Daphne and Samson
No "family photo" page would be complete without the cats!
Daphne is the feline princess of the house, and as such was one of Lillie Deerhounds' best friends. (You can read the story of how Daphne joined our family in Missing Mark.) She has very precise guidelines for how life should be and immediately lets you know when one of them has not been met to her satisfaction. (Samson is much more like our Doughal was; he thinks life is swell just the way it is, but never argues with Daphne.)
Samson's first owners got rid of him when they got a new Golden Retriever puppy. The two pets didn't get along, and since the puppy was the exciting new addition to the family, Samson got the boot. He was headed for the shelter when a family friend took him in.
After several years, circumstances led the family friend to find a new home for the cat, and Samson came to me. He was 15 years old, with failing kidneys and a sweet, loving disposition. His long black hair was greasy and full of flakes, and caked with poop and matts all around his rear end. He was too sick to groom himself, and his eyes were dull and sad. His teeth were rotted and he had advanced periodontal disease. After oral surgery and the removal of most of his teeth (the dentist said he had ten years of neglected dental disease), a change to a homemade diet for cats with kidney problems, subcutaneous fluids twice a week, and some special supplements from his holistic vet to help his kidneys, Samson is now fluffy, happy, and healthy.
He is very deeply bonded to my cat Daphne, and even on the warmest nights you can find them sleeping curled up into a little ball together. They groom each other and he puts up with her bossy ways. He loves to sit on my lap when I read or watch TV, and he particularly likes to spend time out in his three-story, wired-in cat enclosure overlooking the creek. His hobbies include bird watching and naps. He and Daphne both long for the day I am stricken with a terrible disease which requires me to spend most of my time in bed (although not so terrible I can't procure meals on a regular basis).
His previous owner contacted me not too long ago, asking about getting him back. I was very unhappy at the prospect, but didn't need to worry. As soon as I explained about the special diet and twice-weekly fluids, his interest evaporated. (Not that I'd have let him go!)
I hope to have many more happy years with Samson, but however long we have together, he's home now, for good. He'll never be "replaced" with next year's model or left behind while I move on. Daphne couldn't live without him... and I don't think I could, either.