The Animals

These are the only kids I foresee us having for a long time. They are highly trained fur machines that do nothing except cause us to vacuum, spend money, and provide them with rent-free accommodations and daily meals. These are our pets!

Sam:

Sunsettin'
Sunsettin’

Sam came into my life in February of 2007. I was attending school at Auburn University and frequently browsed a student email list about all sorts of things (a little like Craigslist).  I was living in an apartment at the time with two other girls, and was not in any way prepared to take on an animal. We had only just acquired Jackson two months earlier (He was Rob’s dog and lived with Rob full time) so it’s not like we needed another companion. But, I digress..

One day I see an email about an owner relinquished Golden Retriever who needed a home. He was at a vet’s office a few miles from my apartment and I was bored that day, so I thought “Well, couldn’t hurt to check him out”. I was partial to Golden Retrievers because I had had two before, and thought it would be fun to go visit with one that needed a home. Nail, meet coffin.

When I saw him I knew instantly he was meant for me, and I thought he was the prettiest dog I had ever seen. This is Sam the day we gave him his new life:

Happy to be Loved!
Happy to be Loved!

Sam was 2, full of life and energy…like really full. He was actually pretty crazy.

Rob and Sam having a civilized conversation.
Sam and me having a civilized conversation.
The only way to contain the beast.

But soon, he became an irreplaceable and unmatched member of our family. Though his face is white now, he’s only slightly mellowed from his raw and uncut puppyhood charisma.

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Porch Sitting
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Day Dreaming
Sam with a Shoe. He loves retrieving our things.
Sam with a Shoe. He loves retrieving our things.

Sam is a typical GR with a vivacious personality and an insatiable appetite. He and Sneak make up “Team Hungry” and live and die by their feeding routine. Sam LOVES the water, though he doesn’t get many opportunities to swim. He will enthusiastically jump into bodies of water whenever he sees them though- regardless of sanitationary standards or temperature.

Dirty Bad Dog!
Dirty Bad Dog!

Sam will always be “My” Dog, just as Jackson is “Rob’s”. He has a heart of Gold, and there won’t be another like him.

Jackson:

Meet Jackson.

Happy Collie!
Happy Collie!

Jackson is a Border Collie who came into our lives in December of 2006 when he was just a yearling living at the local Human Society. Rob had decided he wanted to get a dog, and decided that a Border Collie was the dog for him. On a whim, we decided to check out the Lee County Humane Society for “collie like” candidates. Would you believe that we found this guy on that very first day?

These are pictures from our first meeting:

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Human!! Take me home!!
Human!! Take me home!!

We fell instantly in love and adopted him. He was young and had a mild case of heart worms which were successfully treated, and he came to live with Rob at Rob’s town home. Jackson adjusted quite well to Bachelor living!

Jackson has very strong herding instincts which is really fun to watch! He will heard Sam in the yard and around pools. I need to find some pictures of him posturing. He didn’t really come with any typical Border Collie neurosis though, which is awesome and makes him a very suitable house dog. We do crate him though, which he enjoys (for the most part.)

On the bed - a luxury!
On the bed – a luxury!
Dog Days of Summer
Dog Days of Summer

Jackson is super emotional- probably the most emotional dog I’ve ever known. The depth of his compassion and understanding is remarkable. If something bad happens, he truly apologizes for it (whether the fault is his or not). He has a gorgeously full coat and loud gas. He’s hilarious and very loving and never hesitates to show it.

Sam and Jackson are life long mates and likely do not remember a time when they did not have each other. Luckily, we assume them both to be within a year of each other in age which will make things easier as they grow old together (though immensely tough for Rob and I as we also do not remember a time when we did not have them). I don’t know how we will ever NOT have them.

The fairly Odd Couple
The fairly Odd Couple
Treats!
Treats!
Buds
Buds
Bros
Bros

We love them both so much.

Sneak:

Nanny Boo Boo
Nanny Boo Boo

Here is a cat with no shame, and no idea he’s actually a cat. That’s Sneak.

Sneak became a Latham in the Summer of 2010 after I halfway convinced Rob that our house needed a cat. I honestly don’t know why he eventually caved and let me drive him to the Ark Animal Shelter to find a cat, but he did, and I know he would tell you (or whisper) that he is so glad he did!

Proof: (ugh, back when the kitchen was yellow).

Acrobat Cat
Acrobat Cat

Sneak was in a free roaming room with about a dozen other cats and, as you can see, there is nothing very striking about him. He’s black. Totally, one dimensionally, black. Back in the clink, he was called “Zorro”.

Sneak
Sneak

But he came up to us, and showed earnest friendliness and enjoyed being held, brushed, and messed with. We even took him out to where some dogs were roaming around to gauge his reaction and he didn’t mind! We had found a keeper.

Nap times are never lonely
Nap times are never lonely
Smooch
Smooch
Tree Time!
Tree Time!

Sneak is a hilarious member of our family, part of Team Hungry, and very dependent on human interaction. He comes when he’s called, he greets us at the door with the dogs when we come home, and when not at his food bowl, or the dog’s food bowl, he can be found in Rob’s lap, or by the fire place (season permitting).

Fire Place is the Best Place
Fire Place is the Best Place
Fire Place is the ONLY place.
Fire Place is the ONLY place.
Easter Kitty
Easter Kitty

He even appreciates the value of a great barbering (there is the old horrible kitchen again).

Lion Cat
Lion Cat

So, if you ever want to come visit a cat that howls to be fed, crawls behind the blinds to watch birds as you try and sleep, or demands to be brushed until the end of time, stop by and see Sneak!

Salem Claws:

Where to begin with Claws? She started out as a kitten that I named Salem, that I found advertised in the newspaper when I was a junior in High School. For whatever reason, I decided I wanted a Persian cat, and also for whatever reason, my Mom decided to let me see my plan through. So I jumped on the first newspaper classified I saw and went to get her. She was just a black kitten, not really 100% Persian, but being an idiotic 17 year old girl, I shelled over the money and took her. She was a fun kitten though! This was back before smart phones existed, so I don’t have very many pictures of her anymore of those first years. She was playful and friendly, and spent her first year of life as an indoor cat living mostly in my bedroom. But then I left for college, and over the years she transitioned into an outdoor mostly cat, and grew to be rather wild. When the number of dogs my parents kept grew to outnumber the people in the house 2 to 1, our cats stopped being indoor pets, preferring to spend time away from the muts. So Salem began turned into a character from “Where the Wild Things Are” and didn’t come back into my life until almost ten years later.

But through a weird twist of fate, she lives with us again. My Mom moved and could not take her, so she shipped her out to Alabama where we began her “rehabilitation program”. That’s exactly what it felt like too! When the cat came to us, she was mean and unwilling to accept human touch. She was matted and dirty from having lived outside, and was scared of her new surroundings. The first thing we did, was have her shaved.

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From there, we put her up in our guest bedroom for many weeks to adjust to indoor life and her new place, and worked every day on touching her and petting her. Eventually, it got easier. And pretty soon, she learned how to purr again! We nicknamed her Claws (or Clawsy) because of her ridiculous talons. They get stuck in everything!

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She particularly enjoys this ONE place on the rug.
She particularly enjoys this ONE place on the rug.

When we tried to incorporate her into indoor life with the other animals however, things didn’t go well. She could tolerate the dogs, but her and Sneak just couldn’t find a way to be friends, and Sneak’s well being suffered (and so did our wallets) with many trips to the vet with urinary issues caused by stress. So, we decided that Claws would be a backyard cat, and we assembled appropriate housing for her to live a comfortable and happy life in our large backyard. So far, it has been great, as she has spent many weeks BACK inside during the cold winter months in “her”  bedroom. The transformation that this cat has achieved though is really remarkable. She loves human interaction now, and has grown to particularly love Rob. She squeaks and meows greetings to us when we check on her and will talk to us if she’s upset (she likes to get upset a things, typical female). Her coat has grown out beautifully, and even enjoys the dogs’ company in the backyard when they go outside.

Not a fan of the snow
Not a fan of the snow

I love watching her fawn all over Rob. And he fawns right back.

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