I learned appreciation for animals as a child. Both sets of grandparents were farmers, so I remember baby calves, ducklings, chickens, a plow horse named Star (because of the marking on her forehead), holding baby field mice in my hand and marveling at their teeny, tiny bodies, hogs, and kittens galore.
At home I remember a parakeet named Boo who loved to sit on my head. And there were also dogs; one a huge boxer with the tongue-in-cheek name of Tiny who would jump his doghouse when I stood on the other side of it and called his name (he liked to eat watermelon and drink beer!), and after him came a black cocker spaniel with lolling tongue and curly coat.
When I had my own home, there were cats. One was adopted when its owner grew allergic. Abby, so shy when she first came to us that she hid under the bed for days, aided my recovery from ACL surgery. She never left my side except to eat and use her box. When she passed, a friend sealed her in a PVC pipe and buried her high on a hill in a beautiful park even though it was against the law. I like to think she enjoys the view. A black kitten so tiny and dark I was afraid to use the bathroom at night for fear of squashing him, Licorice was fearless as he grew and loved to jump on unsuspecting visitors to our home. WC (for white cat, so named by my husband) was my lap cat. He loved to lie on my lap and revel in the strokes I gave him, no matter if we were at home in my chair or traveling down the road in our motor home. A beautifully-colored calico, Noel, seemed to love to be punted for she ran underfoot on purpose. These are just a few of the many who graced us with their presence.
We also had dogs. A German shepherd named Sultan grew from a cuddly white puppy to an 85-pound dog who still loved to sit on my lap. Baron von Moore of Milford, a wiggly eight-month-old Schnauzer pup when he arrived, was my staunch protector and pal.
I cannot imagine a home without animals although when my two current friends pass I may try that scenario (I don’t know how long I’ll make it). Each little pal has taken a piece of my heart with him or her when crossing the Rainbow Bridge and their deaths break it in two. It is harder and harder to mend each time, although I will never regret sharing my life with these amazing, funny, endearing animals.
Google public domain image from a children's bible