I have always maintained that a pet can't be replaced; rather, a new addition helps to heal the loss.
About a year after the death of Muffin, our Himalayan, my wife and I decided to seek a new feline companion.
Marion, a very dear friend of ours who volunteers at the local humane society, suggested we "give a stray a chance." I am always amused by my clients who say they are just going to look at a litter but they still have not decided if they are going to get one. Life doesn't work that way.
We visited the Palo Alto Animal Services site and fell in love with an eight-week-old black kitten named Molly. We were told that she was already promised to another family but that was contingent upon the landlord's approval. We were granted "second hold" on her; if the first family did not claim her by 4 p.m. Friday, she was ours on Saturday morning. We were like children waiting for Christmas. When the doors opened on Saturday my wife was present to adopt our new ward.
Molly is now four months old and has taken over the house in the manner that only cats exhibit. Feeding her stimulates bursts of energy enabling the antics unique to felines. This includes the mugging of her new fur pal Cooper, a two-year-old Labrador retriever who endures her mock attacks.
His tail provides a never-ending source of assails and they both find great delight when she grabs his massive head with both her front paws.
Before acquiring Molly we anticipated spending about $800 to $1,000 for a purebred Himalayan. As a veterinarian, I tell my clients that the purchase price is often the least cost of pet ownership. I was astounded upon reviewing the services included in our $100 adoption fee at the Humane Society. I called several local veterinary hospitals for price quotes and calculated the average of the following costs:
1. Office call and initial examination $48.50
2. Flea treatment (6 month supply of Advantage) 74.90
3. Stool examination and worming 72.57
4. First vaccination for feline distemper 21.70
5. Feline leukemia blood test 40.54
6. Micro chip insertion and registration 68.20
7. Spay 210.00
8. Total $536.41
Our friend was correct. Giving a stray a chance has not only given us a wonderful new family member but, thanks to the Palo Alto Animal Services, verified that Molly is the best deal in town.
John Schulte is a Portola Valley veterinarian.