Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Andy made a rule for our house a long time ago that says we cannot have more pets than people. It should be noted that his fish do not count toward this total. But cats and other furry creatures do.
When we first joined households I brought two fur balls with me and Andy had one of his own. They were indoor Petey and Cleo meeting up with outdoor Elvis. Petey and Elvis got along alright, but the King was deathly afraid of little Cleo, so she became the Queen. Cleo tormented that cat to her grave. Ambushes. Hissing. Downright evil. When Petey - the most tolerant and greatest cat to ever live - was alive, he brokered the peace quite nicely. And for about 24 hours after he died unexpectedly on our first wedding anniversary, Cleo considered rubbing up against good 'ole Elvis. But her loneliness passed and her mean streak prevailed.
When the beautiful Cleo - the softest cat to ever live - stunned us by getting ill suddenly and dying out of the blue, Elvis was the only one happy about it. He finally got to be King again and for once in his many lives of broken hips and missing teeth he ruled the home in peace and quiet.
When the King finally left our world at a ripe old age, clinging to his beloved outdoors to his last day, we found ourselves empty. Nothing to come home to but the fish.
Pets are more than just things that hang around to entertain you - or frustrate you. They are living creatures with emotions, personalities and needs. Generally you, the humans, go and pick them out from a shelter or from someone who has little babies to give away. Every now and then one of them adopts you buy showing up at your door. They work their way into your life and your heart by the looks they give you, the love they provide without request and the stupid things they get into which make you laugh - after the fact.
I don't trust people who don't like children or animals. They are both innocent and defenseless. Oh sure - Fido can bite you and Felix can scratch you - but if you want to harm them, you hold the upper hand. You want to kick that pet around or starve it to death you can. Leave it trapped in a hot car. Or tied up outside in the elements without shelter or water. You can place it in an environment fraught with danger. All the same evil things people can do to little kids if they are so inclined.
I wonder about those who question grief for a lost or deceased pet. Have they not ever looked into the watery eyes of a dog or cat? The eyes are where the soul resides. And when you see a soul, you welcome it in to your heart. That's when they become important in your life, a part of your family. A creature to interact with, learn from, and miss when you are apart.
Because our house was empty after so many years of cat fights we decided to take in two little fur balls. That didn't exceed Andy's people to pet ratio. They reminded us just how psychotic kittens can be. Nothing is safe. Training a cat is an oxymoron. And we are the morons who tried to train them. We lost.
But we gained another furry family. A brother and sister who drive us mad while making us smile. They move from wrestling to snuggling in one swift move. They are very different personalities who aren't happy without each other around. And more than anything else, they want to be with us. They will leave a warm lap in a sound sleep when they hear that familiar car pull in the driveway. They push each other out of the way for the best spot in the crook of Andy's legs. But most of all, they look at us with those big watery eyes and melt our hearts. Tedy and Lucy have us wrapped around their tails, and we wouldn't have it any other way.