Saturday, September 25, 2010

A New Pet

One of the saddest moments that our family has yet experienced happened this summer when our cat died. Our 16 year-old Puck was old, sick, and grumpy for the past several years. We all knew she was living on borrowed time. Yet, when it came time to let her go, we were incredibly sad. It was far more difficult than I ever imagined it would be. There were so many tears and I still miss her dreadfully. Every single day, I notice something outside and wonder if it’s Puck sitting outside the back door waiting for someone to let her in. Every night when I am here writing while the rest of the house sleeps, I feel like she might come and rub against my leg while I sit at my desk.

Puck was a grumpy cat who preferred to be the only cat in the family for her whole life. Despite the fact that she came to live with me when she was just 8 weeks old and I loved her immensely, she never sat in my lap until the week before she died. She was just not a lap cat. So, we tried other pets to fulfill our craving for a lap animal. But the situation was always miserable and we found that the only way for peace in our house was for Puck to live as the only cat. And forget about a dog. She could not have tolerated that. She only tolerated the guinea pigs because they are basically furry lumps that never bothered her.

As the children grew, they also wanted other pets. And our refrain was, “That won’t work for Puck.” Knowing that the cat was old and in ill health, the kids than began their own refrain. “When Puck dies….” followed by whatever animal wishes they had at the moment. Usually it was, “…can we get a dog?” or “…can we get three kittens?” or “ can we get bunnies?”

Two things have happened now that Puck has finally died. The kids are far sadder than they expected to be. Many of the tears over Puck have been mine. But the rest of the family has cried considerably over her.

The second thing is that the request for pets has begun. I asked the kids to wait. I can’t even think about a new pet yet. It’s just too much. I have not even cleaned up all of the messes left by the old, dead cat or even scattered her ashes (yes, we had the cat cremated).

But Big Sister could not resist asking for a pet when she found the latest object of her affection. We took a homeschool tour of an exotic pet farm this week. And Big Sister hugged me and said with great seriousness and intense passion, “Mommy, can we please get a wallaby?!”

Look and see. Pretty cute. But not going to happen.

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