Pets. I never meant to have this many. Really.
Three dogs, four cats. Anyone will tell you (and they're right): that's too damn many. Not that I want to lose any, because I don't. But holy helen, it's a lot. I know that.
It happened like this:
I had Digit, the cat of my heart. He was born a jackass, and remains a jackass. No one likes him but me, and he returns the favor. He is NOT a nice cat. To temper him, I got him a girl cat, back in 1998 or so. Adah. She's completely neurotic, and is a slave to anything or anyone touching her head. She sits and drools and will self-pet, if given a sleeping hand to rub against. She's exhausting, and she and Digit never made friends.
Along came Lala. She had a dog (Harriet, the dog of her heart, the best dog I ever knew) and an almost-dog, Miss Idaho (a chihuahua who meows).
Happy family. Two dogs, two cats. Couldn't ask for anything more, right? Right.
I wanted my OWN dog. Along comes Clara, the border collie. Then Digit disappeared, and we all mourned his death. In the throes of grief, three months after his disappearance, I went to the animal shelter to adopt a boy cat in his memory, and accidentally came home with two boy kittens I couldn't bear separating. Waylon and Willie made three cats, for those keeping score.
Then, four months after his disappearance, Digit returned from the dead. (Really. He'd probably jumped into a truck or car and been transported away, and per the vet, he'd been walking for FOUR MONTHS to get home. The pads and claws of his feet were worn to nothing. Most of his rear end was lost to a feral bite and resulting infection. The vet couldn't find a heartbeat and said I had a zombie-cat. He was hours from death when he showed up at our back porch, swaying, almost unable to cry. *I* was not so hampered and can still well up just thinking about it.)
Total: 3 dogs, 4 cats. SO MANY. Then Harriet died (really died, sadly), and we were very, very sad. Months later, Lala needed a dog to hug and found Clementine, the most ridiculous pit bull/beagle mix anyone's ever met. She wants ONLY to hug, to lean, to spoon, to cuddle. She doesn't care about food, air, or water, as long as a human is loving her.
Total: Still 3 dogs, 4 cats. We are completely outnumbered, and today, when Lala was sick and I took a nap in the bed with her, we were covered with animals. I can hear Martha wheezing from here when I say that we woke up and looked around (the animals don't usually sleep with us) to find we were infested with animals. There was one on each limb and some left over. It was crazy.
But it was joyful, too. It's utterly impossible to ever be lonely in the Hehu House. We are loved, as are they, and we all of us know it.