Two big things happened in our homelife yesterday. First, I got a notice from our worker at Adopt America Network that we’ve been selected to go to committee for one of the boys we’ve asked about. He’s 10 and lives far, far away from us, but there are many reasons why we might be a good home for him and apparently his worker likes us. So we’ll be one of however many homes they consider and we’ll see from there how things go. It’s out of our hands.
That email came at the end of the workday, but when I got home I found our little cat, Thing Two, curled up dead at the bottom of the stairs. After breaking down completely, I was able to take care of the other animals, wrap the body, and meet Lee over at our vet’s office. Our vet is great. She lives on a big farm and has a place there where she buries pets she’s treated, so that’s where Thing Two is now. (I’m crying just writing this.)
So since I’d gotten a Kreative Blogger award from SocialWrkr24/7 and from Carmel I’m going to cheat a bit and not write “seven things about me that readers may not know” but share seven of the things we discussed last night about Thing Two and our 23 months with him.
1. Only my earliest readers would know the story of how Thing Two’s entry into our home as a kitten was what helped domesticate our dog Pocky and make her more ready to be around kids. He had us all wrapped around his little paw, even when he was peeing in a potted plant to get Lee’s attention or scratching the couch while she slept (ditto) or finding a way to get into our heating ducts from the basement.
2. When Lee and I moved in together in 2007, we butted heads a lot. I was moving into her space but didn’t always want to follow her rules about how best to use it and didn’t want to give up all my stuff just because she already had stuff. It was rough for a while there, and I found myself deferring to her a lot because I thought it made both our lives easier. When I insisted on getting a kitten, though, I held my ground even though she thought it was a horrible idea and that a kitten would trash our house. As always happens in these stories, Thing Two ended up being her absolute favorite pet. And when we went through hard times, I’d look at how she was with him and know that she could love deeply and honestly and selflessly on someone else’s terms even if she had a hard time showing all those things to me all the time.
3. Thing Two was not smart in the slightest. I don’t think he ever even learned his name. And yet he was absolutely loving and adorable. We spent so much of our time with him amused by his antics and his pure sweetness. I told Lee that he brought nothing but joy into our lives and that now it’s our job to keep it there.
4. Thing Two integrated the bar where Lee worked as a bartender while putting herself through grad school. At the time he came home with us, that bar was letting people bring their dogs in. (I personally think that’s kind of gross, but I’m not a dog person.) We’d been joking for a long time about how unacceptable it is to have pro-dog bigotry in a happily queer bar, and so one of Thing Two’s first nights at home when Lee had met a friend for drinks, I called to ask if I could bring him over. Even the woman with cat allergies (cat allergies being the excuse for excluding cats) and he was the hit of the place. He slept in one bartender’s hoodie pocket, he cuddled with the woman with allergies, who couldn’t keep her eyes off him. We got incredibly cute photos of him curled up in a martini glass. And I came up with the brilliant idea of creating a kitten delivery service to bring kittens to bars when there’s tension or violence. I could make millions implementing that idea, and instead I’m sharing it with my beloved readers! Anyway, dogs are no longer allowed at the bar (except the owners’) and neither are cats, which seems like a fine decision to me. Everyone who saw him there still asks after him, though. Just that little amount of time with him was enough to make happy memories in many lives.
5. Thing Two’s big brother Thing One (they share a mother but are from different litters; we suspect Thing One’s littermate may have been Thing Two’s father, which could have made him more susceptible to genetic problems) was the reason we got a kitten. I thought he shouldn’t be home alone during the day and so I pressured Lee into the kitten thing. Poor Thing One tolerated his little brother and they napped together regularly, but Thing One is a smart little loner. Thing Two always wanted to be in everyone’s business, jumping on keyboards, throwing himself on his back in front of the dog so she could lick his belly. Thing One learned to be an incredibly patient brother, never ever fighting back harshly no matter how many billions of times Thing Two jumped him to tussle, always being wiling to move over a little to make room when his brother wanted to sleep on him. Thing Two had that effect on all of us, made us love better with his guileless pushy sweetness.
6. I have never really held a dead body before, certainly not one I loved. As I carried him up the stairs at first, knowing there was no way I could feel a pulse when his muscles had already gone hard, I couldn’t stop hoping or crying. And then I called Lee, called the vet’s office, took care of things. I’m glad it was me who found him, because Lee would have had a much harder time with it. This situation is giving me many occasions to be glad because things could have been worse. It’s reminding me that loving brings heartbreak, but that doesn’t invalidate the loving.
7. Lee believes that things happen for a reason, and it’s helping her to look at Thing Two’s death as a chance to open our home to someone new, someone human. I had worried at times how Thing Two would handle her loving someone else so much she wouldn’t have time to baby him, how our child might feel when she’s so besotted with her little furball Thing Two. Of course I’m sorry that I don’t have to worry about those things anymore. I’m sad our child won’t know that whatever else may be wrong in the world, there’s a fuzzy little guy who still wants to cuddle with you.
But that’s where we are, in a house that seems too empty and too quiet. We still have each other and our love for each other. We still have great lives and are very fortunate. We’re sad, but we can support each other. And we’ve got a social worker who actually likes us, which is new! So we’re facing the future with joy, hope, sadness. None of this is what I expected when I started the day yesterday, but I know we’re going somewhere.