My friend Judy told a group of friends last week that her beloved hermit crab Al died. She missed Al--after six years of his company, even though she was not sure how pronounced his personality was or if he had one!
With the chewing exploits of our third dog, puppy Maisie, I am wondering about the pets we presently own and have had in the past.What about you? Tell us about the animals in your lives. If you have no pets, give examples of friends' pets or imaginary ones!
1. Did you grow up with pets?
We had several pets when I was a child. My first remembered pet was Jimmy, a parakeet. He was blue and yellow, and it was my job to feed him and change his water. One day I came home from kindergarten and my mom told me that Jimmy had flown away while she was cleaning the cage. I believed her. While I missed Jimmy, I was happy he was outside playing with other birds. I didn't realize what had REALLY happened
until I was in high school! Jimmy was followed by Mitch, a canary, named after Mitch Miller of "Sing Along with Mitch" fame. My sister also had canaries - Pippin was one of them, from the Hobbit. When the birds died, we buried them in check boxes under a tree, and made small crosses for them out of popsicle sticks. I remember holding a funeral for one of them. Our first dog was mixed breed, mostly Sheltie, named Fidel. My father was from Cuba, and he named the dog Fidel because they were sons of b--tches. Fidel was followed by Max, another mixed breed, named for Maxwell Smart. Guppies were also part of our household for a while, and we had a series of small turtles.
2. Do you have any pets now?
Right now we have 2 cats and a bird. The official names for our cats are Phoebe and Clio, however, I'm not sure which is which! They usually go by "Hairy Cat" and "Not Hairy Cat", and both of them respond to "Beautiful Cat." My sons gave me my parakeet 7 or 8 years ago as a Christmas present. They were in college at the time, and one afternoon went to a pet shop. They brought the bird home and hid it for almost a week. Every time I went up to one son's bedroom, the door was shut tight, and when I knocked, there was always a minute or two of rustling and "just a minute, Mom"s. You can imagine what I was thinking at the time!
3. What is the funniest or worst thing any of your pets have ever done?
We were blessed for a few years with a wonderful chocolate Lab named Rosie. As a puppy she chewed everything, and what she liked most was wood. She chewed chair legs, table legs, baseboards, and shutters. We still have evidence of her gnawing in various places. The worst thing she chewed was the black walnut arm of an antique chair.
Rosie was very docile and gentle. She had a crate in a corner of the kitchen as her hidey hole, and she enjoyed lying there. One afternoon we left her at home, in her crate, unlocked. We were gone 3-4 hours. When we got home Rosie was sleeping in the unlocked crate. We'd been home for a bit when my sister called. She and her family had driven up to our town to climb our local mountain, and stopped by the house. We weren't home, but they came in to use the bathroom and get drinks. She said that they had walked into the kitchen, past the dog's crate without seeing it. She assumed that we had taken Rosie with us. It wasn't until about 10 minutes later that Rosie noticed they were in the house. Rosie got out of the crate, and ambled over to my niece, (about 4 years old at the time), and sat down next to her. Some watch dog!!
Rosie also loved to roam the neighborhood (no leash laws at the time -- it's a very rural area), and didn't always want to come home. She also LOVED to ride in the car. So sometimes, when she was being stubborn about returning home, we'd start the car. It never failed! She'd come running home.
4. Who is/was your favorite pet?
Rosie, our still-missed, Chocolate Lab. We had her for only a short while. When she was 5 she developed diabetes. We gave her insulin shots twice a day for almost a year, but she got progressively worse. She started going blind, and then had problems with her bowels and her hip. My husband had a heart attack, and at the same time (same day, in fact) my mom went into the hospital for what was thought to be appendicitis. That turned out to be colon cancer. Between helping my husband recuperate, and helping with my mom's care, and knowing that Rosie was really in pain, we made the decision to euthanize Rosie. We still miss her!
5. How did you train your different pets?
Train pets??? I thought they trained us!! We did take Rosie to obedience school, but we didn't do our homework.
BONUS: Pictures of a pet or one you wish you could have.