Lola is a “potcake” dog, otherwise known as one of the thousands of strays that roam Puerto Rico. At just 6 weeks old, she was scampering around the island when a vacationer came across her and fell in love – ultimately buying her a plane ticket and flying her back to Missouri. His only conundrum was that he already had more dogs than is allowed in the city, so he put out a plea on Facebook for someone to adopt her. My mom saw it and the rest was history.
Then my parents got a divorce. And the house was sold. Neither could take Lola with them, so I was coerced into bringing her with to the apartment that I was suddenly expected to move into.
(At the time, I had just turned 21 and was working on saving enough money to move out when I graduated college. This just caused me to have to expedite the plan.)
The transition into our new, dinky dwelling caused us both great anxiety. Lola chose to channel this emotion into destruction. When left out of her cage, she would chew through any electrical cord she could find, cry all day, and she even dug a hole through a door (and a mattress). When left in her cage, she would poop and roll around in it in protest.
Her attitude was not only making me want to tear out my hair, but it was also costing me a significant amount of money in repairs. In a last-ditch effort, I ended up studying Cesar Millan’s methods of training. And by the grace of Cerberus, his methods worked. Yes, the Dog Whisperer saved the day.
Now, with the aid of good training and years to build trust, our relationship has morphed from “strained” into “best friends”.
We have been through so much together – from the initial divorce, to my own crappy relationships, to inevitable and terrible break-ups, to moving in and out of new places, to experiencing loss, and bringing in new family members (aka cats). She has been a good and patient companion through all of life’s curveballs.
There is no one I love more than her.
These days, Lola’s favorite activities are going on long walks, barking at the mailman, and stealing Whimzees from the bottom shelves at pet stores. She is also excellent at demanding attention, going as far as to grab your hand with her paw and force you to pet her. Belly rubs will also elicit a big, crooked-teeth grin from her. Her dark black eyeliner, which not everyone can pull off, and crooked ear both invoke weekly compliments from strangers and she has also been on the front page of Reddit 3 years in a row. (Here, here and here.) For these reasons, she does have an inflated ego.
Dislikes include: getting her nails trimmed, baths, and her brothers receiving more attention than her.
She is not just a good dog, she’s the best dog in the world.
I first noticed Earl prowling the neighborhood from time to time, but always assumed he had a family because of his utter chunkiness. He seemed to take a liking to my porch though, and, after a while, I began purchasing and setting out cat food for him (and about a dozen possums). We took our relationship a step further when he began entering through my front door, uninvited. One day when he popped by though, he was bleeding profusely from his arm and nose. That’s when I officially brought him in and took him to the vet to have his chip scanned. When his ID came up, a 90-year-old woman answered the phone and mentioned he’d been missing for over half of a year. Her family had presumed he was dead. She mentioned she had several cats and they were all designated as “outdoor animals”, despite the fact that Earl had been declawed (a big no-no).
Her son offered to take him back to her but, after finding out I was interested in adopting him (and receiving a gleaming recommendation about me from my vet), he decided that giving me Earl was what was best for him. His mom just had too many pets and he felt bringing Earl back was more than she could handle. After a few rounds of antibiotics, he was ready for his new home.
Now Earl lives in the lap of luxury. He enjoys snuggling on my chest, chin scratches, and using the toilet for pool parties. He also has an affinity for laying in boxes that are too small for him, subsequently crushing them under his weight. He is a little too fat to clean his own butt, so he is thankful he has a brother who happily does it for him.
When the phone call came in that my dad had found a cat at the junkyard that he worked for, I (out of character) told him I couldn’t help. Because of my consistent track record in bringing in strays, I didn’t want to open myself up to being taken advantage of. At the time, I was keeping Earl a secret and found it overwhelming to even consider bringing in another.
Then it stormed that night. And I had visions of this poor little kitty hiding under broken car parts trying to stay dry.
The next day, my dad called me again and told me the cat was limping. My guilt-o-meter hit its peak and I ended up leaving work early to pick my future child up. His leg was injured due to getting into a fight with someone and the wound had gotten infected. I took him to the vet to be evaluated, and we ran all of the proper tests on him to ensure he couldn’t get Earl sick (ie. Feline Leukemia). During the check-up, my vet noticed he had a giant lump in his stomach which was identified as a hernia. He mentioned that, if I didn’t have it removed, it could grow and constrict his itty bitty organs, so I scheduled the have it removed that same month. The result was him having to wear the kitty-cone-of-shame and a horrifying incision that cut across his entire abdomen, making him look like Franken-Cat.
$600 and a year or so later, Houdini loves us so hard that he literally drools when we pet him. He is also great at napping in positions that look like he has entered rigor mortis, which legitimately scares the shit out of us. And sometimes he sticks his tongue out, which causes my eyeballs to pop out of my head because I cannot physically handle the cuteness.
He earned his name due to his inexplicable habit at getting trapped in rooms, closets and basements that we swear he wasn’t in when we closed the door.
If there is anything that Houdini loves more than us, its food, and he will honest to god yell at us until we feed him his nightly scoop.