Meet Ellen’s Pets
I love animals. I can’t walk past a dog without stopping to say hello and pet him (my family knows this about me and just assumes it’s going to happen). When we visit friends with dogs or cats, at least part of my time is spent with the fur babies. I consider my four-legged kids to be as much a part of my family as my husband and our two-legged son, Tommy. Every year for Father’s Day I give my husband a collage of all the kids—Tommy and our dogs and cats. For Christmas 2016, I gave him a clock with each hour represented by a family member.
My four-legged family members:
I photographed him and his brother Griffin (below) for adoption photos for my vet, brought them home for a long weekend (so that they wouldn’t have to stay at the vet hospital over the weekend) and never brought them back—foster fails. Alfie is sweet, affectionate and attached, usually hanging out wherever we are, and has one of the loudest purrs I’ve ever heard. He absolutely loves to be held. When I first picked him up at the vet’s office, he wouldn’t even let me put him down to sit in my lap, and he still loves to be over your shoulder. He’s very clever and uses his paws to try to get what he wants; if you’re holding something that he wants, he will pull down on your hand with his paw to get it closer to him.
Extremely close with his brother Alfie, they share many of the same traits. He loves to chase anything you throw or drag for him, and if he wants to play, he’ll often bring a toy over or lie with a paw on it and look at you. We say that his affection stores run low at night, as he always comes to one of us in the morning wanting a lot of petting and attention. He and Alfie love to play with each other, wrestling and chasing each other through the house. I really didn’t bring them home so that we could adopt them, I just wanted to give them a break for the weekend. But we’re so glad we gave them that “weekend break”—none of us can imagine life without them.
People always comment on how pretty Lola is, and my response is, “She’s about 1000 times sweeter than she is pretty.” And it’s true. She’s a joyful, sweet, loving, affectionate, and fun girl, and we couldn’t possibly love her any more than we do. She’s not perfect; she still harasses the cats sometimes and is a little too friendly when people come over (let’s just say that she tries to kiss everyone in the face and if it requires jumping on them to do it, so be it). But she’s the perfect dog for us, adding so much joy to our lives!
Storm and Panther
I love black cats, but after we lost our black cat, Chaya, several years ago, I couldn’t even look at one without feeling sad. One of my friends posted photos on Instagram of four black kittens she was fostering, and I looked at the pictures and thought that maybe it was the right time. Initially, we just wanted one, Panther (on the right). All the kittens had a bacterial infection though, so we couldn’t take him home right away. I went back to visit them the following week and picked up one of the female cats. She basically melted into my lap and I decided that two is better than one, so we brought her home, too. They are very bonded and are almost always together; I think I will always adopt litter mates because watching the love they have for each other is heartwarming. Storm is 100% sweetness. Panther is also very sweet but is into everything. The refrigerator. The pantry. Cabinets. And so on. They both are amazing cats; they get along really well with all the other fur kids, too.
We adopted Aeneas as a playmate for Lola. She loves other dogs, and after Homer passed away, we wanted to adopt a younger dog for her to play with. I met Aeneas at a fundraiser I did for the rescue where we adopted Lola. He was the first dog I saw when I walked in, and I was drawn to him immediately—he was engaging and joyful and so cute (and those ears!!). When I went in his pen to meet him, he crawled in my lap and kissed my face. We arranged for him and Lola to meet, and they hit it off immediately, chasing one another around the yard (mostly Aeneas chasing Lola, because that is her thing). We brought him home on a trial basis to make sure he was a good fit and could get along with our cats. At the end of the week, Aeneas got into bed with Lola and cuddled up with her, and that was that. He is one of the most affectionate dogs I have ever met. He must be near (or on!) someone. He is joyful, exuberant, and sweet; he loves people and other dogs and is absolutely the perfect pup for us!
1998-2016: Our first fur baby. Mario and I had been married for 2 months, and bringing her home made our house a home. I’ll never forget the first time I saw her, on Mario’s grandmother’s screened-in porch. She saw me looking out at her, looked right at me and meowed. I went out to meet her, and she walked right up to me, rubbed up against me and lay on her side so that I could rub her stomach. I squatted down to pet her, looked back at Mario, and said, “Honey, can we have a cat?” Lindy started our love affair with cats. She was always been the littlest one in our house (the most she ever weighed was seven pounds) but always ran it.
1999-2015: When we first brought Chaya home, we kept her in a separate room for the first week so that she and Lindy could get used to each other’s smells. I slept with her every night so that she wouldn’t be by herself, and she slept on the pillow with me, with her nose in my ear, purring all night. She was playful and slightly mischievous, aggravating her older sister and acting innocent when caught, even with a mouthful or white fur. She loved to play ball, batting it back at you or catching it and then dropping it. She also loved hide and seek; it gave her great joy to hide somewhere when you were looking for her, calling her name. And then she’d just turn up, sitting somewhere, with a look on her face that said, “Are you looking for me? I’ve been sitting here waiting for you.”
2000-2015: Caesar had been returned to the shelter three times when we adopted him. His description of “problems,” included digging, jumping and being mouthy. We figured those behaviors were due to him not getting enough exercise or attention and not being trained, and we were right. He quickly turned into the perfect pack member: smart, loyal, affectionate and protective. He loved to play, particularly in the snow; wanted to be with us all the time; and wouldn’t let our son go outside without him. He truly was the perfect dog for us.
2005-2019: When we first met Homer, he was lying peacefully in a pen at PetSmart while all the commotion went on around him. The description of him said that he got along with dogs, cats and kids, and we had all three. Caesar had the more dominant personality but Homer didn’t care; he’s mellow and easygoing and didn’t care if Caesar ran things. He has a quiet presence—he’s always near us somewhere but very unobtrusively. He has a hound’s nose: whenever you eat cookies or cheese (his two favorite foods, in that order) he is there. He has the most soulful eyes, following me around the house and looking at me with a gentle, pleading expression until I take him for his morning walk.