There is nothing more depressing than being a petless veterinarian. I suddenly found myself in that unexpected position a few years ago when all my pets died within a year of each other. Although I still had the macaw and the cockatiel, there were no four-footed, furry creatures running around tearing up my house and leaving hair all over everything. I even found myself coveting other people’s pets when I went to work. Hubby, no doubt, was secretly elated, but as I keep reminding him, he knew what I did for a living before he married me. Plus, he brought three children to the marriage, so he really can’t complain.

So, there I was, in the position of having to replenish my supply of pets. In the past, my pets have mostly had a way of finding me, but I couldn’t wait that long. Thus, one Saturday when Hubby abandoned me to go soaring in Alabama, Younger Son and I made the rounds of the pet shelters. I started with Pet Welfare, with whom I have worked closely, to find an older cat. We sat on the floor of their main cat room, waiting to see who would adopt us. This is where things got difficult. Several were friendly and seemed like good candidates for future Fannon felines. Younger Son finally chose Faith, a middle-aged torti, who allowed him to pick her up without a fuss. Faith seemed like a perfect name for a preacher’s cat, so we filled out the adoption paperwork. Faith has rewarded us over the years by pooping every night on the dining room carpet.

Then, since there were no small dogs at Pet Welfare, we headed out to Alaqua. Alaqua Animal Refuge is a beautiful place out in Freeport. I walked into their office and announced, “I need a couple of dogs and maybe a cat.” They looked at me like I was a crazy hoarder. But they did show me around. I emphasized I wanted small dogs. After the tour of the Great Pyrenees, Pit Bulls, and mixed Mammoths, I stuck to my guns and was finally led to an enclosure with a herd of hoarded chihuahuas. I know what most of you are thinking. But I have always liked chihuahuas and gotten along well with them. I went in and sat down. Soon I had a beautiful, tiny dog in my lap licking me all over. A second, larger pup shortly followed. They were put on my wish list. Then, since I had seen an orange kitten on their website and had always wanted an orange cat, I asked to see their kittens. Before long I had two identical orange kittens climbing all over me.

“Just give me one of them,” I told the lady who was helping me. “I don’t care which one.” I couldn’t tell them apart anyway.

“If you take two, the second one is free,” she informed me.

Oh! Two for the price of one! Who could pass up a deal like that?

I had to fill out extensive adoption forms in both places, almost more than when I adopted my two sons. Even though I’m a veterinarian, I had to list “my veterinarian.” Then, both shelters actually called “my veterinarian” to see if I was a good pet owner. Thank goodness the front desk didn’t tell them I’m always behind on my pets’ vaccinations and paying my vet bills.

As I drove home from Alaqua, Hubby called. “Well, did you find a new pet?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said. I was tempted to leave it at that, but he would find out sooner or later. “Five.”

“Five!” came the incredulous voice on the other end.

“Sorry, I’m losing your signal.” I quickly disconnected.

Now I do have to say that after he got over his initial shock, Hubby has been a pretty good sport over the past few years about the restocking of our household pets. He even went with me to Alaqua to pick up our new additions. Come to think of it, though, he hasn’t been soaring since that fateful day.