There's not much grey area really, you're either an animal person, or you're not. I happen to adore animals, especially the small furry four legged varies, I struggle eating whole ones though. No, seriously though, the thought of talking to a person makes my chest constrict until I can't breath yet i'll often wander up to random dogs and cats. I've grown up with pets, lots of pets.
My first pet was a Cairn Terrier called Lucy who arrived to live with us when I was just three months old, I literally grew up with her. She was always there. Whenever myself or my brothers were ill, she'd parade around the room, checking on us. When we were all out walking, if we dared go separate she'd herd all three of us back together again. She had an obsession with polo mints and would empty peoples handbags to get to them. I loved her with all my heart, even though she did bite the finger off my doll. She didn't appear to view herself as a dog, let alone a small dog and would nip the ankles an gonads of any large dog that dared get into her space. I guess reading that back she sounds like a vicious little minx, she wasn't. She was simply amazing. She used to have a pulled ligament that rarely played up, unless she wanted attention.....then she'd ham it up big style and limp around on three legs. I remember she'd allow my Mother exactly 20 minutes in the bathroom, she'd spent the entire time parked outside the bathroom door and start to frantically scratch at it once the twenty minutes were up. She died when she and I were both 15, needless to say I was devastated, she'd always been there. The hole she left was immense in our hearts and life.
Other pets along the way included:
Pixie & Dixie- Two brown gerbils, I could never tell them apart at all and due to being so young I wasn't terribly fussed by them.
Fluffy/Rambo/The Old Man: One day when I was a child, my two brothers ran into the house, short of breath from running, desperately shouting for our Mother. They, along with some friend, had found a stray black and white dwarf rabbit and knowing that The Mother is a soft touch for animals she predictably set out to rescue it. It was hiding under a bush, she was just about to dive in when The Father declared there was no way she was rummaging around due to her new skirt she was wearing. Did it stop her? Did it heck. She whipped said skirt off right there and then and dived in wearing just her blouse and her slip. To say he was vicious would be somewhat understating matters, I never knew rabbits could growl until I met him. As such, The Brothers called him Rambo, yet I named him Fluffy, a name that stuck throughout his long life until he affectionately called him The Old Man.
Mopsy - At infants school I had a rather quirky teacher called Miss Williams who drove a pink sports car and had a pet goat that she used to take for walks on a leash. She brought us a classroom pet in the form of a lop eared rabbit called Flopsy, he was a delightful ginger colour and the most docile bunny in the world. He'd hop around the class as we worked. He met a black female rabbit and the outcome was just one kitten, an all white female with blue eyes despite the ginger and black of her parents. I remember Miss Williams stood on my front doorstep with this bundle of white fluff in her arms which she handed to me. My very own rabbit. I called her Mopsy. She had an amazingly placid temperament despite many health issues throughout her short life.
Mephistopheles - She was a black Guinea Pig with a ginger foot. The Father who is not an animal person declared under no circumstances were we to buy another pet, so of course The Mother bought her. To appease The Father we let him choose the name hence her being called Mephistopheles (Greek for Black Devil) although she was always known as Mephy.
Maisie & Minnie- When Mopsy died, Mephy grew most lonely so we bought her a friend, Minnie, another guinea pig and then when Mephy Died we bought Maisie.
Rosie - Was another Guinea pig who came with a surprise, the surprise being three baby guniea pigs that The Mother found one morning when she went to feed her. We called them Phil, Grant and Peggy.
Penny, Thumper, Benji, Sam - All were other rabbits I had through childhood.
George and McKillop - Two gerbils, one brown and one white. McKillop had this rather enchanting habit of laying on his back and making wee fountains. Charming. George was a soppy little thing and would love to just sit upon my hand and accompany me around the house.
Hemlock - A small hamster who was blind and deaf and possibly the most vicious creature i'd ever owned.
Lil B**tard Frost - A love hamster who would keep me company many a late night as a teenager, I bought him when I started University. When I moved out of home, The Mother said he could often be found staring at the space where i used to sit at my computer as if waiting for me, so of course he soon moved with me.
Krystal - Another Cairn Terrier, an absolute diva. Again The Father named her in an attempt by The Mother to compensate his anger at yet another pet. He named her Krystal after a Portuguese beer. Krystal died too soon, she was under ten years old. The Mothers heart is still broken, well over a decade later.
Morbid & Angel- When I first met The Husband, he had two gerbils called Morbid & Angel after one of his favourate bands.
Rita, Sue & Bob too - When Morbid and Angel died, The Husbands (Then Boyfriend) brother gave him some money for a birthday which he decided to buy gerbils with. Stood in the pet shop there were three together, two females and a male, all siblings. I told him not to do it. I warned him. So of course he did it anyway and bought all three of the little cretins claiming he didn't have the heart to separate them. Yes, you can guess how this ended. We named them Rita, Sue & Bob Too and three eventually became....seventeen. Yes, really. Thus started many days of chasing escapee furballs and manic rescue attempts, including one attempting to hide in a sock drawer. Despite being separated into three colonies, some rather unsavoury behaviour occurred, not only were they bullies they were at times cannibals. Nice.
Ozzy & Lemmy - My two goldfish
Angus - A charming little ginger Guinea Pig that was bought for The Husband.
Fenriz - Having moved in with The Husband (Then Boyfriend) I felt the absence of a dog more and more each day. I simply wasn't used to not having a dog around. His ex wife had taken their dog, Amber a Labrador, when she left which he was still somewhat heartbroken over. In an attempt to cheer up seeing as I was on crutches for the upteenth time we went to Manchester Dogs Home one morning, and saw two puppies, a tiny black wee thing with white marks and a golden Akita cross puppy. Despite my petulance and sulking The Husband was unrelenting and refuse to entertain the idea. Outside I received a phone call from The Mother telling me that she'd had to have my rabbit that lived with her put down that morning due to illness. I burst into tears, The Husband assumed the tears were merely another tactic to emotionally blackmail him into getting a dog and accused me of such to which I blurted out that my rabbit had died. His guilt was obvious and he let me have a puppy. The Akita-Cross had gone, there was just this divine wee black and white puppy left. His mum was a collie-cross who was found heavily pregnant wandering along a motorway, she gave birth at the dogs home. We named him Fenriz and he was the best dog in the entire world. He was silly and daft, dopey and excitable. He was naturally submissive and accompanied us through three houses, a wedding, three births and a miscarriage. He was our first 'baby'. We grew as people as a couple and then as a family with him. Unfortunately, he died before his time aged 12 years in February this year. There are no words to describe the devastation that exploded. I've never seen my babies cry so hard and for so long. This was their first loss and the grief devoured them. Even just thinking about him, my eyes start to leak and my heart twists and scrunches as if caught within some clenched fist. I still remember him dying, still wagging his tail for us as The Toddler went and got his doctors kit to try and fix him. I miss him. I miss him so much it hurts, a deep hurt that sucks the very marrow from the soul.
Marla - I'd always wanted a cat yet i'd grown up with Cairns, who abhorred cats. The Husband (then Boyfriend) did not want a cat. I waited until we broke up briefly after three years of being together and bought a kitten anyway. Although obviously adorable, she wasn't at all what i'd imagined a kitten would be like. The instant she saw gangly friendly Fenriz she gobbed a big wad of spit at the glass door separating them and would affectionately rule over him from then on. She'd try and scalp me in my sleep. She's about as misanthropic as a cat can get, especially a house cat.
Sookie - The Husband did not want a kitten. I implored that Marla would be Lonely without Fenriz and that we would not be ready for a long time to have another dog. The Spawn beseeched him to let us get a kitten. The Husband would have rather divorced than get a kitten, so naturally I got one anyway. Teeny Tiny little Sookie. She's friendly, cuddly, affectionate and probably won The Husbands heart in less than an hour of being here. Sookie was desperate to be Marlas friend, yet Marla decided to show us that cats can growl. They currently co-exist punctuating the days with various sessions of slapping each other senseless an hissing, typical girls really.
Although we all adore The Cat and The Kitten we're hoping to rescue another dog next summer. The home just isn't the same without a dog.
So what about you? Do you have any pets?
“This post is an entry into the Tots100/Swell UK competition.”