|A very forgiving animal, indeed.|
For 13 years, we had a beagle named Bailey. The dog pre-dated my kids and we adored him even though he had a multitude of bad habits such as eating a full, raw head of cauliflower and then farting all night, eating unrisen bread dough resulting in a $500 vet bill, and walking into telephone poles whenever a squirrel caught his eye. Bailey also had epilepsy, not his fault, but a challenge just the same. My husband and the beagle had a very close relationship (think Elliot and E.T.), so when the dog died, he could not bear to get another pet for quite a while. Plus, we needed a break after having had an animal who required so much energy and damage control.
Finally, after about three years without a large pet (the hamster didn't count), I wanted something. I wanted a companion, someone who would like me even when the kids didn't. I realized that a dog would not fit into our schedule, so I started surfing pet adoption websites like some men surf for porn. Cats seemed to require much less work than dogs, so I learned more about them and realized I wanted one even though my husband and I remain dog people to this day.
Finally, when I turned 50, I asked my husband to at least entertain the possibility of another pet. I mean, a half century is a milestone birthday and it should be celebrated with something monumental, right? I started visiting a local shelter and tried to acquaint myself with the cats that were there. Several were cute and would have fit the bill, but we have a rule that for a new member to join the family, EVERYONE must agree to it. Hubby just wasn't there yet. However, one day, I did convince him to come with the kids down to the shelter to see the cute little kittens. He emphasized to the kids that there was a good possibility that we would NOT be bringing a new pet home and I fully agreed. Better to come home empty-handed than with something we would have to return.
We played with several kittens that day and had finally agreed on an energetic one named Feisty when we learned that she had already been taken. Her cagemate, however, was available. There she was, in the back of the cage, a little gray ball of fluff with a half pink-half gray nose. When I put my hand out, she licked it. I was in love. This was the half cat-half dog that I wanted. Hubby was still skeptical until I played a card I had only been thinking about, a full-fledged, obvious attempt at manipulation that I was ready to unleash with the force of a dozen hot flashes.
“We'll call her Cosette,” I said, knowing that Les Miserables is my husband's all-time favorite musical. His eyes lit up. The name appealed to him and even though he knew that I was shamelessly trying to coerce him, he began humming a tune from the show. I joined in. Even the kids knew something magical was happening.
The rest is history. I mistakenly misspelled her name, so it remains Cossette or Cosy for short. She brushes off my hormonal moods, forgives any menopausal insanity, and it has not escaped me that my mid-life crisis pet is, in fact, gray, much like the color my own mane is turning. This feline is infinitely patient with my children and every night, serenades us with lovely music (we call it meowsic). She also brings me her toy and plays fetch until she gets bored (she is a cat, after all). One day, she will be my empty-nest friend when my kids go off to college.
You'll see Cossette from time to time. She makes the house a less-stressful place and makes me happy. I hope she brings a smile to your face, too.