Chick Chat: It’s a World Class Menagerie

Well, it’s not quite a menagerie but the Chicks sure do love our pets. With my family’s new addition (who is all over the Scoot a Doot Instagram because I’m obsessed with her) I thought it would be fun to introduce our furbabies! I feel like pets are an extension of who we are as people and so when I see pictures of Sam, Ollie, Walt, Axl, Hannah, Boomer, Ace (just to name a few), they make me smile and feel like I know their owners better.

So snuggle up with your animals and prepare yourself for the Scoot a Doot pet parade.


I live with two rescued cats – a 13-year-old calico tabby mix I’ve had since 2002 and an almost 1-year old tabby who came to our home just two weeks ago. We also have a hedgehog, I have found it so hard to find things for him. But I finally found a cage that is perfect for him, if you have a hedgehog and your looking for a new cage check out this hedgehog cage on Amazon. It’s the exact one I got and I love it.


I met the elder cat, let’s call her Murr, in the newsroom of my last paper. There, the local SPCA each week brought in a pet to be photographed and featured in the paper. I often helped out and regularly squealed when I saw the animals. Murr and I fell in love straight away, and by the time her photo ran in the paper, she was already exploring my then-apartment.

She lived with me well before I started dating my now-husband. (and she instantly preferred him to me once he entered the picture. Humph.) But Murr’s in it for the long haul, even though she’s quirky, wiry and most definitely is not a snuggler. She’s an incredible mouse-hunter, she’s obsessed with tuna juice. She’s tiny and beautiful. And she knows it.

New cat was hit by a car last fall. She broke her back leg and had several surgeries to repair the damage. She was rescued by a friend, who couldn’t keep her, so she came to live with us.

She’s sweet, fat and always underfoot. She loves to snuggle and is ALL about the food. Her food, Murr’s food, my food, my husband’s food. She will eat anything. We still haven’t picked a name for her but have a few frontrunners.

Needless to say, Murr hasn’t taken too kindly to the new cat. She’s currently stashed herself in our loft/attic and throws repeated screaming tantrums whenever she sees new kitty. Please tell me they will eventually be friends?


Reily came to Mister Jess and I nine years ago as an 8-week-old fluff ball. He was this adorable Shih Tzu-Yorkie mix, a tiny, tiny little ewok. We couldn’t walk down the street without getting stopped at least five times by people remarking about how cute he was.

Seriously. Look at this puppy! Gah!


He really is our first-born son. We’ve had him for the vast majority of our relationship, and he’s kind of grown up with us. His interests include long walks on the beach, playing with his 80 bazillion toys, and giving me judgmental looks.





He also really enjoys moping. We like to call him Jordan Catalano because he’s not easily impressed. Case in point: when Bug came home. He was not having it.

Who are you, tiny human, and why have you taken all of the attention away from me?

Who are you, tiny human, and why have you taken all of the attention away from me?

Despite his bemusement, he has been amazing with the transition. We are so lucky to have such a sweet, sensitive (seriously), scary-smart dog-son in him. I hope he and Bug will be best friends as time goes on.


Yay, pets! We are dog people in this house. Brewser is a terrier mix that Josh adopted before we met and we got our cavalier, Caroline, ten year ago this summer.

Three kids plus two dogs makes for a full house! Brewser is the gumpy old man of the family- he stays away from the kids and sleeps most of the day. He likes to sit right next to me at night, once things have calmed down.

Caroline likes to be at the center of everything. She loves to sit near the kids when they play and she has even snuggled right up next to the babies while they’ve nursed. She sits on my lap once the kids are in bed, and sleeps at my feet at night.


I was raised by the quintessential ‘cat lady’, so it’s no surprise that I’m a cat person. Growing up, we always had cats, sometimes outnumbering the people in the house. We had dogs here and there, but we were definitely a feline family. At twenty, I went out and got my own cat for the first time (yes, I still lived at home, and yes, my mother was away on vacation when this happened). Elmo, my orange tiger baby, moved with me into my first apartment. When I moved to NC to live with my then boyfriend/now husband, we couldn’t have pets, and I was heartbroken. My grandmother graciously offered to take him, and he still lives with her. He’s a big, old, spoiled nineteen-year-old tabby at this point.

For years, we lived in apartments, and couldn’t have pets. So, as soon as we bought our house five years ago, we started talking about getting a pet. My son is phobic about dogs, so cats it was. We adopted Cleo and Coco from a local rescue organization and brought them home the day after our first Christmas in our new home. They’re neurotic and weird and occasionally insane (hello, catnip), and they are very much a part of our family.

Cleo is our shy cat. If you come over, you will never see her, unless you crawl underneath the sofa. She was found outside at just a few days old, and she’s quite timid. She’s terrified of people walking, but oddly loves feet if they’re on the couch next to her. We think she’s part Maine Coon, due to the fluffy fur between her toes, but who knows. If she loves you, and she’s pretty darn selective about who she loves, she LOVES you. Mostly, she loves my daughter. Every once in a while, she loves me.

A rare snuggle moment with Cleo.

A rare snuggle moment with Cleo.

Coco is our nutbag cat. She’s our hunter, our talker and our dinner table beggar. She’s a tortoiseshell, and very pretty. She alternates between viciously playful and attack-mode snuggly. If she wants to cuddle you, you darn well better be ready to let her. She’s relentless. When I’m getting ready to go to bed, she’s right there at the top of the stairs, stalking me.

My personal stalker.

My personal stalker.

Coco was rejected by her mom when she was a baby, which my mom tells me explains her neediness. Whatever, I’ll take it. She’s such a love, and if I’m reading in bed, you can find her curled up on my hip. The rest of the time, you can find her sleeping on something (always on. If there is a single sock on the floor, she will sit on it) or chasing things that aren’t there.


As much as I would love a dog, and we talk about that being a possibility someday, I think I’ll always be a cat person. I’m sure my mom is proud.


My pet situation is a little complicated.  I recently moved back home with my mom. My mom currently has three dogs, two cats, and cockatiel. I have a lab named Ruby and two cats, Stella and Sookie.

When I moved in with my mom, Ruby kept figuring out how to get out of the yard. For her safety, she now lives with the ex. Which is the best situation, considering my children didn’t have to say goodbye to their dog. But it’s been the hardest loss in my divorce. That dog once saved my life by alerting me to a gas leak. Not to mention she was the greatest comfort I had during my bout with depression.  I miss her greatly.


The Protector

My cat Stella has been with me for ten years. My sister found her as a newborn in a parking lot, the umbilical cord still attached. I fed her a bottle and taught her how to poop. And how does she return the kindness? By biting the top of my feet and attacking me in my sleep. She’s feral, that one. I can pet her for about three seconds before she swats me away. She’ll only drink from the sink and refuses to go in a messy litter box. She’s a total primadonna.

El Diablo

El Diablo

Sookie is the youngest, just 3 years old. She is a very loving cat but complains constantly. My friend once told me that “Sookie” means to whine in Australia. Which is completely appropriate.  But she sleeps on my chest and purrs so I forgive her whining.

The Complainer

The Complainer

 Lastly, I’ve recently adopted my guy’s pup, Murphy.  She’s a big baby and the sweetest dog I’ve ever met.  She has the best disposition and loves my kids.  When she puts her head in my lap, I can literally feel the positive energy she radiates.

The Baby

The Baby


Two weeks ago, the only pet in the house was our fish, Fin. And while he’s very pretty, he’s sort of the quiet, not-interested-in-us type. Life was pretty mundane and we were all missing having a four legged pal in the house.

But all that changed when a little over a week ago, we adopted little miss Gemma from Bella Reed Pit Bull Rescue.


Adoption day picture

The first few days, we spent getting to know each other. Finding all the sunny patches in the house. Encouraging peeing outside rather than on the floor. Realizing that I was posting more pictures of her than my children on Facebook. You know, the usual.


I’ve always been the only girl in the house, so it’s nice to have someone with whom to share my girly things – like my Hello Kitty blanket, for example.


Intently watching Cesar Milan.

Gemma is still a puppy so we are working on good manners and basic commands. She’s very food motivated and eager to please, so I think she’ll learn quickly!


I’m hoping that soon, we’ll be able to start running together. She’s got a lot of energy so I think we’ll probably start that soon. She’s getting the lay of the land and I can’t wait to go exploring more with her.

Gemma is a totally different dog than Jack. But when you look into her eyes, the same sentiment is present. Home. She is mine and I am hers.

I think that’s what makes pets so great. That underlying understanding that cannot be said with words because you don’t speak the same language, but it’s there just the same: you are my home.

Tell us about your pets! Anyone have any puppy training tips? What’s your favorite activity to do with your animals?