Monday, August 1, 2011

Family Pets

I don't recall any time in my life I have been without a pet. The first pet I remember was a cat given by a family friend when I was very young. It was a black kitten. Dad named him "Schwartz." He may have been holding onto some of the German culture he absorbed when he was stationed in Frankfurt during his army days, before he married my mom.

I nearly killed the kitten when I stuffed him into a small suitcase to keep him safe. By the time Mom had figured out where the cat was, he had ripped apart the inside of the case in futile attempts to get out. He suffered years of similar abuse by us. He was an outdoor cat, so he learned how to exit the home to avoid getting dressed up like one of my dolls. Food and warmth always led him home.

Schwartz lived a long life. We eventually had to put him down when he began to loose urinary control. Not sure how old he was then, but I think the family had him more than 15 years. I remember my brother Kevin was the one who ended up taking him to the vet for the final deed. Maybe it was because he had his driver's license. I remember him feeling bad about it. I was kind of stunned that my brother had those kind of feelings then.

[At this point, Mom, you are allowed to clarify information in the comments. I'm not afraid of a little "red ink." You are nowhere near the school teacher your Aunt Mary was. I just can't imagine correcting her own daughter's letters and sending them back with red ink! - .... ]

When I was first able to have my own pets, I got a black kitten and named him "Detroit." The next cat after him was another black cat named "Harley." These cats traveled to all of my graduate programs. After Detroit was gone, it took a while before I added another. For the first time, I wanted a new color. I adopted a white 5 point Siamese rescue kitten and named her "Porsche."

I've been a cat person all my life. When I was a kid I really wanted a dog. My mom would often push off the idea; knowing that she already had too much to handle when I was begging.

A few posts back, I described the first and only dog my family ever had, Smedley. This was the dog that was hired to be our alarm system. Smedley was the dog Mom wanted her to be. Not sure how long she lived; thinking Mom had to put her down when she got too old or sick to be comfortable. My husband doesn't remember meeting her; but he did hear about her. I'm trying to put the dog's time in line with other life events. But as I age, parts of my life are starting to blur.

Two years ago, our kids started begging for a dog; right on cue with all 6 year olds. We started out researching local rescue places. Found a possible puppy on "" The post said "serious inquiries only." I emailed the contact with some general questions. Before I knew it, the rescuer was coming to my house with the entire litter. She knew she was dealing with a push over. Poor Steve was at work and could do nothing about it. She knew she wouldn't be leaving with all the puppies if she was bringing them all to a house with two 6 year olds. She played us. On June 17, 2009 we became official dog owners.

We've had the typical dog training issues, and the typical stories of dogs and kids. He's just a dog; but he keeps me coming home when I would otherwise stay out, mostly dragging the kids with me. He gets me out of bed to walk/run in the morning - except Saturdays. He eats my daughter's hair ties. He steals food left within reach. He eats used napkins because they smell like people food. When he sleeps hard, he lays on his back with all four paws in the air. He chases the cat for entertainment. He lets us put funny hats on him. He tears apart the furniture. He keeps me grounded when I pick up his poop; giving me that look that is a cross between an apology and an expectation when I'm fussing with the plastic bag. Whether I work at home or at my office, he's always under my feet. He is my protector.

On this morning's run, I took a spill. I lost my grip on his leash, but he stayed by me until I got up. He's on his way to being a good dog. Maybe in a couple of years, he'll be mellow enough to take on vacation. 

Sorry Buddy, not this year. We'll find you a nice doggie hotel to stay in while we're battling porcupines in Canada.

#46 of 90in90 for #LUBlogTribe

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