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.