Think of how each of your pets have enhanced your life. They all leave paw prints on our hearts for a variety of reasons. It could be an event, characteristic, relationship, etc. The great thing is that each pet enriches our life in a different, positive way. There are things I will always remember, and miss, about past pets. And things that I love about the present ones.
As a very young child, taking those early morning walks with my mom because I would not go back to sleep, our beloved feline Kitty would accompany us. Kitty was very dog-like, and he scurried along at our sides, diving into nearby bushes and chasing early morning bugs. He would wail if we got too far ahead, and we would wait patiently while Kitty raced by to resume his hunting and family bonding.
My current friends do not believe this, but as a child I was extremely shy. Animals were my world. I would hang with them and talk to them, whereas I would not speak to humans. When I spent 10 days in the hospital at age 6, the entire staff thought I was mute because I never uttered a word. My aunt once came to visit, and one morning she told my mother that she knew our cat’s name was Kitty. My mother was astonished and asked “How did you know that?!” My aunt replied, “Well, you don’t think the cat told me, do you?!” The only reason I answered my aunt was because she had asked a question about my cat!
Hoofs and hearts
In my 20s, I had my wonderful horse, Toby. Toby and I had a strong communication system and mutual respect. How wonderful to be loved by such a large and majestic animal. We took many all day rides on the weekend for many years. Both Toby and I loved this time spent together. This was my escape from the hustle and bustle of the week. It was the ultimate relaxation to remove any stress in work or my personal life.
Riding on a beautiful horse through the countryside with nothing more than the sounds of nature is magical. These cherished memories remain in my heart forever, and I am grateful for the life we shared together. Toby and I made several friends along the way, and we would stop and visit them during our travels.
A long line of Cairns
My first Cairn Terrier, Casey, would bark at the bottom of the steps each morning to wake me up and get me off to work. My second Cairn Terrier, Toby, (named after my horse), was my loyal friend and companion for many years. Upon his retirement, Toby became a furry guardian angel to my mom. He never left her side, and they adored each other. I can remember my Mom’s joy when I brought Toby into the nursing home and lifted him onto her bed. Their delight at this reunion was so obvious. I still cry remembering this precious moment. And now my Mom and Toby are reunited once again.
What can I say about Whitney. She was independent, disobedient, ornery and demanding. Gosh, how I miss this diva. She filled our lives with drama and mayhem. I always said that life would be very boring and quiet without Whitney’s presence. Little did I realize just how much she would be missed. At 5 p.m., if I did not deliver Whitney’s dinner, she would let me know in no uncertain terms, initially standing at the foot of the recliner with a madly wagging tail and deep throated growl, then a bark, and if I did not move, she began nipping at my feet, fast and furious. Of course, this brought me to my feet in a hurry. I always said Whitney had a clock up her butt. It will never be 5 p.m. that I do not remember Whitney. She was never impressed by my dog training credentials. Whitney kept me humble.
The current clan
My current pets are all making their own lifelong impressions. My sweet Smudge. My soulmate, always at my side. Loyal and devoted. My pets all love me. But Smudge, he adores me. And vice versa. Swayze has turned out to be the sweetest little guy. Very passive and easily pushed around by his two brothers. Very unassuming and non-demanding, Swayze is a kind and gentle fellow. And baby Rue. Oh boy. Rue is sweet with a great temperament. And energy up the whazzoo. There is no keeping this boy down, and he keeps this senior (me!) moving!
Two senior cats: Mink, my Exotic, struggles with digestive problems and is on a special diet and probiotics. Monty, my brown tabby, is hyper-thyroid, on daily medication, and always on the move. And my youngest, Mojo, the tuxedo, is the most affectionate. Mojo is my talker, who chortles all the time when I speak to him. Mojo is thrilled to have a rub when I pass by him, and he is my lap cat. Not to forget my sociable little lovebird, Kiwi, seven years old, who chirps for attention and enjoys a favorite game of peekaboo (with Kiwi on the bottom of the cage, bobbing up and down as I do the same).
Animals enhance our lives in so many ways: the companion animals that I have spoken about; the therapy animals who cheer residents in nursing homes and patients in hospitals; the service animals who give their pet parents an independence and quality of life; dogs that alert when their diabetic owner’s blood sugar rises or falls; a dog that predicts when a seizure is about to occur so the person can be aware and prepare.
Animals feel the same emotions that we do such as love, fear, loneliness, and sorrow. They are very intuitive to our moods, wants and needs. Well, most are. When I had the flu and was curled up in my recliner at 5 p.m., you guessed it. Whitney came to the foot of the recliner demanding her dinner. I begged her to let her poor sick mama just lie there a few more minutes, but she was not having it. My girl Whitney. It was her world, and I was in it to serve her. I loved the attitude on that girl. She was indeed larger than life.
Take the time to fondly remember past pets and the wonderful memories. Cherish the moments you have with your current furkids.
A special reunion
Smudge and I recently attended the Cairn Terrier Rescue Reunion in Mehoopany, along with my good friend Doris Conner and her Cairn, Cooper. It was a fantastic gathering of Cairn Terrier lovers and their wonderful rescue dogs. In attendance were folks from states such as Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio and South Carolina. Thirty people were in attendance, along with 32 dogs. A great time was had by all. Of course, I got my perfect dog, Smudge, from Col. Potter Cairn Terrier Rescue. I love all dogs, but Cairns are my heart dogs, and Swayze is my fifth Cairn. If you would like to view those available for adoption, visit cairnrescue.com.
Judy Endo is the author of Paws-itive Pet Tales. A lifelong resident of the Wilkes-Barre area, she has been a professional dog trainer/competitor as well as a lifetime animal lover and strong supporter of animal rescue. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org