Adding a dog to a cat household is woof

betty ming liu Inspiration, Relationships 20 Comments

My daughter Gabi has always wanted a little dog. And I always said “no” because, well, guess who would have to walk it? Ha. But three weeks ago, Rosebud adopted us at the local animal shelter. Now we’re becoming a cozy household of two humans, three cats and one adorable canine.

Gabs and I weren’t looking for more critters. We were only at Pets Alive Westchester to volunteer as dog walkers. But that Saturday, we spotted Rosebud in the lobby of this Elmsford, N.Y. shelter. She was in a playpen, hoping to share her story…

She had been flown up from a kill shelter down South. That means a facility where animals are put to sleep if they’re not adopted within a certain time frame. This three-year-old, 11-pound poodle mix came already named “Rosebud.” She has a scruffy coat, bulging eyeballs and crooked front legs. Her long neck, nose and body are oddly proportioned. And where did she get that barrel chest?

We carried her over to a nearby couch. As we plopped ourselves down, Gabi unhooked Rosebud’s leash. With that, this little soul wriggled her tiny butt and sat down between us like she belonged there. My daughter and I looked at each other and said, “Awwwwwwwww!”

The shelter takes its mission seriously. We were questioned about our home (did we rent or own?) and daily routine (how often would the dog be left alone?). We had to promise to return Rosebud if we didn’t want her anymore; the shelter provides a lifetime commitment to its charges. To adopt required making a $300 donation. The cost covered vaccinations, dog tags — and sent a message: we had to behave responsibly.

With that, we drove our new family member to her “forever home,” as rescue folks call it…

Check out this first photo of our short car ride to the house. The dear girl knew just how to flap her ears in the breeze. In this shot, she’s still wearing her shelter identification collar and a too-big harness that the shelter folks lent us.

These days, she loves running errands in the car. Last weekend, we picked up Gabi from her friend’s party. Doesn’t Rosebud look self-assured in this next photo? She’s also wearing a new, more dainty pink harness that says, “sassy diva.”

On our way home, we passed a tag sale and scored this old tote bag for $2. It’s a nice, breathable, lightweight carrier. I swear, no matter what these photos look like, Rosebud is quite comfortable peering at the world through the sturdy mesh.

Of course, you’re wondering about, um, the cats. Well, they’re not thrilled about The New Situation. But no one has eaten Rosebud yet. At 13, Lucky is the oldest (photo below, top left). We found him at a shelter recovering from a wound — someone had taken a razor and sliced through his right Achilles tendon. Isabelle (the right photo) is 10 and came to us by way of a feline rescue group. Both of these cats are 11 pounds, just like Rosebud.

And then, there’s our big boy. Minty’s about six. I’m embarrassed to reveal that he weighs 20 pounds. He’s named after the Thin Mint, Gabi’s favorite Girl Scout cookie. He was from a litter that a friend had. When Rosebud first arrived, Minty went into hiding. But now he’s back to lounging on my desk while I blog.

Thankfully, the cats are returning to their routines. Although, the mood is a bit tense.

Poor Rosebud. She has no critters to play with. At least, not yet.

For now, no matter how much she wags her tail, the cats just glare back. But I’m sure things will change.

Still, they do spend time together. Whenever I’m in the kitchen, all the animals run over. You can’t imagine the stress of having the four of them swarming by your feet, begging for handouts. Oh, well. I’m getting used to it.

We’re also getting the hang of walking the dog. My daughter and I split the duties. Although, no one likes going out in the rain. The good news, though? I’m once again cuddling Someone Small in my daughter’s baby hoodie bath towel. Awwwwww!

Rosebud’s a very patient teacher. The morning after she moved in, I went to the gym. When I returned, she was waiting by the front door. Without thinking, I scooped her up to be with us in our bedrooms. While I was in the shower, she peed and pooped on the floor.

Obviously, she was thinking: “You idiots. It’s 7 a.m. — can’t you figure out why I’m sitting by the front door?”

Rosebud is also quite cat-compatible. She’s not yappy. Plus, she curls up and sleeps all day. But unlike our feline family, she’s not good with the stairs. We’ll see if that changes. Expect updates!

Until then, ciao, meow and, bow-wow.

P.S. — Before you go, please click on this link to our blog contest. The $300 we donated to adopt Rosebud got me thinking about what a difference $300 could make in our lives. So on June 2, this blog is giving away a $300 American Express gift card. To compete for it, all you have to do is write about one of your dreams. Maybe we can help make it come true; we could all use a little more fun. Arf.

Comments 20

  1. Rosebud is the sweetest little thing!!! She is so lucky to be in your loving home.
    What a perfect addition to the family.

    By the way, great photos!!! Really captures the moment.

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      wendy, rosebud really does feel like part of our family. and mj, i have to put my pit bull adoption dream on hold because of the cats. pit bulls are so maligned and there are many of them at the shelter. i truly enjoy walking them. such sweet, wonderful dogs! but i want to rescue a grown dog and the odds of finding a pit bull that would love three cats is, um, slim. and then, there’s the fact that rosebud just sort of showed up. my new plan is to visit the shelter and walk the big doggies. it’s turning into a very profound learning experience for me!

  2. Hey Betty!

    I am so jealous — of the doggy cuddle time, not the walking duties. :) I have been really fixing to get a dog, too, but can’t make it past the “imagining” phase when I realize it means I will be forever fixed to walking my newest family member several times a day rain or shine. I’ve been there before and have been enjoying my new found freedom, especially, on Saturday mornings. I’ve also considered volunteering at a dog shelter, but I am CHICKEN and know I will end up coming home with some new pet and whole lot of explaining to do when Jack comes home. Heh. Heh. So, for now, I will live vicariously through you. I love happy endings and this definitely fits the bill. Thanks for all the photos!

  3. I’m so glad sweeties like Rosebud find a warm and loving home thanks to people like Gabi and you! I hope everything’s going to be OK with the 3 masters. My best friend brought a hyperactive JackRussel terrier and the poor thing is totally terrified by the hissing control freak kitty…
    I think it’s already a good start if Rosebud is not spending her days hiding under the sofa! Hmmm, if I was not leaving soon for my master degree, I’d convince my mom to take a Pom, or a kitty! Gah, you really made me want to have millions of pets…

  4. omg – what a cutie!! wanna just scoop her up and cuddle. you are going to have so much fun with her – especially if she likes to travel in a beach bag! you can take her anywhere! Congrats!
    :)

  5. OMG, you fell in love! I completely understand. She is adorable and one day Grogan and Lucius would love to have her as a guest!

    Best to all.

  6. The cat vs. dog stare down photo is too great.

    Like I said last night with Rosebud in my lap – if she ever goes missing, you shouldn’t worry. She’s with me!

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    hello animal lovers! glad to have your company here. and shhhhh, i don’t want the cats to hear us talking. even though i do love this doggie, i will always be a cat lady. gotta keep that feline energy in my life. :)

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    btw, i just wanted to add a link for those of you who want to help animals. one of the great things about pets alive westchester is its social media savvy. i really enjoy checking in to its facebook page & reading happy status updates about the animals getting adopted and other little tidbits about the shelter. http://www.facebook.com/PetsAliveW

    here’s a link to a general story about how more shelters are using social media to promote their cause. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/17/animal-shelters-social-media_n_863051.html

    and here’s a link to a good nyc story from dnainfo.com about social media saving death row dogs: http://bit.ly/mNy70z

  10. Hi! Betty, I did not get a chane to read read this posting until now! As you know I left comment at your facebook about the pit bull and did not know you wrote about pit bull here around the same time. LOL

    Your guys are in full house and they are the majorities.

  11. Hi Betty. I’m a little late catching up here, but I wanted to tell how happy I am for you to have a new family member! And I’m glad the cats are adjusting (I think it helps that Rosebud is small). Rosebud – what a sweetheart. (And your daughter is gorgeous!)

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    i can’t believe that i never updated this post….shortly after adopting rosebud, i took her to the vet. and that’s when we found out that she is actually a very old dog. deaf too. the vet guessed that she’s about 12 years old.

    now, i’m sure that the animal shelter folks knew she was old. did they lie to us? hmmm. well, we never went back to pose this question. at the moment, the answer doesn’t matter. we love rosebud. we’d never give her back.

    and we are like most people — given a choice we would NEVER want a senior dog. but now i’m sold on seniors. xo

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