Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (but I might be biased)!
Here is your assignment, if you choose to play along (cue the Mission: Impossible! music, please!):
(1) What were your family pets? What were their names? How long did they live? What stories do you have about them?
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Thank you to Janice Sellers for suggesting this topic. If you have an idea for an SNGF topic, please let me know.
My family and I have had a lot of pets during my life, so I'll see who I can remember.
My mother used to tell me stories about a standard poodle that we had when I was a little baby. He protected me as if I were his own puppy. His name was Pepe (which I learned from my father; my mother never mentioned his name), and he died of an epileptic seizure. This had to have been around 1962 or maybe 1963.
The first pets I remember were Shazam, a solid black purebred Siamese (some kind of throwback), which we got from my dad's brother, who bred Siamese (Shazam's mother was named Ding-a-Ling); and Zeby, a German shepherd or shepherd mix whose origins I know nothing about. Shazam used to catch birds, insects, and small rodents and bring them to my mother, who freaked out and told one of us kids to get rid of them. As I recall, she just disappeared one day (one of the many reasons I am firmly in favor of indoor cats). Zeby was a pretty good dog from what I remember. She was another pet who ran away and we couldn't get her back; one day she got out of the yard accidentally.
I do remember that we had those two pets while we lived in La Puente, maybe about 1966? One day the two were getting into some sort of a fight, and the babysitter who was watching us tried to intercede — not a good idea! The babysitter and Zeby got really scratched up.
My parents apparently were not too good on getting animals fixed, because Shazam had a litter of kittens of which we kept one, Velvet, who was also solid black. Zeby had puppies at some point and we kept one of them, which my mother named Bubbala. Velvet was my cat and used to sit in my room all the time. One day she ran away and didn't come back. Shazam, Zeby, and Velvet all disappeared in Pomona. That would have been about 1969 or 1970.
Bubbala was a special dog. It's the only time I have heard of when a vet has called a dog retarded. Bubbala never really learned to be housetrained and was always a little slow. We had him in Pomona also. I don't remember what happened to him.
Other pets we had in Pomona were various small hamsetrs and gerbils, and a green snake that was kept in the garage. He was primarily my mother's pet. He got away three times; the first two times my mother was able to find him and bring him back, but the third time he was gone for good. I think it was the second time he escaped that he bit my mother when she retrieved him. I remember her staying that it hurt, but he wasn't poisonous, so she wasn't worried.
I only remember one pet from the period we lived in Australia. When we were in Pagewood we had a cat that was permitted to be indoor/outdoor. She was run over by the neighbor's car. That was in 1973.
When we returned to the U.S. and moved to Niceville, Florida, we had a series of Siamese cats with names evoking the devil — Beelzebub, Demon, Diablo, Lucifer, Satan, Shaitan — as chosen by my mother. One of them — maybe Demon? — wasn't very friendly with other people, including family members, except he liked me. Then one day he attackec me for some reason (I recall him being nervous because a bunch of people were in the house), and that was the excuse to find him a new home. I think Lucifer is the cat we came home and found dead in the middle of the living room, but that was after we moved to Villa Tasso. These were between 1974 and 1978 or so.
Somehow one day we ended up with a small, female white cat. We went in the opposite direction with her: Her name was Angel. She was a very sweet, loving little girl, mostly mine. She appeared to undertstand what I told her in English and act approriately. We had her in 1977 or 1978, I think.
There were some dogs also, although I don't remember most of their names. My mother was a bookkeeper for a breeder of show Shelties. One puppy was born with an undershot jaw, and the breeder was going to put it down, but my mother convinced him to give the dog to her. I think that dog died of a heart attack. Then there was a dachshund who loved to play by rolling over onto his back for you to rub his belly. He ran into the street one day and did that for a truck that was coming through. My mother rushed him to the vet, but he didn't make it. These were also around 1976 to 1978.
The most confusing choice of pet I remember was one summer when my father came home with a St. Bernard. Remember I said we lived in Florida? Besides being the wrong dog for the local weather, Bear thought he was a lap dog and was always trying to jump up on people. As I recall, we didn't keep him long.
Once I graduated college and moved out on my own, I had pets of my own. Every single one has been a rescue of some sort, with me almost always being at least the second owner. The first was a Russian Blue/Persian longhair mix I found at the Los Angeles animal shelter in 1985. I walked into the cat room, and she was the only one who talked to me, so I figured she was the right cat. Her original name was Mura, which I thought was odd, so I changed it to Tamara. She was a beautiful cat. She looked like a "luxury model" (as a friend called her), but she was a good mouser, always making sure to leave some left over for me. She was with me in my first apartment in Los Angeles, then the four-bedroom house I rented, moved with me to two houses in Berkeley, and finally to the house I bought in Oakland. Her nickname was Fuzzybutt. She lived to be 15. She had an enlarged heart (I saw the X-ray; it had grown to fill her entire chest cavity), which is what killed her. I learned how to give IV feedings while she was ill.
Napoleon arrived after Kirby. While my housemate and I were at the 1995 GAMA Trade Show, a cat crawled into my basement and had a litter of kittens. When we discovered them, about a week after our return, I was told by the Humane Society to start socializing the kittens so that they would be adoptable. When it came to take them to be adopted, we decided to keep the runt of the litter, a little white male shorthair. He thought he could take on the world and had a definite "superiority complex", so we named him Napoleon. Possibly due to his ignominious beginnings in the basement, he acquired an immune deficiency and had multiple problems, including severe allergies (I learned how to give allergy shots with him). In 2000, at the age of 5 he had a stroke, and I took him to the evening emergency vet. His odds of survival were extremely poor, so I had him put to sleep while I held him.
Noodle entered my life. He was a black and white shorthair from the Boston area. His original name was Nunu, which I discovered was the name of the vacuum cleaner on Teletubbies, which I learned to despise when it was imported from the UK to PBS. He obviously needed a new name. If I change someone's name I try to keep it sounding somewhat similar, and my cousin's wife suggested Noodle, as in Mr. Noodle from Sesame Street, which worked for me. He was a little punk, always picking on Sassy. He moved up to Oregon with me but had heart failure earlier this year, surviving only two weeks after that. He was about 15 1/2 when he died.
The second pet to join my household in 2005 was a guinea pig named Pulga. I had gone to a local flea market just to browse and had no money with me. A man who was trying to sell the guinea pig kept trying to convince me to buy it, but I kept telling him I had no money. He finally begged me to take it, as he didn't want to have it at his house anymore. He told me her name was Pulga, which means "flea" in Spanish. Inasmuch as guinea pigs are pretty docile animals, she was a good pet. Noodle, mentioned above, used to try to climb on top of her habitat all the time, so I housed her in the bird room, which Noodle was not a big fan of (Peaches scared him). Pulga got along well with the birds and everyone was happy until Pulga suddenly died one day in 2009. Peaches was very upset and screamed for two days. I don't know if he really missed her or simply didn't like that somehing in his world had changed.
The addition of Zach to the house brought me to my personal pet maximum. I had three cats, three birds, a dog, and a guinea pig from 2006 to 2009.
Genealogy is like a jigsaw puzzle, but you don't have the box top, so you don't know what the picture is supposed to look like. As you start putting the puzzle together, you realize some pieces are missing, and eventually you figure out that some of the pieces you started with don't actually belong to this puzzle. I'll help you discover the right pieces for your puzzle and assemble them into a picture of your family.
Saturday, September 29, 2018
Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Family Pet Stories
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Wow, that's a lot of pets. I'm sure they are very happy with you1ReplyDelete
I've been told I'm a very good pet mom. :)Delete
You've had a ton of pets and all kinds. I've only had cats and dogs. Thanks for giving Randy a fun topic.ReplyDelete
Well, most of mine have been cats and dogs; does that count? And you're welcome! Do you have any interesting ideas for topics?Delete