This a collection of articles about the pets I've had and still have including our white lab/husky Skye.
No matter how many pets you have, you never forget your first - your first cat, your first dog. It seems to be an ongoing tradition in our family that as soon as we have a house of our own, we have to have pets to fill it.
When I was a young girl growing up in Toronto, Ontario with my parents and two older brothers, we were adopted by a cat which we named Kit that had walked right down the street and into our house. Kit was the spitting image of another cat that had briefly lived with us before dying of fright after a run-in with a neighbour’s dog. Long before the days of spaying and neutering, Kit quickly presented us with several batches of kittens in rapid succession before our mother decided she'd had enough and sent a pregnant Kit off to the Humane Society with her last batch of now grown kittens in tow. Once she'd done it, though, our mother immediately regretted it and broke down in tears as they were taken away.
When not having kittens or defending our property from the aforesaid neighbour’s dog, Kit was my first bedmate, snuggling under the covers with me when everyone else had gone to bed.
The next animal to claim our hearts was Sandy, one of two sibling puppies who were on their way to being taken into the Humane Society to be adopted. They never made it because our father stopped their owner in the HS parking lot and adopted them himself right then and there. The only downside to the trip home was the male puppy got car sick and we discovered his last meal had included grapes. Once home, we quickly realised that two was one too many to handle and the female of the pair was given a new home.
Sandy, often taken for an offspring of Lassie, was a very affectionate and loyal border collie who lived to be about 8 years old. He would have lived longer had it not been for the unfortunate folly of our father, who spoiled him with daily treats of packages of Chiclets chewing gum which lead to lethal hairballs.
I was a teenager then, and whatever happened to me, Sandy was always there to wash away the tears with his kisses and soothe the hurts by lying down beside me on the couch - which served as my bed at night, and keeping me company. When I injured my foot just before final exams in high school and was laid up for several days unable to walk on it, Sandy was right there with me.
His job wasn't all work, though. We spent many carefree hours together down in the Don Valley running free along the banks of the Don River, which runs through part of the city. It's been civilized now, but back then it was like being out in the country and we both loved it.
I will never forget the day Sandy died. He wasn't acting right and my father said he would take him to the vet's to have him checked. I was working at my first full-time office job in an insurance company by then and in a rush to get there that morning. I never said goodbye to Sandy and have always regretted it. When I got home that night he
was gone. My father said the doctor had told him there was nothing they could do for Sandy, and he had had to let him go. There had been several cats in the waiting room
that were in an even worse state than Sandy, he said. I tried to work the next day, but every time I thought of Sandy, I broke down in tears and finally had to lie down in the nurse's office for awhile.
People who have never had pets can't understand what it's like to lose not just a pet, but a companion, a friend and a part of your family. It's been almost forty years since I lost Sandy, but even now as I write this, thinking of him again brings a lump to my throat and fresh tears to my eyes.
Sandy was a very special dog. Married with grown children of my own now, I've had others since, but none quite like Sandy. He was the benchmark by which all the others have been judged. He was truly one of a kind.
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Animals I’ve Slept With
For almost as far back as I can remember, I’ve slept with one kind of animal or another in my bed - usually cats or dogs. As well, the homes I’ve lived or worked in have had all manner of other pets, from the finned to the winged and almost everything in between. Our first two were cats that adopted us, then a dog we brought home from the Toronto Humane Society. Our most recent acquisition is Skye, a white bundle of fur who came first to our neighbour’s house first, then ours.
Come along with me, then, as I tell you all about them and why I wouldn’t have it any other way.