I grew up in a household where, at any given time, there were a handful of cats and possibly a dog, and some fish, and maybe a few hand-raised rodents. Households had critters, that’s just how it was. As an adult, and a writer, it always seemed essential to me to have a cat (or two), for office companionship. But I haven’t had a dog, one that was mine, since college. My life – travel and housing – really didn’t support it.
Until, a few years ago, it did.
It’s not as though I didn’t have opportunities since then to adopt. For the past several years, I’ve been volunteering at my local animal shelter, and my friends started taking bets on when I would end up bringing a dog home with me. But other than the occasional week-long fostering, I resisted – mainly because I had two cats at home already, one of whom was older and in ill health.
We lost that elder cat a few months ago, and I thought that – between Covid-19 and moving from a rental to my own place, maybe I should just wait before thinking about getting a new animal. Maybe my remaining cat would like being an Only for a while, after all.
Well, no. He really doesn’t, if the way he keeps going to the door and demanding to be let out so he can look for his missing buddy is any indication. And when I took in a foster pup for a week…the door-demanding stopped. Only to return again once the foster pup was adopted.
Okay then. I mean, the cat’s insisting, right?
Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue. I volunteer at a shelter! Finding a new companion would be easy! But the shelter is closed, the volunteers on hiatus, and most of the animals out to long-term foster homes already. So. Time to turn to the internet like everyone else.
I opened up an adoption page for cats, and started to skim through the available faces. And quickly discovered that, um…nope. Just the thought of adding another cat to the household made my entire soul seize up, and my heart ache. That space still belonged to my elder cat, however gone he might be.
So. Maybe it was time, finally, for me to have another dog? Writers could have dogs as well as cats, I’d been assured. And one of each would balance the household nicely.
But. When the country first went into Lockdown, knowing that they’d be home all the time, and finally had no excuse to delay, people raced out and adopted dogs like crazy. Which was great for the dogs, and also great for shelters, who now had fewer animals to care for, with their reduced staff, but ….
Suddenly, adopting a dog is almost as difficult as adopting a human baby. Especially since I can’t take just any pup; they have to be cat-friendly. That rules out a lot of possibilities.
For several weeks, I’ve been haunting the petfinder page the same way I’d haunted the real estate pages months before, looking for a face and description that tugged at me, and said “this one is maybe meant to be mine.”
So far, I’ve applied for seven different pups. Three have been adopted out from under me. Two, the waiting period has come and gone without contact, so I’m assuming they didn’t think I was a good match. I’m still waiting on the remaining two – and inching slowly back to the shelter pages, hoping that a new face has been posted.
Meanwhile, we have a short-term foster pup in the house for the weekend. And the cat has stopped demanding to be let out to look for his lost buddy.
(tune in next month for Further Adventures of Pupper Hunt)