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Friday January 19 , 2018
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Pet Stories

Confessions of a name-changing addict

Talking to my mom by phone one evening I was sidetracked by my cat, Forest. I spoke to him with his full name, “Forest Horatio Maxwell Fluffy Bottom,” and my mom responded with a dramatic, “What?!”

I had to explain myself. I’m not sure why I had to explain because I think my whimsical use of names stems from my childhood when my mom used to call me many monikers, including “Boo boo bear” and “Pumpkin.” My father was just as zany with names, especially if he couldn’t remember one of our pet’s names. He’d just make one up, such as “Hortense,” “Fudge nut” or “Buttercup” and we would have to figure out who he was referring to.

We tend to name our pets based on a variety of factors, such as what they look like, who they act like, maybe a cartoon creature or movie character. The crazy pseudonyms seem to mutate from the base name and just stick.


Up on the rooftop

My neighbor, Kathie told me how one day the police came to my house while I was gone. She called them in a panic because she walked outside of her house next door and spotted my 60-pound dog, Trucker, on my roof standing by the chimney like a mountain goat.

This was just the beginning of insanity that ensued. It may have been less alarming to her if my house was just a one-story ranch. Instead, my house is two stories with a rather sharply pitched roof.

Why was he up there? How did he get there? How would he get down? All were questions pondered by onlookers.

Thankfully I never witnessed all of this – just his escape route and his wounds afterwards.


The little tuft of fur

Thanksgiving night 2007 I shared a bite of pumpkin pie and whipped cream with my Brittany Spaniel, Speckles. Shortly after, he went into respiratory distress and I was rushing him to an emergency veterinary clinic 40 miles away.

I knew that he had a paralyzed larynx and partially collapsed lungs. I knew that respiratory distress would be a sign that he would be facing death. It all happened too soon after diagnosis.

I kissed his cheek, my tears wetting his fur while he was under sedation that night in the emergency clinic. As he was euthanized, I told him that I loved him and would see him again some day. That night I left without him, driving home alone.


The bond of my little men

I crawled into bed one night and my dog, Trucker, crawled in behind me to be covered up with an afghan. Within seconds, up hopped my cat, Jack, who stepped cautiously with his motor running onto Trucker’s back.

The feeling of being stepped on by 18-pound Jack startled Trucker who raised his head to look and then with my words of, “It’s ok,” dropped his head back down to the bed. The two settled in; Jack partially lying on Trucker and both of them covered up with blankets.

The fact that Jack and Trucker, both 10, have bonded so strongly brought a smile to my heart. That evening I studied their happiness between reading a book before sleep.



A child at heart

On a sunny afternoon I was working in my front yard, pulling weeds from a garden of groundcover. Trucker was freely roaming nearby, sniffing greenery and snoozing on a bed of grass in the sunlight.

I saw two young girls, perhaps 8 or 9 years of age, walking down the dead end road in front of our home. They were pushing dolls in strollers and chatting as they journeyed. Trucker stood and watched them attentively.

The one girl had met Trucker in the past and knew his name. I asked him, “Do you see the girls?

About this time, I heard the one girl say, “Hi Trucker!” He trotted towards her in the lane, looking back at me with questioning eyes, as if he was asking, “Is it ok that I go?”

“You can see them,” I told him and he joined them, receiving pats on his head as he sniffed their faces and strollers.


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