This weeks writing challenge was to create a list that becomes more…this started as a simple list of my pets…then came the feelings.
My list of Pets 5 Dogs and a Snake
Gypsy: A small sweet mutt. Thrown out of a truck as a puppy New Years Eve into my parents yard. She was a few months old. So was I. First dog I ever had. She was killed when a tree fell on her. I saw it happen. At my grandparents house in the woods. Gypsy was 7. So was I. First pet I ever cried for.
Happy: A large Husky. Bought by my dad in Alaska from Jeff King, winner of the Iditarod dog sled race. He was a year old. I was 7. He ate the tulips as he walked up our front walk. And he ate my flowered banana seat off my bike. He used to sit on top of his dog house, like a large Snoopy. People would cross the street. He would pull us in our sled like a real sled-dog was born to do. A woman would come and get his brushed out fur to make hats. I went with my dad when he had to be put to sleep. I couldn’t watch. Happy was 12. I was 19. I felt guilty I wasn’t strong enough to stay.
Sheeva: A Red-tailed Boa Constrictor bought at the exotic pet store. She was a few weeks old. I was 19. She was as big around as my pinky and could wrap around my wrist once. Lived for 3 years until she was 5 feet long. The heat lamp in her tank malfunctioned and she became over heated. She was treated for shock and some burns and given shots to help her. She died anyway. I swore I would never have another pet. Sheeva was 3. I was 21. I felt responsible for her death.
Otis: A Pit bull-Chow mix. Inherited from a friend whose sister couldn’t have him in her apartment. He was 8 years old. I was 22. He went everywhere with me except when I went to work part-time. Those days I had a ritual of leaving all the doors open to my house (in the woods) and throwing a handful of shredded cheese into the living room, which while he was eating I would get in my car and fly up the quarter-mile drive way hoping to beat him to the top. Some days I won and made it onto the road. Other days he was faster and I’d have to drive him back home to try again. If he beat me twice, I would be late so I’d have to take him with me. He loved that. I worked at a Thai restaurant and they would give him scraps. He moved with me away from my home town to a new one and was with me while I dated then married my husband. He met our neighbors for us, opening their back doors sneaking in and stealing cat food. He was smart. We found out he had an inoperable tumor in his throat when he was under for a teeth cleaning. The vet called and told me. I couldn’t even talk. She said she would just wake him up so I could come get him. No need to clean his teeth. 3 weeks later it was time. He was the first dog I ever had to witness being put to sleep. His head was in my lap. He was 16. I was 30. My heart broke.
Squash: A lab mastiff mix, adopted from our city animal shelter. He was 4 and wild, crazy and a bit scary. I was 31. We took him to doggy school where we learned he had never been socialized and wouldn’t like many other animals. I think it was because he thought he was a person. He would head-butt the dog door to get back inside and then he would jump on the bed and literally lay his head on my pillow and pull the blanket up. This is how I would find him when I came home from work. He also ate shoes, leather only, books, hardbacks only, and collected rocks. He had to have a broken tooth extracted because of his rock gnawing addiction. He was naughty but he was also with me when I suffered my miscarriage letting me bury my head in his neck his fur catching my tears. He ended up with doggy kidney failure. He was the second dog whose head was in my lap as he was put to sleep. We joked he was our rebound dog. He was 10. I was 37. My heart broke for the second time.
Lacy: A 140 pound beautiful St. Bernard from Homeward pet, a no kill animal shelter. She is 8 1/2 years old. I am 38. She is considered a senior since the life expectancy for a St. Bernard is between 8 and 10 years. Her owner had passed away and she was sent to the shelter. When I saw her picture on pet-finder I knew she was meant for us. She sleeps a lot but when she moves she really moves. I have mastered the art of body blocking. She also sheds and drools and eats a ton. We all love her and although we have only had her 5 months I already know that when her time comes my heart will break for the third time.