Tag Archives: pets

Of Pigeons, Puppies, and Other Pets Which Go Poop in the Night…

The first pets I remember having were a pair of turtles…I was four, I think.  They were tiny, dark green things with the little red spots on their heads.  I can’t recall what their names were.  They lived in a clear plastic bowl that didn’t smell very good most of the time.  It’s a wonder that my brother and I didn’t die of salmonella poisoning…I don’t ever remember my mom telling us to wash our hands after holding those turtles!

After the turtles went to that “great terrarium in the sky,” we got Toby, a miniature dachschund (weiner dog).  Toby lived in a pen in our basement, and was a very good barker, especially as my brother and I raced around the basement on our tricycles!  After a couple of years, he was diagnosed with distemper, and we had to put him to sleep.  I don’t think my mother missed him much!

Me and Toby...

One night, as the family ate supper, we heard a big thump…a pigeon had flown into one of our windows.  His wing was damaged, and he couldn’t fly.  My dad built him a cage in the basement with scrap wood and chicken wire.  We named our new pet “Hector Birdwell.”  I think he eventually recovered from his injuries, and we released him back into the wild…

In roughly that same time period, we discovered a rabbit nest in our back yard with four tiny bunnies in it…the mother was nowhere to be found.  We brought them into the basement (do you see a pattern here?) and named them Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter.  Unfortunately, none of them survived without their mother.

After we moved to Canada, we had cats…they were all outside cats…my mom didn’t allow cats in the house until we had all moved out!  At our first house, the stone house, we had Tripper.  He was a beautiful striped tomcat with a great personality.  He was my brother’s cat, mostly…he’d ride around on Jeff’s shoulder.  After we moved to Rednersville, we got Nicky (whose full name was “Nicholas Saone Georges Chat”…I was ten, and had just started taking French at school).   Nicky was a honey-coloured tabby with the personality of an angel, unless you were a rodent or a bird (those were captured and the remains left proudly in front of the back door for my horrified mom to find!).  We had Nicky for about ten years…one day, he just didn’t come home… 

My brother and I were in Towers, a local department store, one day, and saw a cage full of white mice.  Begging ensued.  My parents caved, and we each brought home one white mouse.  They didn’t last long, and soon we were back at Towers buying a pair of hamsters, Tops and Harold (named for a wonderful couple who were like grandparents to us).  Since they were male and female, one morning we discovered that there had been six hairless hamster babies born during the night.  Being novice hamster owners, we didn’t know that you’re supposed to take the father out of the cage when there are newborns…it wasn’t long before the babies “disappeared”…who knew that daddy hamsters were cannibals?  The second time Tops and Harold presented us with offspring, we relocated Harold until the babies were big enough not to be devoured by their father.

The eight hamsters lived in a large wooden box covered with a window screen.  One night, we were invited to another family’s home for dinner.  When we came home, some irresponsible child (might have been me…nobody really knows) had left the screen off the top of the box, and we had hamsters all over our house!  After several hours of searching, we’d found most of them, except for Harold (he’d probably had enough of his brood, and found some young hamster hussy to shack up with).  One of the babies had managed to fall through into the basement (they lived on our first floor), injuring his spine.  “Dickie” just dragged his useless back legs around after that.

I was fourteen when we got Pixie, a small black chihuahua/terrier mix, who was pregnant when we brought her home.  Pixie also liked to bark, and would terrorize any boy I brought home.  She must have mated with a much larger dog…the four puppies were huge, and had to be literally pulled from her straining body (she chose to give birth the day my brother and I were being interviewed by a local newspaper reporter about our community newspaper, the Rednersville Review…we kept getting up from our chairs to go over and see how the dog was doing)!  We named them Samantha (Sam), George, Chestnut (Chessie), and Cleo.  Sam and George were black with white on their paws, and the other two were a lovely light brown.  I crocheted each of them little coats to wear.

We gave away the puppies when they were eight weeks old…they all ended up to be bigger than their mother was.  Mom had Pixie long after my brother and I had moved out, and was sad to have her put to sleep after Pixie eventually lost her eyesight and control of her bowels.

My first pet after I moved out was Mandy, a dark striped tabby.  We never had the money to get her fixed, and she got nastier and nastier whenever she was in heat.  When my oldest daughter was about a year old, we decided it would be best to have Mandy put to sleep, as we were worried about her attacking the baby.

Then we got another “Nicky.”  He wasn’t nearly as nice as his namesake…he was also a blond tabby.  He didn’t like people to come into the house, and would howl at them if they came near him!  One time, Nicky accidentally got into our downstairs neighbour’s apartment, where he spent the next nine hours trapped with SEVEN other cats!  Judy was at work, and we had to wait until she got home to rescue Nicky…it took an hour-and-a-half…I ended up just throwing Judy’s comforter over him and scooping him up.  He was traumatized for weeks!

We got Rusty from my oldest daughter’s babysitter.  He was a beautiful, big ginger tabby without a brain in his head.  One night, I was in bed and my ex-husband came in to wake me up.  “Rusty’s in the living room, dead as a doornail,” he said.  “What?” I asked, in a sleepy stupor.  He repeated what he’d said.  I roused myself and followed him into the living room.  There was Rusty, lying on the floor with his head thrown back…to this day, we don’t know what killed him.  Kaylee was seven at the time…she was heartbroken!

We replaced Rusty with Buddy, another dark brown tabby.  Buddy was Nicky’s opposite…a big suck who would soak up any attention anybody gave him.  Nicky sulked for a while, but eventually accepted his new brother.

A few years later, my ex-husband and I split up, and I had to take the cats to the SPCA, as we were leaving the city.  That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done…

Fast forward to the present…we can’t have cats in the house, since Jim and his kids have severe allergies.  Our Schnoodle (miniature schnauzer/miniature poodle), Jake, just turned two (we got him when he was eight weeks old).  He continues to amaze us, and at times, drive us crazy, but we love him anyway (to read more about him, search “Jake” in the Search box at right).

Jake, shortly after we got him in December, 2008...

Anna’s trying to talk me into getting another dog to keep Jake company, but it’s not happening…

32 Comments

Filed under family, memories

How to Be Featured in “The Blog”…A Guide for Family Members…

Since I officially have 100 blog posts under my belt (I can’t see them because of the “muffin top” but they’re there, somewhere!), I feel qualified to write this handy guide for family members of bloggers around the world…any resemblance to persons living or dead (except members of my own family) is purely coincidental.  Here are ten things that will get the blogger in your family to talk about you in his/her therapy session  blog:

1. Be talented at something.  I have featured both my 16-year-old daughter, Anna, (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/introducing-anna-guest-photographer/ and https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/05/22/introducing-anna-guest-photographer-part-2/ ) and my fiancé, Jim, (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/introducing-jim-guest-photographer/ ) for being incredible photographers.  Jim and his son, Devin, are also my live-in Tech Support people…all I have to say is, “Dammit!  We’re off the Net again!” and one of them comes running!  Hope is a good singer – I talked about her entering Saint John Idol (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/07/09/sweating-and-small-stuff/ ).  I have highlighted Brianna and Anna in posts about being a reluctant “Cheer Mom” (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/adventures-of-a-reluctant-cheer%c2%a0mom%e2%80%a6/ and https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/05/09/adventures-of-a-reluctant-cheer-mom-part-2/ ).  Being really bad at something works too – until recently, I was totally incapable of making piecrust, and mentioned it all the time (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/my-bucket-list/ and https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/can-she-make-a-cherry-pie/ ).

2. Give a word a whole new definition.  Twelve-year-old Hope was asked by her older sister last week what a “Lamborghini” was.  “I think it’s a type of noodle?” she responded hopefully.

3. Have a freak accident.  You may have to wait for the blogger to call the ambulance…she’ll be busy photographing your pool of blood for her blog (okay…I’ve never done this myself, but I have talked about when I went through a glass door when I was seven (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/its-all-about-me/ ), when Anna fell into the blackberry bushes, and when Hope fell off her too-high heels (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/todays-post-is-brought-to-you-by-the-letter-p/).  Readers love hearing about other people’s pain!

4. Turn the TV/rap music/computer game up really loudly while the blogger is working on the daily post (so loudly that the neighbours call to complain).  This will inevitably lead to a rant in the blog about the joys of raising a family while attempting to practice one’s craft.  Interrupting the writing session with inane questions like “What are we having for supper?” will have the same result.

5. Say something funny.  Hope was riding in the van with her two much older sisters on the way to a Backstreet Boys concert.  Upon being informed that she wasn’t born yet when they were popular, she observed: “I missed a lot when I was in Mom’s stomach.  It was boring in that egg!” (thank you to the Health Education teacher at Hope’s middle school – I think that perhaps Hope didn’t quite grasp the egg concept!).

6. Be cute.  It also helps to be fuzzy and have four legs – I’ve featured our schnoodle, Jake, many times (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/04/02/a-girl-and-her-dog/ and https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/my-dog-ate-it-again/ , among others).  Most pet owners will probably have to read this tip to their pets (Jake didn’t need any help…he’s checking his e-mail as we speak!).

7. Do something annoying, like putting your dishes in the sink when the dishwasher’s not full, leaving food wrappers open, or depositing a wet towel in the hamper.  This is guaranteed to gain you a place in the blogger’s next rant!

8. Be considerate and loving.  I have talked about how grateful I am for all of my family members (when they’re not driving me nuts with things like those in #7).  Anna and Hope made supper on Monday, Jim made it last night, and Devin and Brianna will cook on Friday – it’s a new thing we’re trying, called “Give Mom a Break!”

9. Have a personal crisis (lose your job, be bullied at school, have a bad hair day, get dumped by your girlfriend, etc.).  The blogger will probably mention it and even ask for advice about it in his blog.  Who needs therapy when you can have input from readers all over the globe?

10. Mispronounce a word.  Anna recently pronounced “Mafia” with the same accent as you would say “Sophia” (I blame French immersion).  Ditto on using the wrong word for something – the blogger will need to share that.

P.S. It is usually completely useless to beg the blogger not to feature you in his blog, although I have been known to consider it (note to the kids: I like the green bills with the Queen on them).

Okay…now for the serious part…Thank you to my family for being such good sports about my blog…without you, I wouldn’t have any good material!

16 Comments

Filed under blogging, family, rants, satire

Twelve Things I Wouldn’t Do For All The Tea in China…

This is another blog that came from one of those “writing prompts.”  I thought it sounded kind of fun:
1. Spend more than 20 minutes doing hair and makeup.  I’m what you call “low-maintenance” when it comes to that stuff.  Gone are the days when I used to bother using appliances like curling irons.  I shower, blow-dry, spray, put on a “basic” face, and go (I wonder about people who have time to use eyelash curlers!).  One thing I always have on is earrings – I feel naked without them!

This would be an instrument of torture if someone forced me to use this!

2. Own a Hummer.  Seriously, who needs one of these to go to the grocery store?  My order for seven people fits just fine into our Dodge Caravan (and my family eats a lot!).  I might change my mind if I’m ever travelling across the desert in a war zone (which is another thing I wouldn’t do for all the tea in China).

She probably needs a Hummer to carry all her makeup...

3. Skydive (ditto on bungee-jumping).  I’m not afraid of dying…I’m afraid of not dying if something goes wrong!  A friend of mine was injured in a bad military parachuting accident – it wrecked his back, hips, and both his legs – immediate medical discharge (and several years later, a hip replacement!).  Bungee-jumping?  Please – I get dizzy on the third step of a ladder!

This is a view I want to see from safely inside the plane!

4. Drink more than two glasses of wine in one sitting.  I dislike being (or feeling) out of control, so I never get drunk – have only been drunk once in my life, and have never done it again because I didn’t like it.  I also dislike vomiting!

Two is my limit...

5. Treat pets like people.  Don’t get me wrong…I love my dog.  But he will never have his own room or his own furniture, and I will never feed him anything but dog food, Snausages, and the occasional bone.  I also refuse to talk to him in anything but a normal tone of voice (no baby talk).

I would recommend therapy for whoever owns these two canine cowboys...

6. Stay up past midnight (ditto on sleeping until noon).  I have stayed up late a few times, but have always spent most of the following day stifling yawns and trying to keep from nodding off at my desk.  I generally like to be in bed sometime between 10 and 11 (which makes sense when one gets up at 5:30 a.m.).  As far as sleeping in, nine is late for me…

Just call me "Sleepy"...

7. Clean fish or game.  I love fresh fish, but if I’m going to cook it, I definitely don’t want something that’s looking back at me.  The head and the guts have to be gone!  I really like moose meat, but bring it to me once the butcher’s done with it!

I'm not touching these until they're filleted...

8. Take a job as a day care worker.  Again, I like kids (I have them), but if I had to look after someone else’s all day long, there would be issues (likely mental ones for me)!  That job is best left up to the professionals!

This is a terrifying sight for me...

9. Brag about my latest purchase at the mall.  Given that I usually have to be coerced to go there because I hate the mall, and that the only stuff I buy there are generally things one of my children absolutely “had to” have, I don’t have anything to brag about.  I’m more likely to tell you about the apple peeler I scooped up at a yard sale for $3!

Apple Peeler...

10. Dye my hair purple (ditto on body piercings and tattoos).  I’m not a confident enough person to want everybody staring at me (I worry about having broccoli stuck in my teeth).  My hair is coloured regularly by my amazing hairdresser, Heather, who covers up the ever-increasing grey, and uses “wild” colours like blonde, caramel, and cinnamon with foils to jazz up my natural light brown locks.  I waited until I was 22 to get my ears pierced, and will never put any more holes in my body (not on purpose anyway).  My oldest daughter has a tattoo in memory of my mom, which the tattoo artist messed up, and Kaylee is not happy about.  Anna wants a tattoo for her birthday…her design features the breast cancer ribbon (a cause close to all our family’s hearts).  I’m still not crazy about her putting something permanent on her body though.

This wouldn't be a good look for me...

11. Be a politician.  I would never make it.  I hate “kissing ass” and I often speak without thinking first.  I hate long meetings, and listening to people who love the sound of their own voices. I am also incapable of lying, which seems to be a job requirement for most politicians these days (no offense to my friends who are politicians – you wouldn’t be my friends if you were liars!).

Start of a political career...

12. Wear fur (ditto on leather pants).  I personally find the idea of killing an animal just for its fur disgusting (not a problem if the whole animal is used, as it is in the North) – it also messes with the food chain.  Fur is way out of my limited budget.  I’ll never wear leather pants because I would look stupid in them, not to mention being extremely uncomfortable!

This fox fur stole is especially hideous...

What wouldn’t you do for all the tea in China?

15 Comments

Filed under rants, self-discovery

Introducing Jim…Guest Photographer…

Since this is a “cheerleading weekend” (competitions on Saturday and Sunday), I’m short on blogwriting time.  So, instead of not posting at all, I have chosen to feature some of my favourite photos taken by my sweetheart, Jim:

This paraplane was flying over our house yesterday…there were supposed to be two of them, but the other guy was apparently having trouble with his rig.  My personal opinion is that they’re nuts, but they sure are neat to watch!

Paraplane...

This is Hope standing on the ice washed up from the river this past January.  We were lucky in the valley that there was no significant flooding this winter.

"Hope Alone"

Here’s what happened after 90 mm of rain fell in one night last October:

Stranded Farm Animals...

Chickadees are probably my favourite birds…Jim took this photo a couple of weeks ago in our yard:

Chickadee...

Jim shot this one of Brianna and her best friend, Jessica, at the cheerleading competition earlier this spring:

Cheer Girls Jessica and Brianna...

We went to Open Farm Day last fall…this calf took a liking to Jim (believe it or not, Jim shot this photo himself!):

Jim, Up Close and Personal with His Bovine Friend...

Jim also has an affinity for birds…this little parakeet flew up on Jim’s shoulder while he was barbecuing on our deck last fall.  He brought it into the house…Hope recognized the bird from her friend’s place nearby, and we took him back home.  Lucky Jim was out there…the bird might have frozen to death!

Parakeet Perching On Top of My Bread Cutting Board...

This post wouldn’t be complete without putting in a picture of Jim’s buddy, Jake…here he is fetching an apple in the back yard last fall:

Jake...

This is one of my favourite pictures of me and Elise together (she was four days old in this one):

Elise and Gramma...

One day, when Elise was visiting, Auntie Hope decided she should learn where babies come from:

"Gimme a Break!"

Perhaps another day, I will feature some of Anna’s photos…

1 Comment

Filed under family, memories, photos