Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Origins of Pippen and Josie

aka: how we went from a 2 dachshund house to a no pet house, to a 1 cat, 1 dog and 2 fish house

So I promised this story, if nothing more than for posterity's sake.  In about August, we finally heard from the dachshund rescue group we got Logan from that they had found a foster home for Caidie and Logan.  We loved Caidie and Logan.  Still do.  But Bella was really hard on two little dogs under 25lbs who had arthritis and couldn't get away from her.  So we realized that it was the best thing to do for their sake.  About a month later we heard that they were placed with a retired family in upstate New York and they are being pampered to their hearts' content.

It was the best possible outcome we could have come up with for them.  So for about 4 months we got to experience what it would be like to be pet-free.

With the advent of this whole 'me staying home and doing the Montessori thing,' I realized that we would have to allow pets in our lives again.  One of the activities in the curriculum is a discussion about what it means to be a plant vs. an animal.  The little sheets give you a run down of what materials you'll need.  Most of them are things like, '3 cups, a pouring container, and some dry grain' or something like that.  This one, however, says that we will need several animals and plants.  HURRR?  Excuse me?  "Several?"  Really?  So I thought I'd get Bella several fish and a live plant in the fishtank.  Problem solved.  Christmas brought her an aquarium with 2 goldfish and a real live plant.  Of course, the gold fish did nothing but hide behind the plant the best they could, but there we have it...several.

Over the course of the holiday break though, it crept into my head that perhaps fish alone were not 'animal' enough to really drive the point home, so I started looking into cats.  I read perhaps a bit too much on I Can Has Cheezburger and had gotten quite enamored with both scottish folds and munchkin cats.  After some research I found that Scottish folds also have some other genetic anomalies besides the cute ears that can cost a ton of money in the long run, so I ruled that one out.  Munchkins seemed to get a pretty decent bill of health.  So we I found a great breeder in Pennsylvania  who bred munchkins that had point patterning (like siamese cats).

 In the meantime, Vinny was trying to convince me that we should get a cat from a shelter.  I agreed to look, but I was set on the point pattern.  So he sends me a chat message one day and says he's on craig's list and they have the cutest Jack Russell terrier on there and can he have him.  I told him to bite me.  A few minutes later he sends me a link and says...'oh oh oh...there is a siberian husky, free to good home and I really want her.'  Thinking he is just totally messing with me I snap back some snarky message.  About 30 minutes later he asks if I ever looked at the link and I told him no, because he was crazy.  After going ON and ON about this dog and how perfect she was, he ends with, "And I LOVE her!"  Now, those of you who know Vinny know that this is just not something that he says for anything.  And he rarely asks for anything.  So I felt obligated to email the people and at least meet this dog.  I got an email back saying they already had a bunch of interest in her but they would let us know if it didn't work out.

Now, when I tell you Vinny was upset about's a huge understatement.  He was downright distraught.  To the point where I started looking into Siberian Husky breeders.  (BTW, we found an amazing Husky breeder in case anyone is ever looking)  I was to the point where I was ready to put down a deposit on a future litter, but of course wanted to make sure that the craig's list Husky (We didn't know her name at the time) was truly gone first.  So I shot the folks a quick email and got back a reply saying that they hadn't found her a home yet and giving me their number to call them.  The next thing I know, we've arranged for them to come by and bring Jo-C to meet us.  You should have seen the look on Vinny's face when I told him that this dog was coming over in 30 minutes.  You could have run cities off the solar power that grin was giving off.  I even managed to get in a super quick house cleaning courtesy of his adrenalin rush.  They brought her in and it was all over from there.  She never left.  She just fit in too perfectly.

A slight spelling change of her name made her our Josie.  A few days later we went and picked up Pippen, and now here we are!  Things aren't always perfect.  Exhibit A:

But they're still pretty great.  We got rid of the crate and Josie isn't destructive at all around the house.  She's crazy excited to see us if we leave her longer than an hour, but no damage.  And we worked really hard with her and have her comfortable enough with the crate that we can put her in it if we have to, like when we have a house showing and aren't around to be able to take her for a ride with us to get her out of the way.  She's great with Bella (can't wait to show you roller-sledding) and sleeps with us at night.

Pippen is a total doll.  He loves to play, loves to snuggle.  He's very gentle and is basically my dream cat, not to mention a total cutie pie.  He's battling a respiratory infection, so he sneezes a lot, hoping he'll be over that soon.

We're trying to keep Bella from over-snuggling him and stressing him out, and we're maybe 50% effective.  I think if he'd just give her a good wallop one time, she'd be more cautious about grabbing him, but he refuses to defend himself around her.  So, we just keep trying.  I guess that's why the lesson said several, because each one provides it's own set of challenges, and kids need to learn about them all.

How about you?  How did you decide on and/or end up with the pets you have?

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