Saturday, December 19, 2015

The search for the perfect family pet & introducing...

So Maisie is fond of animals. Really fond. She has always wanted a pet of some sort. Mostly a dog, but we have never been in the position where we were able or willing to get one. Maisie would also like a cat, a few goldfish, some hermit crabs, a turtle, a rabbit, oh and a yellow boa constrictor that she wants to name Banana... sensing a theme? If it's an animal, sign her up.

Austin and I had a dog, Scooter, when I was pregnant with Maisie and for a few months of Maisie's new life. New parenthood, busy schedules and our demanding responsibility to care after a baby proved to be too much and unfortunately we made the difficult decision to re-home him. It was rough, but I am comforted with knowing we made the right decision for us and for him. I think that experience scarred us for pets. We didn't want to relive the attachment and disappointment of losing something that we really wanted. So we knew that when it came time to start discussing pets we needed to be ready, willing and able to put any and all effort it required. Well the time came- it helps that we have a willing 5 year old who in the most part is fairly responsible and likes to take care of things.

So an email was written to our landlord discussing our intentions of having a furry creature as a new resident of our living quarters. He responded back with "I guess a cat would be fine." So after a couple weeks of debating we drove to the local shelter and almost immediately fell for a little black and white kitten with green eyes, who followed Maisie around where ever she went, doing figure eights around her legs. If that wasn't enough to push us over, it was when he gently climbed up onto my shoulders, draped his body around my neck like a scarf and happily purred with his eyes closed. Handsome "George Clooney" came home with us.

He would constantly hang out on our shoulders or necks.

The first night.

All was well until the next morning when I woke up with puffy, blood shot eyes and a nose that dripped like a leaky faucet. I just thought I was getting a cold until I left the house for a few hours and noticed I felt so much better. Then lone and behold, within minutes of being home I was back to itchy eyes and not being able to go more than a few minutes without blowing my nose. I was devastated. We all were. We knew I couldn't go on feeling like this for 10+ years of cat ownership. We tried bathing him thinking that might help, keeping our bedroom door shut permanently and diligently vacuuming. But after two days and even with doubling up on my anti-histamines I still was just a mess with allergies. So we tearfully took him back to the shelter. We were sad for us and sad for him, but had no doubts he would snatched up soon, but selfishly we wanted him.

Austin was reliving our Scooter debacle again. He forever swore off pets, until we came across an animal I never thought in a million years we would own mostly because it's a rodent. But we all fell hard for... wait for it... a guinea pig (!!!!)?

It turns out he is the perfect pet for us. He bonded quickly with both Maisie and Ellie. He wheeks, whistles and purrs when he's excited, or when he hears the closet door open that houses his food and hay, or when he hears the fridge open for lettuce. If you talk to him he quickly scampers out and excitedly talks back. Also, turns out guinea pigs are actually really smart (like associating the sounds of the closet and fridge with food) he even has potty trained himself, knows his name and also can be taught to walk on a harness (yes we are totally going to walk our guinea pig in the summer). The best part is that he can be put back in his cage. We don't have an animal running around our house all the time, with fur and accidents and scratched up door jams and/or furniture. Even after months of owning him, the girls still get excited to see, pet, hold and feed him. It also helps that he's adorable...

Oh and for his name? Meet Benny Porkchop: (yes, Maisie named him)

The first night we got him. Only a couple months old.

Maisie excitedly holding her new "responsibility". His eyes crack me up! They were bugging out like this for the first two days we had him- he may have been a tad freaked out.

A few weeks into our guinea pig adventure.

Maisie and Benny a few weeks ago.

While are are excited for the day we own a home with a yard, so we can eventually get a dog and the various other animals Maisie and Ellie talk us into, we are content now. We are happy with our addition of sweet little Benny Porkchop Lee.