Pets

Switching from a cat to a dog

Author: Canadian Living

Pets

Switching from a cat to a dog

I have always been a cat person. From our first family pet, Nescafé, when I was little, to Angel, the one we conned my mother into adopting when I was eight, to the twins, Pansy and Pearl (my adulthood apartment companions), felines have always been my preferred pet species. I love their cute noses, their expressive ears and wiry whiskers. I love their satiny fur, their purring, their cat food breath and even their notorious aloof demeanor.

So, a couple of years ago, when my husband and son started talking about getting a dog, I was not amused. I do like dogs and had become quite fond of my friend Mia's standard poodles, but had never considered having one of my own. The mere thought felt traitorous. Et tu, Lorri?

Change of heart
About two years ago my husband, son and I were hanging out at a park when a woman arrived with her miniature schnauzer, Daisy, and six scrumptious puppies. The pups were frolicking like lambs, tiny ears flopping, and cutely jumping on each other, as they followed their mom along. Instantly every child in the park headed straight for them. Each puppy was held and cuddled. I picked one up and felt all stress leave my body as it nuzzled my neck. We chatted with the woman during this love-fest, and she told us that all of these puppies were reserved for adoption, but in one year she would allow Daisy to have another litter.

Well, to make a short story sad, when the time came to contact her, my husband could not find her number. I was disappointed with him for thwarting our now keen quest for a canine companion. My son and I began hounding him with dogged determination.

About a year later we noticed an ad in the classifieds -- "Playful miniature schnauzer puppies for sale." We drove over to have a look and came home with nine-week-old Beauty. She was off the cuteness chart and clever. Within a week she was responding to her name and would sit, demurely, when asked.

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The darker side of puppy ownership
So as not to depart from truthfulness, Beauty also cried for two nights, peed everywhere and pierced our skin with tiny needle-sharp teeth. She terrified our neighbourhood wild bunny, snapped at moths and lapped up ants and spiders. I liked her, but sometimes resented her early-morning walk (with poopie bag), her after-breakfast stroll (another poopie bag), her midmorning schlepp, and so on. "She has a dog smell," I told my husband one evening, scrunching up my nose. "I don't know if I'll ever get used to it."

We took her to the vet, got her immunized and fed her the important heartworm/flea tablet, hidden in a piece of cheese. Then, like responsible pet owners, we had her spayed. When we went to pick her up after the surgery she looked awful and was, well, sick as a dog. She had had a bad reaction to the anesthetic and couldn't keep anything down. Not even water. The following day we had to take her back to the vet for a subcutaneous hydration treatment to replenish fluids and electrolytes. For the next three days she slept 23 and a half hours out of 24. Normally, she would go to my husband (alpha male) or my son (best buddy), but during this time, it was only me she wanted. She lay on my lap with her face pointing up toward mine and sighed. I stroked her gently and as long as my hands were on her, she slept.

The furry family member
Then, on the fourth morning, she got up, walked gingerly over to her squeaky toy and batted it with a paw. I burst out crying, "She's playing," I told my husband, through sobs. "I think she's going to be okay." Slowly, slowly she came back. And she has been my little sweetheart ever since.

Beauty still ignores me, sometimes, in favour of the alpha male and favourite playmate, but we have deep eye contact that speaks volumes. I love her cute nose, her silky ears, her springy footpads and even her doggy smell. I carry a picture of her in my purse, like a proud mama, and love her as much as I have ever loved any cat.

Learn how to test a puppy's personality before you take him home.

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Switching from a cat to a dog

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