Tag Archives: Pets

The Purrrr-fect Gift

The dog formerly known as Mojo, 2009

In 2009, around this time of year, we got a dog. The world was white and unbearably cold, and getting a pet seemed like a wonderful idea. We were dogless and surrounded on all sides by barky-barkers. We figured, how hard could it be, if everyone has them? Hubby researched carefully, making sure to find a breed that would be a good fit for our family.

Looking back now, it probably wasn’t the best time to read Marley and Me. I was nervous about lineage and more than a little anxious about making sure to pick the right dog from the litter.

In the back of my mind, I remembered how my friend Cindy had brought home two freaky Wheatland terriers, and she hated them. Hated. Them.

“Do they smell? I feel like they smell,” she kept asking.

I swear she lost 10 pounds in the few days she had those dogs, and they quickly went back to the breeder.

I told my family I was nervous about our decision to get a dog. I told them I’d never had a dog, that I didn’t really want a dog, but my husband and son promised they would help with everything. They would pick up the dog poo every day. They would feed the dog. They would change the water. They would play with the dog. I wouldn’t have to do anything except enjoy the  dog.

I know people love their doggies like family, but I kept thinking of them as eternal babies, and I couldn’t figure out how we would ever be able to take a spontaneous day trip ever again. Everyone kept telling me I was just nervous about the unknown. I don’t think that was it at all. In fact, I think I knew exactly the right amount.

What I knew was that I didn’t want a dog. I just wasn’t great at vocalizing my truth because I didn’t want to upset everyone.

Eventually, I did though. And yes, everyone was upset. But I knew that as mom, ultimately I would be the one who would have to care for the family pet. The truth was I’d wanted a cat for my entire life, but Hubby was allergic, so I figured the whole cat thing was never going to happen.

Fast forward 4 years. Almost to the day. Hubby called to say he’d been to a breeder, someone who specialized in hypoallergenic Siberians.

Oh no, I thought. We’re talking about dogs again.

But we weren’t talking about dogs at all.

Hubby had been looking at cats.

He'd been looking at this guy.

He’d been looking at this guy.

He wanted me to go with him to see the latest litter.

“But you’re allergies…” I stammered.

They say good things come to those who wait.

And in our case, our good thing showed up as a tiny, white, long-haired kitten. He was purr-fectly perfect in every way. He loved to be cuddled and held and hugged — and he always went in his litter box, so none of us had to go outside in the bitter chill of winter. Mo loved to chase wadded up balls of paper and string. He seemed to love us, and we all fell in love with him.

One year later, Mo greets us each morning with emphatic meows; an exquisite snuggler, he pushes his head against our hands to let us know he’s in the mood for attention. He gazes into our eyes, plays tag, and soothes us with his purr. This boy gets lots of love.

Mo hanging out on a favorite chair.

Mo, 1 year old.

We are truly fortunate to have Mo as a member of our family.

If you’ve always wanted a cat, but you’re concerned about allergies, look into Siberians. And check out our breeders’ website HERE. Laurie knows what she’s doing!

How did your pet become a member of the family?

tweet me @rasjacobson

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What Not To Read When Your Child’s Fish Tank Has Ich

Here we go again.

To review for those of you who might be late to the party:

We failed Goldfish-101. (So we squished three googly-eyed goldfish into one tiny bowl without a bubbler or filter? What’s your point?)

We failed at Puppy-101. (After two weeks with the puppy formerly-known-as-Mojo, Rubie now resides with my husband’s brother and my sister-in-law.)

We failed at Kitty-101. (Right at the three-week point, just as we had all fallen sufficiently in love with him, our fabulous polydactyl cat’s dander caused my husband’s allergies to go haywire, so Hemingway had to go back to Habitat for Cats.)

That was a heart-breaker.

The other night, I was informed that every one of Monkey’s brand new tropical fish – in his brand new tank is either dead or contaminated with something called Ichthyophthirius or Ich.

I don’t know; it’s some kind of parasite or something.

Ick.

I’ve said this before, but no one seems to want to listen to me.

The Lord clearly does not want us to have pets.

We are great with houseplants and lawn maintenance.

My husband can grow a mean tomato.

But pets?

Not so much.

So while Husband was feverishly Googling “How to make Ich Disappear,” Monkey was a little mopey.

He had dared to name his fish, so he was more than a little bummed about Hoodie and Mad, Derpy and Silverstein and The Something Brothers.

I went to his bedroom to console him, and offered to read him a book,

He wanted something short.

Something light.

I picked this.

“Really mom?” Monkey said, “A book about animals with spots?”

In hindsight, perhaps not the most sensitive selection.

Returning the book to his shelf, I grabbed another.

I hardly looked at it.

Hubby came upstairs then and adjusted the temperature in the tank to 86 degrees.

He announced that Ich can be killed if you increase the temperature, but that the tank would need treatment too.

You know, because the parasite is all over everything. The rocks, the plants.

I hate parasites. How they get all over everything like that. They are so nervy.

Anyway, Hubby saw the book I was preparing to read.

Excellent choice,” he said, “One Fish, Two fish, Red fish, Dead Fish.”

We all laughed.

Because pathos can be funny.

Especially when it rhymes.

Hubby and I smooched our son and told him we’d work on things in the morning.

Meanwhile, I ran downstairs and hopped onto Facebook to discuss the issue.

My friend Melissa reminded me of those dog collars they used to have at fairs.

You know, the ones that have a little harness and make it look like you are walking a dog?

Only there isn’t a dog.

Because that is what we need.

An invisible pet.

And to the person who joked that we need to get a pet rock?

We had one.

His name was Rocky.

We lost him.

(Which reminds me, we failed at cyber pet ownership, too.)

Yeah, I am pretty sure we are at invisible.

Can you think of other things that would be insensitive (read: really funny) to sing/read/watch/do when your kid has a fish tank contaminated by a funky parasite?

Tweet this Twit @RASJacobson

Teacher’s Pets: It’s Not What You Think

The dog formerly known as Mojo, 2009

Last year, at exactly this same time, we got a dog. The world was white and unbearably cold, and getting a pet seemed like a wonderful idea. We were dogless and surrounded on all sides by barky-barkers. We figured, how hard could it be, if everyone has them? Hubby researched carefully, making sure to find a breed that would be a good fit for our family.

Meanwhile I went to the breeder with my friend Cindy to meet “Lloyd,” a yellow Labrador puppy who was soon to become part of her family. They don’t make ’em cuter than that, folks. He was freakin’ adorable. But I also remembered how two summers before she’d brought home these two freaky Wheatland terriers, and she hated them. Hated. Them.

“Do they smell? I feel like they smell,” she kept asking.

I swear Cindy lost 10 pounds in the few days she had those dogs, and they quickly went back to the breeder.

Around the same time, I’d been following the trials with another friend’s new puppy for nearly four months — and it sounded like hell. All his Facebook status updates sounded like misery. Eventually, he returned his Labradoodle to the breeder. I had recently read Marley and Me, so I was nervous about lineage and more than a little anxious about making sure to pick the right dog from the litter.

I expressed my concerns to my husband who reminded me that I had successfully babysat my sister-in-law’s adorable shih tzu, Roxie, for two days.

“And I enjoy Brian — the cartoon dog on The Family Guy.” I quipped, “Can we find a witty, talking dog?”

Anyway, I told my family I was really nervous about this decision. I told them I’d never had a dog, that I didn’t really want a dog, but my husband kind of wore me down, promising that he would help with everything. He would pick up the dog poo every day. He would feed the dog. He would change the water. He would play with the dog. I wouldn’t have to do anything except enjoy him.

I know people love their doggies like family, but I kept thinking of them as eternal babies and I couldn’t figure out how we would ever be able to take a spontaneous day trip ever again. Everyone kept telling me I was just nervous about the unknown. I don’t think that was it at all. In fact, I think I knew too much. For example, while discussing the whole concept of getting a dog, I was at a friend’s house, when her Maltese got the “Hershey squirts” all over her rug.

Her. Good. Oriental. Rug.

And when Noah (a good-natured yellow Lab) came to live with my friend Betsy, he promptly swallowed a hair accessory and it was barfity-barfity-barf all the way to the vet. Another friend’s dog compulsively ate socks and had to have several emergency surgeries. Another friend’s dog kept getting foot infections. One of my brother’s dogs had weird phobias and tore through doors during thunderstorms. And, of course, we had all these barky dogs surrounding us – which could be a little unpleasant. Did I really want to own a dog?

I decided if Hubby wanted a puppy so badly, he would need to make the action steps, so I took one giant step back.

Big mistake.

Because the next thing I knew, we had a 4-month-old shih tzu. And while Hubby had said he would “do everything,” he simultaneously decided that first weekend home with the dog would be the perfect time to take a long weekend to go golfing with some buddies in Florida. So Hubby left me at home alone for four days with our brand new puppy — Mojo — who, to be fair — was a quick study about doing his business outside. But it should be noted, he didn’t seem to mind peeing or pooping inside, and he especially liked chewing on his feces after the big dump, so one had to be quick to catch him in the act.

After two weeks, I couldn’t take it anymore. Our son had stopped coming in the kitchen to avoid Mojo, who liked biting Monkey’s toes. So I asked my son, point-blank, if he would be sad if I brought the dog back to the breeder.

“Well,” he said cautiously, aware that he was operating between the clashing wills of his two parents. “I wouldn’t be particularly unhappy about it.”

This was not the voice of a child who loved his dog. There was no crying, no begging, no bargaining.  I told Hubby I would no longer be picking up “poopsicles” in sub-zero temperatures, informed him that I had called the breeder and was more than 100% prepared to lose my Mojo.

There are several good parts to this story and this is where they start: First, I did not have to bring the dog back to the breeder. My husband’s brother and my sister-in-law, who live less than 1/2 mile away, said they would love to have a second shih tzu, and I was delighted to give them everything. That. Very. Minute. So Mojo was renamed Rubie, and their dog, Roxie, got a sister, and Hubby still gets visitation rights. The dog still eats his poop, but they are way more mellow about that than I was.

Fast forward one year. Almost to the day. Hubby calls me and tells me to come to Petco.

Hubby: “I think you should come to look at some aquariums for Monkey’s room.”

Me: “Who cares. Fish is fish. Just pick one.”

Hubby: “Meet me at Petco.”

Hemingway in my coat – 4 months

When I walked in, I saw Hubby holding not one but two gray kittens. I almost died. I have wanted a cat for my entire life. In fact, right before I met Hubby, I was about to get a cat, but when I mentioned my plans, Hubby said he thought he was allergic, so I never followed through. I figured the whole cat thing was never going to happen.

Somehow we wound up with Hemingway, an all gray, short-haired, polydactyl cat, which means he had nine million pads on his paws. (Really, he had seven pads on each of his front paws — fourteen big fat pads, which he kneaded softly against my chest or leg or arm.) He was purr-fectly purr-fect in every way. To me, he was better than a dog because he loved to be cuddled and held and hugged — and he always went in his litter box, so none of us had to go outside in the bitter chill of winter. Hemi loved to chase ping-pong balls and wadded up balls of paper and string. He seemed to love us, and we all fell in love with him. He greeted us every morning for two weeks with a happy “meow,” and I was content to sit and read with him on my lap, his mutant paws draped lazily over my arms, the constant purr of his “motor” was always turned on.

Then on day 14, it happened.

Hubby started scratching. Initially, he complained about his eyes feeling like there were pebbles underneath his lids. But by the end of the day, the pebbles had become boulders and — much as we tried to deny it — it was obvious: Hubby was, in fact, allergic to cats. And, of course, we were all devastated when Hubby had to bring Hemi back to Habitat for Cats, as we’d all become very attached to the little guy.

They say some folks are dog people and some are cat people.

Sadly, I guess we are the people who can’t be either.

“Maybe we can get some cool fish,” I said trying to cheer my rather glum Monkey.

“I’m tired of the pet drama,” said Monkey, “Knowing us, our heater would accidentally boil the fish.”

So, for now, we are back to our former petless status.

But it is a little sad.

Maybe by winter 2011, we’ll be emotionally ready to consider a goldfish.

Somebody, tell me your own pet drama to make me feel better.