Archive for February, 2011

a new friend

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

four years ago today, i brought home a friend.

for the two weeks prior, i had been a complete basket case; my cat of almost 10 years, edgrr, hadn’t been with me for that time period. i had noticed she had lost weight and interest in eating. turns out she was going through kidney failure. after an overnight stay at the vet and several hundred dollars, i learned i either had to bring her home and watch her starve to death…or say goodbye.

i sat alone in the vet’s office the night of jan. 20, 2007, and i hemmed and hawed over what to do. this cat was my best friend. she’d been with me through so much, and to imagine my life without her was incomprehensible.

the vet brought edgrr into the exam room, and for the first time ever, she sat on my lap, her catheter still in her front leg. she didn’t say anything; she just sat in my lap and purred, which made my decision that much more heartbreaking.

i heard a knock on the door and assumed it was the vet coming to find out what my decision was. it wasn’t the vet; it was my dad. he’d been in town that day to help my sister move out of her dorm, and when he saw my car at the vet’s office after hours, he knew something was up.

he asked me what they said, and instead of answering him, i started bawling. he knew. he’d been through this four times with his own pets, but this was the first time i’d had to deal with it myself. the two of us went through half a box of kleenex while i made my decision.

the vet came back in, but before he did what he had to do, i had edgrr’s paw print stamped on a piece of paper. that paw print later became a memorial tattoo that’s now permanently inked on my left calf.

i told edgrr i loved her, kissed her…and said goodbye. that drive home was the longest, coldest, quietest ride of my life.

and i went home to an equally empty, cold and quiet apartment. i kept expecting edgrr to come around the corner, but she never did. i cried until i fell asleep and woke up with the tv still on and my eyes glued shut. and i still missed my cat.

i didn’t eat for a week. i didn’t want to. all i wanted was my cat at home and for me to be happy again.

a few friends kept telling me to go out “now” and get another cat, but i didn’t want to; i wasn’t done missing this one yet.

a week later, i started eating again…and got the tattoo.

a week after that, i started checking the humane society’s website…just to look. i saw two cats i maybe wanted to take a look at, but both of them were males. i’d never had a male cat before because i heard they like to pee everywhere.

i visited that site probably 10 times in the next 2 days and kept looking at those two cats. i showed them to my mom, who told me, “male cats are more affectionate.” really? maybe that’s what i needed.

so i went to look at cody and harpo.

as soon as i entered the cat adoption room, i found cody. he was in a cage next to the door, and good news for him: he was going home. someone had put down a deposit on him and would be coming the next day to bring him home. cody was off the table.

i looked at the other cats, still searching the cages for harpo. i saw one black, female cat who looked just like edgrr. she was friendly enough, but i wasn’t sure i could have a cat that would remind me of the friend i had just lost. moving on…

i saw harpo’s paperwork hanging next to his cage, and in that cage, he slept. he’d just had surgery and was now officially an “it,” so he didn’t want to be disturbed. i probably wouldn’t have wanted to be disturbed either. nevertheless, i had found him, and i just looked. his back was to the cage door, so all i could see was fur. LOTS of fur. and he had enormous feet. he was six months old, and with feet already that big, i had a feeling he was gonna grow up to be a monster.

one of the volunteers at the shelter asked if i wanted to see him. she said she could open the cage door but didn’t want me to handle the cat because of his recent surgery. no problem.

the cage door opened, and harpo turned his head back to see what was going on, and he let out the biggest “MEOW” i’d heard in a long time. i said hi to him and petted him…and because of that friendly meow, i made the decision that i’d give him a home. after all, he was super cute.

i put down my $10 deposit and was informed i could come back the next day to bring harpo home. i was hoping i was making a wise decision, but one thing was for sure: that name HAD to go.

the following day, feb. 5, 2007, was one of the coldest days in the history of cold days. it was so cold my car didn’t start. this was not a good start to the day when i was supposed to bring home my new cat.

i called a friend to jump start my car, so off to work i went.

at noon, i headed over to the shelter to bring home harpo. i talked to him the entire way home. yes, it was that crazy baby talk that people think their pets like to hear. harpo talked back.

i left him locked in the bathroom with a nightlight, a radio, food, water and toys. i didn’t want him tearing up my apartment while i finished my shift at work, and i wasn’t sure how he’d react to his new surroundings. plus, i figured the bathroom was MUCH larger than the cage he’d been in the last six weeks. he didn’t seem to mind.

i couldn’t concentrate the rest of the day at work. i wanted to get home and get to know my new cat. i came up with a few names for him, but then i figured maybe he had to earn his new name. so i waited.

the sun set, and i FINALLY went home. as soon as i let harpo out of the bathroom, he zigged and zagged all over the apartment. he was like a coiled spring, and clearly it had been a while since he’d been allowed to run. and jump. and climb. he did all of that…all while meowing at the top of his kitty cat lungs. i think he was a tad excited to have a home.

because he was so riled up, he indeed earned his new name: reilly.

he kept up this high-energy activity most of the night. i had to curl up on the floor in the living room with a pillow and blanket because it seemed to be the only thing that would keep him quiet. he continued to run around and explore his new surroundings while i tried desperately to get some sleep.

i woke up around 2 a.m., and reilly was snuggled at my feet. FINALLY he was tired, and he was sleeping next to me. win-win.

he did grow up to be a giant monster…err, monstah. he’s about 20 pounds, but he’s about 20 pounds of the biggest mama’s boy there ever was. he’s a cuddler, and he’s ridiculously silly.

he definitely was what i needed to get over the funk i was in after edgrr died. i still miss edgrr, but reilly (and his little sister i brought home for him on his second birthday) gives me something to look forward to every day.

and he has become one of my little furry best friends, who still sleeps at my feet every night.

happy anniversary, reilly!

ho-ho-ho…a chetmas tail

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

kirk and i were at his mom and dad’s in backus for christmas eve and christmas day.

christmas morning, i went for a run on the desolate, dirt roads, covered in newly fallen snow. the wind was coming from the north, so i ran two miles into it and figured i’d turn around and run back with a tail wind.

i got to about the 2-mile mark and, in fact, turned around. started back for the cabin when i noticed, sitting at the top of the hill i had just run down, either a stray dog…or a wolf. shit!

i wasn’t sure if i should keep running toward it, but i didn’t have much choice, so i did. the closer i got, i could see it was a dog. it looked black…and BIG.

then i noticed the ears perk up. those ears looked familiar.

i saw a truck heading toward the dog, and that truck looked familiar, too. it was kirk. he was out driving in search of one of our apparently wayward duggies.

turns out the ‘wolf-like stray dog’ was chet, my duggie. he had come looking for “mom” and found me, two miles from the cabin. and there he sat, at the top of the hill, watching me run and making sure none of the crazy locals (and believe me, there ARE some!) messed with me.

kirk loaded chet in the truck but then waited for me to catch up and asked if i wanted chet to run with me back to the cabin. i’d never taken the dogs running with me before, and with chet’s A.D.D., i wasn’t sure he’d run with me or just create his own path.

so kirk got chet out of the truck and waited for me to start running. chet didn’t follow; he ran either alongside me or two feet in front of me…the entire way back.

me and my duggie…runnin’ on christmas. it was pretty sweet. woof.