On Tuesday we celebrated Albert’s fifth birthday. One year ago that day we adopted him from a shelter in the north of Paris. Of course, we don’t know his real birthday but he was estimated to be 4 years old when we adopted him and that day seemed like a perfect spot to create a day for celebration: the Bug’s birthday. We’ve learned a lot, all of us, over this past year and I cracked up when I found these first quick pictures we took of him the day after we brought him home when we didn’t even really know him yet. We sent these pictures to our family, so, of course you understand the need for them to have been clearly labeled. Ha!
Those first days of getting to know each other were a little tricky. When we first met him at the shelter we weren’t even allowed to hold him. We could pet him but that was it. The whole decision and paperwork was done and we were in the car in less then 15 minutes. What we didn’t know yet was that his lethargic attitude was just a cover for being unhappy in his little shelter cage. The first few days heard us remarking that he was, in R.’s words “More like the envelope of a cat.” because he was so passive and we wondered if he was the right match for us. But his true colors started to peek through not long after when he started feeling comfortable in his new home, stealing tissues, and doing acrobatic air flips to catch balls of paper tossed into the air for him. I can see in the contrast with his personality now, how unhappy he was in the beginning.
We don’t know much about his first four years except that he started in a shelter in the south of France and somehow was transfered north. He lived in shelters for at least one year. It kind of breaks my heart to think of that, and of all the other animals that live through situations with no love.
This year has taught us that Albert loves his people, he wants to be with you. It saw his first outing with us (in that picture up there on the left) which clearly was not his first brush with the great outdoors because he knew just what to do: hunker down and nosh grass. It taught us about his unending love of boxes, that he has no fear of darting into the neighbors’ apartments to check things out for himself, and that we never have to worry about him stealing from the table. It has taught us other, difficult things too, perhaps relics from his past. But it is amazing to me to see how he has changed in these 12 months. He is more and more at ease and we are just starting to be able to rub his belly gently, even if only for a few seconds, now after a whole year.
So on his birthday he got his dinner, formed into a little cake, with 5 anchovies on top to celebrate. One year of getting to know each other and making him see that he is loved. He is a happy Bug. Here is to many more of those years.
If you’ll excuse me, someone needs their ball of brown paper tossed. Happy Weekend!
A. & A.