I grew up with two black labs, Sarah and Emma. I loved them to pieces. In fact I didn’t get my first dog until I was eight, so I begged for years to get one. I would literally get down on all fours and bark like a dog, haha. Then on the eve of my 8th birthday my parents brought home Sarah, a five year old black lab. My sister and mom woke me up at 5 am to bring me downstairs. There I saw what I always wished for, a dog! It was probably one of the happiest days of my life. Sarah was easygoing, sweet, and motherly to my sister and I, two young kids.
After Sarah passed, we waited a while before adopting Emma, trying to mend our broken hearts. Emma was a Guiding Eyes for the Blind reject. Guiding Eyes is a great organization that breeds and then trains dogs to be the eyes for the visually impaired. I had formerly volunteered for them so we were put high on the list for dogs who didn’t make it as a guide dog. Emma was about 12 weeks old when we got her, she didn’t pass the initial tests to move on to training. She was a playful, energetic and naughty pup who grew in to a beautiful, intelligent and neurotic dog, haha. I loved her with all my heart, even though I had less opportunity to spend time with her, going off to college and grad school.
Which leads me to my next love. After several years without an animal in my life, I missed the unconditional love, the playtime and cuddles. Working in NYC, I didn’t have time or money to walk a dog three times a day or hire a dog walker. What did that leave me with? A cat? This certified dog person who would never own a cat and thought dogs rule, was convinced by a friend to check out a cat at a charitable organization inside Petsmart. The volunteer convinced me that a large smelly cat was perfect for my first time cat adoption. I was unsure, but I decided to go with it. I made an appointment to pick him up a few days later after he had been given his shots and neutered.
There he was, (no longer smelly) a white cat with black spots and big green eyes, cowering in his kennel. I took him home on the subway, I’m sure a traumatic event! He hid under my roommate’s bed for about a week, only coming out when everyone was asleep. The first time I pet him, he shed about a pound of hair. Since then, he continues to shed lots of hair, but he is no longer afraid of me. He is a total love bug, climbing in to my or my husband’s laps when we sit on the couch, sitting in front of my computer so I look at him instead of work, and sleeping by my side. He’s moved with me at least 7 times, including the flight from New York to Texas. He has been my constant companion for over 13 years, seeing me through my ups and downs. He’s about 15 years old now but still curious and playful. He loves to be brushed, enjoys a game of chase, and eating grass outside.
This is my love letter to Maxwell, my sweet fur baby. To all those cat lovers out there, give your kitty a kiss on the nose for me, for all those dog lovers out there, give a cat a chance, you just might fall in love.