Growing up I don’t remember having a pet. I have some vague memories of two doggies we had at home. But it wasn’t like it is today. Most of the time, they were out on the patio or taking a walk around the neighborhood. There is something about Mexican dogs, (I grew up in Mexico) they come and go as they wish – ha!
Not until I was in my 20’s and living on my own did I decide I wanted to have a pet. A little switch went on the moment I was able to experience having a furry one. I never thought you could have such an amazing connection and feel so much love from a four-legged baby.
Today, I am fortunate to surround myself with a gang of fur babies. They have changed my life tremendously. I feel so much more empathy toward not only other animals, but all living organisms on this planet. They have made me more preceptive towards the needs of others and made me realize there are many layers to love. The love you find in a furry one is unconditional.
My big fur family begins with my fatso, Paris, a 12-year-old big beautiful ginger maincoon. I’ve had cats in the past, and oh my, they have some serious personalities. Paris is originally my fiance’s cat and has been with him ever since she was a kitten. I have now been with her for three years and she has become part of me. Paris simply stole my heart after a trial period in which she would keep me from David or show me her displeasure if I talked or laughed during quiet time. Now shes accepted me and has become my protector. Where I go she goes.
Every morning she follows me to the bathroom and waits while I get ready. She will meow a conversation or expose her big belly to me like a good morning cat style. I can almost say that she is more attached to me than she is to David. There is no day that goes by without loves from this big baby. (She still thinks she is a kitten) Every night she looks for her mommy and daddy for cuddles and love when everyone else is asleep. Paris has also been a great big sister and has been very patient, adapting to all the fur babies we have welcomed into our home. We know it has not been easy for her but we make sure she gets what she needs.
Then came sweet bunny boy Thumper.
One afternoon while running errands we decided to stop at a shelter. I had annoyingly sent very obvious signs to David as to how cute it would be if we had a bunny. A bunny! There is nothing more adorable than a little guy with a cotton ball tail. Well, we stopped and we were both overwhelmed by all the adorable cats they had. We were really close to bringing home a 3-legged cat, but we both had agree there was only room for our Paris. As we wandered and played with so many babies that were waiting for a home, I spotted Thumper. He was laying in his cage minding his own business. The moment I got close to the cage he stretched his back legs and approached me to lick my hand. OMG! My heart melted right there. The rest is history- well not really, but we had to do a lot of research because bunnies required a lot of care and we knew nothing about them. We also wanted to make sure that he was cage free. So we had a lot of homework to do to make sure we gave him the best bunny life possible.
After adopting Thumper and passing the adjustment period for both him and Paris, we agreed we had enough. However, we noticed how Thumper was always alone and rarely came out to play unless we called him or tricked him with treats to come out and play. He was a lonely bunny boy and only came out to explore the house at night. We always wondered if bringing him a bunny pal would be good for him – maybe he wouldn't feel so lonely but we never got around it.
I don’t exactly remember how it happened but we started feeding a couple of squirrels outside our porch – one turned to two and then they were too many to the point we lost count. But one little guy stayed around, we named him Earl. The summer of 2018, Earl started coming by regularly. Little by little he started to trust us each time getting closer to the point that he would crawl on our legs and grab a nut before running to hide it. One day, little Earl came by to show us a wound on his back. It looked raw and bloody – we didn’t think twice just knew we had to catch him and bring him inside the house to tend to his wound.
Luckily, thru Instagram we met Karon, a wildlife rehabber that walked us thru the entire process and told us what to do to help him get better before releasing him back. Thru Earl we met an amazing and loving squirrel community all over the world – who would've thought so many people loved squirrels? One day, we saw a post that a baby squirrel needed a forever home as she would not be able to be released back into the wild due to a condition she develop after falling from a tree as a tiny baby squirrel. Long story short, we drove over 2 hours to meet Daphne, and again, we fell in love.
Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine we would have a squirrel as a pet, err family member. Let me tell you, she is a handful but she is pure love. Like we did with Thumper, we had to learn a lot about raising a squirrel. We are lucky enough to have such a great support system always ready to help us. Daphne is also cage free, she only goes into her cage when it's time to sleep and when its time to eat. She will not eat if she is out – she prefers to play. And we are still working on her not being such a punk to her siblings – all she wants to do is play.
Again, we agreed that it was for the best to refrain ourselves from bringing any more babies’ home. WE HAVE ENOUGH. Having them is a great feeling but a huge responsibility, as they fully depend on us and not to forget to mention how expensive they can get. Between their food, litter and vet visits- it adds up quickly.
The newest and last addition to this furry family is Violet. Violet is a lion head bunny. It was really hard for us to say no to her. We learned that she has been in two different homes and her last owner passed away. The other family that had her gave her back because she was not fully litter trained. It broke our hearts. She has been with us for only three months but we've made huge progress with her. As they told us, she wasn’t fully litter trained. But it only took a little patience and making adjustments around the house to help her get familiarized to using the litter box.
I was a little nervous about bringing her home since we already had thumper. I wasn’t sure if it would affect Thumper or if they would even get along. To our surprise, they fell in love. If you can’t find Thumper, you can be sure he will be right next to Violet or vice versa. They eat together, play together, groom each other and hide from crazy Daff together.
Our home is full of love. We would not change a thing. We know we can’t house any more animals as it would not be fair to any of them. Having each one of these little guys in our life is an everyday adventure. Each one of them has a different personality that makes us crack up EVERY SINGLE DAY.
This journey, started unexpectedly but we are fully aware of what we are doing. We are fortunate enough to work from home to be able to spend time with our fur babies. Having a pet is not a part-time job, or a gift to a kid that will soon be forgotten and possibly taken back to a shelter – it is easily a 10 to 15 years commitment.
It requires patience, a big economic commitment and the ability to adapt to them. Yes, we had to adapt to their needs. From “baby” proofing the house, to setting up designated spaces for them, to getting used to cleaning 30 hours a day (it feels like it never ends) and most importantly, investing time in learning the do’s and don’ts of raising an exotic pet at home (Daphne and Bunnies – although Paris can be quite exotic too!) It’s a lot of work but its totally worth it.
There is a big misconception that you can feed your pets whatever you see at the pet store but we have learned that much of the food and treats you find at pet stores are unhealthy trash. This was a big eye opener! When we were learning what the proper diet for a bunny was, we were surprised to learn that they need mainly hay, fresh greens, a bit of fruit and a tiny portion of pellets. Please don’t feed your bunnies only pellets! Do your research before you commit to taking care of a new pet. We had no idea what to feed Daphne, thankfully, Karon, our trusty wild life rehabber, taught us all we needed to know. Believe it or not these little guys (squirrels) also need a nice diverse diet, not only nuts.
I feel like I can go on forever and tell you a lot more because there is a lot more to learn and love about having a furry family, but one thing I can tell you – is that it takes a united household to have more than one pet at home. I don’t think our crazy house would work if either one of us didn’t love animals as much as we do. It takes team work to manage a house with so many fur babies.
This experience has made us think about where we want to be in the future and we have agreed that our dream is to own a farm where we can rehab many babies in need. I hope I can continue to share our journey to our farm house. For now, I have enjoyed introducing you to our furry family.
Let me know, what is your favorite pet? Any questions about pet care? Let me know!!
Want to know more about our furry family? Follow their page on IG @ParisandThumpersLife