Chloe“The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog.” — George Graham Vest

“Time spent with cats is never wasted.” — Sigmund Freud

“The problem with cats is that they get the same exact look on their face whether they see
a moth or an axe murderer.” — Paula Poundstone

I’ve always loved pets, but I didn’t have a pet during my adult life until I got married. It wasn’t fair to them because I was never home during the day.

When I married last year, I became the proud adoptive papa of Oliver, a tan, fur-shedding, lover-of-all-things-edible pug; and Chloe, a Russian blue feral cat with the stomach of a seasick passenger and the stalking skills of a paparazzi.

If there were a dating website for single dogs, Oliver’s profile would include cuddling, long walks at the lake and barking at delivery trucks.

Oliver, 8 years old, is vocal (he snores), an independent thinker (he won’t follow commands) and a brilliant negotiator (he won’t come back inside unless promised a treat).

Because his grandpa appeared at Westminster, Oliver is a bit arrogant around other dogs, and he will try to dominate the larger dogs during our walks with furious barking and pulling of leash. Dogs of similar size — 22 by 9 inches with 3-inch clearance between belly and pavement — are of no bother, because they are, well, too small to bother.

Chloe, about 5 years old, was found at a friend’s house, rummaging for food. When my wife took her home, she discovered Chloe was pregnant.

Lying on a thick blanket in bed, Chloe gave birth to six kittens, all of whom found loving homes within a couple of days.

oliverChloe is pure house cat. When awake, she’ll spend time on the front porch or a windowsill, or in a corner of a room staring and waiting for prey to jump. She’ll stalk the house, crawling on desks and tables searching for something to bat around. When she finds something — usually a roll of stamps, a paperclip or a rubber band (and usually at 3 a.m.) — she will bring it to our bed, mewing loudly with pride. Otherwise, she can be found sleeping on the corner of the bed, or a couch or a chair — and will wake only when someone comes home.

She loves her brother Oliver, and the feeling is mutual. In the morning, he will sit next to her and lick her ears, and she’ll let him.

When Oliver came home from bladder stone surgery after four days at the vet last year, we were told he should spend most of his time the next few days in his crate to keep him safe.

Chloe, who wandered around the house looking for him while he was gone, spent the next six hours, purring happily and lying in front of his crate.

There is nothing better than coming home after a long day at work and snuggling on the couch with my wife and our dog and cat, watching Animal Planet because cable news makes Chloe vomit.