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How My Dog and His Cat (Almost) Ruined His Marriage Proposal

Christmas engagement ring for holiday proposal

This is the tale of my long-suffering husband, Bruce, and how his proposal of marriage was nearly ruined by my dog and his cat. In 2004, I was going to spend the weekend with him and spend some time with his daughters. On Christmas Eve morning, Bruce had to go to work until noon while I worked remotely from his house. His last words before he left were, “If the animals fight, let them. The cats (there were two at that time) can get away.”

I assured him I wouldn’t try to get between them. Around lunch time, however, Peanut Butter (the younger cat) took a harmless swipe at Sally’s nose and the game was on! I tried calmly talking to them, then yelling at them to quit it. They ignored me. Peanut Butter dashed up the stairs, but Sally trapped her on the landing, ready to smother Peanut Butter in kisses. The cat was NOT having it. So they tangled. And I….tried to intervene.

In the process, Peanut Butter clamped her teeth firmly in the fleshy area between my finger and thumb. “Ouch!” was an understatement. When I pried her off, she was gone like a shot to the basement. Sally sat stupidly on the landing, wagging her tail with glee. I was not amused. I cleaned the injured area of my hand as best I could, but they were deep puncture wounds. Within fifteen minutes, my hand started to swell. Soon it resembled Mickey Mouse’s hand more than my own. And I was feeling faint. I was afraid to drive, so I called my boyfriend’s teenage daughter. She came to pick me up and we went to the ER, where I got a tetanus shot, a broad-spectrum antibiotic, steroids and a lecture about cat bites being worse than dog bites. I was told to soak my hand in ice water between elevating it every twenty minutes.

It Always Happens This Way

After being escorted back to the house on shaky legs, I called my boyfriend and told him what had happened. He sounded worried, but I could hear the voice of others in the background. How annoying! (I later found out that two ladies at work were asking him, “Which hand got bit?” But more on that later.) Bruce said he’d be home asap, as I had one more prescription that was still being filled at the drugstore. He picked me up and we went to the drugstore together. I was wearing sweats, had an enormously swollen hand, makeup rings under my eyes from crying and felt like….crap. The first person we meet in the pharmacy? My boyfriend’s ex-wife. Dressed beautifully, perfectly made up. Ugh. I thought the night couldn’t get any worse, and it certainly didn’t look like it would get any better. Wrong on both counts.

Christmas with the Crank (That’s Me)

After my boyfriend got me settled on the couch with a pain pill and some ginger ale, he filled a large pan with ice water and put it on a towel on the end table, pressing me to, “Remember, the doctor said you have to keep soaking it and elevating it.”  Since I was feeling queasy and light-headed, I tried to remind myself that he was trying to be helpful. But after being reminded that he had told me to keep away from the pets and let them fight it out (really?), then being told every half-hour to put my swollen, tender hand back in the ice bath, I snapped. To be fair, I was still in a lot of pain. I asked Bruce why he was, “So *bleep*ing interested in my hand?”

Bruce sighed, then went to my Christmas stocking and quietly said, “I was going to give you this later this evening, but I think I should give this to you now.”  He pulled out a small, wrapped box. Oh man, I just KNEW what it was. I was right. I quickly tried to unwrap the box with my teeth and one good hand. Bruce tried with great chivalry to help me open the box but I smacked his hand away. (I know. You don’t have to say it.) When I opened the box, there was a beautiful diamond solitaire. Bruce asked me to marry him. Yes, ME; the blubbering, swollen, cranky, hot mess on his sofa!

We tried to get that ring on my finger (yes, it was my left hand, just like the ladies at Bruce’s office had feared.), but it wouldn’t even get past the first knuckle. So I cried. And cursed the cat. And cursed the dog. And cursed myself for trying to settle the cat and dog’s domestic dispute. And I said “Yes!”

We’ve been married twelve years and we still have Peanut Butter. Sadly, Sally has since passed away. But they were both instrumental in nearly ending what turned out to be an unforgettable proposal. We also eventually got the ring on my finger. It’s still there. I’ll never take it off again unless the situation is dire – I’m not taking any more chances!

Did your pet(s) nearly ruin a special occasion? Did your cat steal from your mother-in-law’s suitcase? Did your dog step in a can of paint and calmly walk all over the new hardwood floors? How did your pet or pets turn what should have been a special moment into a near-disaster? Share your stories, we’d love to hear them!


  1. Kamira Gayle

    August 16, 2017 3:16 pm

    Aww. What a great story. Sorry about your hand though. Congrats on 12 years. Wow that’s quite the backstory indeed. I remember when my boyfriend (now husband) proposed. I walked into my apartment to candlelight and balloons everywhere. It was beautiful. As for my pet, my husband thought ahead and took measures to keep my cat (at the time) out of harms way. She was in the bedroom with the door closed while he proposed in the living room. I’m sure if kitty was out she probably would have burned her long hair fur off from the candles for sure.

  2. Kristen @ My 3 Little Kittens

    August 16, 2017 3:16 pm

    I am glad it all worked out in the end. I think the pets just wanted to always be part of your proposal story ..hehe

  3. Kelly

    August 16, 2017 3:26 pm

    I love this story! I have heard that cat bites are not something to take lightly either. I don’t have any stories I can think of off hand, however, when I met my husband I remember him telling me he was afraid of cats! Being a pet lover I couldn’t imagine such a thing. Within the first year of being married I (we) adopted a kitten, and let’s just say his fears were put to rest and now it’s not uncommon for him to be found with one of our cats getting a pet and a chin rub while sitting beside him on his chair.

  4. Paroma

    August 16, 2017 3:56 pm

    That is such a keeper story.Our pets are such a source of joy but sometimes can do something so silly or in this case tragic unknowingly!

  5. Shelby @ For The Love of Paws

    August 16, 2017 8:51 pm

    A story you will never forget!! Gotta love our fur babies. 😉

  6. Holly

    August 16, 2017 9:52 pm

    That’s an awesome story!! Would you have wanted that to go any other way? I feel like this made it even more memorable and it included the animals too. I don’t know, I think It’s a great story!

    • Lori

      August 17, 2017 8:25 pm

      It’s already become a favorite “Remember when?” story at the holidays. Our kids get mileage out of it too, telling the story to friends as proof that their parents are a bit crazy.

  7. Mishu

    August 16, 2017 10:02 pm

    Really glad it worked out and yet sometimes it doesn’t, I know.

  8. Dash Kitten Crew

    August 16, 2017 10:55 pm

    Well, it’s definitely a story to tell the grand kittens 😉 and I sympathise (when I stop giggling at your story!!)

  9. Lorie Ham

    August 16, 2017 11:24 pm

    One Christmas before we knew how much trouble a Beagle could get into our Beagle Wesley got into the Christmas candy. Back then we were stupid and didn’t know about pet ER’s so we worriedly watched him all night. We called the vet in the morning as thankfully it wasn’t quite Christmas day yet, and his words were well if he’s not dead already he should be fine-needless to say we found another vet but Wesley was indeed fine thank goodness!

  10. Debbie

    August 16, 2017 11:25 pm

    Oh my goodness! What a story!! lol. I have to laugh because I too was SUPER irritated with my now husband the day he proposed. He had this little family run jewelry store at the mall custom make me a ring and it wasn’t ready the day it was supposed to the (the day we climbed this beautiful mountain where we was going to propose at the summit). So, the next day, he said he needed to finish Christmas shopping so we went to the mall. He said he had to finish shopping for me, so we agreed to stay separated and do our own thing. TWO HOURS LATER he was still “almost done” I was so pissed. Little did I know that they were sizing my ring. I was in a pissy mood the whole way home and then he convinced me to go out to dinner, which I didn’t want to do. I went (grudginly) and he proposed. I felt so bad when I realized I had been nagging and rushing him and he was trying to get my ring. LOL

    I hope your hand healed quickly. Thanks for sharing your story. All’s well that ends well, right??

    • Lori

      August 17, 2017 8:23 pm

      Isn’t it always the way when someone is planning something perfect for us, but we’re rushing around being oblivious? I’m so glad your proposal when well in the end as well! And yes, within two days Bruce got to put the ring on the correct finger.

  11. Tenacious Little Terrier

    August 16, 2017 11:41 pm

    Oh wow. That was quite the memorable proposal! I think the worst that has ever happened is Mr. N somehow cut his paw and bled on the floor at a relative’s house. They were really nice about it though.

  12. Sweet Purrfections

    August 17, 2017 1:29 am

    This is a wonderful story. I’ve heard that cat bites can really be nasty. Luckily, I’ve never received one from any of my cats. Glad there was a happy ending.

  13. Elizabeth Keene

    August 17, 2017 1:46 am

    Ouch! Cat bites are like snake bites (not that I ever experienced a snake bite, but I imagine, as I have been bitten by a cat, er kitten, but it still hurt and bled like crazy). Glad the proposal still went off, even though you didn’t get to wear the ring right away. What a story!
    P.S. MY pets have never done anything naughty. 😉 According to them.

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