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"Pets Are Family, Too!"

The decision to adopt a pet can be a very difficult process. On the other hand, it can be a very simple choice, driven by emotion.  One time several years ago, I took my children to visit the Humane Society to “look” at the cute little kitties. We were thinking that someday, possibly, after a great deal of discussion and planning we might adopt a cat. Might.  Maybe.  Possibly.  An agreement to adopt a pet had definitely not been reached in our household.

I remember walking into the cat room at the Humane Society and seeing lots of adorable and amazingly cute kittens. Some were perky and playful, while others were sleepy. There were also some aloof adult cats lurking about, but we really focused on playing with the kittens that day.  The kids and I had a fun afternoon as we played with several kittens.

Just as we were about to leave, I spied a beautiful yellow tabby (I think I even saw a glow around his body and trumpets gently sounded out a heavenly sound, something like, ta-da!). I just had to get to know this kitten!  In reality, he was the most pathetic, sickly looking kitten I had ever seen, but that only endeared him to me.  I simply had to adopt this cat. That was the end of it. My kids liked the kitten okay, but they had liked all of the kittens. This particular little fur-ball spoke to my heart.  It was love at first sight!

I adopted the kitten on the spot. He had ear mites and worms, and looked like he was not long for this world, but none of this deterred me. I was convinced that this cat was destined to live with us.

My husband was not able to accompany us on our visit to the Humane Society, as he was at work. He was an animal control warden at the time and the irony of this is not lost on me! My husband was not nearly as enthusiastic as I about our new family member. He reminded me that we hadn’t actually agreed to get a cat, but that we were in the preliminary fact-finding stage of deciding if we were ready to get a pet and if so, what type of pet we would get to add to our family. The idea of getting a pet was to help the kids learn about the responsibility of caring for an animal and that this wasn’t to be an emotional spur-of-the-moment decision.

I had leap-frogged over all of these discussions and had bullheadedly just followed my heart without regard to my husband’s opinion on the matter. In retrospect, this probably wasn’t the smartest decision I have ever made. But, I had reasoned in my mind, if I had waited to talk to my hubby, this poor adorable kitty would probably end up being adopted by someone else, and I simply could not have that!

As it turns out, Rowdy was the best pet ever. We loved him and he loved us unconditionally until he died nine years later. I cannot put into words how much love and happiness this angel brought into our home. I am glad that I stepped out of my normally conservative and cautious behavior and just took that leap of faith and adopted Rowdy without overanalyzing it. I trusted my gut and made the spontaneous decision to adopt him and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made in my life (luckily for me).

At one point, after we had had Rowdy for several years, we chose to sell our house, move to another part of the metro and rent an apartment. When it came time to find a place to live, the most important consideration on our list of possible places to live was whether or not the landlord allowed pets. We never considered surrendering Rowdy as he was part of the family. We visited several apartment communities and were concerned about finding a building that wouldn’t be too loud for Rowdy. We also wanted to make sure the unit we rented would have plenty of windows so that he could sit on the window ledge and look outside to see what was going on. These considerations were more important to both my husband and me because of our great love for this wonderful family member than the size of the unit or any amenities. We had a very tight bond with our cat and wanted to ensure that our move to an apartment would be an easy transition for Rowdy, because we knew that he didn’t adapt well to change. In the end we did find a nice rental unit that suited both our needs and Rowdy’s (one of the bedroom windows in our unit was directly over the entrance to the underground parking garage door, so he could sit in the window and watch cars come and go all day long to his little heart’s content!) and we were grateful to find a home that welcomed our cherished pet.