Monday, March 31, 2008

The Snowball Effect

It all started out innocently enough. I thought it might be nice to adopt a cat from the animal shelter that we could have as an indoor cat. I started looking on San Bernardino's website for cats, and then went to the shelter to look for cuddly companions. My boyfriend decided to look on the site as well, and all of a sudden started e-mailing me pictures of dogs. Another dog? I thought we had enough trouble with one. Then he decided to bring the boys with us to the shelter, and I knew it was all over.

Of course kids look at all the baby animals rather than the kind of scruffy ones who desperately need a home. I tried to steer them towards older dogs, but they would only look lovingly at the tiny ones. At one point, I thought I might have lucked out; one of the puppies (who looked like it would end up weighing 200 pounds one day), was already reserved. The other one they wanted was a full-grown chihuahua who we found out came to the shelter very aggressive. A big NO on that one. And it was too late in the day to do the adoption paperwork on the kitten they wanted. Whew! We left empty handed.

The next day, however, I was not quite so lucky. The second we walked onto the grounds, the boys locked eyes with a small, brown puppy in a cage with chihuahuas.

They refused to leave her. I went to look at the cats, leaving my boyfriend to deal with them. The kitten was gone, as I had assumed, but there was a gray tabby that had run to the front of its cage each time I had come to the shelter, and was very cuddly. So I went to find out about adopting it. "She's available!" the receptionist chirped.

"Great, I'll take her."

As I was finalizing paperwork, the boys ran in asking about the brown puppy. Apparently, she had been surrendered by her owners after only five days, citing that their mobile home park would let them keep her. Part lab, and possibly part pittie, she was only 2 months old. The boys immediately asked to hold her, and I knew after that I had no say in the situation at all. Even after reminding my boyfriend that we still hadn't fixed the damage that our pit bull had made to our back door, to no effect, I reluctantly said that if we got her I didn't want to have to be the one cleaning up after her and dealing with all the havoc that puppies can wreak. The boys chimed in at this point that they would take care of everything, of course. What could I do?

So far, things have actually gone surprisingly well with Coco (so named because she's brown and we happened to be eating at Coco's when we were deciding names). I went and bought a crate for her to sleep in and she hasn't had any accidents in there, although she did pee on me yesterday morning when I was taking her outside. Mental note: remind boys to put her out one last time before bed! She has a couple of accidents every now and then, but nothing horrible. And so far, the chewing hasn't been too bad. And Blue even tolerates her.

As for the cat, it turns out that when "she" went to the vet to get fixed, they found that HE had already been neutered. As the vet tech relayed the story later, "We had already sedated her and shaved her, and all of a sudden I found a pecker!"

Old Tom, as he is now referred to, is about 5-7 years old and missing most of his front teeth. His nails were so worn down that we thought he had been declawed. So I guess we saved him from a hard life on the streets.

His incessant meowing was driving us crazy, until my boyfriend decided he was simply telling us he needed a function in life.
After being put in charge of the remotes, Tom immediately settled down. "He just needed a job," my boyfriend said smugly, and now calls himself the Cat Whisperer.

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