This week’s Mom before Mom prompt from Carla at All of Me Now…
3/9 Did you have a favorite pet? A crazy one?What were their names? Tell us a story about your animal companions or lack their of.
There are so many animals that come to mind when I think of my childhood. I was blessed to always have animals in the house, and thus I learned from a very young age to take care of other living beings. I went to an amazing private elementary school and we always had classroom pets and fun animals in the science room (and some not so fun ones- NOTE- chinchillas are not friendly).
I had a friend who was allergic to parakeets, and so his joined mine. We had Crispy, Brindy (yes, after Rod Brind’Amour), Skylar, and Sunflower all together, though not at the same time. Sadly, birds commonly get tumors after a few years and I was devastated every time. We even went to a special vet to try and figure it all out- but one by one my loves fell to the bottom. Crispy lived the longest, but suffered a great depression after Brindy passed. He was never the same and passed within the same year. Eventually, we had no birds, and I was OK with that- I hope to have a parakeet for Addie, though. When handled everyday- they are loving and beautiful little birds to have.
Of course, we had dogs, too. Brownie was my first. He was hideous. I look at pictures now and wonder why we had him, but I was young, so I’m not sure I had much to do with the process. He reminded me of Benji- with less endearing qualities and longer ears and body. We loved that boy.
I have often wondered how much I will turn into my mom. We look SO much alike with every passing year- our noses, the shape of our faces, the curve in our pinkies. Everything except our hair color and bust line seem to be genetic matches. But, it’s the personality that seems to be budding from me. Recently I’ve become much more “zen” in my approach to negativity, but more than that… I yell at any vehicle that looks like it’s going over 27MPH down my 25MPH street.
And so, back to Brownie. My grandmother was at our house and my parents were out. It was early-ish in the evening and we had all just settled after eating. My grandmother went to bring the trash out- why? I don’t know- my Dad would have done it. Then, we heard her yell at the dog, who had slid past her and out the front door into the night. And worse. We heard worse. The screeching of tires and a thud. My sister, 7 years older than me, ran- Past grandma, slamming through the door and to the end of the lawn, directly under the spotlight of the street lamp above. On our 25MPH, no outlet street a kid was speeding and hit Brownie. I’d never seen anything like it before. My grandmother was panicked- in a brusk voice told me to stay inside. My sister picked up the dog- I watched her ever so carefully lift his body from the road. A child in front of this kid who just had to get somewhere, carrying the lifeless dog. She was covered in his blood- all over her 3/4 length sleeve baseball jersey-style top. My parents came home and called the police. The kid was sorry- as I recall, he was cited with a speeding ticket. But nothing brought Brownie back. We all cried.
As I got older, I began to ask about another dog. I visited my Dad at work a lot and often went down the street to a local pet store that always had puppies in the window (how cliche!). The owner was SO nice and I always got to hold a few of the pups whenever I stopped by. I must have begged a million times, but my parents always said “no!”.
Then Christmas came. I realized that my sister was still opening gifts, but I was done. Being young, I was upset and went up to my room. My Mom came up after me (somehow I didn’t realize that my Dad was no longer there), and told me that Santa may have forgotten one of my gifts. My heart lit up. It was a hockey player. I was sure that Santa would bring me one of the Philadelphia Flyers to be mine. In no way am I kidding. I thought that I would get my very own hockey player. Naturally, I was hoping it was Rod. After I was sure of what Santa had forgotten, Mom led me back down the stairs and into the living room. Suddenly there were paws scratching on the floor… and a puppy ran into my lap! He was a black lab-keeshond mix… I named him Fudge.
After his passing, I took months to pick out another puppy. I wasn’t sure what I wanted. My parents were impressed with my self control. I had seen lots of cute ones, but not the dog for us. Then we went to a sheltie breeder… all bets were off. I saw him. His name was Dollar Bill, and he was the runt of the litter. A dog who wasn’t good enough to be shown, but fell fast asleep in my lap. His cousin, a tri-color sheltie named Snoopie, who was very shy, also came over to me. The breeder was impressed… and no matter how loving she was, she knew that either of these dogs would make good pets for us, but do nothing for her. After snuggling with both puppies, Dollar Bill was the one I could not get out of my dreams that night. After weeks of searching breeders and pet shops, my parents were almost more excited than me! All the puppies in the litter were named after money and I liked the name Bill, so we renamed him William Jefferson- called Billy! He was amazing in all areas a dog could be. Well trained without lessons, didn’t need a leash, loyal and loving, and a therapy dog! Bill lived a long 13 years before his passing. He was a beloved family member and will always be remembered by us all. Interestingly, my Dad lived for 13 years of my life, too. I like to think they are both up there, thick as thieves, watching Flyers’ games and playing endless games of fetch.
My sister got a lab that suffered from several issues including being awesome… as well as separation anxiety and the inability to walk up the stairs forward- ever. No, really, Toblerone Chocolate (aka Toby), never went up the stairs unless his butt was leading the way. He was the most adorable chocolate lab ever. He passed away a couple of years ago from cancer- a nice old man who lived a wonderful life. In high school, my boyfriend got me the cutest ugly dog ever. I named her Lexi-Marie. She’s half dachshund and half pekingese- all so hideous, she’s actually adorable. She lives with my parents in PA… she’s my step-dad’s daughter he never had. It’s kind of too adorable to mention. She lives with a rescue named Rocky. Back in the day she, Toby and Bill were the three silliest dogs together:
In college I had PETS! Perhaps it was because I was missing all the fun at home, but my friend Adam and I loved all of the animals in our apartment… from the fish tanks to Avery the Boston and Aiko the Dane, there was a brief stay from some cats before they found their forever home, and the geckos, of course! When we graduated, the puppies went to live with my friend’s mom, and the geckos had passed on (lifespan 2-10 years… what a difference in span!). I miss those hounds, but they have found much comfort in not living with college kids and being with a woman who is one of the best caretakers I’ve ever met!
Lastly, before Addie there was Carter (and Morgan). Carter is my first born son- a labrahoula (catahoula lab mix). He’s a rescue from down south where his purebred mama birthed him and his siblings and nobody wanted them. Happily, Carter became ours! Morgan is Dave’s cat… I love him, but I’m not sure I like him. I am not a cat person, but I adore how dog-like Morgan is. He (named because he was thought to be a she) is kind of my BFF when Carter is too smelly for the bed… but don’t tell Dave.
My dude, Morgan (2008)
A picture of my sweet boy from Petfinder!
The day he was adopted!
My southern boy in the winter snows!
I hope to pass on my love of animals of all kinds to Addie, from the traditional cat and dog, to the passion for horses and all silly animals like birds and lizards!