Our houseguest this week is a cat lover, and while he was sweet and tolerant of our goofy bulldog, he enjoyed more the attentions of our unpredictable and not-always-nice older Siamese cat. It was another thing that made me think about what different kinds of pets (and do animals like horses count as pets?) mean to different people.
I grew up in a household that liked animals. Before my time, my great-grandmother had quite the blabbermouth of a parrot – I remember my grandmother talking about how angry she would get when she would sneak into a corner to read a book, and the parrot would screech, “Lucy! You’re reading again! Reading again! Reading again!” Then her mother would yell, and she’d shut her book to bang it against the parrot’s cage as she stormed away to do chores. 🙂 My great-grandmother also, I’m told, had a large tortoise that roamed the house, sadly meeting its demise when a rocking chair rolled over it (though honestly, I’ve always had a hard time visualizing how a rocking chair could kill a large tortoise…)
Anyway! We had a menagerie of pets, but never a dog because we went camping a lot, and my parents didn’t want to worry about finding campsites that allowed dogs. Here I am as a young teen with my huge rabbit, Buffy, who lived in a big outdoor hutch. It once was invaded by an opossum who had her babies in the wooden box inside the hutch that Buffy slept in – I wonder how she felt about that!
Over the years, we had turtles and hamsters and ducks and an adorable guinea pig who lived in a two story hutch we built in our family room, which I don’t think many parents would be enthused about! But our most unusual (and most wonderful) pet was my raccoon, J.B. As an older teen, the boy I was dating lived on a farm and there were three orphaned baby raccoons, too small to have left the nest, roaming around the cow paddock. I bottle fed J.B. and raised him, and he knew I was his mother. Even when he weighed 25 pounds, if strangers came in the house he’d run up my body to my shoulders and peer around my head at them until he felt safe. 🙂 He was smart and fun and I loved him so much, but when he was a year old, it became apparent he needed to go back to the wild. So we trained him to eat more natural foods (since sweet rolls were his favorite treat, and he probably wouldn’t find them in the woods). We released him in a state park where there would be lots of picnic trash to forage through. When I go there today, I like to think his offspring are still running around in those woods and fishing in the river. 🙂
And speaking of unusual pets, a friend of mine has this hilarious goat as a pet – isn’t he awesome?
I haven’t been able to talk my husband into too many pets, though we did have rabbits in an outdoor hutch at one time. Here’s my now-teen son when he was little holding our lop-eared rabbit Flopsy, and snoozing with our Siamese cat, who is quite cranky.
And since I’d never had a dog growing up, I forced my reluctant husband into getting a dog. Honestly, all you dog lovers may think I’m an awful person, but even though we love him, he probably wasn’t the best choice! Bentley is stubborn and silly and everyone runs when he approaches with drool dripping from his mouth, but he’s part of the family now, for better or for worse 🙂 His favorite pastime is chasing a Frisbee, then cooling off in the pool. Here he is in what I call his hippo pose.
Tell me about the pets who’ve featured in your lives over the years – I’d love to hear about them!
I do have a new release coming out June 1st, The Prince and The Midwife. It’s part of the Hollywood Hills Clinic continuity, and I’m so pleased to be part of such a great series with so many awesome authors!
His Cinderella midwife
Gabriella Cain prides herself on the exemplary service she provides to her celebrity moms-to-be. So she certainly doesn’t appreciate Dr. Rafael Moreno suddenly taking over her department…even if he is royalty—and gorgeous!
But distrust soon turns to secrets shared as irresistible Rafe proves dangerously easy to fall for. With a painful past behind her, can Gabriella dare hope for a fairy-tale ending with her prince?