The last three weeks have been interesting in the Neal household; to say the least.
Jack, Brandee and I had been leading a relatively normal life just enjoying our freedom. And then we got insane! Yep, we rescued a puppy and kitten from the local animal shelter. Meet Gracie (puppy) and Bleu (kitten).
First of all, my best boy, Jackson, deserves the most credit for being the greatest older bubby to his sissies. Jack was actually a younger bubby with Bella – and she trained him well. Now that Jack is the elder animal he has been such a caring and terrific brother to his two new sisters. Jack, Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you that you can’t believe it!
When Brandee and I thought that we want to bring some energy into the Neal household, we got exactly what we wanted with Graciela. She is every bit of what we had hoped and then-some. Gracie loves to play with both Jack and Bleu but in distinctly different fashions which is interesting to observe.
For example, with Bleu (since she is a small 2 lb. kitten), Gracie is very gentle and cuddly when they play together. It’s amazing to watch these two play together especially since they were rescued/adopted from the same animal shelter on the same day. It’s almost like they have some sense of a kindred-spirit of sisters. However, when Gracie plays with Jack the ruff-ness (pun intended) is intensified to match his strength. Jack and Gracie love to play tug-of-war with various dog-toys we have. It’s so much fun for us humans to watch but also very healthy for them to play nicely for their body and spirit.
Jack has ‘Gracieusly’ (pun intended again) accepted Gracie as his younger sister well. He has been such a good boy that I can’t be prouder of him.
Our youngest family member, at only seven weeks old, is Miss Bleu Neal. Although she barely weighs 2 pounds and is just a bit larger than the palm of your hand, she is the one person that rules our house for sure.
One of the most heartwarming things to see is when Bleu and Jack play together. You might think this would be an odd-mix with a 100-lb. dog and 2-lb. kitten but they play together so nicely that it’s beautiful.
Bleu is also extremely attached to her sister, Miss Graciela Neal. This is clearly evident in their many cuddle events or the often-playful fake-fighting sessions they enjoy together. It’s very humorous and highly entertaining.
We have no update other than we are alive and ignored 😊. However, seriously, I love to pay some extra special attention to our two goldfish, two catfish and one algae-eater and they appear to be doing just fine in their large habitat.
Thanks for your time reading this notice from the Neal Family Animal Home,
We miss you a ton since you went to Rainbow Bridge. Can’t wait to be with you again for eternity.
A lot has happened around the house the past few weeks so let me please provide an update.
First, and foremost, Mommy and I received the most beautiful lifetime memorial of your wonderfulness. It is so very sad, yet so inspirational in the same vein. Your pretty, prefect paw prints are forever, literally, set-in-stone. Every day I make a point to visit and say a prayer for your peace, happiness and health at Rainbow Bridge. This is such a precious gift that Mommy made as a forever memory. I love it and you are such a pretty baby!
Next, your newly adopted sissies seem to be getting along with Bubby pretty well. Bleu and Jack have no issues whatsoever, which is a bit surprising to me considering that size difference but they have a lot of fun with each other. Bleu likes to play with Jack’s tail and he allows it like a champion. It’s clear that he misses you badly and tutoring a new baby feline is his way of coping. He’s enjoying the reciprocation to help a little kitten baby just like you took such terrific care of Buddy so good as an older Sissy when he was a little guy.
Bleu and Gracie went to see our beloved animal doctor today. Dr. N, especially, said to say hello to you. He knows that you are having such a wonderful time at Rainbow Bridge with his little girl. I sincerely hope that you two are in direct communication because he loved you dearly but I just wanted to communicate this message none-the-less. Gracie was there just to introduce her to Doctor but Bleu had to get a shot of some sort. She was a very good patient according to Doctor.
Baby Honey, we love you so much. Please send a memory or message. We would love that more than you will ever know right now; we really need it.
Misty was a beautiful calico cat that came to Brandee and I around the year 2000. Misty’s history is a bit unknown but as far as we could put together she was well cared for during a long period of time until we were blessed with her presence. Our best guess is that she lived a wonderful 22 years.
Most of Misty’s previous history before she came to us was shared by our beloved neighbor at the time, Linda. According to Linda, Misty was a family cat and enjoyed a pleasant life doing whatever it is that cat’s do. After Misty and her family moved a few blocks over, apparently Misty was stubborn and never adjusted to the new neighborhood. She would end up over here with Linda. Eventually she was just a family member of our local neighborhood just like before but with no real home.
Fast forward to around the year 2000. Brandee and I were busy working all day and night trying to build our website business in the den of our office which happened to have a nice big sliding glass door. It was summer and it was hot so we placed some fans in the room to cool the place. That wasn’t enough to dissipate the heat so we would always open the door wide to encourage a cool breeze. Guess who happened to start peeking her head in the door? Yep, Mistis! (By-The-Way, I’m not exactly sure why I started calling her Mistis instead of Misty but I think that was just my term of endearment for her).
At first she was soooooo scared. Of course we were as new to her as she was to us. It was strange but she simply had a genuine attitude. We didn’t want to scare her off and just were simply looking to see if she had a collar with a contact address or micro-chip for identification of her owners- neither of which she had. Anyhow, after a few times of peeking her head in the den to see what was going on then she was finally comfortable with tempting fate and taking the cautious first steps into our home.
After those first cautious steps then we opened our home to Misty wholeheartedly. This simply felt like her “place to be”. We always left our front door and back door wide open so if she wanted to leave and go home then she was certainly able to go, but she stayed. The more Brandee and I got to know Misty the more she grew on us.
Misty, Brandee and I enjoyed fun times. In the summer Misty would lounge under my car as seen in the photo to the right. In the winter she would spend most of her time huddled with us in the house with the heater blasting as most sane people would do. She loved to prowl around and watch us humanoids work like a ‘slave to the grind’ while she had not a worry in the world. Sometimes I would go into the front yard when she hadn’t returned when the lights went down (past her cat-few/curfew), and I would bellow “Mistis!!! Come home to daddy!!!”. And guess what? She’d come a-running!
Unfortunately, Misty developed skin cancer on her nose. We did everything we could to get a definitive diagnose, I assure you. In the end, she was just in too much pain and the only humane thing was done. We loved her then, we love her now and we’ll love her forever. We miss you Mistis!
I was devastated by the passing of Misty, I admit it. I swore off ever caring for anything, much less an animal ever again. So, my mom shows up at my house a few weeks later with this little, orange kitten that looked so innocent and sweet. I was a bit pissed off. Not at the kitten, of course, but I was at my mom. However, I do understand that mom was trying to do the right thing for the right reasons. No one can ever, or will ever, replace Misty.
The Orange Thang A- Cometh– Now this little, itty, bity, tiny, nearly hairless furrball of orangeness was in our possession. Great. Well, as any good parent should do, we gave her a name, Isabella Annamarie Neal. Bella immediately became a huge fan of internet computing. She would lay on Brandee’s desk for hours and hours on a laptop watching Brandee work. We finally placed a small cat bed on top of the of the laptop for her to sleep in. Bella was so small when my mom gave her to us (approx. 6 weeks old) that she was nearly the size of the human palm with fingers extended. Roughly 10 inches long, head to tail and including all furr! She was very tiny and hilarious!
Now that our little, nearly hairless, orange fluffball is about to turn 6 years old, we have accepted our fate, errrr, I mean, welcomed her unconditionally. In all seriousness she is a blessing. She is fun. She is humorous. She is temperamental like no other and she’s got character.
You can see my little girl to the right- all decked out with the Steelers colors behind her. Isn’t this just appropriate? During the Super Bowl she was an avid fan for the black and gold like no other. Every now and then I would hear a “meow for the Steelers!” or a “fuurrrrr for Roth!”.
In her younger years she used to have a terrible habit of bring home “presents” to mommy (Brandee) and Daddy (Kevin, me) as a sign of respect from what I understand. As much as we explained to Bella that a slimy salamander was appreciated but not desired, she would continue. She would bring birds, rats, mice and sometimes even grasshoppers! Whatever she could get her paws on was game.
She is a funny baby with a huge personality. Among her favorite tasks are to climb onto the roof during a warm day and just bask in the warm sunshine. Other tricks she likes to perform are death-defying stunts such as amazing leaps of fate that happen to land directly on my feet and cause me pain. Bella likes to be the center of attention. She always has to be in the middle. Overall she’s a good girl though, I have to admit. She comes and goes as she pleases. Unless the weather is ridiculously cold or windy. We generally leave a door open for her to get loose. Even when she’s been gone past her curfew we’ll leave the door slightly-open and guess who comes home after a night on the town, yep, BBBAAAYYY FURRRR!!!! As a feline daddy I can’t approve of this behavior but she does come home to us where it’s safe.
Jackson Nickolas Neal, AKA Jackie, came to us on January 2006. As if Bella, the Orange Terror wasn’t enough, I lost my mind and agree to adopt a dog for my wifes birthday. Honestly, I wanted to have a nice dog to warm our home. Doesn’t a sweet, innocent, cuddly lap-dog sound sweet? Little did I know that this 32 pound little guy seen in the photo to the left would turn out to be such a hunk. Jack is his name and “Jackson” is his proper name when he is in trouble, which he was mostly referred to in his early learning years. We adopted him from the shelter so his true pedigree is unknown however it’s clear that he is mostly Black Labrador Retriever. He must still have a bit of Rottweiler in him and I bet a tad Boxer maybe. He was probably about 3 months old when we were honored with his presence. I was VERY concerned that he would be a problem with Bella; shame on me. It only took a few days for Bella make her alpha position very clear to Jack.
I hear that’s a typical story with most cat/dog introductions, but I had to err on the side of caution and watch Bella all the time in the first few months due to the uncertainty between Jack and Bella. These days I worry much more about Jack than I do Bella. But I still care for both equally. They are truly brother and sister at this point.
Jack provides so much comic relief that you can’t believe it. Jack is also a good walker for those that would like to simply take a stroll. Jack is always friendly. He might intimidate people unintentionally because of his size and breeding, but he would never hurt anyone unless they were hurting someone he cares for. If that happens, gawd bless their soul. Jack is the guy who keeps me honest. Jack is the guy that will jump on you regardless of your wishes. Jackie is the guy who will look at your with those sweet, innocent eyes when he knows he is in trouble for something. Jackle is such a wuss when his sister (Bella) decides to teach him something or other. But, overall… Jack is a nice guy. Jack is a baby. Jack is a big dope. Jack is the man!
When we first adopted Jackson as a puppy from the local ASPCA, I was very concerned that he might pose a physical threat to Bella due to the inherent nature of his breed, not to mention his size. Obviously, I never had a thing to worry about.