The MalleyCats

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(2011) In which we say goodbye and hello

We always said that if we ever got another dog, we wanted another Penny Dog. A black lab/bloodhound mix just like her. The problem is that black lab/bloodhounds aren't actually a real breed, but mostly a happy accident that produces the greatest dog on earth. So over the years we've casually looked to see if we could find another one--which we didn't. After the whole Francisco-the-mentally-retarded-cat fiasco we decided that instead of trying to find another cat, we would instead renew our efforts to find a black lab/bloodhound. We wanted to get a dog in the spring so we had all the warm months to properly train a dog, but as the months wore on we couldn't find that breed anywhere (we looked all over the country) so we gave up the search and instead decided we would try to get another kitten--which ignited a search that is a story all it's own, but with which I won't currently bore you. We finally found our beloved Colonel Mustard, who was on a mission to restore the good name of cats everywhere. Even people who don't like cats love the Colonel. If you made a checklist of qualities you'd want in a cat, he would have all of them, plus more! We thought we were done with the whole pet thing, and congratulated ourselves on having dodged the bullet of getting a puppy, because really--puppies are SO much work, and cats are SO much easier.

Of course the story doesn't end there. My stories never do. Haven't we all learned that by now? One day I got a phone call while we were camping from my friend Julie saying there was a litter of black lab/bloodhound puppies at the Petco a mile from our house. I told her it was a good thing we were out of town, so I wouldn't be tempted to go look at them. I dismissed it from my mind until Julie told me she was going to get one! Then a weird sort of jealousy kicked in that she was getting the dog we had searched high and low for, but had given up on finding. I mean, we just got a kitten 2 months before, it was now getting into the colder months, and I'm having a baby in January---the timing couldn't be worse!!! And yet, as crazy as it sounded to get a puppy, it seemed just as crazy to pass up the chance to get the dog we really wanted. So we decided to get the puppy. He was supposed to be ready for pick up on Friday, and we decided not to tell the kids beforehand, but rather surprise them with the world's cutest puppy that afternoon.

Friday rolled around, which we joked would be the worst day of Colonel Mustard's life because he was scheduled to get neutered and declawed that day--not to mention he would be coming home to a new puppy. The vet came and picked him up for surgery, and we were scheduled get him back around 3 that afternoon--about an hour before the puppy was supposed to be ready. A few hours later, however, I got a phone call. It was the vet. Colonel Mustard had died. He made it through surgery, but went into cardiac arrest and died shortly thereafter. Dr. Franck said that in 20 years she hadn't had that happen. She was very kind and near tears herself as I bawled like a baby on the other end of the phone.

Oh the irony of getting a new puppy on the same day our cat died! I can't make this stuff up people. How in the world were we going to tell our kids their beloved kitty died just as we were supposed to be getting a new puppy? We didn't want the kids to think we were trying to replace Colonel Mustard, and we wanted getting the new puppy to be a happy occasion, so we decided not to tell the kids about Colonel Mustard's untimely death just yet. We decided to tell them that he had gotten sick and needed to stay with the vet for a day--buying us enough time to get the puppy, have a happy day with him, and then we'd break the news to the kids the following day.

The puppy, who we named Sully, arrived just as sweet and adorable as you'd expect. And what do you think the 1st things out of the kids' mouths were? "Now we have THREE pets!" and "I can't wait for Colonel Mustard to meet Sully!" Oh jeez, it was rough. After a day of loving on Sully, we knew it was time to break the news to the kids about Colonel Mustard. I made Seth do it. It was one of the very worst things EVER. The kids just fell apart and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. We all just sat on the couch and hugged them and cried. Totally heartbreaking. This was their very first experience with death, and Eloise took it the hardest. For at least a week afterward she would spontaneously burst into tears and tell me how much she missed him. And you know what?! I miss that cat, too. A lot.

So we said goodbye to Colonel Mustard, and hello to Sully. He is a great little pup. Potty training a puppy is just as frustrating as potty training a human, but thankfully it's over and he's totally housebroken. He has the same sweet demeanor as Penny, and she really likes having a little puppy to play with. So yet again we've learned that with the bitter comes the sweet. And with that, I'll leave you with some pictures...

Colonel Mustard. May he rest in peace.

Sully. Welcome to the family.

Penny the wonder-dog.

Seth Malley