In case you don't know what a "Pretty Rainbow Cat" might look like, here is a picture of a black Calico for reference. (To be honest, I think PRC was way uglier than this cat. I couldn't find any photo documentation of her, but even as a four year old I thought she looked a bit... rough.) 

Photo Credit: Dieter Simon (licensed under Public Domain)
Not long after giving Pretty Rainbow Cat a home, my family decided to move across the state. Which, at the time, meant driving a pick-up truck with many of our possessions about six hours east on the highway.

At this point in the story, dear readers, you may once again choose your own ending. While ending #1 may not be the most satisfying, it is the story I was content with until recently - when I got the full story from my father. While ending #2 may be more complete, you will almost certainly regret reading it. You have been warned!

Ending #1

As someone who had not fully formed the ability to retain memories, I remember arriving at our destination without Pretty Rainbow Cat. It was just me, Megan, my mom, and my dad. What a shame! I really liked that cat! I guess we found her a new home before we left... 

Ending # 2

I recently discovered that we intended to bring Pretty Rainbow Cat with us on our journey. The five of us set out in the truck, but only four of us made it to our destination. As it turns out, cats do not like to be relocated. I now faintly remember that we took turns attempting to comfort Pretty Rainbow Cat, as she was meowing and very distressed to be in a moving vehicle. This strategy would've worked out fine, had someone not rolled down a window while we were on the highway. Apparently Pretty Rainbow Cat decided that she would rather take her chances jumping out of a car moving at full speed down the highway than stay with us for one more minute. 

I remember having some mild anxiety as a child any time we would have an animal in our vehicle, thinking that it would somehow escape. I would constantly check to be sure they were still with us. Now I know why. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Chocolate-Covered Raisins

Pets are family

I am fairly new to this whole "pets are family" business. I mean, I've always believed in the idea of it. I've always claimed that my pets are family. But it wasn't until recently that I realized that some people mean this more literally than others.

When my husband and I first started dating he procured a doggie for us to love. And then I learned how difficult it can be to actually train an already full-grown animal. Because despite the fact that I had owned more animals in my eighteen years than most people do in a lifetime, I had never actually taken responsibility for training one.

Differing Opinions

Here's a paraphrased conversation we had about it at the time. (It should be noted that during this time I was technically living with my grandparents. My dad had been very clear that he didn't want me moving in with my boyfriend the day after graduating from high school. Which meant that all my rarely used possessions were at my grandparent's house, all my regularly used possessions were at Stephen's apartment, and I kept the everyday essentials in my car.)

Me: Oh my god. This sofa smells like urine.
Stephen: (sighing) Angel peed on it again. I already cleaned it but the smell doesn't go away. I'm probably going to have to gate her in the kitchen tomorrow when I go to work.
Me: Why don't you just, like, permanently leave her in there? She's clearly incapable of learning to pee outside.
Stephen: ....That doesn't seem very fair to the dog. She's getting there. That's the first accident she's had in a week.
Me: It doesn't seem very fair to me when I'm over here trying to seduce you and your couch smells like dog piss.
Stephen: Well, this isn't your house. It's Angel's. And you're trying to get her locked in a tiny kitchen indefinitely.
Me: I don't really see the problem here. She's a dog.
Stephen: Yeah, well, dogs are family.
Me: (laughter) ... Wait... you're serious right now?

Today, almost eight years later, people often assume that Angel was originally my dog. Because I am head-over-heels in love with my dog. Then I have to admit to them that, no, Angel was originally adopted by Stephen. He painstakingly trained every bad habit out of her after years of neglect from previous owners. And now she is my perfect puppy. She has her run of the house every day. She is better potty-trained than some of our friends after they've had too much to drink. She is a big part of our little family.

Angel is not sure how balls work.

So although I have my fair share of... questionable... pet stories, I like to think that I am a reformed pet owner. If anyone questions my love of my dog, they need only to look around our house. Where Angel has three beds in various locations throughout the house and a small shrine dedicated to her on our mantle. (Is it that obvious we don't have kids?) This shrine includes a small quilt of Angel's face, made by my mother-in-law.

You can see the original photo of Angel here.
(insert shameless plug for my MIL's business)

The Incident

We're lucky people and Angel is a lucky dog. She was especially lucky to be family on one occasion in particular. It was after a midnight showing of one of the Twilight movies (Eclipse, I think?) and someone-who-will-remain-nameless left an unfinished box of Raisinettes in our bathroom trash can. (Hint: it was one of my sisters but I have so many that I still feel like I'm protecting the guilty.)

As you might have already guessed, Angel found the box and ate the chocolate-covered raisins. Being the wonderful pet owner that I now am, I caught her in the act and was able to recover the box with about twenty chocolate-covered raisins remaining. I immediately texted the sister in question (Still could be the little one, y'all. She has a cell phone!) and asked her how many raisins had been left in the box. She said maybe seven. And since I had about twenty, I knew she was not a reliable source and that I had to get this dog to the vet.

At the time I was concerned about her chocolate intake, but the vet told me that he wasn't that concerned about Angel ingesting a small amount of milk chocolate (Hooray!). However, she was getting her stomach pumped anyway because apparently any amount of raisin is, like, instant kidney failure for some dogs (Boo!).

And that's how I came to spend a small fortune on our dog for the first time. For three to four years following this incident I managed to spend more money on my middle-aged dog's medical bills than on my own. When I asked my husband for feedback on the amount of money I was spending on things that probably wouldn't kill our dog he said, "Yeah. That's a lot of money. But this is our dog."

Yes. Right. She's a member of the family, after all.