Family History

Our story is a slightly modern version of the classic tale of boy meets girl. Chris and I met eight years ago, of course we're madly in love, we're not married (yet!), but we do have a family—but not babies. Whew. Big sigh of relief. Our family is a brood of animals—our dog, Fletcher, and five cats, Elsie, Daphne, Monkey, Basement Cat, and Cleo. Here's a quick rundown of each pet and how they joined our family.

Fletcher (aka the Pooch)
male; chocolate lab
I could go on and on about how much I love Fletchie. He's my baby. Although he's a big dog (95 lbs), he thinks he's a lap dog—always wanting to cuddle. He's the only one of our animals that we bought from a breeder (and will probably be the last because there are way to many animals in rescues and shelters that need homes). We found a breeder in Ephrata, Pa, went to visit, and voila! We found our first baby. There were only two chocolate labs left—Fletcher and his brother. We picked Fletcher because his paws were smaller than his brother's.

female; tortoiseshell
Chris found Elsie under our dryer vent on a cold night. (He pretends that he's not a softy.) We let her stay in the foyer for the night but the plan was that we'd let her out in the morning. Obviously, things didn't go as planned since we still have her. She must remember that it was Chris that found her because she's definitely a Daddy's girl.

female; mixed colors
Daphne was up for adoption at a local pet store. She caught my eye because she has interesting coloring. She's our scaredy cat. She's not always a fan of Fletcher and she hates Chris. I'm really the only person that she likes—and only on her terms. We call her Creeper because she follows me around, and sometimes, when I wake up at night she's on my nightstand staring at me.

male; gray
I always wanted a gray cat. When I found a tiny gray kitten that needed a home, I was very excited. Monkey can be a little bit of a bastard. He tends to play rough with Elsie and Daphne. I'm not sure that they've forgiven me for bringing home a brother. He has many nicknames but one of them is "biting turkey." I don't remember where the turkey part came from but the biting is because...well, he bites. But he is also a cuddler and I love when he naps with me.

Basement Cat
female; black with white stripes
I wasn't looking for a fourth cat but she showed up on my doorstep seeming neglected. I fed her and took care of a nasty case of fleas. Our intention was to find a home for her but we were unsuccessful (although I don't know that I tried very hard). She lives in our basement—hence the name—because she's not a fan of the other cats. Another reason she's in the basement is because she is on a special food for an overactive hyperthyroid.

female; siamese
Cleo joined our family under unfortunate circumstances. She was my grandmother's cat but when my grandmom passed away, Cleo came to live at my house. Sure, our house was a little crowded but I couldn't let her end up with anyone else. It's been an adjustment for her because she was used to living in a very quiet house without other animals. Now she has cat siblings and a dog sibling—she's not crazy about the loud dog sibling. She's my only cat that wears a bell so I can always tell when she's exploring.

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