So Much More Than Our Pets, Koda, Summer and Sansa, We Love You! Happy Pet Day!

Happy Pet day!

I just learned that today is officially Pet Day. Koda, Summer, and Sansa, all three of you deserve a big, “HAPPY PET DAY” as well as a lot of petting and behind-the-ear scratching. Pets are pretty special. They love us unconditionally and are always there to lift our spirits. Two aussiedoodles and a tabby kitten are not the only animals that have been a part of my life, so I thought it would be fun to take you through some of the pets I have had.

I grew up with a sweet liver and white springer spaniel named Lucy. She was about as calm as any dog I’ve ever known. Lucy napped in the shade on the bricks while my sisters and I played loud games of sharks and minnows. Lucy did not bark at all. My favorite game with her was a competition with my little sister to see who Lucy loved more. We’d each stand at one side of our wide driveway with Lucy in the middle; we’d call her name enthusiastically to get her to come to our side. “Loooocy! Loooooocy! Laaauuuuuccccyyyyy!” I’m pretty sure I won (it’s my blog so narrative license). Lucy was a gentle loving dog who lived a long life until my freshman year in college. 

We were also a cat family. We had Lolly, a big white loud purring long haired cat, who was indoors and outdoors. I remember Lolly all of a sudden appearing or more like I suddenly appeared in a spot where she was perched. Out on the brick wall, up on the roof, in the laundry room or near a tree with lots of bird activity. Lolly was independent. Then there were a stream of other cats that lived with us. Charlie and Meanie (who was from a litter of Charlie’s, who we discovered was actually a girl), her name derived from each kitten being named “Eenie, Meanie, Miney and Moe.” The other kittens were given to the people who visited us outside Safeway where we sat with a box (which was pretty common in the 70’s). My older sister had a hamster, who I do not remember her letting me hold very often. There were also the random goldfish in a bag that we won at the school carnival each spring. I loved visiting the pet store in town, looking at all the snakes, mice, spiders and fish.

Years later I would bring my four children to the pet store too. They would beg me for a pet. Their first venture into caring for an animal was the hermit crab route. Decorative shells, easy to take care of, but they really can smell bad if they die (which they did). Then my husband got the idea of getting the same animal he had in college, an iguana. Our kids were so thrilled to bring home this slow (barely) moving dragon looking lizard. They named him Godzilla. They loved that the pet store had a much older iguana that was the size of a wiener dog. Luckily iguanas are very slow growing. Godzilla only made it a few years in our lives, but he was enjoyed greatly and did take part in magic shows with the kids; my son on video, “watch me make him disappear in my hat!” A few years later my daughter begged us for a corn snake, we met her part way and got her a white rat who she named Charlie. Enthusiasm for Charlie the rat waned rather quickly, as he required a lot of cage cleaning and handling.

Finally their dreams were answered when we brought home Kitty. This tabby cat was the perfect pet with four children under the age of 10. She was quick enough to escape them if she wanted peace and was sweet about letting them handle her all the time. Then one year later, we surprised the kids with Dot, a darling black and white australian shepherd. This dog herded the four kids as she would a flock of sheep, never letting one get too far apart from the group. She barked and ran around them anytime they played in the yard, which was all of the time. We had 14 wonderful years with Dot before she got sick and passed. We were heartbroken. Kitty stepped up and loved us even more, often finding my lap to comfort me. 

Then last June our home welcomed two adorable black ausssiedoodle puppies, Koda and Summer. Kitty tolerated them and showed them who was boss immediately. At 16 years of age our kind Kitty went to pet heaven with her sister Dot.  Koda and Summer were here to help mend our broken hearts. The most recent pet to enter our family is Sansa, the freaky fast super affectionate tabby kitten. 

I did leave out several pets: Tiki was my family dog as a preschooler, I don’t remember her except from pictures which show a scraggly small white poodle. Janet and Paula were my first “children” at the beginning of our marriage; they were shih tzu’s named after Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul (it was 1989). Then there’s Darcie, my parents “empty nest” dog after Lucy. Darcie was a smart energetic black and white springer spaniel who was great with visiting grandchildren. I could go on and on with relative’s pets like Carlo, Cookie, Gizmo, Tinkie, and others who were pets of my sisters. How lucky we all are to have had these fur babies in our lives.

Happy Pet Day Summer, Koda and Sansa! You are more than just animals we care for, you are family!

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