Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Family Pets

Pets - Wendy and the snake
I wanted a snake. Didn't get a snake, but I wanted a snake!
The Ancestral Findings podcast did a fun episode recently about family pets and how meaningful they are in our lives, so I thought I would share a little bit about our family pets.

I don't remember much about my first three pets. When I was a baby and up until I was maybe three or four-years-old, we had one dog and two cats. I only remember them as Ziggy, the yellow lab, and Marble and Butterscotch, our cats. Marble was a dark tabby, I believe, and Butterscotch an orange one.

When I turned thirteen, that was the year my father decided we needed a cat. Shadow was a very sweet kitty, though she took more of a liking to my dad and sister than she did to me. However, in her last five years of life, she lived with me. Shadow lived to be seventeen and was a healthy cat until she simply got old. She was a beloved family pet.

Tremor - this picture of him is tattooed on my right arm.
It was 1995 when I met "my" cat. His name was Tremor and he was a beautiful white cat with black markings and a black tail. At the time when he was found in an alley way, he was just a little thing and nervous as heck. He settled in with me easily, though, and was very loyal throughout his life. He wasn't keen on other people, but he was my constant companion.

Tremor had a couple of accidental adventures I won't recount here, because they are not for the faint of heart. He lived until 2007, when he passed away at the age of twelve due to complications from a blood clot.

My black lab, Cody, had an active life too. He arrived a month later in 1995. Tremor wasn't ready for a dog in the apartment! But they ultimately became friends. Cody was a huge dog, perhaps part Great Dane. When we walked him along the streets of Brockton, people actually would cross the street in fear of him when they saw us coming.

But Cody was just a huge, loving baby. He never harmed another person or animal, though he didn't know his own strength. Usually he was the one walking me! He was also an escape artist, so tall that he could climb over a chain link fence without hesitation. He also passed away in 2007, age twelve.

Stormy came about a year later. She was with me from 1996 to 2013. She was extremely affectionate and easygoing. Stormy lived a much quieter life than Tremor and Cody, except for her health problems. She developed hyperthyroidism when she was eleven.

Bandit & Stormy
Stormy loving on Bandit.
Fortunately, a course of oral medication, followed by radiation eradicated it. But she had a recurrence in 2013. Since she was over seventeen years old and the quality of her life was in question, I brought her to the vet to say goodbye.

Bandit was my dog. We got her in 2000 or so. She was smart, smaller than Cody, and easier to handle. Like Stormy, she was a super affectionate pet. Her life was far more calm and uneventful.

I've lost many pets, but Tremor's death in March of 2007 was the hardest on me. I cried for a month. There was a huge hole in my heart that could only be filled with another male cat. He had to be special, though. So I went to the Dover, Delaware SPCA on Friday, April 13, 2007.

Shiva, destroyer of all he surveys.
And there he was - this tiny black, polydactyl kitten. Shiva came home with me that very day.

He's intelligent, but oh-so-lazy. He is also my only indoor-outdoor cat. I've had him since 2007, so he's already ten-years-old, but as menacing as ever. Oh yes, he's got the lean, muscular look of a panther. A teeny, tiny, semi-domesticated panther. He managed to whack his head once when shaking it vigorously and developed a hematoma in his ear. The vet drained and quilted the ear. Shiva has looked a bit like a scrappy alley cat ever since.

In 2011, I got my black-headed caique, Avery. We purchased him from a breeder in England. He hatched in February 2011 and came to live with us in May 2011. Avery is smart, sociable, and a bit of a strutting, spoiled brat. Caiques are known for being intelligent and playful, the "clowns of the bird world." It's hard to believe he is six-years-old now. He could live for up to another twenty-four years!

Kobold "derping" hard.
Cats are a recurring theme in my life. Even though I'm married to someone who is allergic to them, it doesn't matter - he loves cats too. So in 2011, we also got a cat in England. Her name is Kobold aka Derp Cat. She's... special.

We love Kobold. She's fluffy and sweet, though slightly skittish. She also licks glue and runs headfirst into windows and glass doors. One moment she might be standing on the floor and the next standing in a ceiling beam, snapping a housefly out of the air. We're not sure how she reconciles her stupidity with her agility, but she keeps us entertained!

Copyright (c) 2017 Wendy L. Callahan

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