Monday, November 5, 2007

Memory Lane Monday - Childhood pets

Growing up, there were always pets in my house. I believe that at some point throughout my childhood there were at times various dogs, cats, fish, gerbils, and a mouse.

Our first pet was a dog - a Shetland Sheepdog (like a miniature Collie) which had been my dad's before my parents got married. His name was Toddy - my dad had named him after a pet alligator that he'd had (briefly!) as a child. Don't ask me where the name had come from for the alligator...

Toddy was a one-man kind of dog. He was loyal to my dad but never really connected with my mom. As I was basically an extension of my dad, Toddy tolerated me. By that, I mean he let me pet him, let me carry him around (my mom tells a story of me as a toddler coming up to her one day carrying Toddy around the neck saying, "Look Mommy, puppy!"), and feed him table food. In return, he knocked me over as I was learning to walk, nipped at my pant legs and chased me around at times. For some reason though, Toddy never warmed up to my little brother either, so he was basically my dad's and my dog.


My parents made a rule when we were kids. On our 7th birthdays, we could each pick out a pet of our choice. I wanted a horse. My brother wanted a rabbit.

I got a cat and Donnie got a dog. Go figure...

My cat was a little black-and-white sweetheart that my dad named Jellybean. However, she only lived for a year - we never really knew what killed her. I got a replacement cat, dubbed Sassy, but she really became my mom's cat - probably since my mom was the one who ended up feeding and taking care of her mostly. Strange how that seems to happen, huh!

When Donnie turned 7, he got a dog - a beagle that he named Rex. I thought Rex was an annoying little dog (sorry Donnie!), but then again I've never really been a huge dog lover either.

When Sassy was just about a year old, she had kittens. For some reason we hadn't gotten her fixed yet and my mom says that she did try to keep her in the house when she was in heat, but when Sassy peed on her lap, she gave up and let her out. I think I would too in that case! So we had 7 little balls of fluff running around the house for several weeks...

I can still remember the names we gave them - my favorite was a black ones I named Coal, and Donnie's favorite was a black-and-white kitty he called Midnight. Then there were Caramel, Jellybean II, Tiger, and the twins (at least they looked alike) who we called Boots and Paws. When they were old enough, we found homes for all of the kittens - I had wanted to keep Coal but my parents said one cat and two dogs were enough. However, the people who took Jellybean II ended up bringing her back because she didn't get along with their other cat - and she stayed. And became my kitty.

Now in there too we added a fish (originally two, but mine died off - Donnie's was a goldfish he named Silver who lived to a ripe old age, for a goldfish anyway), then Donnie and I each got a couple of gerbils one year. His didn't last long (I think the cage got knocked off his dresser, probably by a cat) and one of mine got out and was killed by a cat (cats and gerbils are not a good mix - something we didn't realize at first!). The other lived for a couple of years. Later on I had a mouse for several years as well.

Toddy died when I was in high school, and we all decided together to replace him with another dog. This time we chose a Golden Retriever puppy that we named Taffy. She really became Donnie's dog.

None of those original pets are living anymore. My Jellybean II pined for me after I moved away to college and my mom ended up having to put her down when she got sick. Sassy, Rex and Taffy lived with my mom (after my parents divorced) until their deaths.

Nobody in my family has any dogs anymore, but we all have cats. Ron and I have 2 (Misty and Snuggly), my mom has 3 (Callie, Toby and Antigone, who used to be mine), Donnie has one (Galileo), and my dad and his girlfriend just got a cat.

Apparently we seem to be cat people, I guess!

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5 wonderful people said...:

Heather @ Desperately Seeking Sanity said...

What GREAT pictures!!!!!!

Oh I wish I had pictures, but I think Mom has them all.... :)

Thanks for playing!


Karen (Pediascribe) said...

I laughed out loud when I read this:

"I wanted a horse. My brother wanted a rabbit.

I got a cat and Donnie got a dog."

Classic parenting! :)

Summer said...

I love the picture of those teeny tiny adorable little kitties! We had at least three different litters of kittens in our house growing up and I loved seeing them born and slowly grow until we gave them away.

Corey~living and loving said...

interesting post...sounds a little like you learn about death from having is hard.

judith said...

Great stuff, aren't animals just wonderful. We can learn a lot from them. They're always pleased to see you, never hold a grudge and love you unconditionally. The world would be a better place if more people were like that.