These are the current, and one late, animals at our house. And now, as of February 19, 2013, we have another member, Lucy, who belonged to Mark’s late mother.
Zeus was my fourth Doberman pinscher. I got him from a rescue group, which had taken him back from a previous adopter who apparently couldn’t keep the peace. He had a large gash in his side. Zeus (not a name I would have chosen, but he came with it) was a good dog. He got along with everyone, including cats. He had the misfortune to follow Hugo, my third Doberman, and the best dog in the world; pretty much any dog would suffer in comparison to Hugo. But Zeus did his best, and that was good. Zeus died Christmas of 2009 from cardiomyopathy, a condition that Dobermans in particular are susceptible to. I had him for seven years. I don’t know how old he was. Very, I hope.
Zeke is our current dog. He was abandoned near our house and “adopted” by a neighbor in 2006. He ended up at our house because the neighbors ignored him. He was a roaming dog, completely unreliable off leash. We found someone to adopt him, and warned them not to let the dog off the leash when they got home. Then we went on a two-week vacation. When we got home, we were contacted by someone who had found him roaming some distance from where the adopter lived. They traced us through his rabies tag; we always get our strays vetted, even if we plan to find homes for them. We took Zeke home and he has been with us since. He was completely (let’s say) uneducated when we got him, but has made great progress since. His behavior reminds me of some type of bird dog. He’s big and goofy and thinks everyone who sees him cannot wait to pet him.
Zoe was a replacement for the wife’s wonderful cat who died before we were married. He was found wandering in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot, an appropriate location for him, given his appetite. He was a very pretty, very small kitten. Now he is a pretty, rather large, and damned unfriendly cat. I would call him ungrateful, but that’s too generous. He has an annoying meow, which he uses to demand food, usually about an hour before we normally wake up. Do not let this cat bite you unless you are eager for a course of antibiotic injections, and possibly a short stay in the hospital. My wife knows this. But she still loves him.
Chloe was the first stray cat to appear after we moved in. We can’t remember exactly, but it must have been in the latter half of 2005. She is a smallish, friendly gray striped mama cat who brought her three kittens with her. We found a home for one of her kittens, which looked like a Siamese, but the other two stayed. Chloe follows us on walks with the dog and sometimes spends the night on our bed. But most of the time she stays outside. Rusty (the redder cat) and Dusty (the lighter cat) are Chloe’s babies. They are semiferal. Dusty is the most feral, although even he will occasionally let my wife pet him, and sometimes lets the dog sniff him. Rusty butts heads with Zeke, so apparently they are okay with each other. They used to stay in the garage until the next two cats came along.
Smokey and Sylvester are the latest additions. They have been here around three years. Sylvester is the black cat, a slinky killer of small animals. He is obnoxious around Chloe, Rusty and Dusty. He also walks with us sometimes, and engages in what would probably be called antics. We tried to give him away but failed. He does not have a lisp, as far as we have been able to determine. Smokey, the gray cat, is probably the best cat of the lot. He likes to be petted and pretty much ignores the occasional, accidental kick. He’s calm and even tempered, although he also gives Chloe, Rusty and Dusty hell sometimes.