Once upon a time, Claire Krusie went into PetSmart for a gecko and came out with a dog. About 12 years ago, Krusie left the store with Billy, a tiny 8-pound puppy that she “just couldn’t leave without.”
She was able to adopt Billy through PetSmart because Open Door Animal Sanctuary sometimes hosts adoption events through the chain pet store.
Krusie was instantly protective of Billy because of his size. “People still think he’s a puppy because of his size,” Krusie says of now 12-year-old Billy.
Krusie is a preschool teacher and works long hours. She’s gone a lot and hates leaving Billy alone. He wasn’t the spunky puppy he once was and has heart murmurs.
One day, Krusie went back into PetSmart for dog food and ended up leaving with a new addition: a 7-month-old cat, also from Open Door.
“I was pretty worried about bringing another animal into the house,” she says. “Billy has neurological damage, and I’m very cautious.”
When the cat met Billy, the first thing he did was crawl in the kennel with the dog.
“They just laid down together and have been best friends ever since,” Krusie says.
The cat, originally named Jeff, became Bob because Krusie thought the two names went together nicely.
Krusie says they look like brothers because of their similar markings. Billy, who Krusie thinks might have some Jack Russell and corgi in him, is mostly white with some brown. His brother Bob is the same.
“Billy and Bob play together all day,” Krusie says. “Bob has really brought out this life in Billy that he had kind of lost in his old age.”
The two have been inseparable since Krusie brought Bob home about two months ago.
She says Bob is truly “the king of the castle” and won’t let Billy do anything without him.
“When they eat breakfast, I have to separate them because they’ll sit right next to each other,” she says. “At night, Billy sleeps in our bed, and Bob usually sort of does his own thing. But when they sleep at the same time, they have to be touching.”
During the days, Bob – being the considerably younger of the pair – constantly wants to play. “He’ll take his cat toys and bring them to the dog, asking him to come and play” Krusie says. “Billy is still figuring that out.”
Though the four-legged elder is still confused at times by his younger playmate, they’ll spend hours running around and chasing each other.
When they finally exhaust their energy, they have to sleep in the same place. Krusie says she tried buying separate beds for them, but the pair won’t use them.
She calls them a “quirky” duo, but they’re very protective of each other.
Billy not only has neurological damage, but arthritis and cataracts as well. He’s had a lot of the problems from a young age, but more have emerged as he’s aged, Krusie says.
“A lot of the issues he was having have stabilized since we brought Bob home,” she says. “Having a pet for your pet can help keep them healthy. We’re so blessed to have them both.”
Krusie says the long-running stereotypes about dogs and cats not getting along don’t apply to these two at all.
“It was my biggest fear (bringing Bob home), but it’s really nature versus nurture,” she says. “The reason I went with a cat is because Billy is so small. He has no idea what he is – he probably thinks he’s a cat!”
It’s been love at first site for the dog-cat pair, though. Although they’re still trying to figure each other out, Krusie says the two species aren’t very different.
“If animals are given love, they’re going to give love in return,” she says. “We’re thrilled Bob can break those stereotypes.”
Krusie can’t say enough about Open Door Animal Sanctuary and is so happy the House Springs shelter brought the dog, cat and human family together.
“Open Door saved my dog by bringing him to me, but also bringing Bob to him,” Krusie says. “Those are awesome instances where they’ve helped bring two amazing animals into our life.”
This story was originally published at laduenews.com. Read it on LN’s website here.