For many of us our Pets are our children, tending to their needs before our own. The saddest reality with being a parent to a pet, chances are you will out live your child. Susan and I have been very fortunate to share the lives of many cats and dogs over the twenty years of our marriage, and beyond, there were even a few squirrels thrown in to spice up the mix, but that’s another story.
It never gets any easier losing a pet; after over a dozen burials, we feel the same loss as we had for the first one. Attached to the particular personality we come to expect certain reactions or displays of affection. We miss seeing the tail wags that begin at the tip of the tail and come out their nose as their body becomes one huge wiggle. We miss these things as much as anyone misses peculiar indulgences about a loved one now gone.
It has always been, and still is a joy coming up with names, being nontraditional type folks makes this even more fun, and challenging. Sometimes the particular animals’ appearance or personality will play a factor in choosing a name.
Pearl for example; Susan has a saying when one of the dogs is looking sad or bored, “Poor Pitiful Pearl”. Then it occurred to me, I have heard this for twenty years and nearly forty dogs and cats have passed through our gates, and we had never named one Pearl. Pearls personality fit the saying too which made it an easy choice. However, this isn’t a story about Pearl, even if she thinks it is, she thinks it’s always about her.
Then there is Sprocket, what kind of mind would name their cat Sprocket? Have you met my wife, Susan? I guess that is why we have endured 21 years together, we got like minds. Sprocket is the most recent laid to rest, she was the smallest of our brood of eight, but she walked the tallest. She was one bad cat and nobody (the other cats or dogs) messed with her. When she did get into a fight she usually won. However, she loved people and would lie in your lap for hours and lick your hands completely clean.
Nearly all our dogs and cats have been someone else’s rejects or problems. Abandoned by the side of the road, or set free from the burlap sack that was to be a coffin in a cruel water burial. Some dropped off in front of our house because; I guess we have a reputation, of never turning our four legged brothers and sisters away, this is true.
For a few years, we tried being a foster home for cats and dogs, the objective was to bring them in and locate for them a suitable home. At one time, we had over thirty dogs and cats and this is when we realized that the only suitable home we were finding was our own. We no longer foster, however, if a dog or cat makes it onto the RiverRest they usually have a home for life.
©2008 Charley Hoke