The joy of adopting a pet!

Norfolk Terriers

What did I get for Valentine’s Day you wonder? Exactly what I wanted! Pete and I spent last Thursday adopting two precious kittens from Operation Kindness and we couldn’t be happier. How’s it going with the dogs? Well, we’re getting there…

While I’m great at creating content for gift guides that include fashion, beauty and gift ideas, when it comes to holidays, it’s really hard to buy a gift for me. Why? Because there’s really nothing I need or want. I’ve been blogging for 5 years now and I get an overwhelming amount of free clothes, beauty products, trips and other merchandise. And if I truly want a certain piece of jewelry, handbag or luxury clothing item, I just buy it (or tell Pete exactly what I want). I don’t wait for holidays to celebrate. In fact, I think ‘Hallmark Holidays’ are highly overrated. These would be the holidays in which you celebrate because you feel forced to. I digress…

We lost our cat Fuzzy, last summer and I was really sad. And then my Mother passed away and my sadness took on a whole new level (DEAR MOM blog post here). Once the holidays wrapped up and we turned to 2019, I felt ready to have a cat in our lives again. Now I know what you’re thinking, we only know about Sparky and Max, the Norfolk Terriers. Au contraire, we have always been cat owners. You just don’t see them often on the blog. The dogs are a little more obedient when it comes to photo shoots (see here, here and here).

I initially thought of this idea for my birthday when everyone started asking me what I wanted in January. For some reason, I’ve been really attracted to orange tabby cats and I started looking for them. PJ and I used to volunteer at Operation Kindness when he was in high school and we were members of YMSL (Young Mens Service League). We would get our service hours by volunteering to walk dogs and play in the kitten room. I immediately loved the non-profit agency and the hard work they do. It’s a no kill shelter and that warms my heart. It’s hard to see adult animals not getting adopted but they seem to thrive at Operation Kindness. If you think about it, they think of it as one big, happy home!

Operation Kindness does a great job of updating their website in realtime. You can look at dogs here and cats here. I noticed there were several orange tabby’s on their website so Pete and I decided to go out and visit. I’m a firm believer that spending some time with the intended animal will let you know if the cat/dog is right for you (and vice versa). I would have been happy to take an adult orange tabby cat but older cats will have a harder time adapting to other animals in your home. And we all know that Sparky and Max rule our house.

We spent time with the female (2 months old, more red in color, shy and reserved) and the male (3 months old, lighter orange in color, outgoing and rambunctious) and I just couldn’t decide. When I was holding the female, the male kitten would meow and try to paw at us from his cage as if to say “Please pick me today!” I think Pete saw that I was going to have a really hard time choosing between the two (or didn’t want to see me burst into tears upon leaving) and he said “Let’s take them both.” Happy Valentine’s Day to me (and Pete)! 🙂

It does take bit of time to adopt an animal from Operation Kindness so if you visit them with this intent, allow a solid hour or more. You will need to apply (this can be done online to save time), go through the adoption counseling process and wait for the animal to be checked out in the health department. You will also pay the adoption fee of $135 for a cat or $185 for a dog. This is a non-profit organization that does not receive government funding. Before you balk about the adoption fee, to me this was the best deal in town. For $135, each kitten received: Veterinarian exam, all Vaccinations, Spay/Neuter Surgery, Heartworm prevention, Microchipping and Behavior assessment. Plus Operation Kindness had been taking care of them while they were waiting to be adopted. That was the best $270 we had spent on gifts. Ever!

Now for their names. I always bring home a new pet and let them adapt for a few days before naming them. I got lots of creative suggestions on Instagram Stories such as Jamie and Claire (You know I am obsessed with OUTLANDER), Cheeto and Dorito, Jack and Jill, Val and Tine (get it?) and so many more. I’ve decided that they will be RUBY LOU and RALPH. They are doing extremely well in our home. Since we have been cat owners before, this is second nature to us. They are adapting to each other (they are not litter mates) in the laundry room and we let Sparky and Max get used to their scents under the door. We will continue this for another week or so until the kittens feel comfortable in their new home. Max is anxious to be best friends but the kittens are a bit apprehensive about the dogs. Imagine that!

If you are wondering why we didn’t rescue/adopt our dogs it’s because the only dog breed Pete has ever had are Norfolk Terriers. Sparky and Max are the 4th and 5th dogs we have owned of this breed. But we always adopt our kittens! These two make our 5th and 6th cats that we have owned. I could go into a million reasons why having a pet enriches your life but if you are a pet owner, you already know this. I will say that I believe its super important to raise children with pets in the home. It teaches love, responsibility and caring for something else. There are a myriad of lessons to be learned growing up with a beloved pet.

So for someone who doesn’t need or want anything on holidays, I got the best gift of all!   xoxo- Tanya

P.S. I also highly recommend our vet, Preston Center Animal Clinic. We’ve used them exclusively for all of our pets and have been going to Dr. Larry Williams and Dr. Jeanna Montgomery for 26 years!

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