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I have had many pets growing up and this trend has continued into my married life, cats, dogs, a bird at one time (poor thing) fish, and even a hamster (or was it a guinea pig?), the point is, I have loved them all. Each one probably has a special story attached to it but I can only relate what I can remember.
The earliest pet I can truly remember was my cat Mac. He was black as the night and he slept with me most nights in my bed. He had quite the rough life and I used to say, he really did have nine lives, I think he earned most all of them. Until the day I was away in the military, his hearing had gone, he didn’t hear the car as Mom was backing up. When I came home to visit and heard the news, I was devastated. I had had Mac for some 14 years. So that makes him my longest pet relationship to date.
The next memorable pet in the roundup was our dog Flip, he was a three legged mixed breed and that dog had the best spirit and personality of any dog we had while I was growing up. He was also black, with a few brown markings, kind of like a rottweiler- he was a mix of one of those and whatever our dog Puddin was, I can’t remember. He never seemed disabled, he ran the fences in that back yard like any other dog, the heartbreaker was when he broke one of the three, the doctor splinted one leg and Flip just kept on going! I remember when my brother and I decided we were going to run away, Flip and the other two dogs we had at the time, followed us out the back gate as we escaped on our bicycles. We made it to Grapevine Highway before the cops stopped us because the dogs were impeding the traffic. It’s funny now…certainly was not funny back then.
After my husband and I had been married a while, he surprised me with a parakeet. I loved that little bird, but we lived in an apartment, space was limited and his singing irritated my husband. Plus he was kind of messy as birds are known to be. I don’t even remember if I gave him a name, but I took care of him, kept his cage clean and bought him a mirror to preen into, and one of those seed cone things for hime to snack on. He was a blue parakeet, so pretty, and his chirping never bothered me. He had a heart attack one day, I assume it was from my husband shooting his cage with rubber bands in an effort to quiet his singing. Poor thing had probably become so nervous anticipating the next one coming…or it was too cold in the apartment, I didn’t know much about bird care back then.
After my first son was born we got a chow dog named Milo, he was also black, sweetest dog ever and yet, a fierce protector. You wanted to be very loving to each other or whomever he deemed the instigator, he would nip. I remember once when the boys were teens, they used to fight with each other constantly. One day the were fighting in the hallway and Josh went to kick Christopher and Milo nipped him in the groin! That stopped that particular fight, but there were more…trust me. What is strange is, when Josh was a baby, Milo was so gentle with him, he let him ride him like a horse! I guess he just knew the situation called for action that day, before someone got hurt. Poor Milo was given orders to be killed after he accidentally killed a neighborhood dog that charged him. To stay his execution, we found him a job as a guard dog at a local business. I don’t know how long he lived after that but I know he cheated death that day.
I’m pretty sure it was after Milo was gone that Joshua brought home the ugliest gray kitty. Poor thing was full of fleas I must have given him three baths, his ears were huge on his head, his eyes look like he was scared to death all the time. We decided to go ahead and keep him and he blossomed into the most beautiful cat you ever saw. His gray fur turned a silky silver and he would not be petted unless he wanted to be. I named him Harley because my husband had just got a motorcycle so I decided I got to name the cat. Harley also went through most of his nine lives but that only happened once he started getting out and fighting with neighborhood cats. One day there was a fight he didn’t win, he was in such bad shape we had to take into the vet, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done having to put him down. It made me feel like a murderer, yet I knew he would never be the same had he had the surgery. Not to mention we were young, and could not afford the thousands of dollars that was going to cost to try to save him. Even my best friend who hates cats loved Harley. He was a very special cat. I don’t know why house cats decide at some point in their lives they want to start going outside, in my experience with cats that’s when they’re about to die. It’s, it’s as if they want to experience the wild one more time before they go. I’ve had it happen like three times in my life.
I can’t truly say whether I’m more of a cat person or a dog person, I think I’ve loved them equally.
My husband, having been a Marine, always wanted a bull dog. So the year that Dale Earnhardt died is when we got Butch. I remember because when we went to the airport to pick him up we came home to watch the race, and as I lay there holding baby Butch on my lap we saw the race that killed Dale. You talk about special dog, although he was David’s, he was my shadow, my protector and I loved him just as much as David did. He used to lay there and let me file and paint his nails, he was great with the kids, he partied with us on the patio (that dog loved his beer) he and Sarah, Christopher’s dog, once got so plowed they passed out under the table while we partied till four in the morning. He was a tough dog, I think he could eat bricks and hardly ever experienced any stomach issues. Not that he didn’t have issues, he was an expensive dog to keep up-skin problems, ear problems, but everybody loved him, especially our friend Jack. Every time Jack would come over Butch would get so excited he would tackle him before he could ever get to a chair to sit down, then he would smother him in kisses and snuffle and drool all over him. Jack didn’t care, he loved him to the moon and back. I don’t think he ever forgave us for moving to the coast and taking Butch away. He never came to visit, I think that’s pretty telling. We loved Butch so much that when he passed away, Dave had him cremated. I was not there because I was with my Mom at the time, caring for her before she passed away. when I went home, they were both gone.
That was a hard year. After a few months, David took me to go get a new pet, that being our sweet shorky Whiskey. She is attached to me at the hip, David loves her so much, he treats her like a granddaughter, yet she wants to lay by me constantly. When we had her about six months, he decided she needed a playmate, and we went in search of another Shorky. That’s when we got Brandy, and they fill our lives with so much joy. We spoil them, dress them up, make them homemade treats, feed them off our plates, and everything we know we’re not supposed to do. I won’t let them get fat, but we do spoil them like grandkids. Whiskey is not a good traveler but Brandy loves to go, go, go. Whether it’s for a walk or ride, you just pick up the leash and she knows. They have their own unique personalities, yet most of their actions they look like twins. They’re not even related. We love them and we expect to be with them for the next 13 years, if taken care of properly, they are supposed to live that long. My hope is that they’re still with us when we decide to make our last move, whenever that may be.