Wednesday, September 15, 2010


It has been an exciting week in the Osborne household. And it all has to do with animals.

As I've posted before, Suzy and I have been adoptive parents of a cat for several years. Her name was Cleopatra (or Cleo for short). Notice I said "was." She died last week.

It was the weirdest thing. On Sunday, September 5, we came home from church to find that she'd vomited all around the house. And for several days she kept vomiting (even though she stopped eating entirely). We could find nothing unusual that she'd ingested. She was an indoor cat, so it couldn't have been something outside. But she was really sick. She acted very strange, too, like she'd aged 20 years or something. She walked slowly, and when she wasn't throwing up she just lay on the floor like an old cat. I took her to the vet, and they wanted to do all these tests. They theorized that it was renal failure or something like that. But it might have simply been that she was dehydrated. That made sense. Especially since the tests were going to run into the hundreds of dollars.

So the vet gave us some bags of fluid, and since Suzy is a nurse she injected it under Cleo's skin twice a day for a couple days. Cleo showed no response. The vomiting continued. Finally on Wednesday night of last week, she passed away in her sleep.

Suzy and I were sad. We'd grown very fond of Cleo and she was a great kitty. Very affectionate. We remembered how forlorn and skinny she was when we first brought her home from Gulfport, Mississippi, where our grandkids found her hiding underneath their church. She was a symbol for us of redemption.

Well, I'm the most surprised of anyone for what I'm about to tell you. The very next day, we go get a dog.

We've had several dogs in our family over the years, so I'm a dog lover. But after our last dog died 10 years ago or so, I insisted that we would never again get a dog. They're too much trouble, I said. They'd tie us down, I said. They'd ruin our home, I said. But what did I do when Suzy suggested we get a dog? I said yes. YES! I was such a pushover!

Suzy has always wanted a bichon frise. She'd had her eye on this bichon frise puppy at a nearby pet store. So sure enough, after she got off work on Thursday, we met at the pet store, said hello to this little puppy, and a couple hours later we walk out of the store with this dog under our arms.

We love him! We struggled to come up with a good name. We figured since he's French we ought to give him a French name. But they all sounded too girly. So we blended a French name with a name only a select group of Southern football fans will understand: Dabo.

Dabo is the first name of the head coach of Clemson University's football team, Dabo Swinney. His brothers called him "Dabo" when he was a little kid, intending to say "That boy." So we named our puppy "Dabo." For a second name, we came up with "Leblanc." The reason for that is that Suzy wanted to name him Jean Valjean, and I protested. But in Les Miserables, Valjean is also known as Monsieur Leblanc. So that settled it. Our puppy would be called Dabo Leblanc.

He's a really good puppy. He's already doing pretty well with his "outside" business, although he's had a few accidents in the house. He's very affectionate, as I'm told all bichons are. He likes to run and play fetch and chew on things. We're learning his routines and trying to follow the rules.

I have to admit, it's fun being a dog owner again. I just didn't expect it to happen quite this way.

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