Monday, May 4th, 2015 -(11°C / 52°F deceptively sunny and bright at 10:45 am in our little corner of Atlantic Canada )-
— Twice I got to choose a pet. In sixth grade I rode with my father when he drove a friend of his up to the vet in Trumbull to pick up a pet who’d needed extra care there. I asked my father if we could ask if the vet knew of any dogs up for adoption, he’d had a couple drinks earlier and he said, “Sure-” so I did and the vet just happened to have a fairly large young mongrel, white with brown spots, named ‘Reno’ who came ran me all around the parking lot on the end of a rope tied to his collar and then came home with us. We couldn’t let him run wild through our neighborhood so we tied him outside a couple times a day. He learned that a few short loud barking sessions would get him inside in a hurry. One next door neighbor complained. Dad took Reno back to the vet after we’d had him maybe a little more than a week. — I think I was just about 30, back living with my parents again on the advice of a spiritual Yogi. Working evenings in the post office. My sister Sharon and her first husband, Charlie, had puppies and offered me one. I knew that they wouldn’t live very long if I said, “No thanks-” and I wanted them both, but chose a female and named her “Lucky” My mother complained that she didn’t want to be the one who got stuck taking care of another puppy. I told her I was perfectly capable of taking care of her and didn’t mind at all. Another case of within a week, Mom and Dad jumped in the car to go visit my sister and took the puppy back with them. Brother in law Charlie shot both puppies shortly after that and shocked my mother, who didn’t believe me when I’d said that that could happen. Other than that, any time a pet came into my life it came because somebody else wanted it or somebody had to give it away. An undocked Doberman in New York state, Named ‘Rooster’ had scared a kid off a bicycle when he wanted to play with her and the kid’s parents threatened legal actions. I kept Rooster on property I was trying to buy up there and the neighbors made a big stink, I gave Rooster to a future Vet who believed there were ‘papers’ available. The Vet and another friend of mine contacted the woman I’d gotten Rooster from and learned that, yes, somebody had papers, but they weren’t quite legitimate and would have cost real money and a bit of moral quicksand that a future Vet didn’t want to deal with. The dog was a pure bred Doberman who hadn’t been registered at birth and the person with the papers registering phantom pups and charging people with questionable intent an unreasonable amount of money for those papers. And, my friends didn’t think they wanted to try to trust anybody like that. Other friends in New York had to get rid of a cat. I couldn’t have a cat where I was staying, another friend said he would take the cat and keep him for me until I had a place where I could take him back. Okay, well that cat caught feline leukemia very shortly thereafter and wasted away to almost nothing in a couple weeks. My life in New york fell apart shortly after that and my father asked me to move back home and help him out, so I did.
— One stray cat came and found me. She’d been in a fight and the first time I saw her one eye was a mess. I’d never been a cat person before this. But that cat found me every time I was in the depths of teen aged angst and depression. She got killed in the road while I was either in Vermont or away in the Navy. She was special. Every pet has been special. Trixie used to fall asleep in my lap as a wobbly puppy. It nearly killed me to see her in the dog pound after the same neighbor that complained about Reno complained that Trixie was digging up his back yard. A couple weeks after Trixie disappeared from the dog pound that neighbor came over and screamed at me that if we didn’t get rid of that dog he was going to call the cops on us, he’d seen it the day before digging up his back yard again. If I had the power to kill with my mind that guy would have exploded then and there. Thank God I don’t?
— And, other than that, any time a pet came into my life it was somebody else’s idea and somebody else’s choice. But every one of them has been magical and special. When his doctor told my father he might be allergic to pet hair mom asked Sharon in Vermont when I was staying up there if she could take him. When we conferred with her husband and he reluctantlay agreed, we called back and said, “Yes!” And we were told it was too late. Flipper was gone. Too many pets were ripped out of my life by selfish adults. When Max the gray cat died last November, that was rough. We had seen him gradually wasting away and then in the last couple days he went quickly. Erin, my step daughter who had fallen in love with Max, especially because he was ‘older’ when they saw him in the cage in the animal shelter display at a pet store, thought that nobody would want him because he was an older cat. So she gotr him and brought him to Mississauga, then Ottawa, then up to Pembroke when she was going to University up there. Then she transferred to WEstern Ontario University in London, Ontario, and Max stayed with us for a while. Then her future husband turned out to be extremely allergic to cats so Max stayed with us until the end. She came here to see him one last time and he went downhill really fast while she was here, he went that night. That was rough.
— Maybe every time a pet leaves us is going to be rougher.
— Argh! And thank you for the facebook messages of support and sympathy.