To All The Pets I’ve Loved Before

Who traveled in and out my door

More or less in order . .

First up was Chi-chi, a tiny chihuahua who was constantly paralyzed with fear. Unbeknownst to my mom, I used to feed her the red plastic peelings off of bologna. Fate: run over by a big truck on a little highway.

Next was Sandy, an extremely athletic sheltie who could catch anything you threw to her. I used to loosen corny dogs from the sticks and then throw like hell, leaving the stick in my hand like a grenade pin and the corny dog remains way out in the yard for Sandy to fetch. She never brought them back to me. She died of a heart attack at age 19 while fetching her food.

Now I know you can’t ever replace a pet but Sandy was replaced by Toky, a sweet-natured border collie who lost a couple of teeth catching frisbies. I named her after Alice B. Toklas because both had small mustaches. Yeah, I know. What straight girl would name a pet after her? I just thought I was sophisticated. Anyway, Toky had a heart attack when I came out to my parents.

During that same time, we had an assortment of dogs that my brother and sister brought home. Fig was a lovable, black retriever of some sort but he was the dumb blonde of dogs. Badger was a bad-tempered Corgi (if they were good enough for the Queen, they were good enough for us!) who accidentally broke my nose during a stare-down. After he nipped the little girl next door, he had to be put to sleep. However, we found out a couple of years later that the girl’s own dog had mysteriously died with a tennis ball stuck in its throat. It appears Badge was a good judge of character. Sorry, Badge!

It was about this time that Mam-aw’s apartment dog, Dibs, was involved in an altercation with another apartment dog. When Mam-aw tried to kick them to break up the fight, she fell and broke her dadgum hip and we inherited her dog. Mam-aw always bragged that if a male dog approached Dibs for a little fun, Dibs “wouldn’t let ’em.” More likely it’s that they passed on her because of her hideous breath. Dibs lived for-EV-er.

Then there was the blind poodle named Gemini; Rosie, a ginger-colored dog who was chosen because she matched my sister’s living room carpet; and Lassie, a little sheltie with a severe underbite. Don’t look at me. I didn’t name her. Thrown into the mix were a couple of cockatiels named Prince and Fletcher, who my mom used to whistle Dixie to every morning. They weren’t ever able to whistle it themselves but they did learn to repeat, “Look away, look away.”

But the crowning jewel of the entire menagerie is a cat named Boots. Obviously, when this stray kitty was named, his little white feet were his most prominent features.

Time has a way of changing things.

Cat With Rodent Ulcer

Boots -- Cat With Rodent Ulcer

Published in: on December 27, 2008 at 11:05 pm  Comments (2)  
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