After years as cat owners, but still secretly dog lovers, the stars finally aligned properly for Melissa and me to adopt a dog when Melissa became a full-time freelance designer who could set her own hours.
Nena is a chihuahua/terrier mix who was born in Puerto Rico and brought in by an adoption group in northern Virginia. She was about seven months old when we adopted her, and she quickly learned her basic commands and took to house training with only a couple of accidents right at the beginning.
She has crazy-long legs, chihuahua-style bug-eyes, and a great personality. After a day or two she made herself right at home, and she gets along great with our neighbors, both human and canine.
Her birthday is December 4, 2012.
Melissa and I weren’t cat people . . . then Mei Mei showed up at our door. A year and a half into our marriage, right around Thanksgiving 2006, I heard some noises at the back door of our apartment. Upon investigation, I found a little orange kitten was there trying to cute her way inside. The weather was mild that night, so we decided to leave her outside and see if she hung around. We agreed that, if she came back the next day, we would take her in.
She was gone in the morning, but came back in the evening the next day. So we took her in, and several hundred dollars in vet bills later we had a cat.
They reckoned that she was probably “less than six months old” when we took her in, so we have approximated her birthday to June 15, 2006. She is a typical orange tabby, and has a common skin disorder called ‘lentigo simplex’ which gives her funny little spots on her nose, eyelids, and lips. The spots don’t hurt or anything; they’re just like birthmarks on humans. Mei Mei is our little diva, she likes bread and rice over chicken, but prefers tuna to everything else in the universe. She gets very upset if she is separated from us. If we go into a room and close the door, she will whine and try to dig her way in.
In 2008, Melissa had the bright idea of stopping by PetSmart after we returned a tuxedo rental . . . and we came home with a new adoptee to keep Mei Mei company. He’s another orange tabby, although he has a lot more white than Mei Mei and we’re pretty sure he has something else mixed in. Vincent is distinctive because of his swirly pattern and his polydactylism (extra toes). The swirly pattern, reminiscent of a Van Gogh painting, is why we named him Vincent. His extra toes—one on each foot—is why the pet adoption group had named him Mittens originally.
Vincent, quite to our surprise, established himself as the dominant cat over diva Mei Mei. It’s probably because he has no fear. While Mei Mei is quite timid and cautious, Vincent will just plow right ahead without a thought. He gets himself into a lot of trouble this way. He has a patented quizzical tilty-head look. He’s very lovable, but not very bright.
When we adopted him in September 2008, they put his age at about four months, so we’ve approximated his birthday to May 31, 2008. The two cats get along pretty well. They pretend to hate each other but, if we get home early and take them by surprise, it’s not uncommon to find them curled up together on the couch.