Board Member, London, England, UK
I grew up in Detroit with cats, dogs, and birds constantly around me. My parents acquired our first cats, Claudius and Melissa, when I was five years old (their mother was a stray, and decided we looked like nice people) and, being an only child, they became my favorite playmates. My grandmothers always had their own dogs and cats, and my great grandmother had birds, which I found highly entertaining.
When we adopted our first dog, Gwydion (who was deaf), I enjoyed training and communicating to him though hand signals. The same was true for Gwen, our second deaf dog, and I actually took our first hearing dog, Lleu, to puppy classes, which was a big step for a bonafide cat person.
Years later, when I was working at a veterinary hospital, I adopted my own deaf animal, although this time in the form of a very loud and smart-alick cat named James. I also have another cat, Lily, who I've clicker trained purely out of self-preservation (she's smart, so I had to find some way to divert her energies). To round things out, I have another cat, Albus Severus, who has some health issues that arise under stress, but who I'm also slowly training to do some basics. One day they'll get a little brother or sister puppy, but they're all very content with our somewhat dysfunctional "nuclear" family as is.