Flashback Friday: Man's (er, Woman's) Best Friends

Throughout my life, pets have always had a part.

We've had several over the years - dogs, a guinea pig, fish, hamsters, and even cats.

Rusty trying to steal my cookie.
When I was really little, my parents already had a dog - I believe he was a beagle/hound mix named Rusty. I don't remember Rusty too much as I was so little, but I have seen some pictures of me as a toddler with the dog, one of them being one of us outside with him trying to eat my cookie I was carrying in my hand.

I didn't really mind Rusty and was a bit sad and confused when he was no longer with us. I remember he had left him with my grandma at her house in Pennsylvania and I was told he had runaway. Later I learned that he had died or something (maybe he did runaway at first) but they never bothered to tell me that when I was little of course!

Me and Lady
The dog we got was a cocker spaniel I named Lady. I LOVED Lady and the Tramp at the time and about died until my parents gave in and got me a dog just like lady. The problem though, was at the time the movie was re-released cocker spaniels had gained in popularity and so people started inbred their dogs and yeah... our Lady was the product of that as she was just soooo stupid and couldn't seem to learn.

I forget how long we actually had her, but she grew pretty fast and was constantly knocking my 2-3 year-old self on my butt which I didn't like and would cry about and my mom was frustrated with her as she was trying to potty-train me as well as a dog that refused to learn. It got to be too much and we find a nice family that owned a farm or something who was willing to take her.

We got Bitsy - a black and white miniature fox terrier - right before my 5th birthday.

First day of kindergarten or 1st grade with Bitsy all excited, running around.

I remember we spent sometime visiting different dog sellers that my dad had come across in the newspaper (one of which turned out to be a guy running a puppy mill with a whole concrete basement full of dogs stacked in metal cages on top of each other - I remember we got home from that one and dad immediately called the humane society to report it, even though there was this tiny tiny puppy there that I really wanted!).

Eventually we ended up visiting some family on a farm who's dogs had recently had a whole litter of puppies they were selling. Mom and dad let me pick out our new puppy. I remember they had divided the litter in boys and girls and we wanted a girl. Most of the puppies were all jumping around, yipping for my attention, but I noticed one off in the corner by herself, a little smaller than the others and decided I wanted her. We learned that I had picked the runt of the litter and mom and dad asked me if I was sure that was the puppy I wanted, in which I said I yes. We had a cardboard box lined with old towels that she rode home in with us as I sat next to her in the backseat and reached in and petted her the whole way home as we thought up names.

I came up with Bitsy, as she was so little and itsy bitsy.

She grew a little bit, but never really got "big" - she was definitely a smaller terrier and the definition of a "yippy" dog, lol...

I accidently broke her leg when I was little one winter, as Bitsy liked to get under your feet and chase you around. I didn't mean to, but I was skipping down the main hall of the house and well, she got under my feet and I accidently stepped on her leg and broke it! Oops! It healed though and she was fine.

As she got older though she had more serious health problems - she had trachea problems and also a heart murmur for the last half of her long life and it was finally a tumor that ended up making it so we had to put her down.

I was in college when it happened. My dad got up one morning to feed her like usual and she started having a really bad seizure so they took her to the vet immediately and it was the tumor that had caused it. She was starting to die and it was recommended we just put her down and put her out of her misery as it was only going to get worse for her. Our vet was amazed though at how long she lived - I believe she was right around 15 years old! He said most runts don't make it past the first few years if that and that it was probably due to our love and care that she was able to live a long life like she did.

My parents waited a year and a half or so to get a new dog, although since I was in college and not home much by that time, I never really bonded with the new dog - a brown and white rat terrier (with some greyhound mixed in) my sister named Pebbles. I was very adamant that they not get another black and white terrier as that would just be too weird for me. Pebbles is a bit different from Bitsy as she has a little longer tail (Bitsy just had a stub as fox terriers are a hunting breed, which was evident in how she would always find and kill chipmunks in the backyard!), and it just a lot more hyper in general, despite them both being fast. Pebbles is also a bit bigger too. I've always considered Pebbles to be my sister's and parent's dog though, not mine.

We also had some smaller animals.

My childhood best friend had gerbils and while my parents didn't want something that small at the time, they got me a guinea pig instead. I named her Wilma (from the Flintstones) and she was okay, but a little boring. When we moved into the house my parents still live in, her cage got moved to the rec room in the basement. We had her for quite awhile though (I forget how many years), before she died. It was sort of my fault too, as I was in charge of feeding her and well, I got busy with activities at school and just never went in the basement that week... we found her just under her waterbottle which was empty... I felt really bad! But I was still in grade school at the time too.

We didn't get any more smaller animals for awhile.

I was in junior high when my parents let me and my sister each get a hamster from the pet store. I named my brownish-orange and white one Scully (I was hooked on the X-Files back then) and my sis named her female black and white hamster Baby Jimmy (lol, don't ask!). We originally had them in smaller cages, although we soon learned that mine was pregnant and my dad brought up a bigger glass aquarium to house Scully and her babies. She had 6 of them, but one ate one! I kept the runt which was a boy, and then we took the remaining 4 (2 boys, 2 girls) back to the pet shop. I had them for while. Scully died after breaking her little leg - we think her foot got caught in the metal wheel that was in her cage. She died in my arms later that day as I held her and petted her. Sometime before Scully died, her son (I don't remember what I named him) somehow climbed out of the glass aquarium and lifted up the lid and snuck out in the middle of the night. Bitsy found him and must of scared him to death, as my sister woke up the next morning screaming - Bitsy had left him in the middle of the floor of my sister's room, his fur all a mess from being in her mouth and he was stiff and dead. There was no blood though - we said Bitsy must have thought he was a squeak toy and he probably had a heart attack due to being carried in a larger animal's mouth! My sister's hamster lived the longest and died a natural death I believe.

In college, when I first moved into an apartment with my friend who became my long-term college roommate, we decided we wanted a kitty so my roommate went out to the shelter and found a really cute grey and white domestic kitty she named Hermione. She was just a baby still, and very small so we got to see her grow up into a cat.

Growing up, as you can see, we had dogs, and the guy I dated for several years in college, his family had several dogs too that I was accustomed to, so a cat was something new. My sister was more of a cat person growing up, as she had a bit of an obsession with them for awhile and we had to decorate her room and stuff with cat images. Mom wouldn't let her get one though, as she just didn't want a cat in the house breaking stuff, etc. I had played with cats at summer camp growing up, but never actually owned one so living with one was a new experience.

Hermione when she was just a little kitty.
While she was my roommate's cat, I spent quite a bit of time with her too as she had free roam of the apartment and often came into my room. It was pretty amusing when I would be playing WoW and she'd come in my room and sit on my lap and fall asleep! I bonded pretty well with her.

Our 3rd roommate wasn't too fond of Hermione, often yelling at her and throwing her around, despite the fact she had agreed and was fine with us getting a cat in the first place. We're also positive she had reported her to our landlord, as our lease technically said no animals, however half the people just in our building unit alone had cats. We were fined and had to send her with a friend at a different apartment unit for 2 weeks, but brought her back in once we realized the landlord didn't actually care and was never going to follow up and see if she was gone.

I remember bringing her home with me for Christmas one year, as all 3 of us were going home and couldn't leave her by herself for a week. She stayed in my bedroom for most of the week and it worked alright - my little sister being thrilled we had a cat in the house!

Hubby with Ron butting in for attention like usual
At one point my roommate decided to get a 2nd cat from the shelter - an orange domestic she named Ron. He seemed okay at first, but as the weeks went on, Hermione got very territorial and mean towards him. Ron was already 2 when we got him and we think his previous owners ignored him as he seemed more than attention starved. We tried to give him attention when we could but it never seemed like enough and Hermione just didn't like him - if he was on my bed or if I was petting him and Hermione came wandering in, she'd freak out at him and he'd go running away. We had him for 6-8 months before my roommate gave up and took him back to the shelter - the cats just weren't getting along and he craved more attention that we could give him (he would get quite annoying about it too!).

When I moved into my current apartment after college, of course Hermione stayed with my roommate. It was a bit strange the first few months, as I was used to having a little furball wandering around and coming into my room while I was on the computer or brushing up against my legs. I'd sometimes hear phantom cat collar bells, lol... I mentioned it to hubby that I thought we should get a cat as I missed having one around - he seemed pretty against it but then surprised me for Christmas that year with Tiger!

Tiger's not as affection as Hermione (while she'll fall asleep at the edge of the bed near my feet, she'll never curl up in my lap and do that! lol...) but she's still a pretty good kitty! She just turned 2 a few weeks ago and we'll have had her for 2 years in the beginning of December.

We recently saw Hermione when we visited my old roommate down in Dallas - she has a Corgi now though and Hermione isn't too fond of the dog. She said she still knocks her water dish over though (something we never understood in college - she'd rather knock the dish over and drink the water off the floor than in the dish!). Once I let Hermione check me out though she seemed to remember both me and hubby and warmed up to us rather quickly! It was cute!

Did you have pets growing up?
Do you have pets now?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you've had lots of pets. Sad that the hamsters met tragic ends :( I love that picture of Rusty trying to take your cookie!!

    I love pets. Growing up, I had two dogs, one rabbit, and nine gerbils. The only one that's still alive is my second dog, and she's 14 now. I was 10 when our first dog died--she was 15 (and three quarters) at the time, and I think her trachea was collapsing...she was having trouble breathing, so my dad took her to the vet to put her down. We were all so upset that we took the day off from school!

    I miss having pets so much. I think that's why I feed the stray cat who comes by our house, against the wishes of our landlady. I considered at one point getting a couple gerbils to hide in my room, but turns out you can't have gerbils (or hamsters) in Hawaii! Fragile ecosystem and all. But I can't wait to go home at Christmas and see my old dog. She's still a puppy to me!


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