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Riddler
10-20-2006, 04:05 PM
I usually post in the humor SYW section, but I thought you fellow animal lovers might like this one. It is a story I wrote about my pets.

~~~~ a tale of two tails ~~~~~


Pets are family that you get to pick out, unlike the odd assortment of goofballs and misfits that you’re stuck with for real family. They’re like furry little family members, with their own furry little personalities. The personality you pick out is important. You don’t want to spend the next ten-to-fourteen years with a dog with an attitude problem (I say dog there because that is not an option with cats). But you don’t always really have a choice, sometimes they pick you out.


Here’s the phrase that brought Diablo (the gigantic orange tabby) into my family: Crazy Mike turned to me and said, “Whichever one of these kittens you don’t take home is gonna die.”


During my sophomore year in college, I decided I was ready for my first four-legged pet. I hadn’t had much luck with hermit crabs and other assorted tragic critters, but I figured a kitten would be a good fit for my wacky bachelor lifestyle. But apparently it wasn’t the right ‘season’ for kittens. I had no idea cats had ‘seasons’, I figured they just got it on whenever the mood struck. So after much effort searching humane societies, shelters, etc, I found an ad in the paper offering kittens for twenty bucks. My friend Crazy Mike and I showed up at what may have been the most wretched apartment I’ve ever visited. The owners explained to us in choppy English that the momma cat had taken a turn for the worse and couldn’t walk anymore, leaving these four-week old kittens to fend for themselves.


One of the kittens was trying to nurse on the sickly momma cat who looked nearly dead in the corner of the room. This was the point where I realized that we were no longer kitten shopping; we were going to save one of these sad creatures from imminent doom. I got the lively little orange boy, who later ended up completely squandering my savings in vet bills before I got him back to health. Now he’s the gigantic nine-year-old lion of a cat who rules my household.


Here’s the phrase that brought Emily (my goofball Chihuahua) into my family: I told the shelter clerk, “I want the ugliest dog you got.”


About four years ago, I decided that Diablo could use a playmate. I was still single at the time and felt our little family duo could use a third critter. I have a soft spot for shelter animals… it’s like death row for ugly animals. Sure, the cute little pets who can do cute little tricks will find homes. But if you’re missing an eye or a leg or something, you might as well have a puppy priest come in and read your Puppy Last Rights.


So I decided that I wanted the ugliest dog I could find, one that would definitely be getting the puppy electric chair soon, or however they do it these days. I saw intelligent little dogs who stood up and pawed at the cage when I walked by, I saw adorable chubby little pups that were so cute it actually hurt to look at them, I even saw one dog filling out tax forms for people.


But in the back corner of one cage, there was this miserable little Chihuahua/ terrier mix with her back to the crowd. She had already accepted that nobody was going to take her home and wasn’t interacting with people walking by. When I tried to talk to her, she turned her face to me, showed her teeth and growled. Her eyes weren’t mean, though, they were sad and scared. I knew she was the one. As I filled out the forms, the shelter clerk whispered to me: “good thing you came in today for this one.”


That day, Emily rode home from the shelter curled on my lap with her face buried in my armpit. Nowadays she can be seen sprawled out on my couch or wiggling on her back in the backyard grass with her chubby belly in the air, eyes squinted, blissfully living up her second life.

awatkins
10-20-2006, 06:21 PM
Awww. Thanks for posting this. :)

veinglory
10-20-2006, 06:38 PM
Perhaps we could have some shelter animals tales.

I once went with a flatmate to get a cat from the shelter. I helped her select a wiry ginger adult. Well, actually the staff member said she was due to death the next day and it was already mid-afternoon with no other people there. My friend actually wanted a the little black kitten but we got "Ishtar". She seemed very friendly, puring and rubbing and it was just too hard to let her die.

Ishtar despite being ginger was a female. Despite being friendly in the cage was a monster from the second she got home. Every attempt to pet, talked to or interact was met with a hard, bruising bite. Every morning she would hide, then jump out and bit the various resident undergraduates and their assorted "visitors". And I mean *bite*, drawing blood everytime. This is when she picked up a second name "bitchweasel". That's okay, she hated us too, well, maybe not hate--she just seemed to see us as her natural prey. By now you may be feeling a little worried, but don't worry--there is a happy ending.

During her masters the primary owner of Ishtar moved to cheaper accomodations, a house on a dairy farm. Ishtar was, as ever, an outdoor cat. She was suddenly in her element. She would range for miles and miles, returning home only when called for food. She had a bell on her collar because of her hunting prowess and on a still night you could hear her running for dinner from the far side of the valley, which must have been well over a mile away over broken ground and bush and took as long as 15-20 minutes.

She also was an ace killer of rabbits, about one a day--much to my disgust but the great joy of the farmer who had a deep and burning hatred for the rabbits because of the damage they do to pasture. The farmer, Bob, was a true laconic rural Kiwi man. He showed his love for animals by almost completely ignoring them. Ishtar, who hated everyone and spurned any gesture of friendship, adoredhim. She hung around him like a lovesick groupee. It was really rather annoying.

A few years later graduation day had arrived and it was time to move on. On the very day things were being packed into cars, Bob strolled over and says "you could leave the cat". From him this was the equivalent of tearful begging on bended knee, I assure you. Even things he rather liked were praised with faint damn. To see him indicate even a tepid desire to retain Ishtar was quite touching.

My last report some years later is that Ishtar, now named 'the cat', is still there and still terrorising the rabbit population -- no bell on the collar now.

awatkins
10-20-2006, 07:27 PM
Wow! And Bob and Ishtar lived happily ever after--or as happily as either one could manage. lol

Great story. :)

Ol' Fashioned Girl
10-20-2006, 09:43 PM
Excellent stories! I've got a submission around here someplace that I wrote for a fund raiser on two of our three rescue kitties... if I find it, I'll post it. :)