In my younger days, I was very spontaneous. One hot, July afternoon, I dragged my friend Sarah to the animal shelter to look for a dog. As soon as we walked in, one of the workers had me deep in conversation.
“You don’t want a dog,” she insisted.
“Yes, I’m pretty sure I want a dog,” I kept saying.
“You’re 23 years-old. You don’t want to be bogged down by a dog. Let me show you what you want instead,” she said, taking me into a small room.
This small room was filled, floor-to-ceiling, with cages. Inside the cages were cats of all ages, sizes, and color.
“Ew!” I said, a bit repulsed. “I’m afraid of cats. I definitely don’t want one of those!”
I don’t exactly remember what happened next, but all I know is that fifteen minutes later I was signing the paperwork for the cutest little jet black kitten. The worker had to pry her out of my arms when it was time to leave the shelter.
Post-college, I moved back to Connecticut but settled in New Haven, a city about an hour north from where I grew up and currently live today. I spent two years living next door to one of my best friends from growing up and frequenting our favorite neighborhood watering hole whenever she wasn’t stuck working during her residency. Delaney is named after that favorite watering hole. Imagine peanut-shells everywhere and cheap drinks- that was Delaney’s.
I’m sure you’ve probably noticed Delaney lurking around in my stories or heard me joke about how she loathes me. (Which is half-true.) Since Ben has come into our lives, Delaney has certainly chosen him as her “person”. Anytime I go near Ben, she tends to scratch me or bite my legs. Seriously- every. damn. time.
She is quite naughty, having torn through THREE (yes, three) couches over the past 9 years. Once, I returned home from a weekend trip to find her INSIDE the back of the couch. She had torn the entire back off the couch and crawled inside. There was even one time where she escaped onto the roof of my old house while I tried to install a window air-conditioner. She refused to come inside for three hours and completely enjoyed watching me freak-out about the entire situation. Our old chocolate lab was terrified of her, and rightfully so. She would pounce on him out of nowhere.
Anytime I think I’m exaggerating Delaney’s horrific behavior, we visit the vet and he reiterates how difficult she is. He even wants to put her on Prozac to make her less of a liability when we have guests over. Her chart is plastered with red CAUTION stickers, and it usually takes two angelic vet techs to pry her from the crate. Someone usually leaves the visit bleeding.
Then, I think about what Delaney represents in my life. For nearly a decade, she’s been here whenever I get home. She has been with me through the ups-and-downs of my twenties and welcomed Ben into our lives in our early thirties. I got into a pretty bad car accident just four days after rescuing Delaney. I’ll never forget how she sat by my feet while I recovered on the couch. She never left my side.
Although I really wanted a dog that day nine years ago, I’m pretty darn happy that I ended up with Delaney instead.