Monday, May 26, 2008

In Loving Memory

I know that this Memorial Day, we are all remembering those that have died in our nation's service. Many also take this day to put flowers on headstones and remember their special loved ones, both humans and animals.

This Memorial Day, I want to pay tribute to three special animal friends. There have been many special animals in my life, but these three were probably the closest to my heart. I have a hard time dealing with grief and loss. Pulling out these old photos and writing about these memories was hard, but also very healing. In our family, pets are part of the family. They live in the house (well, except for the horses, of course) go everywhere with us, and we talk to them like they are people. So losing one is especially tough. The first one was my childhood cat, Aria. We bought her from a lady for $20 when I was about 8 years old. When I left for college she stayed with my parents, so she was always there for me to come home to. She lived to be 18 years old. Here is a picture of us together as youngsters. Interesting note: the hutch you see behind us? That housed Junior. The baby chipmunk that Aria caught and I rescued and kept as a pet. How I never got rabies as a child is beyond me.

Aria: Chipmunk catcher, let me dress her up, beautiful blue eyes, slept in the sink or fruit bowl, drank water out of the river, napped and slept with me always, quiet, loved Meow Mix, was a good mama (once!) loved to play, even in her old age, followed you around outside like a dog. After we lost both of our childhood mutts in the same year to old age, my parents talked about getting a new puppy. They were considering a beagle. The had never owned a beagle before. And they have not owned one since. I picked out the puppy at a breeder, as a surprise for my dad for Christmas. After bringing the puppy home and keeping him at my house for one night, I left for my parents' place. Traffic was bad and I got home really late. My dad was already in bed because he was not feeling well. We woke him up with the surprise. Oh goodness, he was surprised! But how could you resist this little guy? Funny, that beagle ending up touching my dad's life in a such a special way. My parents loved that little hound dog, quirks and all.
Riley: food monger, present opener, lap dog, mouse eater, cat tracker, chewed up everything as a puppy, boat dog, beach lover, rolled in dead seagulls (or in anything dead, for that matter) slept on top of you, hated walking on a leash, couch potato, had to sniff everything, under the covers, whimpered with excitement whenever he saw me, bath-hating beagle.

A feral cat outside of my mom's workplace had a litter of kittens in the bushes. My mom and her co-workers fed them. When they were old enough, they found the kittens new homes. My mom ended up choosing a cream puff colored kitten for herself. She named her Snowflake. As she did not imprint on humans at birth, Snowflake was always very timid and shy. Even after 14 years, this cat would really only let two people pick her up: my mom and myself. My dad could pet her. Even though I had moved out of the house by the time my parents had Snowflake, she and I always had a special bond. She would always sleep with me when I came home to visit. My mom and I were with her as she crossed the rainbow bridge last month. It was a very sad day. Snowflake: shy, green eyes, soft mew, outdoor prowess, my mom's princess, loved her belly rubbed, slept on my pillow, hid under the bed or behind the couch when strange people came over, purring machine, loved her old tiger-striped feline buddy, Oliver.

R.I.P my dear animal friends. I miss you and think about you often.

Since I did not post yesterday, I will post again later this afternoon with the story of our crazy trail ride yesterday. Wow, two posts in one day! Can you say, carpal tunnel syndrome? I hope you are all enjoying the 3-Day weekend.


  1. What a great tribute to some wonderful animals. Rest in Peace Aria, Riley and Snowflake. Thanks for sharing them with us. I agree animals are so much more than just animals! They become a part of your family. Hubby jokes that I would have the horses in the house if our farm house would hold them! LOL! Have a great day!

  2. I agree, a very loving tribute to some great animals (family members). It reminds me of my husband not wanting to get a large dog and definately not wanting that large dog to be in the house. Now that large dog sleeps with him and is his baby. Animals can really get us. I love them all.

  3. You truely had some wonderful animals in your life! I love all those pictures. Wonderful tribute. I think that my dogs are members of my family and I would never change that. Even Joe the goat has a place in our family. We love them all!

  4. What a lovely tribute to your furry family members! I think if I tried to do one I would bawl my head off. I'm still not over losing my three long time cats to old age and my three ferrets to the same. They all had their place in our home and we loved them to pieces. I'm glad we got two more young cats but I still miss the old guys. Callie, Miss Kitty, Morris, Pixie, Tinkerbelle and Mel.

  5. Awww, sweet post........ :)

  6. Beautiful family members, all three. That was a lovely memorial.

  7. That was a lovely post. Thank you for sharing your memories, I'm a little choked! :)

    Kim x

  8. I just love when you bring out the archive pictures! Lovely animals! Aria seems to have been one exceptional cat!!


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