Do you have animals in your life? If yes, what do they mean to you? If no, why have you opted not to?
I do have animals in my life. I have had animals most of my life. Cats and dogs. Most of my adult life, when my daughter was growing up we had cats. We had five cats, all indoor cats in a small house. One was specifically her cat, named Alfreida, a white and grey cat. She was a mean cat except to Sabrina. She let Sabrina dress her in sweaters, if you can believe it. Sabrina took her to live with her when she was married and had her own children. Alfreida died when she was 18 years old. She lived a long and prosperous life. We also had my first cat, Manda Jane, a long haired tortoise-colored cat. She also had a mean and arrogant streak. She was the queen bee of the house for 18 years. She moved with me to Texas and eventually died suddenly of renal failure. There was also Tilda Lou, a short-haired cat who was sweet and who had diabetes. She also came to Texas with me. And Benjy, a yellow cat who was afraid of the other cats and of his own shadow, and particularly afraid of Alfreida when she lived with us. Then we got a kitten Hannah for Mother’s Day. She was mostly black with little white paws, long-haired. She got along with our dogs in the house, especially with the puppy Lars, a big goof of a Husky-German Shepherd mix. Hannah came with me when I moved to Austin and then when I moved to San Antonio.
Hannah, since she was comfortable around dogs, was fine when I adopted my first rescue Japanese Chin from the Japanese Chin Rescue Society. His names was Spike. I renamed him Spikey. He had a severe underbite, like the cartoon dog Spike in the Sylvester and Tweety Bird cartoon, hence the name. He had been found wandering on the streets of Fort Worth, TX and rescued. I adopted him and he and Hannah got on famously. We discovered about a year later that Spikey had a heart murmur that turned out to be heart disease that I had to have treated at Texas A & M University. Every three months we would go there for his check-up and for refills of his medications. He was taking Viagara for his heart. Go figure. It was expensive treatment but it gave him an extra year and a half of quality life that he wouldn’t have had. He bled out suddenly at home one day and I took him to the vet to be put to sleep. I sobbed and sobbed. I missed him so. Hannah missed him too.
About a month later I was ready for another adoption from the Rescue Society. They had an owner turn-in. The owner couldn’t keep the Chin, so I paid for the dog to be flown to San Antonio from Ohio. His name was Ernie and he was another black-and white Chin, like Spikey. I actually called him Spikey for awhile; it was hard to break the habit. But Ernie and Hannah and I got along fine. Then about a year or so later, Hannah started to decline. She was about 17 years old by then. She started sleeping more and more and losing weight and I knew it was time for her to go. One night she was in a coma so I brought her up and put her in her little bed on my bed and in the morning she was gone. I took her to the vet’s and had her cremated. Both Hannah and Spikey’s remains are in my living room.
Now it was just Ernie and me. I decided to adopt another Chin rather than get another cat. So I once again called the Rescue Society. They had a puppy from a litter that had been rescued. He had been named Trigger but renamed Ralphy. I took him. He was tan-and-white, also called lemon-and-white. He wasn’t exactly housebroken, and we still have a few problems. I am not the most consistent person with him. He is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. But I love him. He has a terrible underbite like Spikey. In fact, it’s worse than Spikey’s. But he’s adorable. He’s into everything. Ernie is a perfect gentleman. He never gets into anything. He’s a good watchdog, however. And if Ernie barks, Ralphy has to bark, too. They are my early warning system. They are also my exercise system. I take them for walks each morning and each evening. They make me get up and out.
I love these two little guys with all my heart. They make my life a better place. They bring joy to my life and give me love and happiness. I give them love and care, and I hope happiness with their treats and toys and walks. We take care of each other. We make each others’ lives better. I can’t imagine my life without my animals. They are an important part of my life and always have been.