Smokey – This was a gray cat that I only remember because of what I have been told. Apparently, Smokey remained in our house for a very short time due to the terrible allergic reactions that both my brother and dad experienced. Smokey was sent to “the farm.”
Gerbils – There were two of them and the only memory I have is from being four. My brother and I made a maze of books in his bedroom for the gerbils to run through. They didn’t last long because by the time we moved to our new house when I was five, they were not present. My only guess is that, they too, landed at “the farm.”
Hamster – This was the first pet I was able to have live in my bedroom. I must have been about age 7. One Saturday night he was there and on Sunday morning he was gone. I vaguely remember seeing him in the corner between his wheel and the glass, standing on his head. Looking back on that now, he was probably dead.
Guinea pig – I remember the smell and it was bad. I have no recollection of it dying and I do not remember it leaving.
Whiskey – Our miniature “whiskey colored” poodle was a great dog that took to doing her inappropriate private business on my leg or back. She played hockey with ice cubes and would paw at them until they eventually flew under the refrigerator. When my family moved out of my childhood home, there was disgusting black mold from years of forgotten melting ice cubes. When I was a senior in high school, my brother showed up at my lunch break off campus to tell me that my parents had to put her down. I cried in the parking lot. One day, years later, I was getting something out of my parent’s trunk. I lifted a square tin can up, turned to my Dad and said, “What is this?” He literally laughed out loud and said, “That’s Whiskey.” I replied, “How long as she been living in this trunk?” On that day, she made it to the mantle of the house.
Sam – I am not sure that Sam, a black miniature poodle, actually counted as one of my pets. He was in fact the purchase my parents made when I left for college. He was my replacement and I resented the affections my parents gave to him in my absence. He had one blue eye which made him interesting to my Mom when she chose him from the litter box from some shady house in Philadelphia. Little did she know that the blue eye was a giant cataract. That dog couldn’t see, had seizures, and a whole litany of other ailments. When I was home from school, I tolerated him. He was actually quite cute. When he had to be put down, my parents were devastated.
Gizmo – This was a chocolate lab puppy that lasted in our apartment for 36 hours due to his intestinal issues. I was 22 and in a situation/relationship that was not conducive to having a dog. Right or wrong, we brought that pup back to the store we bought him from and he was sold to another family a couple days later. I am sure he made that family very happy and lived a good life. (At least that’s what I tell myself.)
Dobby – Dobby was named for Harry Potter’s house elf friend, both loyal and lovable. She was a Rhodesian Ridgeback and the best dog one could ever hope for in this life. I still miss her shenanigans. The memories of her being sick at the end and me in a room by myself having to say goodbye are just too much to touch with a ten foot pole so I won’t. Last year, during Slice of Life, I shared this piece about her here: https://wordpress.com/post/lettersfromcoachk.wordpress.com/35
Sasha’s frog – 4th grade’s study of frogs was awesome. When it was done in the 4th grade classroom. We were “lucky” to be chosen to take one frog home. It died of natural causes one day (I swear) and we had a funeral in the back yard.
Aside from assorted carnival fish, that I am just leaving out, because well, you know…carnival fish, that about wraps it up. What can we learn here? Well my biggest take away is that as a child, some of our pets mysteriously disappeared. Thanks Mom and Dad. I get it. I have three kids. I get it.
Oh, and having a dog in your life, when you are ready for one is one of the most rewarding things in the world, even if they only live on this earth for a short time.