Friday, June 16, 2006

Fur Babies/Animal Parenting

We have three very 'unique' pets at home. We started 16 years ago with a tiny black kitten. Mr. Bee and I went to the shelter and looked at all of the cute kitties that were begging for attention; all rubs and purrs. Then we went to the a dimly lit, cobweb-filled corner of the shelter. Thunder rumbled. Lightning flashed. Against the far back wall we could make out a small cage. Through the bars of the kennel black, sharp-clawed paws slashed the air. An attendant came and pushed a plate laden with ripe carrion across the room with a long stick, enticing whatever was in there to make tasmanian devil type sounds. "That's the one we want." says Mr. Bee. No cutsie, suck-up cats for him. And so we took Sebastian home.

We've never regretted the decision. He has been the loviest, most loyal, little guy I've ever met. He showers us with kisses and songs and snuggles. We cannot, however convince anyone else he's ever met that he is such a sweet boy. In the presence of anyone other than me and the mister, he becomes a shrieking, screaming, biting, scratching, spitting demon from further down in the depths of hell than even Stephen King has ever imagined. He flies across the air towards people who aren't even aware of his presence until his talons and teeth sink into their unsuspecting shins. Anyone offering a kind hand and a 'what a nice kitty' will pull back a stump. This was the product of our first attempt at animal parenting.

Furbaby number two is Sneakers the bunny; rescued from a program here at work that teaches inner-city kids about baby duckies, chickies and bunnies each spring. They bring in bunnies from a nearby farm and the kids have the option to take them home at the end of the week. Three years ago there was one bunny that was orphaned by it's third grader. Rather than send her back to the farm to be eaten. I took her home. Teeny, tiny, cute, fuzzy little handful of fluff. Docile little bunny. Sweet, snuggly little bunny. Yeah...right. She was snuggly until she got used to her new cage and about 12 weeks old. Then she became an territorial, aggressive, hormonally charged little she-devil. One finger through the hatch of HER cage and she grunts like a pig, charges and bites whatever she can get a hold of. Hard. One of Scott's friends fed her while we were on vacation and ended up using the Reader's Digest as a shield just to get food in her dish. Even having her 'fixed' which they assure us would cool her jets didn't work. Once you get her out of the cage, she is all snuggly, but until then she is the Vorpal Bunny from Monty Python's worst nightmare.

Recently she has discovered that overturning her litter box in her cage makes Mommy very angry. She's always been a shameless beggar, but now she begs for treat and if I don't come give her one, she picks up the corner of her potty box and looks at me. Blood shed, threats, extortion. Is that the image YOU had when you read all those stories about Peter Cottontail?

Still stupid enough to think that this too was a fluke and not bad Furbaby parenting skills, we adopted Wee Fergus three years ago. The shelter called me and said that they had some kind of a 3-4 year old Maltese, Lahasa Ahpso, Bijon Friese mix dog that they though we should come look at, so we did. We took their word for the supposed breed since he was totally shaved when we first layed eyes on him. He looked like a tiny pink pig with a long naked scaly rat-like tail. But he seemed to want to go in the car with us so we took him home.

After one week he convinced us that little puppies are so cold and alone on the floor all night (even in his expensive sheepskin bed) and that they really need to sleep in the big nest with the rest of their pack. After the first night of allowing this, he whined and moaned (literally...he doesn't bark he 'hummmmms') every night until allowed on the bed. He can't jump up on himself because he's too small. Once firmly esconsed on the bed, he takes the lion's share of the room as well as the covers and somehow reworks the laws of gravity so that if you should try to move him he weighs a boneless, immovable 800 pounds rather than the 12 that the bathroom scale shows. If he awakens and realizes he's being moved, he hums grumpily. Plus, from the minute it gets dark he spends his time shooting us meaningful looks, humming and then tearing down the hallway to the bedroom. He wants to go to bed. It's his favorite thing. He repeats this over and over and over until we actually go to bed around 10:00. It makes for a long evening when it starts getting dark at 4PM in the winter.

At 6 months he needed ACL surgery (just like the football players) because he blew out his knee practicing flying lessons off the bed. $1500. A year later he needed hip surgery to correct an old unattended injury. $1500 A few months later he went profoundly deaf....not that he listened to a thing you told him or came when you called him anyway. And now he is losing his vision and can only see thing in bright daylight and about 5 paces away. 3-4 year old dog? I don't think so!
I believe he's closer to the geriatric category!

Recently he has begun to attack the vacuum cleaner. No one knows why. He was fine with it for three years. But now the best bet is to put him up on the couch while you're doing the rug. When you move the vac towards him, he does an Elvis-lip thing. When you move it back he stops. Towards...Elvis. Back...normal. It's disturbing but entertaining.

The only thing weirder than each one individually is all three together. The cat rules the roost The dog is afraid of him after some set-tos that happened immediately after we brought him home from the pound- and rightly so. The dog is also afraid of the bunny because she is bigger than him and follows him around trying to kiss him. (Gone are the days of the cute, little handful of fluff.) The bunny LOVES the dog and the cat. She follows the dog around as he keeps looking alternately over his shoulder fearfully at her and desperately at us until we finally take pity on him and put him on the couch out of her reach. The cat allows her to follow him around for a bit, thus lulling her into a false sense of security, whereupon he whips around and solidly thunks her on the top of the head with a lighting quick swipe. She looks dazed and bewildered for a few minutes before she shakes if off and starts in again.

All in all it keeps things interesting around the old homestead, but I'm guessing that under the 'three strikes you're out' rule, the ASPCA must have a poster with our faces on it down at headquarters.

2 comments:

Scotti B said...

You ain't right Molly Bee. :-)

Sister Sue said...

I'm reading your old posts..just discovered you after you left a comment over at my place...and the post about your critters? I'm lauging so hard I'm crying. SOOOOOOOO funny. Thank you!!