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Introducing Arthur Lightningbug

So… we’ve been debating back and forth for some time whether to adopt another dog, or wait until Lindsy and Cricket have passed on…They’ve both reached an age where they are too old and frail to go for hikes (or in Lindsy’s case, even car rides) and we’ve missed having someone who likes to play with toys. But on the other hand things had gotten fairly peaceful in the household — even Simon has FINALLY stopped getting us up at night yelling.

Around the time we were moving, we actually found a Pit Bull with a rescue group we were considering, we even filled out an adoption application, but things were so crazy with the house closing and we realized that we had a problem on our hands with all of the neighbor’s loose animals on either side of us and decided to wait. We also thought that we should stick to our original idea of a smaller dog, because the other animals are all ‘broken’ in some way and a big dog could hurt one of them without even meaning to… so we held off.

Recently we’d gone by the Henderson County Animal Shelter a few times. First, out of curiosity, as we’d not seen the new building (what an incredible change for the better!) and then to bring by some toys for the animals, and we again had been talking about looking for a dog that would fit into our family. Joy saw a dog on the shelter web site a couple of weeks ago that we thought was cute, in a “probably way too much dog for us but it can’t hurt to at least look” kind of way, so I stopped by the shelter on my way back from work. The pointy eared little black dog was nowhere in sight, I guess she had already been adopted. In the puppy room there was a cute little fawn and white Pit Bull mix, but a bit more rambunctious and strong-willed than what we were prepared to deal with (and also well on his way to being a really big dog) and another little white dog also labeled as a Pit Bull mix that was watching me with polite interest as I was hunkered down beside the other puppy’s run.

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I snapped pictures of both puppies with my cell phone for Joy, and stopped to talk to the little white dog for a minute or so. He wasn’t really the type of dog I was normally drawn to, but there was something about him that caught my attention. His cage card said he was a stray, and he’d arrived in adoptions on Monday, the day before. They’d given him the name “Sparky”. Joy and I came back to the shelter on the following Saturday and he was still there, so we asked to visit with him. We spent about a half hour in a room with him, petting and playing with toys with him. He was brilliantly smart, a bit hand-shy, and overall seemed like a really nice dog. We decided to think on it some more.

The following Monday I went back to the shelter to try and assess how he was with other animals. Apparently he was a favorite of the staff and volunteers and everyone gushed about what a nice dog he was. He seemed to be a bit afraid of the cat we introduced him to, which I took as a good sign. So Joy and I talked some more, decided to go ahead and adopt him, and the next day I went back for him.

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He has worked into the household very well so far – amazingly well considering he is six months old, teething, and just hitting puberty. His neuter appointment had to be postponed because he came down with kennel cough the day after we got him, so he goes in for that on July 7th. He has a few bad habits (jumping up and nipping, mostly, and a bit of a cloth fetish) which we figure are probably due to lack of training but he’s coming along, and housebreaking was a breeze. He learned “sit”, “down” and how to fetch almost instantly and though he’s pretty ‘busy’ he does settle nicely.

As far as what he is, we’d say that he’s probably a ‘mix of a mix of a mix.’ Sometimes he does look a little bit like a Pit mix but there’s a lot of something else – or several something elses – there. He’s 18 lbs and probably won’t get much bigger. Maybe a little Jack Russell… OK – maybe a LOT of Jack Russell. And possibly some Border Collie. It’s just as well his origins are shrouded in mystery because we don’t really want to know if we adopted a Pit Bull-Jack Russell-Border Collie mix!

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A few people reading this might be surprised at the name we chose; the fact is, with most of our animals that didn’t already come with a name (or came with one we didn’t want to keep, like “Sparky” in this case) we seem to just each come up with the same name. At least that’s how it was with Simon. And this time, we both thought of “Arthur” but then didn’t mention it because of my Bull Terrier that I had many years ago who had to be put down with SOA. When I finally did mention it to Joy, and she said that the name had occurred to her as well, we decided that maybe it had been long enough and it was time to reclaim the name… so Arthur it is – Arthur Lightningbug, to be exact.

Anyway, that’s the story. He’s cute and funny and smart and it’s fun to have a youngster around again. Now that he’s finally over the kennel cough it will be real fun to start taking him the the park and other places, too!

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A disturbing and sad day

So it’s pretty obvious from Tuesday’s post that we have exciting news in the form of a new family member, and I will be posting about that soon, but something else also happened that day that was not so good, and I wanted to share that here first…

Some of you may know that our house has a shared driveway, and that the renters in the house next door were being evicted. We knew this when we moved in, which is why we hadn’t already called the health department about the trash. Monday there was a frenzy of fighting, yelling, furniture and belongings being piled out in the yard, cars coming in and out, police coming, a visit from some other woman who looked like probably a parole officer or someone from DSS, and other assorted calamity… none of these things are unusual for that house, but having them all happen within a few hours was. We deduced that they must be finally moving.

The truth of the matter was that the next day the day the sheriff’s department was going to be coming to enforce the eviction, and those losers bailed with some of their stuff Monday night and LEFT ALL OF THE ANIMALS. We didn’t realize this is what they had done until Tuesday morning when I was loading my van and the property owner arrived along with a police car, and the renters were nowhere to be found. They had left their dog, Frankie, and upwards of fifteen cats and kittens.. including Wren. The officer had no choice but to call animal control to come and take them all to the shelter, and I watched, heartsick, as Wren and all the others were captured, caged and taken away.

The commotion has freaked Winter out so bad that she has been hiding for days… we thought it was the new dog but she’s clearly not afraid of him. I wonder if she was watching out the window or from the yard as all those cats were being rounded up? I get a lump in my throat every time I look at the dogwood tree, or the back stoop, or the many other favorite spots Wren had, and know that she’s gone. At least there won’t be any more litters of kittens from that house.

I think they would have let me take her, but what could we have done with her? Winter hates other cats, Wren hated our cats and dogs, and our cats have been exposed to the FIP virus. Wren, for that matter, could have been carrying either of the other two big viruses that cats get, so bringing her in our house was out. I did give my name and number to the officer and said we’d try to get them into a rescue if they were not claimed. The director of the shelter, who was a very nice guy, called me later in the day and we discussed the unlikelihood of getting the cats placed with so many homeless cats and kittens flooding the area. And he’s right. And while, at first, we thought maybe we could at least get Wren into a rescue, we were uncomfortable with our valuing one of their lives over the others, just because we’d gotten attached, and with the idea of our pressuring a rescue group to take one or all of them when we aren’t able to even foster any of them.

There’s a chance they might not have made it into adoptions at all, as many of them had eye and nose discharge (though they said this might have been due to conditions in the house) and the shelter is already full to capacity. Today was their last day that they had to be held before either being put down or moved to adoptions. I feel bad for the shelter staff that is faced with this day after day, and for the animals, and for the children that were living in that house and had to go through all this.

I’m sorry, Wren, that we couldn’t step in and save you. If there isn’t a good home in your future, then at least I hope there will be a gentle end and maybe next life around you’ll get a better break.

Zombie

Zombie

Sent home from work by Joy. Of course, by posting this I do realize I have now just revealed the fact that we have both been on the LOLcats site. Don’t judge us.

Video: Nora the piano-playing cat

I stumbled across this randomly today. Pretty neat.

Because life was getting a little too uncomplicated

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