My first pet was a cat named Wally. He was orange and white and lived life with three legs. I was terribly allergic to him but dealt with it okay since he lived outside. I would pet him until my eyes itched and swelled. One day, he just disappeared.
When I was a little older, my family and I were given a yellow-headed, white-bodied cockatiel. His name was cotton. His wings were not clipped so I often let him out of his cage to fly around the house. I remember the panic of letting him excitedly exit his cage then realizing the ceiling fan was on. He dodged that bullet several times (whew!). On a summer afternoon, I discovered that cotton was not a he--- but a she! Thankfully Cotton is a name that moves from male to female rather easily. When I was in middle school, Cotton and I became less compatible. I was terribly asthmatic and struggled with her too. She was given to a new family who loved her very much. I missed her "tweet" when she was gone. When I watch home videos of that time in life, I hear her in the background. She had such a sweet, happy chirp.
Micah and I have had our share of animals through the years. I didn't grow up with dogs and didn't quite know how to care for our first. She was part lab, part dalmatian and had a lot of playful energy which we appreciated until she out literally grew our first apartment. Our tight, one bedroom space in an older home with crazy good acoustics shared with three other neighbors, in Statesville, NC was just too small for her. I will never forget the day she skipped off with another family, happy to be out of such confinement.
About a year later, we adopted a cat who we named Phoebe. She traveled to Louisville with us. We loved her as well. Phoebe was content and independent. She loved to curl up with me sometimes and occasionally tolerated being held like a baby... until she hated it and expeditiously let me know it. She was several years old when I realized I was taking four asthma medications and she might be the cause. I was so sad. I cried when she left us. We found a great home for her with a family who lived surrounded by thick woods in a home with large windows. It was a cat mecca. We used to hear from her new owner until the season completely shifted.
Fast forward to Elijah's 6th birthday. After much discussion, we got him a Carin Terrier. Elijah named him Anakin Skywalker. Anakin was a smart, beautiful dog, however, he just had a bit of a small dog complex. I tried to deal as best I could and become the alpha in that situation. It didn't help that Elijah had been attacked by a dog with a similar temperament about a year before... and I was on the embryo adoption roller coaster then pregnant with triplets. Despite months of obedience training and even time away, he had to be re-homed. Thankfully, we had willing folks who loved him and appreciated his spunk. We gave Elijah a guinea pig to soften the blow but the first time we left her to be cared for by a friend, she died.
This past year, we took in two dogs born on Micah's parents farm. Two beagle mixes, they were everything we had prayed for in doggy friends. We named them Sam and Rosie. They were so sweet and obedient. I immediately saw an intuitive nature in them, especially Sam. They were fantastic with the kids. They were easy to train and easy to love. Then, the asthma symptoms began again. After a lot of hand wringing, I realized they couldn't stay. It is amazing how sick a person can get in a short time. Within a week, God gave us a solution for these dogs. They are now helper dogs and seem so fulfilled. I had the pleasure of watching Rosie in action after running in to her with her trainer and new owner at a retail store. She was a champ at her job. The same can be said for Sam. I have treasured updates about how well the two of them are doing.
All this time, our kids have wanted a pet to love. And I have wanted that for them too! It has been such a roller coaster for me!
I have been doing some research about less-allergen producing pets online in hopes of finding some solution and came across the Siberian Forest Cat. Originally from Russia, they are said to have far less of the protein in their saliva that cause allergic reactions. There are mixed review about whether or not folks with allergies have an easier time with this breed over another--- however, we are giving it a go. I am hopeful and sober about the whole thing. We ended up finding a little gal kitten right down the road from us. Our plan is to pick her up in less than a couple of weeks! I am so excited. I am praying the breed's dog-like playfulness has made its way to her and she will enjoy the business of our household. We were first told she was a he (funny how that worked out once again!) and so we named him Leo Tolstoy--- 'cause Russia... famous Christian author... Now that he is a she, we have settled on Lexie Blue. Her eyes are beautiful blue and Lexie, because... I don't know. It's cute and we kept the "L";)
Coming soon... Lexie Blue. Here's hoping this works. I am tired of being the re-homing expert.