Sophia writes: My son's tiny beloved lizard, Elf, is looking and acting strange this week. His skin/scales are quite dark, and he is lethargic. We are adding vitamin drops to his lettuce and spinach and hoping and praying that he is just getting ready to shed his skin--but it's too soon to tell. Others in the ring have also been worried about beloved pets this week. And, in the saddest news of all, Songbird has had to bid farewell to her precious Molly, the amazing dog who is well known to readers of her blog as a constant sacrament of God's unconditional love. So in memory of Molly, and in honor of all the beloved animal companions who bless our lives: tell us about the five most memorable pets you have known.
1. The first pet I can vaguely remember is Inky - a small, jet black terrier mix that my parents had when I was born. Bits and pieces of time on the floor with Inky are imprinted on my memory. My parents tell me that it was Inky's wagging tail that coaxed out my first bit of laughter.
2. We had a cat named Kitzer when I was in junior high and high school - a stray we found and homed who turned out to be a full-breed Maine Coon cat. Of all the cats we ever had, Kitzer by far had the most personality. She was affectionate - when she wanted to be of course. She loved to walk along the keys of our old player piano, and to climb inside and sleep where the player mechanism had once been housed. She also had a funny habit of tearing up and down the stairs of our home in the wee hours of the morning, complete with a low gutteral moan. We nicknamed her "Thunderpaws" for that. She epitomized the saying I saw recently - "Dogs have owners; cats have staff."
3. My first dog as an independent adult was a black cockapoo I found wandering without tags in the Wendy's parking lot near my first parish. I named her Muffin; she was my burnt muffin!
She was a wonderful companion, who often accompanied me to the church. She was also the first pet that I personally had to give over to God's care when she became ill with cancer. She lived long enough to see me marry and to lovingly welcome our firstborn. I have a non-digitized picture of her nosing Matt - making him laugh, the way Inky had coaxed laughter out of me 30 years before.
4. Mitchell was our next dog - a cock-a-poo whom we rescued. Mitchie loved to run, and we often found ourselves chasing him through the neighborhood. Neutering didn't diminish his wonderlust in the least; he would dig a way out under the fence, and bolt. Angels must have protected him as he bolted across busy streets on a few occasions; he always ended up in some kind person's yard, and, through their kindness, back home with us. He crossed the Rainbow Bridge when my boys were 7 and 5. Both boys still remember him and the tears we shed when we gave him over to God.
5. Position number five is shared by our two Portuguese Water Dogs - Mystic (age 8) and Maverick (age 5). These two are by far the brightest, sneakiest, and most endearing dogs with whom I have ever shared life! They are also the first full-breed dogs we chose, primarily for their non-allergenic properties. Rumor has it that the First Family may be making a similar choice!
I think we have found our favorite breed of dog in PWD's - we hope to retire on a lake someday, where they will be right at home in the water. Mystic is on the left; Maverick on the right.