A human-vampire species war isn’t conducive to having a pet. And as the reluctant leaders, the Kaius Haunt is in no position to housetrain a puppy or keep fresh water in a hamster cage.

That doesn’t mean it could never happen. And if it did…

Dominic is the reason any of them are at the animal shelter in the first place. He’s been following the shelter’s social media posts for a month, hoping to find a parrot he could train to say curse words. Mickey, of course, has done nothing to discourage his goal. The sole parrot that appeared online six hours ago is gone by the time the guys arrive. He is now focused on the pair of albino rats brought in last week and has spent the better part of an hour trying to figure out how he can convince Nichol they need the rodents in the haunt.

Mickey has been sitting in the corner of the kitten room since he left Dominic by the rats. He has two sleeping in his cargo pockets and another three stretched out on his legs. He hasn’t moved a muscle in twenty minutes despite the sharp claws of a tiny tabby digging rhythmically into his shoulder. All of the kittens are ridiculously cute, but he’s partial to the little scamp pouncing on his feet every thirty seconds.

Jagger has circled the dog rooms a dozen times and keeps returning to the older Golden Retriever. He wants to go in and see the animal up close, but keeps refusing when the staff ask him if he’s like a visit. A dog isn’t practical for his lifestyle right now and he doesn’t want to get the beast’s hopes up. He has, however, observed Nichol circling the same room.

Louis isn’t certain he likes the sensation of the snake in his hand, but he didn’t want to be rude and refuse to hold it when the nice staff member offered. He hopes one of his hauntmates rescues him before the woman offers the five foot long one in the second aquarium.

Rhys has been sitting on a chair and staring down a grey cat for half an hour. The feline has a red circle on his chart to let potential owners know he has behaviour problems and won’t be a good fit for most homes. The cat is named Jacques.

Kaius knows a pet isn’t a responsibility he can take on right now, but he is really enjoying the hedgehog he’s been holding. It’s a prickly little thing when it balls up, but if he remains still, it unrolls in his hand and sniffs him. For a moment, he considers the possibility of having one join him on the road, but dismisses the idea quickly. Thanking the staff, he places the hedgehog back in its cage and joins Jagger and Nichol in the dog wing.

Nichol is hunched over his phone, researching Golden Retrievers. His mental spreadsheet of pros and cons is equally balanced. There’s a family staking out the same animal he and Jagger have been watching and he knows Jagg will step aside in a moment. The dog’s name is Bella. He would change it to Athena. The son of the family is already calling her Goldie. Nichol doesn’t care for the name and finds it predictable, but says nothing as he and Jagg head over to the rodent wing to argue with Dominic.

Boy is waiting by the front desk, hoping the clerk hurried up with the paperwork before the others return. When the woman comes back with a small cage covered in a blanket, he takes it and heads to the car. He hopes Jacques doesn’t throw up on the ride home.

Rescue kitties are the best kitties

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