These are the Dogs. The ineffectual blond in the front of the shot is Crackers, the old gentleman behind him on the bed is Shadow, the other short-haired Dachshund is Gladys, and the long-haired black-and-tan is Kramer.

Shadow is no longer with us, He was a standard Dachshund, and quite a character. I liked to think of him as a middle-aged girdle salesman from Toledo, Ohio, circa 1925. He tended to short man syndrome, and spent his entire life bossing larger animals (including humans) around. He was a very good dog, and is sorely missed.

Crackers - ah, Crackers. He's a sweet, enthusiastic little thing, but not too bright. He was a stray, and is finally calming down a bit, but not much. He tends towards hysterical barking jags and frantic energy. If he were human, I imagine that he would be aging showgirl who is nervous about losing her looks.

Gladys is a nosy character. She's rambunctious and loud, and tends to not take NO for an answer when it comes to food. Everything is a crisis for Gladys, and she wants to pull you into her drama. You know the type.

Kramer is a sadsack. An Eyore. It's not his fault - he was treated horribly by the people who had him before us. When we first got him, house training was a theory that he understood, but rarely practiced. He's gotten better now, and is very fond of both tennis balls and his numerous toys.

Then there's Sputink, who left us in 2008 after a short struggle with cancer.

Sputnik was THE WORLD'S MOST EVIL CAT. He was born in Olympia, Washington in 1995. The inspiration for his name came from the meaning of Sputnik in Russian - the little traveler. When he was a tiny kitten, he made many, many frantic loops around the apartment, usually at 3 in the morning. He was a cross between a Siamese and a calico, which means he was truly insane, and that probably accounted for his evilness. He had a weird kinked tail that was genetic, and not the consequence of any of his EVIL actions.

Speaking of baby kittens, this is what he looked like when he was cute and non-evil:

Many people refuse to accept that Sputnik was indeed THE WORLD'S MOST EVIL CAT. He seemed nice enough when you scratched his ears or rubbed his stomach, but just take a look at these candid photos that have been recently declassified by the folks at Interpol:

Kitty Amin? Slovendan Milosokitty? Osama Bin Kitty, anyone?

Need I say more? Because of his evilness, and those of his compatriots, he was restricted from the internet, and had a bell put on his collar.