Parenting Trial Run – aka Pets

J and I love our pets. When we moved back to our hometown in 2009 we finally lived in an apartment that allowed us to have pets. After a month we adopted a 2-year-old Siamese domestic mix, Bandit, from the humane society. It didn’t take long to realize why he was named Bandit. He was super active and loved playing this his toys. There was a fish toy that was his favorite – he would literally do flips in the air trying to catch it. Take a look at the photo page I made to see him in action. While Bandit doesn’t look like a Siamese, he sure talks like one. His “conversations” are always a good laugh.

Over the next 9 months Bandit began to gain weight and sleep more. We decided we should get him a brother. In Oct we adopted Sabbath (soon-to-be-named Bucky), a stray from the humane society. Bucky had a completely different temperament than Bandit. He loved being by you (where Bandit was very independent and told you when he wanted to play) and had a weird tendency of sucking on clothing.  He was a the sweetest cat I’d ever met!  Bandit, however, did not like that there was another man in his house and made it clear who was boss. After a few months of introduction (yes, months) they were finally friends. About a year later they were just like brothers – running around the house chasing each other, wrestling, and cleaning each other.

As if 2 cats weren’t enough, J still wanted a dog. Early Dec 2011 we found the cutest Beagle at the animal shelter. She was an elderly dog (8 years old) with bad vision. We knew she would be a good fit for us for a few reasons. First, J works all day and isn’t home during the day to let her out. Second, we didn’t want to send her to doggy day care every day so she got enough exercise (like we would have to with a young dog). Third, I had about 7 years of school and residency ahead of me, so her lifetime would be about as long as my schooling. At that point we would have more time for a more active dog, so it seemed like a good fit. And fourth, she was an old dog that would likely not be adopted anytime soon. Her name was Sweetie, which we changed to Bailey ( I can’t imagine J yelling, “come here sweetie!” to get her to come inside. Plus when he yelled at her the neighbors would probably think he was yelling at me!). Ironically, when someone new meets her they almost always say, “she is such a sweetie.” Again, another well-named animal.

In late June 2012 Bucky developed feline struvite crystals and had a blocked bladder. Neither J or I had heard of this, but it turns out some cats are more prone to developing crystals and mucous plugs that block their bladders. We got home from a weekend wedding and found poor Bucky moaning on his back in pain. We took him to the animal hospital and were told he needed surgery to remove the crystals or he would die. We had to really contemplate what to do, because, while we love our pets, we know they are just pets. We discussed a price we thought we could afford and with a little finagling of the plan, we were able to get the treatment. After the procedure the vet told us it was the worst she had ever seen and had we not brought him in that night, we would have died by morning. We had to do a total diet revamp; I did tons of research of the disease and tried to find the best, yet most affordable food option. We also had to do monthly urine tests to see if he had crystals and if the diet was working. After 3 months of doing everything suggested by the vet, Bucky blocked again. We had been told if he blocked again we would have to get an extensive procedure to reroute his bladder, otherwise he would keep blocking. This was extremely expensive and there was no guarantee he wouldn’t reblock or have complications. Because of this, we had decided that we would have to euthanize Bucky if he blocked again (we weren’t going to spend $10,000 on a procedure for a cat when that money could help hundred of shelter cats). I was at school when it happened, so J had to take him in and make the final call. It was a difficult decision for him to make, and was equally hard for me to know he had to make that decision and that I could never got to say goodbye to Bucky. He is no longer in pain now and we will miss him.

We love our pets. They are low maintenance  but just enough maintenance to give us a small glimpse into how much work it would be to have kids one day. One notable comment we always make is that when the pets are annoying we can put them in a room with toys and leave them alone – not quite the same with an infant! At this point we have no idea what our future holds as parents; for now, we’re quite content with our two pets.

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