Unconventional Canines

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I’ve always been a dog lover and even used to want one of my own.

I’ve filed that idea away for the time being, though.

My husband had said no to a dog for many years because of his allergies. Then one day, out of the blue he agreed that I could finally get the Dachshund that I had always been begging him for, as long as he didn’t have to walk it or clean up after it. I said, “What about your allergies?” To which he replied, “Benadryl.”

So, I had immersed myself in a search for a canine companion. I had been searching rescue websites and asking around for about a week, when 2 things happened.

First of all, Ray happened. Ray Darr. The rabbit that, I have surmised, was probably found abandoned because Satan had thrown the hairy little troublemaker out of hell. My husband declared that if Ray stayed, the idea of getting a dog was out.

Then my step daughter’s dog Athena came to spend a night at our house.

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When I stuck my head into the girls’ room that night, the smell of dog was so overwhelming that my anxiety went through the roof. That’s when I realized that while I may have made great strides of improvement in the OCD department, my issues still weren’t ready to face dog ownership.

I was rather saddened by this until my daughter pointed out that we do, in fact, have dogs. Two of them. They just don’t bark or need to be taken outside regularly like your customary canines, which makes them that much better.

You see, Ray Darr thinks he’s a dog.

He digs holes:

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Yeah, don’t try to look innocent.

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He goes for rides:

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He gives kisses:

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He has his own harness and leash so we can take him for walks, where he knocks people down and jumps on them:

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Then, if he doesn’t claw the flesh right off your legs begging when he knows you have food of any kind, he just plain steals it:

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So you see he’s not really a rabbit, he’s just a rabbit-shaped dog.

And then there’s Lizzie:

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Now, don’t let her lack of fur fool you. She’s just your average pooch in so many ways.

She’ll flop down on top of her house for afternoon naps:

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She’ll lie in awkward positions:

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She’ll climb on top of things that she shouldn’t:

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(I guess the secret’s out. Now you know who writes most of my blog posts.)

She’ll knock stuff over and then look guilty:

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You can put food on top of her head and command her to stay:

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And she begs, too. Her tank sits near our dining room table, and at dinner time, she’ll rush over to the corner, mash her little face up against the glass, and start clawing until we notice her.

Then, either me or my bleeding heart, animal junkie daughter or will get her out and let her join us for dinner:

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Yep, that’s the dinner scene most nights at our house.

She’ll eat pretty much anything, too, because she’s just a dog in a lizard suit.

So I guess, in reality, I am a dog owner.

No matter how unconventional my canines happen to be.

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Happenings in the Hood: A Kitty Conundrum

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There’s an epidemic currently sweeping through the hood with a vengeance. I like to refer to this epidemic as “Stray Cat Fever”.

You see, the property that my husband manages has now become overrun with cats. You couldn’t even spit without hitting a feral cat. There’s probably around 2 dozen or so that hang around the breezeways, bushes, and air conditioning units; fighting, breeding, and throwing wild raucous parties until all hours of the night.

People around the property will put food out for them out of kindness, but of course it just keeps them hanging around.

One might wonder where they’ve all come from, but then when you take a closer look and see the various degrees of growth within the cat population you realize: there’s more kitty inbreeding that has taken place in recent months than you might find in even the most remote band of Ozarkian Hillfolk.

If you’ve ever thought that the stereotypical breeding rabbit tales held any measure of truth, I can assure you; they’ve got nothing on cats. A sweep of the bushes around the property on any given day will likely turn up a litter or two. I’ve lost track of how many litters of kittens we’ve found either behind AC fences, under bushes, under the propane tank, or even in the laundry room behind the washing machines.

We have been known to round up a litter occasionally and find them homes, but we’ve pretty much exhausted our supply of bleeding heart adoptees. Now my husband will generally ignore each new batch that he stumbles upon in hopes that they will eventually just wander away, but the epidemic has gotten so out of hand that it can no longer be ignored. Some of the smaller, not quite fully grown cats are getting up under the hoods of peoples cars and causing all sorts of mischief.

Yep, kitty population control has become quite a conundrum. There’s no real solution, either, as I found out after making a few phone calls today.

City animal control will come and round them up, take them to get fixed, and then bring them right back to where they got them from and release them. This will take care of the breeding problem of course, but then we still have a ton of feral cats running around the property.

It’s the only option we seem to have with the adult cats, though, so my husband intends to get animal control out as soon as possible to do what they do.

But then there’s the kittens.

After finding a fresh batch of kittens hanging out behind one of the buildings today, my daughter and I got this brilliant idea that we would gather them up in a box so that she could take them into the office with her and get her kitty fix for the rest of the afternoon.

I’ve had better ideas in my lifetime, believe me.

You see, my daughter just happens to be an animal addict. She’s a junkie for anything with 4 legs and a tail. If she goes for more than a few hours without loving on some critter, she visibly shakes and even drools a little until she can get her next dose of cuddles.  It’s a disturbing display, and I’m a terrible mother because I’ll actually feed her addiction.

Which I did as usual today.

So now we had this box of kittens that we’d gathered up, and my husband’s response to our box full of cuteness was, “You’re not putting them back on my property now that you’ve caught them!”

Uh oh. We weren’t thinking that far in advance when we just wanted to cuddle kittens.

Well then.

I made a few more calls and not one single animal adoption agency in Jacksonville will take in stray kittens because they’re all currently overrun with unwanted domestics. Humane society won’t take in drop-offs, either. They put you on a waiting list first, and then you’re likely stuck with the unwanted animal for weeks until they decide to take it.

Great.

So I tried one last number at about 5:30 today and got ahold of a lady that gave me some very helpful advice that actually worked!

She was with another adoption agency that of course could not take the kittens, either, but she was really kind and tried to help me the best she could under the circumstances. Here’s what she suggested I do:

“Don’t call the Humane Society, but instead take your box of kittens directly to their adoption center and tell them that it was left in the laundry room of the property. Inform them that they can’t stay there, and that you’re unable to care for them yourself for any length of time for whatever reason.”

Well, I didn’t need to come up with a reason as to why we couldn’t keep them. They really can’t stay with us; my husband is insanely allergic to anything with fur. We’re even pushing the limits of what his sinuses can handle by allowing Ray Darr, the world’s worst excuse for a pet rabbit stay in the girls’ room across the house.

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I really hated to lie about the rest, though, and don’t make a habit of lying. Lying is wrong and I know this. Telling this little fib to the Humane Society went against everything I stand for, but a bind is a bind and I had gotten myself into one. For the good of the helpless little critters in question, I did as advised.

The only other problem, though, was that the Humane Society closed at 6. After battling traffic to get there, we managed to make it with just 5 minutes to spare. They agreed to take the kittens after hearing our *gulp* lie, but there was no one left there to process the admission. So, the really nice lady that was closing up told us to bring them back first thing in the morning, and she would even leave a note explaining to the morning staff that we’d be bringing them in. She suggested that we maybe keep them in a bathroom or something just for tonight for the sake of my husband’s allergies.

So, until 11 a.m. tomorrow morning, we have a box full of kittens.

My daughter is floating along on a kitten high for the time being.

Cute little buggers, aren’t they?

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I bet they’ll have no problem finding homes.