Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Five: Memorable pets

My son's tiny beloved lizard, Elf, is looking and acting strange this week. His skin/scales are quite dark, and he is lethargic. We are adding vitamin drops to his lettuce and spinach and hoping and praying that he is just getting ready to shed his skin--but it's too soon to tell. Others in the ring have also been worried about beloved pets this week. And, in the saddest news of all, Songbird has had to bid farewell to her precious Molly, the amazing dog who is well known to readers of her blog as a constant sacrament of God's unconditional love. So in memory of Molly, and in honor of all the beloved animal companions who bless our lives: tell us about the five most memorable pets you have known.

Here are my top five pets of my life.
1. First is Shasta; a sweet cat who has been gone for sometime now. Shasta was my first cat that owned me in Birmingham. She and her siblings was found in the woods and was living in a foster home. She was the sweetest of the group, so I chose her. But I had to be approved before I could adopt her. Luckily, I was approved and we have had a wonderful 18 years together. Not only was she sweet, but she was playful and enjoyed the outdoors. She was able to go with the flow of my life and many moves. When I moved to Columbus and met Bob. She was the one who fell for Bob first and approved him for my husband. She and Bob had a great relationship during her time on earth. We almost lost her by accident once though. Bob had been up in the attic doing some work, and came back down the ladder. Unfortunately he forgot to check if any of the cats had gone up the ladder too. After awhile we heard this pitiful meowing and started looking everywhere for where it was coming from. Finally we pulled down the ladder and there she was. It was a hot summer day, and the heat in the attic had gotten to her. Bob quickly got her and started pouring cold water over her while she stood in the tub. Fortunately, she survived. Even as old as she got, she accepted the other pets we would bring home to live. She also accepted Kate when we brought her home as a baby from China. Kate loved Shasta and really misses her. Her last act of love to me and the family was her death. We knew her death was coming, she had gotten frailer, skinnier, and less able to eat and take care of herself. I was gone to be with my mom during and after her surgery. While I was gone she decided to die, and so she went outside on our back porch and died. As I write this, I am crying because I miss her sweetness and her presence.

2. The next pet is the one living with us now. Her name is Tygger an 11 yr old cat. She and her two siblings were found out in the woods at Fort Benning. They were dumped as three day old kittens. They all three were adopted by me and two of my friends at that time. The vet did not think they would survive, but they have and from those scrawny kittens have grown into huge cats. Although when we were bottle feeding our kittens, Tygger almost died. Unfortunately, I had accidently bought a bad can of kitten milk. But fortunately the Emergency Vet saved her. We had a big black female lab at the time who adopted her as her baby, by licking her, nestling her and watching over her. I think her mothering was the big reason Tygger survived and thrived. Since she was bottle feeding, I took her to work with me, almost everywhere. People fell in love with her and worried about her. Well, now we have a mixed up cat who thinks she is part cat, part human and part dog. She has not been so good about welcoming other kittens or friends that come to visit. But she has welcomed the kids and most of all taught them to love and be gentle with others and themselves. I guess she has taught me that too. Our black lab has since died, but she has taken up with the other two dogs who like to lick her and play with her. She is learning to accept our newest young cat in the family as well. She also saw me through my dad’s dying and death. She was with me. When my mom comes to visit, she loves to be with her. She is a sweet lap cat and loves to kiss. And she loves Bob as well. Can you tell that Bob is a cat person? But Tygger does not travel well, and does not like vets and lets it be known.

3. Blackie was the big black lab I mentioned in Tygger’s story. We adopted her from a family whose dog had puppies. She was actually the runt but as cute as she could be. We had a foster child at the time, and it had been suggested to get him a dog of his own since we already had a dog. Blackie was actually part lab and some kind of retriever. She loved to swim in the water. She was typical lab in that she dug holes in the back yard, chased wild life, ate through our house, and any stuff animals. It two years for the brain fairy to come visit her to get her to calm down. She turned into a big hunk of a dog, but more like a gentle teddy bear. But I can tell you I always felt safe with her around when I would go hiking or walking. Blackie was there when we brought home Kate and Kara. We weren’t sure how she and Kate would do, but Kate was giggling and laughing over her, and Blackie was treating her like she was her baby. I wish I still had Blackie for who she was, she always made my day better. She lived 14 good years.

4. Ivanhoe was a male English setter who stole my heart in a pet store. He was the last puppy left and looked so lonely. I got him and immediately went to the vet, because I could tell he was sick. Well it turned out he had parvo, but we were able to nurse him back to health. And what a healthy dog he became. He too loved water, long hikes in the woods, and sleeping on our bed. He ruled the roost. Whenever Bob and I would kiss or hug he would get between us. He also loved chocolate. One time I had baked a pan of brownies for a bake sale, and left them on the cooling rack. That silly dog was able to reach up there and get those brownies. He ate every one before I discovered what he had done. He also loved to run, and if given a chance to get out the fenced in yard would take off. She did it several times, but we were always able to find him. One time he had run so far and so hard he had run the pads off his paws, was covered in ticks, briars and stickers. He was laid up for sometime, but we finally got all the stuff off of him and his pads healed. He never ran again after that. But when we came back from my dad’s funeral he was gone and the back yard gate was open. Blackie stayed home. We think because he was a hunting dog, that some hunter took him. We lived in the country and there were leased lands near us to hunters. We always said that if some hunter got him, he would be a hard dog to train to hunt, he would be gone in a minute, and “say bird, what bird.” I don’t know that I ever got good closure on losing Ivanhoe. And he has a special place in my heart.

5. The final pet was Bat Man. Bat Man was a cat that came to live with us because his owners, our friends, couldn’t have him where they were moving to. I was a teenager, and somehow or another that cat took up with me and slept in my bed. He went anywhere I went including to the swamp and to the woods. He was a great hunter, and would bring back his catches to our front step. We would go out in the morning and there would be blood and some kind of dead animal out there. We called it, his bringing his offerings to the altar. He was such a good tempered cat and very friendly. He got his name because he had a black mask and cape. We always had to sing the Bat Man theme song when we called him. When I left for college, he got quite depressed except when I came home for visits, then he would be happy again. He wasn’t fixed so he got into lots of cat fights and you could hear him and the other cat fighting and yelling at each other. He died when I was gone to Seminary of old age. He was a wonderful cat to have in my teen age years. He heard all my secrets, listened to me and loved me when I was going through those hard teen age years.

I have had lots of pets over the years and they all have a story to tell. Right now we have Lilly Bear, Kodah, who are dogs and then two cats, Tygger and Miley. And they are making stories of their lives with us now.


Sophia said...

What beautiful stories of very beloved companions.

mid-life rookie said...

I like your stories. Glad to know we weren't the only ones who came home with a sick dog that regained health.

Processing Counselor said...

I havd dog envy. Sob...

Jennifer said...

It is so clear you love your pets dearly.

word verification: ablessit