I always seem to end up telling animal stories...but the photo behind the cut is pretty amazing...trust me.
Anyone who's read my journal for some time knows that the family dog, Prince, passed away a few months ago. It's been a loss that I think all of us still feel, most especially Josie.
Corb helped fill the gap. A friend at work came to him, looking for a good owner for a two-year-old chocolate lab that needed a home. Even though Josie wasn't completely certain she was quite ready for another dog, she decided to take Emma in, and she's fit into the family quite nicely (even if she is mortally afraid of thunderstorms.)
One member of the family, however, that wasn't quite happy with the new addition was our oldest cat, Koko. Koko, who had a bad experience with a neighbor's dog a few years back (and nearly died, as a result) was not quite ready to take a chance with a new canine (it had taken her years to break Prince in, after all), and ran away from home, in a huff.
Josie looked everywhere, but Koko was nowhere to be found. And finally, after three weeks with no sign of Koko, we started to accept the fact that she wasn't going to return. Although, without clear evidence, Theo, who was told about Koko's disappearance a few weeks in, never gave up hope that she would return.
Around this time, Josie boyfriend Andrew, was in Providence, and heard a small meow coming from a dumpster. He hunted around, and there, in the trash, he discovered the smallest kitten you could imagine, abandoned. He managed to grab him before he ran away, and brought him home to Josie. Since his markings were so similar to Koko's, Josie figured there was only one name for him: Kharma.
A few days later, ironically enough, Koko returned home.
Perhaps it was the close proximity between Kharma and Emma entering into the family, but a special friendship has developed between them. The two are inseperable, and Josie often wakes up to find the two of them curled up together. It's as though Kharma, so quickly separated from his mother, had found a surrogate in Emma.
But it gets stranger. You see, Emma was not spaded before she was given a home at Josie's, and Josie hadn't scheduled an appointment. She's been considering having at least one litter. And, as if she knew about Josie's subtle biological laissez faire, Emma has indeed escaped from the house once or twice--one time when she was definitely in heat.
About two weeks ago, we started to noticed that her nipples were looking particuarly pronounced. All of us knew what was going on, and we've discussed it, but no one wanted to be the first to say it for sure.
Until yesterday morning, that is. I got out of bed, and headed, like a zombie, to my computer to check my email. There was a message from Josie, with the header, "Pictures don't lie."
According to Josie, she was asleep in bed yesterday morning, with Emma and Kharma at the foot of her bed. As she was sleeping, she started to hear a "weird suckling noise" for about an hour. She opened her eyes, and here's what she saw: "Yes, Kharma is nursing off of Emma!"
Isn't nature funny? Although I have some questions about what will happen if Emma really is pregnant, and how she will treat Kharma once her puppies are born, I think it's amazing that nature somehow always finds a way to provide. For some reason, Emma doesn't find anything wrong with the fact that she's mothering an awfully funny looking puppy, and Kharma seems to think it's perfectly natural that his mother towers over him. I don't know, the whole thing makes me smile, and for some reason, I think it's a perfect fit for our weird extended family.
(Yes, leave it to me to turn a picture of a cat sucking a dog's teets into a metaphor for family...)
All photos appearing in today's story were taken by (and used with permission from) ljinsomnia