Our furbabies, what most people call "pets", are a very important part of our lives. I know some people might think we're crazy, but if you hear us talking about "The Kids", we're talking about those members of our family with four legs.
Shamrock is our oldest. I can hardly believe that she'll is 16! As her name might have tipped some off, she was born on March 17th, or St. Patrick's Day. I have had her since she was weaned from her mother at 8 weeks old. I was ten then, and we have been together ever since. Shamrock has been in my life even longer than my younger sister.
She has been with me through the worst years after my parent's divorce, through deaths in the family, through all those adolescent fears that plague most teens, (and through some that I am not sure many other people have gone through) and through terrible boyfriends. We joke that, if Shamrock had not approved, I wouldn't have married my husband. He is the first man that Shamrock ever approved of, and some days I think she just might love him more than me. At the least, he is an equal to her, which no one else has ever been. I love her dearly, and one of my biggest fears is losing her.
Jake is our next oldest, though we have had him for the least amount of time. We adopted Jake from a kill shelter back in January of 2007 and he is 7 years old now. He caught both f our hearts in that shelter. While all the other dogs were barking and yipping and going nuts he just stared up at us with his big blue eyes in a kind of desperate plead. He barked only once, as we turned away, and we knew then that he was ours.
Counting that one bark at the shelter, Jake has probably barked a total of 10 times since we got him. He just doesn't bark at all. Once we got him it became obvious that he had been badly abused. We spent many months turning a trembling, frightened dog into the happy companion we have now. He was constantly at my side when Michael left for BMT, and he is so much a part of our family that I can't imagine us without him. He's our little coward, and we joke that Shamrock would be more likely to attack an intruder, but he is loyal and loving and we are blessed to have found him!
Quintessa, or Tessa, will is 6. Like Shamrock, we have had her since she was weaned. She is "our" cat, but in reality is more Michael's than mine, though she also seems fond of our son to my incredible shock. We got her back in 2004 to keep our then 10 year old Shamrock company while we were gone during the day. We had left for school and work one morning only to come back and find Shamrock crying and crying and we decided that she needed a little friend. Some days they are as close as sisters, and some days they fight like...well, like cats. It is a matter of deep shame if we happen to catch them cuddling or grooming each other, so we usually pretend it doesn't happen.
Though Tessa comes from a long line of "Yellowsprings" cats, who are famous for being HUGE, she is rather petite and delicate. Added to her horrific voice, we assume that there is Siamese in her lineage somewhere. She fancies herself a singer too, which makes it all the worse. She is a true black cat, dark as night even on her nose and her paw pads. Even her whiskers have a dark hue. As much as we call her a pesky little witch, we love her dearly, and she is a wonderful addition to our family.
Douce and Souci are our beautiful little angels. Shortly after we got engaged we found them for sale online. When we got to the place I was nauseated at the conditions in which they were kept. I have never seen such neglected, mistreated animals in my life. It was a disgusting case of abuse, made even more obvious by the fact that Souci attacked any hand that came near her or her sister, while Douce just trembled and licked empty food bowls pitifully.
Needless to say, we took them home, bathed them, fed them (it had been so long since they had eaten than Douce choked when she tried and we had to manually feed her softened food for awhile) and loved them. Before long we had two beautiful, happy, amazing ferrets on our hands. They came almost everywhere with us, riding happily on our shoulders, in our pockets or, if we were wearing a hoodie, in our hoods. They adored walks on their leashes and were the most playful, happy little animals you could ever hope to meet.
In the Fall of 2004 Douce, our sweet girl, was diagnosed with cancer. It grew in her mouth and caused her to go blind in one eye. She never complained, never seemed to be in pain...She stayed with us for a few more weeks before we knew it was her time. The day we took her to the vet was beautiful and sunny and she loved on and snuggled us both as if she knew what we were doing and why and was so very thankful. It was a hard day, and I miss our sweet little girl.
They say ferrets shouldn't be alone, but Souci would never accept another little friend, attacking other ferrets when we tried to set up play dates. She was never quite the same again. She still loved us, (and occasionally nipped) but she didn't play anymore. It could have been that she was older, but I will always be convinced that she missed her sister. She had happy years ahead of her though before she too passed, her of old age, in the Fall of 2007. Michael was away in Tech School, and telling him was so hard, but I had some nice final days by her side, loving her and snuggling her and assuring her that I loved her even though she was my feisty little one.
Like I said, I am sure many people would think we were nuts, but our furbabies are family. We aren't so crazy as to think they are equal to our children or anything, but they are "Our Kids", and complete our family as a whole. I know there are people out there who understand what I mean.
Thank you for reading.