My hamster, Butters, had to have an abscess drained Wednesday. The abscess was in his right pouch. He was swollen and seeping before the vet saw him. Now he looks like a fighter that got a whooping. Butters is on antibiotics, but we wish he would eat more.

Butters’ brother, Hoover, has the cage all to himself because Butters has to be in an isolation cage until he gets better. These two guys have been living together since they were very small. Butters does not like being in a strange cage…alone. Hoover seems to be handling the separation better, but, as Butters points out, Hoover has the “good” cage.

I once saw a t-shirt that said, “The more I know people, the more I like my dog.”

Boy, Howdy!

Besides Butters and Hoover, we have Edgar J. Wagonwheel, III (Jack Russell Terrier), Otis (Chihuahua/Pug), and eight cats. The cats are Spenser, Hobbes, Sunny with a Chance of Mayhem, Romeo, Murphy, Oliver, Drusilla, and Frankie (Francis Albert Sinatra Johnson).

Are Gail and I crazy? Most likely, but we like it that way.

The Butters and Hoover needed a home, and we’d just lost our lovely Emsei Hamster nearly a week prior.

Edgar was in the doggie joint with pneumonia when we found him. Otis was a six-week old puppy with ringworm that needed a stable home.

Spenser is my oldest cat; I got him for myself as a birthday present. Hobbes crawled up my arm and sat by my ear and purred when I picked him up at a cat rescue booth. Sunny would let me bring him in to spend some bitter winter nights in our warm basement until he showed up one winter night with a serious scalp laceration.

Romeo was homeless and wintered in our out building for two years until I just picked him out of a Summer sunbeam one day and brought him home. Murphy showed up hurt; the vet said that the cats were leaving hobo marks on the house. Oliver ran out of some bushes at my Mom’s house and wrapped himself around Gail’s ankle; the kitten needed several baths with flea shampoo, but he went home with us. Drusilla was a captured feral kitten that needed civilizing; we got her early enough to domesticate, but she never got bigger than a ten-week-old kitten. Frankie showed up with a serious neck wound and complained loudly until we brought him in. With a loud mouth and blue eyes, Frankie nearly named himself.

All of our brood, except the Hamsters, have been neutered and/or spayed.

When I’m in a bad mood, all I have to do is gather the troops. Edgar is a lap puppy. Otis can’t control his licker. Romeo, Murphy, and Spenser love to sit on you and make kitty feet with their claws. Sunny is a big lover cat just like Hobbes, but he doesn’t trust the dogs and will smack them on the rump in case they were thinking of trying something.

Drusilla has loved to chew plants, plastic, and fingers since she arrived, and when it comes to litter, she thinks outside the box. Frankie has food issues, and he attacks his wet food like there will never be another meal. Oliver is the biggest cat and the biggest baby; he is the only cat that sleeps with us because he can’t leave his Mommy.

Every night we prepare special treats like carrots, blue berries, lettuce, and watermelon and get Butters and Hoover out for a romp on the bed They have normal, fortified hamster food, but they eat the treats right out of our hands.

When I get too wrapped up in things I cannot change, Edgar will walk up and nudge my arm until I rub his head and let him sit in my lap.

Otis will run in with a smelly knotted rope and insist on a game of “tuggie,” or he will want to play fetch with a tennis ball until everyone but Otis is tired. I can’t be in a bad mood when Otis decides my face is entirely too dry and licks it like he’s trying to remove my eyebrows.

Romeo is not afraid of Edgar in the least. In fact, I think Romeo rather likes the old grump. Romeo will walk right up to Edgar, no matter how loudly Edgar growls, and start to groom him. Edgar won’t hurt Romeo, and Romeo knows it so Edgar gets no respect.

Hobbes has been our cat Welcome Wagon; He loves everybody. Spenser is surly, but when he wants “rubbies,” he won’t take no for an answer

The more I know people, the more I love my fur children. I sure hope you have some fur children in your lives. Gail and I are lucky; we have the perfect mood-altering substance all over the house…animal hair.

P. S.

Rest in Peace, Beasley, Emsei, Jax, Max, and Smokey.