Meet the Critters

Over the course of things, I tend to talk a lot about the adventures or mini adventures of our critters. While I call them critters, they are an important part of our family and probably get spoiled rotten worse than some people's kids do.

Yeah, we dote on them a lot more than we probably should, but at the same time, each one of them has their own personality and the joys they bring into our lives.

I will go from the oldest to the youngest and one honorary member:


She came to us shortly after Hurricane Isabel back in 2003, thus her name. Actually, we were running up the road, saw this pitiful thing on the side of the road, stopped to see what it was and she lept into Mary's arms. She has never willingly left the confines of our home and only goes outside when carried out for a Vet appointment. We never expected her to live this long and she has become the "little lady" and matriarch of the critters.

When Isabel was younger she was quite the character
Isabel was our first critter together and has created memories with us to serve as a bridge to other cats that we had over the years: Tyler, China, Bobbie, Dum-Dum, Joey, Abby and their and her adventures with the fish and bird, along with Sheema our other dog.

Bennie, "Bean"

My compadre and partner in most things I do. For 7.0 years he was my primary running partner until a few years ago when he decided that running long distances was not his thing anymore. Now he is the cause of my walking at least an extra 3-4 miles daily.

Bennie is supposedly a long-legged Jack Russell Terrier and a very HIGH energy dog. We tend to think he is probably a Fox Terrier, but all we know is that we are lucky to have him. He came to us as a rescue dog from the Waterville shelter in 2010 and didn't have a clue or any manners, other than unconditionally loving us.

That was enough.

While he is strong-minded and ADHD as all get out, if he gets off-leash, he goes for a run on the wild side and needs to be found as soon as possible due to how he behaves with other dogs. While he has a few manners, they are not too many, so if you ever get to meet him, he will jump and bark his fool head off to say hello.

However, as friendly as he is to humans, he ain't particularly fond of other dogs and a greeting will quickly devolve into growling and him going after the other dog if they get too close - not good, but after 10 years of trying to change him, we don't see it happening all that soon.


Another cat that came to us from the local woods, he was living in our woods for a couple of weeks before we were able to lure him in with some chicken. Initially, we were going to take him to the shelter, but he showed how gentle he was with us and we decided to keep him. Bennie still doesn't really approve but has reduced his efforts to disciplining Elliott to once or twice a day.

He is a Half & Half addict and when we have coffee, he has to have his share - a dollop on the table or counter and he is happy.

He is also our adventurous one, he got out last summer and went for a walk on the wild side in the woods. Then recently while we were renovating the bathroom he found a hole to wriggle through and went for a two-day adventure under the house. Luckily he never left under the house and we eventually lured him into a Have-A-Heart trap with what else chicken and cream. The entire house was relieved to have him back.

Honorary Member:


Hunter is SD2's dog and Mary dog sits most days for him at her house. Hunter lived with us for a while and both dogs believe they are the Alpha dog and living together was not a fun experience.

While they can tolerate one another outside, but after about a half-hour (or sooner) together in our house, things tend to fall apart and they need to be separated. Otherwise, things would be a lot easier with doggie daycare.

Hunter is over 15 years old and has a few health issues, but is doing better than we thought he would. Although his latest blood tests were pretty worrisome. He has slowed down considerably and pretty much gets 24/7 care to help him navigate this time of his life. He still walks most days with Bennie and they tolerate one another well enough on the walks. Hunter is a good boy most of the time.

The reality is that

Our critters are all members of our family. They have a special place in all of our hearts and provide companionship and friendship that would be sorely missed if they were not here. Sometimes I think that we like the critters a lot better than some of the people we meet, not all, but some. I have a feeling that we will always have critters in our family.

Critters, especially dogs are a LOT of work and their passing is hard when it happens. Yes, it is like losing a close friend (because they are). However, they do bring so much joy and love to our lives while they are here, I can't imagine not having a combination of cats and dogs prowling around the house, especially as we get older and don't travel all that much anyway.

Now when I talk about the critter's adventures, you will have a better idea of what I am talking about.

Originally posted on Aging & Retirement - My Thoughts, written by Harold L. Shaw, Jr.


OldAFSarge said…
A great introduction to the four-legged members of your tribe, Harold. They are family and it hurts when they leave. They make up for that with all of the love they give during their far too short life spans.
Cynthia said…
I enjoyed meeting your critters. We have a crazy border collie Bob and a long-haired beauty who rules the roost, Rosie the cat. Thanks for your comment on my blog. I look forward to reading more of yours. I wonder — would you consider putting an email option on the sidebar so readers could receive an email notification when you post?
Hshawjr207 said…
OldAFSarge - Thank you, yes it does and yes they do. They teach us so much while they are with us though it is worth it.

Cynthia - Thank you. I thought that I had that up and running so thank you for pointing it out, I had to go into Feedburner and update a few setting so it worked correctly. Up and running for you now. :-)
Kay said…
What a wonderful, loving menagerie of friends you have.
Hshawjr207 said…
The first picture was an old one, we only have the four now and that is enough :-)
CheerfulMonk said…
Thank you for letting us know the cast of characters. I was wondering about some of your references.