We got her! Our new dog Libby arrived last week and we couldn’t be happier. She’s sweet. She’s little. She’s adorable. She infuses the house with youthful vigor, joy and play. She’s exactly what we wanted. Except there’s one major problem.
Our 13 year-old cat Rocky isn’t happy. His world has turned upside down.
Rocky’s place has always been my lap. Not anymore. Now Libby is there… all the time. When Libby’s out of sight, I try to get Rocky to take his old spot, but he’s skittish, always on the lookout for this new rabble-rouser. In fact, I think he’s insulted.
Even worse, he’s lost his bearings. His place of safety was always under our bed. Our old dog Simon could never follow because he was too big. But little Libby can. Underneath our mattress, we’ve heard feline growls and canine barks that sound like planets colliding.
We weren’t sure what to do until Rocky found his own solution. He escaped to an upstairs loft where the dog can’t follow. He sleeps there now while Libby slumbers in his old spot on our bed.
Rocky has been temporarily displaced. It breaks my heart.
We adopted this cat 13 years ago. He was so small he could stand on my outstretched palms. He slept in our bathroom that first night with a terrible cold. I worried he wouldn’t make it. But he did.
The first dog in Rocky’s life was elderly, courtly Chihuahua Ren. Rocky was young and strong. Ren was old and tired. They formed a bond until Ren died.
Sweet, goofy Simon was Rocky’s middle-aged companion. Together for ten years, they touched noses each morning in greeting. Sometimes they slept side by side. Then Simon had to be put down last summer. Afterwards, Rocky stayed under our bed for days, most likely grieving.
Now Rocky must endure the gale-force charm of young Libby. And so far her in-your-face, high-octane 2 year-old energy is too much for this grumpy, old cat.
Still, Libby’s the canine I always wanted – a small, fluffy, adorable, not-too-old, not-too-young female lap dog.
Finding her wasn’t easy. I looked on websites. I scoured local pounds. I walked past metal cage after metal cage.
It got so I couldn’t enter these shelters anymore. There were too many animals staring forlornly. A few would wag their tails hopefully and smile. They were close, but not what I was looking for.
When I stopped going, my son Paul asked how we’d ever find our dog if we never actively looked. “We’ll send our wish to the universe,” I said. “She’ll come to us somehow.” (I only half-believed this, but was hopeful.)
Months passed. One day my husband Randy showed me a picture of a dog up for adoption from one of his Facebook friends. She had just had a litter of puppies and wasn’t ready to leave, but would be in a few months.
I stared at the image of the small, fluffy, adorable, not-too-old, not-too-young female lapdog. This was the one.
Last week we brought Libby home and it feels like she’s always been a member of the family. “We hit the bull’s eye,” I recently told Randy. He agrees.
Except…what do I do with Rocky?
It feels like yesterday this cat was the new kitten on the block. Now Rocky’s joints are stiff. He’s thin and old.
Animals with their short life spans show the passage of time. We see how days move on not only for them…but for us too.
One day even Libby will slow down. Her white muzzle will be gray. Her spry, youthful body will get achy. She’ll be cranky when some young whippersnapper comes into her life.
But that’s a long time away. In the meantime, we do our best to show Rocky we love him.
And maybe in a funny way, this cat needs Libby. Maybe she’ll shake his life up, something we all could use. Maybe she’ll help him forget his long-time companion, Simon.
Just the other day, they were in the kitchen together without hissing and barking. It’s a beginning.
Yes, I believe Rocky will eventually come to accept Libby.
Someday they might even be friends and touch noses each morning.
Have you had to introduce new pets to each other? Comments are always welcome and thank you for reading and sharing.