Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Washington Pets

These are the pets that we have had over the last 18 years. It all started after we moved into our new home. We told the kids if they did well on their report cards, that they could get pets. That was great incentive for a year of great grades.

Ben chose a springer spaniel/terrier dog--a hound dog, born on Elvis' birthday, January 8. He named him Patches. Tiffany chose a beautiful tortie kitten, she named Lacey.

Patches, I could go on and on. For all of those who think they had the best dog ever, sorry we did. There is never anyone more faithful than a dog. One of our most enjoyable memories of Patches is how excited he got whenever anyone had a birthday. When the candles were lit and everyone started singing "Happy Birthday", he would always get in the middle and bark along.

Patches was a big part of our family for twelve years. He left us in 2006 and we still miss him.

Lacey used to sprint down the hall sideways and she loved shoelaces, hence the name. Lacey taught us love and also was the first pain of loss for our kids as we also learned about feline leukemia. We were angry that this could have been prevented if the mother cat had been vaccinated. Lacey only lived nine months.

Eventually we got two more cats who were tiger brothers, Dickens and Linus. Dickens lived up to his name, climbing curtains, escaping through loose window screens, and things like that. Linus was the runt and mighty in spirit as he is the only cat that we had that ever caught a mouse. When we took him to the vet, we found he had a bad heart and wasn't given long to live. Knowing his brother would miss him, we decided to get another cat and that's when we got Joshua, our gray and black tabby cat.

As it turned out Linus only lived about a year before his little heart gave out. Dickens didn't last much longer with digestive problems. With that kind of misfortune, we decided to stick it out with just Patches and Joshua. I always remember the first night poor Joshua came to our strange, new home. He cuddled in bed next to my face all night where I comforted him. That's always been a precious memory. We always had a special bond from that night.

The cat foster home where we had gotten him named him Joshua and when we realized what a verbal cat he was, we thought the name fit--like Joshua in the Bible who led them making noise around Jericho. Joshua always had plenty to "say". Despite that, he was also a very timid cat, often hiding from people.

Today was Joshua's last day. He lived with us for seventeen years--longer than any other pet. Now we are pet-less. For the last eighteen years I have always fed the pets before I ate or even had my coffee. My first thought when I come home is where is the cat and he would come running. There are just going to be so many daily triggers to remind me that he is gone. I keep waiting to have him come to sit on my lap or to see him sitting in his favorite spots. I will think of him when we have an empty box or open a can of tuna or cook chicken (Patches taught him how to beg for that and that is the only time the cat would beg for people food). Now I realize in the past when I was home alone, I always had the cat. Now when I am home alone, I am really alone. Missing you kitty. Rest in Peace, Joshua.

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