National Pet Memorial Day is the second Sunday in September, which this year happened to fall on September 11. As in 9/11. I decided to delay posting a couple of days so as not to seem insensitive to the horrific losses of that day in 2001. But I have been waxing nostalgic over all of the companion animals who’ve made their way into my life over the years.
Early in our relationship, Bob asked me once to name all of the pets I’d had in my life. He jokes that it took at least an hour. But it actually probably did!
I had some time on my hands today (well, I should have been studying, but this project was more fun), so I made a chart of them all. I’ll pretend I was studying the organizatonal system of companion animals.
Some lived longer than others. The lives of some were cut short way too young (e.g., kittens Aloysius, Henry Aldrich, Dagwood, and Smokey).
Tripp: She joined the family before I did so I am not sure what year she starts on the chart.
Cassius: I barely remember him. He wasn’t named for Muhammed Ali/Cassius Clay but for the Roman senator “of the lean and hungry look”, according to my mother. I think me dressing him in doll clothes was too much for him; he ran away.
1972: A very bad year in many ways. When my mother remarried my evil stepfather and they were planning on splitting up the family and moving from Georgia to California, I came home from school one day to find that all of the animals except for Tripp had been taken to the pound. Even he wasn’t despicable enough to take Tripp away from us. That was also the year that the cat Christy had the ill-fated and oddly named kittens. (Note: Please spay/neuter your pets!)
Molly McGee: A beautiful Irish Setter who was meant to be my companion, but I came home from school one day to be told “she’d gone to live on a farm.”
Brandy: He was a really dumb Siamese cat (and I don’t say that lightly; I love cats and find most of them to be as clever as all get out) who escaped and ran away. I hope he was found by a friendly person and not hit in Sacramento traffic.
Coffee: Brandy’s brother, died of feline leukemia. (Note: Please keep your pets’ vaccinations up to date.) (Second note: I did not name Brandy and Coffee. That was my stepfather, who liked to put booze in his coffee and thought he was being funny with the names.)
Goldfish: They were cute but…
Parakeets: Sadly, one (Woody) got out a window, one (Albert) we gave to a friend before a move, and one (Arlo, the one we actually taught to talk), just keeled over. After that we gave up on parakeets.
Sam the parrot: I mislabeled Sam. For all I know he is still alive. He was awesome in many ways but he drove me crazy flinging food all over the living room. And Pofuduk was taking too much interest. A friend with a shop took him to be the shop bird.
Halo: After another move, our beloved Angora cat Pofuduk got out. We put up “Lost cat” signs. The doorbell rang, and a kid was outside holding a portly, odd-eyed Angora that was not Pofuduk and asked if she was our cat as he’d found her on a busy street (well, as busy as they get in Chico). Pofuduk had already returned home, but Halo stayed for a bit. The nicest landlord ever asked if he could take her home when we were moving out of our rental. Pofuduk hated her, so we let her go.
TicTac: Hamsters and cats are a bad combination. I’d just been through a divorce and wasn’t thinking clearly about that one. Never again.
I don’t have digital images of most of the early pets, but here is a sampling:
And the more recent:
The foster lineup (also see The one that didn’t get away):
I am sure there will be more, assuming I have a few years left in me. I’ve loved them all, and miss the ones who are gone.
Have you hugged your pet today? Do it!