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.
Come play along with me–either post your answers on you blog or, better yet, in the comment box! (Sorry to post this a day late–I fell asleep too early last night to finish.)
Barbara’s Memorable Pets:
1. When I was about six, I adopted an earthworm from my dad’s garden and named him Casey, after the boy at school I had a wild crush on. I loved Casey (both of them, actually.) One hot summer day, I devised a raft for Casey (the worm) on a small piece of torn-up shingle, and took him for a boat ride in a mud puddle in our driveway. My parents, watching from the window, decided it was about time for me to have a real pet, and that’s how Bridget came into our lives. The Casey story does not have a happy ending, though: Casey the boy moved away, and Casey the worm received a ceremonial burial in the rose garden.
2. We got Bridget, a miniature poodle (almost big enough to be a standard) through a group called Pet Haven, almost immediately after the Casey incident. She was, truly, my best friend for all of my growing up years; talk about representing God’s unconditional love. We took her everywhere with us. She was also brilliant–my dad loved teaching her tricks. One of his (their, I should say) favorites was teaching her to scratch fleas on command. She didn’t have fleas, you understand. I thought about trying to get her on David Letterman’s Stupid Pet Tricks, but never got around to it. When I came home from my scoliosis surgery, in terrible pain I went to bed immediately, and Bridget hopped up on the bed and very carefully and gently arranged herself so that she was nestled against me, head on my shoulder, magically, without hitting any of my painful spots (and there were plenty, believe me.) We had to put our beloved Bridget to sleep right after I graduated from college; she was 15-years-old.
3. About a year later we (mom and I) found my darling Molly, a cocker spaniel, at the Golden Valley Humane Society. I knew from the second I laid eyes on her that she was the puppy for us. She was picked up as a stray, and had apparently been abused. Molly had the absolute sweetest nature I have ever seen in a dog, and in a special way, we were soulmates. She could always tell when I was depressed, or my fibromyalgia was acting up, and she was always right there to comfort me. She also had a thing for flowers–we were always catching her out in the backyard sniffing them. When we had to put her to sleep, at the age of 14, (she had an abdominal cancer), we spread her ashes amongst the flowers she loved so much. I love to think of her resting there, helping the flowers grow.
4. Warning: Do not let young children read this fish horror story. In my late twenties I decided I need some fish to help keep me company. So I trotted off the the pet store, purchased my little tank and fish goodies, and then selected my fish. I don’t remember the name of the breed (Bellas, maybe?), but they were stunningly beautiful, and the store owner assured me they were a very passive breed of fish, and not likely to harm each other. (Does anyone sense some foreshadowing here?) I enjoyed watching them swim about in their tiny tank, weaving in and out of the fronds of the plants I had so carefully purchased for their swimming pleasure. But soon, I began to notice that a few of my fish seemed to have disappeared. Then, one traumatic day, I caught the fish villain in the act: he was devouring another fish. The story only gets worse from here. A fish execution by toilet, remaining fish obviously suffering from PTSD. I’m not sure what this was supposed to teach me. That fish can be possessed? That the reality of evil extends even to little aquariums?
5. Luckily, my last pet story reaffirms my belief in the goodness of creation. My darling Fiona, the Uber-cocker spaniel, curled up against my bare feet as I type, is my best furry friend and provides me with all the loving, unconditional care anyone could possibly need. When my mom was dying, and I’d come home from the nursing home in tears, Fiona was right there waiting for me. And after mom died, for weeks the little fluffy creature wouldn’t leave my side; she clung to me, staring up at me with her big brown eyes that telegraphed her doggly love and concern. Fiona also loves to play; every single day, without fail, we must–and I do mean must–play with each of her toys in turn. She so loves her toys. She is my cuddly darling, and I hope to someday be the person she thinks I am.