Meet the family

So as I said in my introductory post, I recently became engaged. My fiancée (it still feels odd calling her that rather than girlfriend) and I have been living together since March of this  year officially, though more nights than not we stayed together for quite a while before that. We don’t have any human children yet–that will come at some point after we get married. But what we do have is an amazing family of companion animals–none of whom we purchased through puppy or kitten mills.

ISABELLE (IZZY)

Before I met my fiancée, I had my rat terrier Isabelle. She and I came together in July of 2007 when I was with my previous girlfriend. Growing up my family always had dogs around; when that girl and I moved in together in January 2007 we only had a cat and I immediately began to miss that canine companionship. Eventually I contacted the Protective Animal League, a rescue/re-home group, and they brought out Bell (as she was called then) to meet me and my apartment. We meshed well, and she’s been with me ever since.

Her’s is actually a rather sad story from the human side of things. From what I was told, Bell and her sister Tinker (haha, get it?) had been owned by an elderly couple. They were more the husband’s dogs and he apparently passed away. The wife didn’t have the strength to take care of them after his death because they just reminded her too much of her husband. So she called P.A.L. and gave the ladies up for adoption.

KEELY (KEEBS)

Before we met, my fiancée had two cats. Keely was the first of these and  they came together in the spring of 2009. She wanted to go look at another cat she found online with her mother since she was at college. Initially her mother said no but came around a short while later, but they agreed the cat she’d found wasn’t a good fit. She suspects it was because she’d lost her favorite companion Smokey to cancer a little over a year earlier and her mother knew how much she yearned to have a companion.

Instead, her mother suggested they go to Operation Kindness, the oldest and largest no kill shelter in north Texas. There she met Keely, recovering from her spaying, and they fell in love–only to later discover that Keely is a much feistier cat when she isn’t in recovery. She still has her cuddly moments though, but they’re pretty limited.

ASPARAGUS (GUS)

Her second cat. The sewer cat. While she was in college her roommate heard meowing from the sewer while walking her dog during the evening and investigated. My fiancée eventually joined her and they spent nearly two hours trying to get the cat out. Animal control couldn’t even get the cat out as the attempts stretched over the next two days. Eventually the neighbor provided a live trap and they fed it into the sewer with some cat food, and within half an hour the cat was in the trap and very unhappy.

The kitten, the white and brown little boy above, had a long recovery as he had to be treated for quite a few pests and parasites, as you might imagine. Her mother initially resisted keeping him over the phone, but fell in the love the moment she saw him. He’s been with her ever since, and her mother has been offering to steal him ever since.

ELSA (ELSIE)

My fiancée decided while she was living on her own that she would feel more comfortable with a dog around, both for the friendship a dog offers and as protection to dissuade potential burglars. She’d always wanted a dog growing up but her mother declined, so once she got out on her own she wanted to finally get a canine companion. For her new friend she turned again to the wonderful people at Operation Kindness.

And out she came with Elsa, an eight month old lab/husky mix (so they said). We now suspect, as she approaches two years of age and full size, she is actually a lab/malamute mix. Either way, she was a second adoption–apparently after she originally came into the shelter she was adopted but returned. I can’t imagine why anyone would return such a wonderful dog, but their loss has definitely been our gain.

JELLA (JELLYBEAN)

Jella was pretty much foisted upon my fiancée, but I honestly don’t think she minds too much. Her step grandmother invited  her to come see this beautiful cat her friend had found. From there she basically guilted her into taking the cat as the only other option was surrendering it to the shelter in her small town. She’s rather bipolar at times, very aloof for days on end and other days refusing to be anything but the center of attention.

WU

TANG

Wu and Tang (named by my friend) were found by my fiancée on the side of the road in a box along with one other kitten, abandoned. She took them to a vet but, since only one was sick, they refused to take these two. She brought them home with every intention of finding them new homes, but instead we kind of fell in love with them.

Wu is elusive. The picture above is about the best photo you’re going to ever get of him because he flees when people come within five or six feet of him. Tang is the exact opposite; she is one of the mushiest cats I’ve ever seen.

ABIGAIL (ABBY)

This young lady is both the youngest and newest addition to our family. We were leaving for work one morning and when we opened the garage door this little girl was standing outside. Neither of us could stomach just leaving her there, so we made the decision to herd the puppy into the garage, put down a little food and water, and I took her to work. I returned home and took the puppy to the vet, who said they couldn’t take it. I took her to the shelter next door but they didn’t open until eleven–this was a quarter to nine. I was stuck with this pitiful thing staring up at me for more than two hours.

By the time the shelter opened it was basically a done deal. I took her inside and had them check her for a chip–none. She didn’t have a collar, she was covered in fleas… Obviously a stray or feral puppy, abandoned prior to two months of age. I told them where I’d found her and they told me I had to take her to a different shelter because it was the wrong city and they were city owned.

I couldn’t do it. She came home with me, we got her fleas taken care of, and I took her to the vet to get her health checked out. Not quite a week after we found her, she weighed 9.2 pounds. Now she’s a little over 50, about six months later. She’s also one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever had in my life, even though she’s a supposedly “aggressive” pit bull (though also mixed with lab, the vet is pretty sure).

So… That’s our family! Pretty crazy, right? It wasn’t on purpose, but I wouldn’t have it any other way now. Better they’re living happy and healthy lives with us than wandering the streets or put to death in a shelter.

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