It seems like I woke up one day, looked around, and realized that we have an unusual number of pets. It sneaks up on you. You find a shelter cat and take it home. Someone has an unwanted and uncared-for litter of puppies, so you take one home. “What’s one more,” is the question you ask. Then you suddenly realize you have five dogs and four cats all sleeping in your bed and monopolizing the covers.
When people visit our house, it’s pure chaos and confusion with a mix of panic.
We joke about it. It’s a great novelty to use at social gatherings when there’s a lull. “Ha, ha, ha. We’re crazy pet people. We don’t run the house; our animals do.” And when people visit our house, it’s pure chaos and confusion with a mix of panic. We had to cut the doorbell wires to end that constant fire drill.
But, the truth is we adore them, and we wouldn’t change a thing about our life with them. Almost every evening, we sit on the couch to watch TV or read, and we’re literally covered in animals, dogs on our laps, and cats at our feet. We look at each other with big smiles and say how much we love each of them. All of them came to us from a rescue situation, and with the ease at which they melded together, I gotta believe they were meant to be with us.
Their photos are also displayed on the home page of this website, but I thought it would be fun to share a little more about each of them, how we got them and what makes them unique. So in no particular order, allow me to introduce our pack.
T H E D O G S
Bear — the perfect blend of Siberian Husky, German Shepherd, and Rottweiler
I wrote a lot about Bear in my post for the Betty White Challenge. You can learn about her history there. But in a nutshell, she was rescued from a community dump in Red Lake, Minnesota. She was my first foster dog and my immediate foster failure. After looking into her striking blue eyes, I adopted her as my own. She’s the oldest member of our pack at 12 and the leader. She would protect every one of us, even the cats. Maybe the cats. She is happiest when we’re all home together and will wiggle around on her back when she’s most content. When I do overnight pet sitting, it’s not unusual for her to sleep at the front door all night waiting for my return.
Bella da Ball — a bold mix of Yorkie and Shih Tzu
Bella is our smallest and also our most resilient. Bad luck follows her. We were horrified to come home one afternoon to find her eye had been dislodged. We rushed her to the vet, where they tried to save the eye, but eventually, it had to be removed. We were both gutted by the thought of her losing the eye, but Bella didn’t miss a beat. She jumped right back into life as nothing had happened. While living in Colorado, Bella stepped directly on a rattlesnake. It struck her. We lived hours from any emergency vet, but we were fortunate to have a retired vet and vet tech down the road. We were at their house within minutes, but Bella was already unable to stand and struggling to breathe. Living in rattlesnake country, our neighbors had the antivenom and, without question, saved her life. Don’t let her size and single eyeball fool you. She was rescued off the streets of Colorado Springs, where she was successfully fending for herself. She’s a badass.
Scout — a Siberian Husky jumped his fence and found an Australian Shepherd
Scout is a highly skilled cat whisperer. She made it her mission to befriend all of the cats, whether they wanted her attention or not. It took serious dedication, but she convinced every cat to love her over time. I can’t recall when she’s ever gotten mad or been anything but kind in her three years. She’s pure of heart and wants to love and be loved. Belly rubs are her life fuel.
Bentley — a Supermutt with the voice of a Beagle and the heart of a Miniature Pinscher
Bentley is our feeler dog. She absorbs whatever emotion is in the room and carries it with her. If you’re sick, she’s the one who will not leave your side. But you also need to be careful not to speak too emphatically about anything because she’ll confuse your emotion for anger and bolt to your side to offer a comforting paw. She’s also the primary reason the doorbell is disconnected. She was the only girl in an unwanted litter of pups who were going to be euthanized.
Molly — All Great Pyrenees from head to tail
When we lived in Colorado, we had a ranch with a menagerie of chickens, ducks, a goose, turkeys, pigs, and goats. An engineering bobcat figured out a way into our chicken coop, avoiding the electric fence. The bobcat started coming every night, taking birds one by one. Our local game warden suggested getting a ranch dog to protect the flock. Enter Molly. The very next day, while repeating our mantra, “what’s one more,” we drove to a Great Pyrenees rescue and found Molly. Barely a year old, she was malnourished and so, so sad. She was ours in an instant, and she would be a working dog to protect our flock. Now more than a year later, she’s yet to be introduced to a chicken and has never slept anywhere other than inside our warm and comfortable house. She epitomizes the “gentle giant” moniker of the breed and can steal your heart in a single glance.
T H E C A T S
King George Earl
As with all of our cats, George was a stray in need of a home. He was posted on social media after showing up at some random house. He looked a little like a cat we once had, and that was that. He was warm and safe with us that same night. As the only male in the pack, he must feel outnumbered. Each day starts with his belly closely positioned to the warmth of the heat vent. If we hear something crash to the ground in the middle of the night, we’ll both instinctively call out from our sleep, “GEORGE!” I call him the leader of the roaming band of cat terrorists.
Satan bears that name the same way a bald guy gets called curly. She was a street kitten with some health problems. She’s still tiny years later, but she essentially rules the cat contingent. She’s the first to greet strangers at the door and the first to hop on their lap to be petted. She sleeps on my legs every night and gets a little melancholy when I do overnight pet sitting. She lives for cheese.
As a kid, I was obsessed with Snoopy. Snoopy was born at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm. He had a brother there named Spike, and from my earliest memories, I had decided I’d get a dog and name it Spike. Well, close enough. Each morning Spike puts her front paws on my leg to let me know it’s time for our daily walk. So I pick her up and carry her from floor to floor, giving her a bird’s eye view of the whole house. Not sure how we started this tradition, but we never miss a day. When I write, she sits on my lap and watches the cursor move from line to line. So she’s the ghostwriter behind my blogs.
The quintessential aloof cat, Baby vaporizes at the first sign of something different. She rarely wants to be petted, but she always wants to be with us. The only animal she trusts and is endlessly affectionate with is Scout. She loves Scout to the point of smothering her. Scout can’t lay down without Baby sprinting to be by her side. She was born a barn kitten in Colorado, where a predator would have eaten her in her first few months had I not brought her home.