Having pets is hard. Emotionally. Physically. Financially. And when you have to say goodbye, that’s the worst.

A few years ago, my twin sister had to give up her cat. She had to move into an apartment and was only allowed to keep one pet. At the time she had a small dog, Audrey, and Cringer, the all black, surly kitty. Of course I agreed to take Cringy in, not knowing how it would affect my other two cats. It didn’t matter. Cringer needed a loving home.

At first we kept Cringer isolated. She was scared and irritated. My other two cats were well established in our home and were not fans of us bringing someone new home. After a few months, it all worked out. Cringer demonstrated her dominance, just like we expected. Queen of the kitchen island.

I have had cats my entire life. I know that they have distinct personalities based on their appearance. I know that cats of a certain age have predisposed tendencies to certain health issues. I am fine with all of it. Right now, one of my cats is diabetic (Don Draper) and requires a shot of insulin twice a day, the other one needs thyroid medication in pill form (Ming), twice a day. It’s fun (ha). And expensive. 

And then there was Cringer (named after the tiger from the He-Man cartoons…. Google it… a drunk story was involved during the naming process). I had known Cringer since my sister captured her from the mean streets of Tempe, Arizona. Cringer had an attitude, and she knew it. And we all loved her for it. She despised kisses on the head. Always wanted food. Always wanted to lick your hands and then rub her face on your newly kitten slobbered hands. She always wanted attention. But on her own terms. The perfect definition of a cat.

During the summer of 2021, we noticed that Cringer’s health was slowly declining. She became lethargic. She was losing weight. She wasn’t as interested in food anymore. We knew that her days were numbered, but we didn’t realize how bad she had become. 

Which brings me to our current pet situation. At the end of July, my family took a trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon in Utah. During our trip, I kept on getting notifications from our driveway Ring camera. I noticed an animal running around frantically. At first I thought that it was a coyote but then I realized that it was a dog. Someone’s dog had gotten loose and it was tired and thirsty and hungry. My friend who was staying at my house at the time gave the dog food, water and shade. She then took the dog to a local vet to see if it had a microchip. The dog was unchipped and without a collar. Your typical covid pet dropoff at the end of a dead end street. People are assholes.

We returned home from our trip to a new dog. My lab/border collie mix was at the dog sitter’s house during our time away, so it was a new situation for everyone. We posted everywhere about this beautiful, female husky. No one claimed her. Being pet lovers and rescuers, we decided to keep her.

A few weeks after we took husky girl in, Cringer’s health got worse. We took her to our regular vet and we were quickly advised to take her in to a 24/hour medical care facility. I was in denial. I knew that Cringer was a fighter. I knew that she would get better and that we would be able to take her home within a few days.

That’s not what happened. Cringer was an elderly kitty, extremely underweight and had a blockage in her bowels. She wasn’t able to eat and pass anything through. We were devastated. We never thought that she wouldn’t be able to make it through. Her age and weight made it impossible to sedate her and perform surgery. So on Saturday, August 21st, we said goodbye to the surly, loving kitty from Tempe. We love you Cringer.

**** THE FOLLOWING IS GRAPHIC FOR PET OWNERS/LOVERS!****

A week later, I went outside to take the trash to the garbage container in our side yard. When I reached the front door, I heard barking, growling and snarling, followed by a long, low meow. I came inside and found the husky dragging Ming by the neck across our kitchen floor. Ming was lethargic and having trouble breathing. I immediately scooped her up and took her to the closest emergency veterinarian. It was scary. She was having a hard time breathing and her third eyelid was up (done when cats are in distress). I was afraid that she would not make it. 

Ming is a fighter. Ming was a just a baby kitten when she was rescued off the street in Tustin. When we found her she had mites, mange, worms and her whiskers were all burnt off. We have no idea where her mother was. Being the badass kitten that she is, she made it through. Bruised organs, bullae and some open wounds on her legs. We took her home after a day and a half. She is thriving and makes it known that she needs cat snacks 24/7. Which we promptly give her. 

Which brings me to the husky girl. We know that the cat attack was not her fault. She is a husky and has a high prey drive. We know that she did not have the best life before she found us. She was not chipped, spayed or potty trained. Someone obviously thought that a husky puppy was a cute, good idea at the beginning of 2020, but then soon realized that it takes time, money and patience to take care of a pet. Their loss is our gain. 

We named the husky Zion, because that’s where we were when she was found. Thank you to whoever gave her up, because now she has a loving home. Thank you to my friend, Allison, for taking care of her before we came home. And thank you to Cringer, who gave us happiness, even for a couple of years. 

ENDNOTE: If you do not have the time, patience or finances (or are willing to give up some of your finances) to having a pet, don’t do it. Pets are a responsibility. They NEED us. They cannot survive without us. Pets are family and do not deserve to live in a cage or outdoors (i.e. an “outside dog”….. This is bullshit). And they will make your life so much better if you give them compassion.