And Then There Were Five

I’m a cat person. Always have been, always will. The first words out of my mouth were probably, “Mom, Dad, can we get a cat?” Just about the second Byron and I got our first apartment together, I talked him into getting not one, but TWO feline friends. We’ve had our little fur-devils for years now, and I am a total crazy-cat-lady for them.

Cat snuggle.
Cat snuggle.

Byron, bless him, is a dog person. He grew up with dogs — in fact, his family raised guide-dog puppies when he was growing up, so not only did they always have dogs, he was always training dogs. For the past five years, anytime we see a canine, he wistfully sighs, “I want a dog.” And I’d reply, “Someday, when we have a house.” I mean, a house was soooo far off in the future, right? It seemed a safe thing to say.

Well. We have a house. The day of reckoning has arrived.

Man walking a dog in a park.
A boy and his dog.

Louie. A 6-month old puppy. Some sort of (possibly) beagle-whippet mix — a true Heinz 57. Byron is over the moon. He finally has “his cat.” And I am learning how to live with a dog.

The first day we had him, I kept looking over and thinking, “Huh. So, you’re here. You live with us now.” It’s been the four of us — me, Byron and the two cats — for so long. We had our routine, our cadence. And let’s face it — a cat is easy. You throw some food at them, give the occasional snuggle, and they’re happy. Dogs are High Maintenance.

Here’s the thing — for a puppy, Louie is incredibly well-behaved. I know it’s early on, but I feel like we may have won the puppy lottery. Good with the cats. Sleeps through the night in his crate. Doesn’t whine when we leave for work. But still, dogs are different than cats. I’m GREAT with cats. I EXCEL at cats. Dogs? I really have no idea how to interact with them. And the interaction is different. They look to you for… well, everything. Did I do this right? Did I do this wrong? You have to let them know, in no uncertain terms. And I feel like I’m trying to read a driver’s manual while simultaneously driving the car.

He even shares his toys with the cats. I mean, how sweet is that?
He shares his toys with the cats. I mean, how sweet is that?

The first night we had him I couldn’t sleep. I lay awake thinking of all the things he could possibly get up to that night, all the things that could possibly go wrong (mind you–he was in his crate. So literally the worst thing that could have happened was if he peed in the crate. Literally the worst thing). And the thought that kept racing through my mind was holy shit we have a dog. A dog! Me, the crazy cat lady, now a dog owner. How did this happen?

Beagle-whippet puppy looking up at owner.

But, ya know? I also never expected to be married and living in a house by now, either. Life throws some curveballs, and that can be what makes it fun. And, yeah, the stinker IS cute. I mean, look at that face! Look at those brown eyes! He’ll melt your heart, this one. We’re learning one another, Louie and I. We’ll get there.

Now I’m just waiting for my ultimate dream to come true: a dog-cat cuddle pile…

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