Dear Max,

You were happy being an only cat. You moved with us in and out of several apartments and rooms, without issue. We moved around like students do as we transitioned from our first university to Guelph and my time at OVC.

Veterinary school!

You were an excellent study cat. You would do your best to cover all of the papers on my desk, and especially the one I needed to see right at that moment. You enjoyed your food and probably got a little bit chubby. And you were perfectly happy living in our little one bedroom second storey apartment in student housing.

As our schooling progressed, we started to work with real live animals. Some of them were teaching animals, living at the school for varying times before they found homes. At one point, we were ready to perform spay and neuter surgeries for a local rescue. That’s when I met a dog named Lucky.

If you spend much time talking to folks in my line of work, you’ll know that we don’t recommend calling any pet ‘Lucky’. Be that as it may, Lucky and I seemed to bond right away. He would come to me and follow my commands and I knew he needed a home. I talked to the coordinator at the school and arranged for Lucky to come home with me for a trial period.

If Lucky and I were living alone together, it would have worked out fine. He came to bed with me, snuggled up between the pillows and acted like my best friend and protector. My husband probably would have worked out a way to sneak into bed without activating Lucky’s protective instincts. Well, maybe. Let’s just say it was obvious what Lucky thought of him.

But, dear Max, you were more than put out. After the first few days, when Lucky decided he no longer needed to be on his best behaviour, you were simply terrorized. You’d had no experience with dogs and this was a Jack Russell Terrier who seemed to be well-versed in the fine details of cat chasing.

You were our first pet, we’d made a commitment to you. It was obvious Lucky had to go back. We couldn’t risk what might happen if he did catch up to you, and you were stressed out by his presence in your normally peaceful bed.

The coordinator at the school understood immediately and I returned Lucky the next day. I hope he found a lovely cat-free home. I know you were pleased with your newly terrier-free home.

What did I learn?

  • Some pets just can’t live together, especially in a small space.
  • Sometimes it’s just not a good day to adopt a new pet, no matter how strongly you feel.
  • You must consider the quality of life of animals you’ve already made a commitment to. Even when it’s not what you wish for.