Never Say Goodbye

As a kid, I didn’t have lots of pets.  We had a few dogs – Brownie (I only have vague recollections of him) and  our beloved German Shepherd/Doberman Pincher mix, Savage.  Savage was the perfect dog – barked at and intimated strangers, stayed within her property boundaries, and never snapped at or bit anyone.  Like 99% of the other pet owners in my hometown community, pets were kept outside.  Yes – no matter what the temperature – animals were never allowed indoors.  My Grandma had cats, lots of them.  I never liked them or any other cat.  I will credit my dad for my extreme prejudice against cats.  Anyway, I never imagined any scenario of owning a cat.

That started to change when Bryan and I got married…  You see, Bryan loves cats.  I couldn’t understand it.  I attributed his tenderheartedness toward cats to his upbringing on a farm, but it was something more.  He was/is a “cat person”!  You know the type – the gentle and quiet types  that love to cuddle with a “cute little kitty” at the end of the day…   I dodged the whole fiasco of dealing with cats until we moved into our first home.  As I was gardening one sunny summer day,  this pitiful looking cat started following me around the yard.  Of course, I told it to go away.  The next day, I was tending my roses, and again the same pitiful little cat started following me around.  This time, Bryan was outside and of course started petting the cat and talking to it like it was the most precious thing ever.  He thought that the cat was pregnant and probably starving.  My cold-heart briefly thawed and I fed the cat, and a few weeks later it returned – with a kitten!  After some discussion, I did the unthinkable, I agreed to take in both the mommy (Callie) and baby (Buster) cats.  I figured that was part of the compromise of marriage.  After sometime, I grew to love those cats possibly as much as Bryan.

Callie and Buster lounging around. This picture was taken around 2004 or 2005.

Rachel loved Callie and Buster so much.  When she was really little (and really hyper) she would chase the cats around, but she was typically gentle with them.  Her love for cats is really endearing and so much like Bryan, which made me feel better about having to deal with indoor cats.

Rachel with Callie – around 2012.

Just a month before Miriam was born, Buster died suddenly.  We were so devastated.  Everybody cried.  The collective family grief was almost more than my 8-month pregnant self could handle.  Then, a few months later, our sweet Callie became ill.  She had lymphoma. We gave Callie medicine for a week or so, but she had little improvement.  After our effort to return Callie to at least moderate health and give her more time with us, we had to face reality.  While Rachel was in school and Sarah at daycare, Bryan and I (along with a sleeping infant Miriam) took Callie to the     veterinarian’s office for one last visit.    As Bryan and I said our goodbyes to our “first baby” we both cried so deeply that I thought the veterinarian was going to send a grief counselor to calm us down.  I didn’t realize how deeply loosing our last cat would upset me.  I had to rally quickly, because I had to help Bryan collect himself.  After finally returning home and re-grouping, we  talked through how we would tell Rachel and Sarah the grim news.  It was tough, but we made it through.  I wanted to blog about our grief a year ago, but it was just too much.  I wanted to just get over it and move on.  Even though it’s been over a year since the cats passed away, it is still difficult to write about …

We hoped that a decent fish tank with pretty fish would fill the whole left in our hearts.  It was a nice distraction, but of course the girls wanted a cat.  Sarah actually wanted a puppy, but Bryan vetoed that. After over a year of begging for a new cat, we finally began the process of finding a new pet for the family.  We went to the Humane Society, and Bryan and the girls instantly fell in love with a cat that looked so much like Callie that it could pass for her twin.  In the suite next to Callie’s twin was Buster’s twin.  After a little bit of heart tugging from the girls, I agree to BOTH cats!

Rachel meeting “Marlin”. I have no idea how she came up with the name Marlin for a cat!?!

Sarah petting on “the cute baby cat”!










My brief reprieve from dealing with cat hair and cat puke was nice, but love makes you agree to crazy things!  Well, maybe it’s due to my previous exposure to toxoplasmosis (possibly transmitted from our previous cats) that is controlling my brain!!!

Bryan wanted to name the new additions “Sid and Nancy”. The way these two play together, it seemed fitting. In the end we settled with Rachel’s name selection – Hazel and Marlin.

Callie – version 2.0, also known as “Hazel”.

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