On Owning Pets, Part 5 – A Potpourri of Pet Tales

“If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.” – Mark Twain

I know I’m going on and on about pets, but I’m amazed at how many I’ve had in my life.

– When I was a kid, we moved into a house where the previous owners abandoned their dog. We took her in and she was a great little dog until she died of old age.

– I lived in East Texas when I was very young. We had a Siamese named “Princess”. She used to love to kill snakes and leave them at the front door. We came home from dinner one night and there was a large rattlesnake on the door mat. We almost died when we saw it. Fortunately, it was dead. Princess had left us a gift.

– I got a Black Lab when I was a teenager. Strictly an outside dog as my mom refused to have animals in the house. We always knew when people were coming to the front door because he always laid there and his wagging tail would thump so hard against the door we could hear it all
over the house. He got hit by a car and I was devastated.

– A neighbor’s dog came over to our house a few times and fought with my lab. It was pretty bad. The first time, I was able to separate them with a hose. The second time, I couldn’t. So I shot the neighbor’s dog.

– Somehow we ended up with several cats at our house when I was a teenager. Those cats had kittens. We had 18 cats. We gave them all away, but not before our garage was infested with fleas.

– Of the cats I’ve rescued over the years, one died in the litter box the day after we got it home, one came home with a UTI, acne, and two ear infections, another died beating its head against the floor… the sound woke us up and I rushed him to a 24 hour vet clinic. He had to
be put to sleep. I only tried it with one dog who ended up having parvovirus. Medusa brought him home (keep in mind this was right after our landlord had threatened to evict us because they found out we had an outdoor cat… so I guess it just made sense to her that we should adopt a dog. Go figure.) and he immediately pooped in the dining room. He had horrible diarrhea and I ended up sleeping on the couch so I could let him out every time he asked (which was every 30 minutes, or so). He was actually a great dog and was really well-behaved. I took him to the vet and was told it would cost about $1,200 to treat him for parvo. So, I took him back to the Humane Society (along with the printouts from the vet). The refused to believe he had parvo even after I showed them the vet’s reports. I told them I’d come back and get the dog once they treated him. They refused. So I got a refund of my adoption fees, gave them the dog and left. Consequently, I don’t rescue animals anymore. Perhaps I should, but I’ve spent hundreds or even thousands of dollars on rescued animals. It’s just cheaper and easier to find a reputable breeder.

– Medusa got the kids a gerbil once. Or a hamster. Or some type of rodent; I don’t recall which type, exactly. The net result was a cage that smelled constantly and three-foot area around it that was covered with pine shavings and rodent droppings. Ultimately, the rodent escaped and disappeared. We found it months later when we were moving. It was alive and well and had chewed a hole in the wall behind a bookcase and stuffed it with carpet and padding that it had chewed up under the bookcase. I released it into the wild.

– In college, I bought a fish tank and had some fish. I did this primarily because the tank was the exact size of a Playboy centerfold which is what I used as a backdrop for the tank. I realized, though, that fish poop and tanks have to be cleaned and it just wasn’t worth the hassle. So, I sold the whole thing to a guy I knew. I even let him take the centerfold.

– My youngest daughter owns the World’s Best Cat. Seriously.

– My lady love, I call her “Kitten”, has a dog. This thing is pitiful. It’s a Boston Terrier that’s about 14 years old. Kitten’s dog is almost totally deaf, doesn’t see very well and sleeps about 22 hours per day. She is also the single most food-obsessed creature I’ve ever seen. She can be fast asleep and if one walks into the kitchen and grabs a napkin, she is somehow right there waiting. If actual food appears, she starts shaking violently while never taking her eyes off the food. If you toss her a treat, she’ll catch it in mid-air about 95% of the time… if she misses, she can’t find the treat because she’s too blind, so you have to point it out to her. But, most of the time she catches it.. and it’s amazing how fast and accurate she is.

There are other stories, too. But you’re tired of reading about them and I’m tired of writing about them.

I want a cat, though.

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