Goodbye Darwin and Hello Kelvin

IMG_0227This post has been waiting to be written for a long time. It hurt for a long time. I’m one of those people that gets crazy attached to my animals (or in the case of a few days ago, a puppy that we aren’t even getting). But it’s been sitting on my list for a long time, so here we go.

We had to euthanize our cat Darwin.

He was the pet that started the whole naming after scientists trend. He was the first kitty that we picked out before deciding that we needed to go back and get one of his brothers. He was my foot warmer. The cat that was always coming to greet me when I got home. It still hurts to look back at old pictures of him.

IMG_1385It all started a year ago, when he started acting weird. He was hiding around the house and pulsing his tail. Pretty quickly we realized he was peeing a little and then immediately after that we started finding blood. We took him to the vet and of course he had a urinary tract infection. We got medication and thought we were done. But it didn’t go away. We tried about three different antibiotics that round and it still didn’t go away.

DSC_0004The vet sent us to a specialist in Salt Lake, who said there were a few possibilities. Two of which would need surgery and the other two would mean lifelong battling and medication, with good days and bad days. The most likely possibility was that it was an irregularity in his bladder from not closing properly when he was born (because when you’re in the womb, your umbilical cord attaches to your bladder). It would cost $400 for the ultrasound to confirm and then $2000 to do the actual surgery. We had a tough decision on our hands. Do we save our cat and go back into credit card debt? Of course we didn’t have that much money laying around. At that point we had already exhausted our emergency fund from his previous treatment. We decided that, in our case, it was selfish to try to keep him just to avoid the pain of having him gone. There was a large chance that he would be battling painful urinary tract infections for the rest of his life. So we put him down.

IMG_0747We weren’t planning on getting another cat. I had actually specifically said that I wasn’t ready. But when my father heard that we were one cat owners, he thought maybe we could help. They have 5 cats I think, and one of them was being bullied severely. The only cat in the house with claws kept attacking her. So he asked if we may want to give her a new home and we said we’d try her out. She hid, literally under our kitchen (through a whole she found in the basement), for the first week that she was here. We were actually wondering if she had somehow gotten out of the house because we did not see her. Eventually my husband saw her one night and then I saw her and lured her out with food. It took her a long time to warm up to us, but now she’s part of the family. Albiet a still skiddish part.

IMG_0775She loves to sleep on my legs at night and waits for me to go to bed in order to do so. The problem is that she expects to be pet first and will meow in order to tell me so. She’s skiddish though and her version of rubbing up against your legs is to walk back and forth just a fingertip’s distance away, still expecting to be pet. And meowing in order to be pet. So I have to make sure I catch her before I go into the bedroom (a feat within itself) so that she doesn’t wake Twig with her meowing.

She loves to lounge around all day on my bed or on the couch. She’s made good friends with Newton, as you can see. I don’t think they’ll ever be as close as he and Darwin were, but they’re still close. We were really lucky to get an older cat that tolerates the girls. If she’s getting overwhelmed, she just runs away. Usually, given her skiddish-ness, she doesn’t let them get close enough anyway. She does occasionally let them pet her though and she’s even been known to rub up against Twig’s feet while she’s nursing.

I still miss Darwin and it still hurts to think of him, but I’m happy that we were given the opportunity to save Kelvin from a bad situation. So there’s our update in pet-land!

My Non-agressive Dog

Curie sleeping with her face between her paws

I love my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Yeah, sometimes she’s a monster, but I would say she’s the second best animal-related decision we’ve ever made–the first being to put down our first dog Kerrigan.

I’ve always been against the idea of buying a dog. Adoption was the way to go. Why not save an animal that needs a home? There are plenty of good dogs out there that just need someone to love them. I still thoroughly believe this. I hate that people are out there breeding dogs for money when there are so many that need homes in shelters. Obviously, this was my line of thought when we got Kerrigan. I spent weeks searching online trying to find the perfect dog. We’d go see one that seemed great, but it was too big (living in an apartment limits the size of dog you can get) or needed to be potty trained or was too timid or too hairy. There were so many reasons why a dog wouldn’t be perfect for us and we were okay with waiting it out and keeping looking. We wanted a forever friend and those don’t come by every day.

When we met Kerrigan we thought she was that forever friend. The lady told us that she was still drugged up from her spay, but we didn’t even consider it. Look how she laid so happily on my lap! She looked so much like my husband’s childhood dog! She’s so cute and tiny and she was only 4 months old! It felt like we had hit the jackpot. Of course, if you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that she wasn’t perfect. She was aggressive from the get-go, but as first time dog owners we didn’t understand that’s what the signs were pointing to. We didn’t know to do tests before taking her home. We didn’t know that cleft palates are genetic disorders, and as our vet told us later, one genetic disorder means higher likeliness of more genetic disorders. We didn’t know the signs to tell that she was probably a puppy mill dog that was so inbred. We just didn’t know.

It took me years to finally grasp that my dog wasn’t going to get better. We had her for 3 full years, over 2 of which she was regularly biting people, including myself and, even a few times, my daughter. I didn’t say a thing on this blog until the end because I felt so ashamed of not only having an agressive dog, but regularly exposing my infant/toddler to this dog. Even with all the training we did, even when she got a bit better (through lots and lots of work and then lots and lots of upkeep), she still wasn’t anywhere near safe. There was no way to have her in the same house as my child who was growing older and grabbier and getting more and likely to get bitten. There was no way to rehome her because there would never be a way for her to get better. What she had was more than agression, it was something wrong with her brain. So we put her down.

It was one of the most difficult decisions of my life. I was convinced I wouldn’t have another dog in years. I felt like such a failure. How could I be sure that I wouldn’t bring another dog that was just as dangerous into my house with small children?

Soon though, I felt the ache of missing a canine companion in my life. I would never put my animals on the same level as my children, but they are part of my family. Even with two cats and a rabbit, I still felt the hole in my life where I needed a dog. Dogs can be a lot of work, but they provide something that none of the other animals do. They are full of excitement, joy, and pure love. My cats love me, but after being pet for five minutes could care less if I leave the house for 8 hours. Dogs want to be with you all day. They need you.

So we went, cautiously, in search of another dog. I’m sure everyone thought we were crazy. My husband wasn’t entirely on board with the idea. Nevertheless, I started to research.

After having had such a bad experience with a dog, I felt there needed to be some ground rules. Ground rules that would be impossible to keep with going to a shelter. My rules were strict.

  1. The dog has to be very small, even smaller than Kerri was (because one of the blessings of Kerri was that she was small enough not to be able to do much damage). If it wasn’t small, it had to be calm and happy and make it very obvious that it’s size didn’t matter.
  2. It needed to pass all agression tests with flying colors. If I felt even a flicker of fear, that dog was out.
  3. The dog had to be a child-friendly breed. Even the smallest “may not be good with kids” was not tolerable. I know that breed isn’t everything. I know you can find plenty of muts that are great with kids, but for this time in my life, I needed that clean slate to start with. I needed to know that this dog had a predisposition to be friendly with kids and people in general.
  4. The dog needed to be young. I think being raised around small children will make a dog more likely to be good with them.

I tried the shelters at first, but finding a small dog there is difficult and none of them met my standards. Finally after searching for a long time, I decided to look into buying a dog. After searching online, I found a dog that wasn’t being sold by the breeder, but rather a girl that bought the dog from the breeder. It was only 11 weeks old and the only reason she didn’t want it was because her older dog was unhappy with it around. I went and did all the tests and she passed with flying colors. She was still spendy, but much less than buying directly from the breeder. I think that helped talk my husband into it.

And there we were. We had a new dog. A dog that has never growled at my child in the 6 months we’ve had her, even when my child is noticeably too rough. A dog that not only treats my child like a person, but gets excited when she gets home. A dog that plays with the cats like she’s one of them. A dog that listens to me. I dog that I as sure as possible, will never, ever bite me.

Hello Again

Gasp! I am alive!

I know, I’ve been neglecting the blog for a while here. Heck, I’ve been neglecting the outside world for a bit. This last semester at school has been the most stressful period of my life… well… ever. Yes, there are other times where there were large events, but this has by far been the busiest I’ve ever been. I felt like I was constantly failing at at least one facet of my life and that’s just not right. We (which has mostly been me, but my husband has offered opinions also with “but it’s your decision” tacked on the end) have decided that I’m going to start doing school part-time again.

It’s just simply not worth my sanity to finish school faster. This means that our whole plan of waiting until I graduate to give Peanut a little brother or sister is now off the table. Having her be 4.5+ years old before we had another child was really pushing it for us anyway, so I’m definitely not going to wait even longer. As for when we’re going to have the next one, we’ve decided on a tentative time period, but you all will just have to wait and see. 😛

We also put down our dog Kerrigan. We went in and talked to the vet and she said that with her cleft palate (which is a genetic disorder) that she likely had more genetic disorders and likely one in her brain that caused her to be aggressive. She said that we had done everything that we could have and she recommended euthanasia. It was an awful decision, but it was the right one. I knew it was the right decision before we did it, but the fact was cemented in my mind when even after she was gone, I still felt like she might suddenly bite me. I felt guilty at how much relief I felt leaving that vet office.

We had decided before we put her down that we wouldn’t get another dog for a long time. Within a few days though, I was out of my mind missing having a dog in my house. I’m a big animal lover and it took years for me to get my husband to agree to get a dog even though he loves them too. Yes, there were many, many bad things about our dog, but there’s just something about having someone curled up at your feet while you read a book and I couldn’t stand not having. After (lots of) arguing, we finally decided to get another. I researched breeds that are best with kids and found a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that was for sale. She was only 11 weeks old and the girl selling her had bought her from a breeder, but then afterwards decided that she couldn’t keep her. I did all of the tests that I didn’t know to do when we got Kerri and she passed them all with flying colors.

Meet Curie

You’d think that getting a puppy would add to my stress, but it’s actually been great. Even with all of the potty training, extra responsibility, and training, she’s been a doll. Yeah, she sometimes gets too rambunctious, but it’s great having her around. Other than classes, she’s gone with us everywhere. We even sneaked her into see Tangled! It’s so amazing to have a dog who loves everyone. I carried her around the Festival of Trees and probably about 100 people pet her (people love that dog!) and she was ecstatic each and every time. Peanut loves her too and she’s great with Peanut.

Peanut is now sleeping through the night and in her own bed. I didn’t really do anything to make it that way. We bought Peanut the mattress and started putting her in it for naps and before we go to bed. When I would go to bed and she would still be sleeping, I would just let her continue to sleep in there. By this point, she’s going to bed at 8:30, and most nights not waking up until 5:30 am to nurse. I generally go in her room and fall asleep on her bed with her while she’s nursing. Then we wake up at 6:30 (which I swear will kill me one of these days). Peanut is also a talking machine. I know I missed the last newsletter, but I’ll make up for it with the next one. It’s amazing how quickly things change.

The New Addition

It’s a boy! Oh, wait, it’s fraternal twin boys! OMG!

Oh, did you think I meant human boys?

The orange one is Darwin and the gray one is Newton. Yes, we’re nerds. Did I need to convince you of this any more than I already have? We have a whole room for playing Magic: The Gathering (btw, look for more of the house project this Monday).

We decided to get a kitten because they’re cute, we like animals, Dea was hassling our very old cat a lot (who went back to live with Mema actually), and did I mention that they’re cute? We decided to get another one after reading why it’s better to get two kittens at once.

Of course it probably wasn’t smart to add more things to my plate, but when they’re such cute things to add, how can that be sad? They also keep Peanut pretty entertained so I can do homework for a while. When she got home from Mema’s today, she said “Hi kitty!” That’s two words together! W00t! We’re also hoping that getting them as kittens and having them grow up being molested by our toddler will make them more forgiving of her (and future children) than Cheyenne.

So kitties! Yay!

Kerri’s Tooth

So it turns out she didn’t have to have it removed. There was food and what not stuck up there that made it look like it needed to be removed. She was put under and he got everything out. He did tell us we have the option of getting her cleft palate closed. It will cost about 300 dollars and isn’t required immediately, but would be a good thing to do eventually. We’ll probably get it done after Curtis graduates and gets a good job. Until then, we’re supposed to use this little spray guy to get stuff out of her cleft. That will help it not smell or get infected. Interesting ordeal.

I made spa appointments for Friday at 2 pm. I am really excited.

New blog

So I decided to create one of these things. Livejournal has been dead for quite some time and I feel like making an account of my day to day life. Don’t know if I’ll keep up with it, but it sounded like a good idea.

It’s 7:19 am and I’m awake because I have to take Kerri to the vet to get her tooth removed. She has a cleft palate and so one of her teeth has gone skiwankie and is growing back into her gums sideways. She obviously has to have it removed.

I also need to call the spa today and set up an appointment for hopefully Friday. I’m really excited for that. My back has been killing me. And I can get a pregnancy massage, belly exfoliation, and foot reduce-swelling guy all for 94 dollars. That’s really not that much for a spa.

That reminds me, I am 34 weeks and 2 days pregnant as of today. Just about a month and a half to go. Pretty crazy. Baby shower is Saturday. I’ll probably be doing baby shower preparation today also.

I’m going to go to the vet now.