In the past week, I’ve been sharing with you moments and facets of my life that soothe my soul. Thematically, this would not be complete if I didn’t introduce you to my endless entertainment: the zoo. I have always been an animal lover and happened to marry a kindred spirit in this regard. This dangerous pairing of animal obsession has led us down the road of having 6 pets: 4 dogs and 2 cats. The most fascinating part of being a pet mom is how different each animal is – full of life, spunk, personality, and wholly different from one another. I have a sincere belief that each of my animals has adopted an aspect of mine or my husband’s personality, and I’d like to explore that in this blog post. (I’m not going to be entirely nice to myself either, here. They have absorbed positive and negative personality traits.)
Let’s start with the dogs (by age).
The Mellow Marshmallow
Pooh bear is a geriatric chihuahua. He is, by far, the favorite of everyone who meets him, which is atypical of chihuahuas, with their reputation of being yappy, possessive little rats. Not our Pooh – he is quiet and enjoys the simple snuggles life has to offer. He is my introverted spirit animal. He doesn’t need to be the center of attention. He just wants to exist in a comfortable space. It’s his uncharacteristic calmness that draws people to him. He doesn’t shy away from people, but he also doesn’t seek anyone out. He is content on a lap or on a pillow.
The Cowardly Lion
Charles is a bald, waddling potato of a yorkshire terrier. You don’t realize exactly how portly he is until you give him a bath and his lion’s mane shrinks, revealing a head only capable of holding a pea-brain, and he is, by all means, dumb. I love him, but the sweet boy is stupid. He’s cute, though. He knows how to follow the commands I need him to follow, and that’s good for me. He is very stubborn and jealous, however. He is also paranoid. Any noise, and he is alerting me of (usually my husband’s) presence. He is the cowardly lion and the runt of the pack. He represents aspects of my psychology that I try to keep in check through self-awareness.
The Energizer Bunny
Butters is my husband in dog form. He is a dark, curly-haired Schnauzer with floppy, un-clipped ears. He’s exceptionally intelligent and endlessly energetic. Hey may be the energizer bunny, but when he is sleepy becomes a snuggly little bug. (We spoon.) He loves nothing more than a “baby,” (any stuffed animal). He only loves one of them at a time, however, whichever is the newest baby, and he ignores the other ones. This reminds me of my husband’s tendency to obsess over one topic at a time before moving onto the next.
The Neurotic Weasel
Minnie is the most neurotic, attention-seeking, wiry, weasel you will ever meet. She suffers from doggy-PTSD, after spending a month living in the wilderness. (She ran away when I went on vacation because she is entirely too codependent.) Ever since then, she has been whiny and obsessive. If you are giving any other living being attention, she will weasel her way in there and tell you exactly how she feels about it. She fights with Butters over whichever baby is new, and she is the alpha, so she wins unless I intervene. She is the anti-pooh bear – the least favorite dog of everyone who encounters her. While Pooh bear allows you to want his attention, she demands your attention, which has the opposite effect. (Oh yeah, and she is his daughter, believe it or not. You can only see in the ears.) She represents whatever part of my psychology is hidden in the recesses of my soul. Even so, I love her, and she has some great qualities. She’s exceptionally loyal and intelligent. She minds well, can perform many tricks, and knows how to get what she wants.
Together, these four companions make up what we lovingly refer to as The Rat Pack. Butters and Pooh bear have a special relationship, and you can find them cuddling every morning. Minnie and Charlie are bonded, and she mothers him. (Sometimes, she licks his face, and it is gross, but cute). Butters and Minnie have a baby rivalry; Pooh bear and Charlie have Napolean Complex when it comes to each other. Their dynamics are as complex as human relationships, but they all coexist peacefully and love each other.
And now for our posh cats…
The Aloof Owl
I have never encountered another cat quite like Panda, not only in her bizarre appearance, but her nature. For starters, she really does look like a panda. She is some fusion of manx and persian, causing her to be tailless, with longer back legs than front legs. One thing is certain: she is gorgeous. Her personality is intriguing as well. She is not skittish in the slightest, but she is also not attention hungry. She will observe you quietly like a little owl in the corner. (She is staring at me as I type this.) If you call for her, however, she frolics over for a belly rub. Her fur feels like rabbits fur, rather than cat fur. She is a truly unique specimen. Her stand-offish nature with most people but attachment and loyalty to others is relatable. (Fun fact: she has a strange love with Butters.)
The (not so) Little Prince
Olaf is the youngest of our pets and the only one that my husband and I adopted together. He is the most beautiful pet we have (and the largest). At a year and a half old, he is 20 lbs. He is a ragdoll, so he’s exceptionally floppy. One thing is for sure about Olaf: He loves Mom – so much so that my husband gives me grief about it. Each night, he sleeps beside my side of the bed in the same exact position. He is a healthy balance of lazy and playful. We adopted him originally because Panda was lonely once we started working full time. The dogs had each other to keep company, but she was alone and would cry when we got home from a full day of work. Olaf and her have a special relationship and keep each other company. Many days I’m woken up by them chasing each other around upstairs. The way Olaf helped Panda reminds me of what my husband did for me. Everyone needs a companion. I think Olaf is a little bit more like my husband than he realizes. They both love me the most.
No matter what kind of day I have had, coming home to my zoo uplifts me. Pets seem to know what you need. They know when you’re happy, sad, sick. They understand when you need a cuddle (picture me on bad days with 4 dogs on my lap). Pets can teach you much about love because they love unconditionally. It is a truly symbiotic relationship to love an animal.