First, a commercial message: I’m over at fuonlyknew.com today, talking about the community of Penton, Alabama, which is located about twenty or thirty miles from where I live. I pull back the curtain on what’s real, what’s made up, and what’s a mashup…and giving away a book!
I also have the beginnings of the Redemption Pinterest page up with stuff like the houses I used as patterns for the ones Aidan and Mirren live in.
I’m just going to blither a little today–haven’t done that in a while. It was a sad week last week, as my BFF lost her dog to a sudden illness. Jagger was a nine-year-old black lab with a HUGE personality. Funny. Holy cow, but that dog was funny. Way too smart for his own good. He was a master thief and would eat anything. I once saw him down a bag of dried apricots. The world is a quieter, sadder place without him in it. (He was also a big boy; shown here with a friend’s toddler, just to give you a sense of scale!)
It made me start thinking about the animals who’ve been in my life and have meant so much to me. My first pet was a dog. I was out in the country, playing with the Norris sisters in a cotton field (seriously) and we found a mama dog and three puppies. Of course, we had to get Mr. Norris to rescue the dogs and I managed to wheedle my dad into letting me take one home. I named him Ringo. I don’t have any pictures of him, but in my memory he looked like a raccoon!
I went through a cat phase next, with Jason and Monroe and Sarah (don’t even ask about the names). When puberty hit I also developed a cat allergy, so me and kitties had to part ways. About the same time, my brother got married and we inherited his dachshunds, Hilda and Brandy. Hilda was sweet. Brandy was a nightmare. He was a longhaired doxie and really pretty and despised me. I was afraid of him. I remember one time, when I came home from school, he “treed” me in a dining room chair until my parents got home from work two hours later. I was probably about sixteen. But without Brandy, there wouldn’t have been his and Hilda’s offspring…
Hannibal. He was mine from the second he was born. Hannibal stayed behind when I went to college but after my obligatory year in the dorms I got an apartment and brought him to Tuscaloosa (Roll Tide). Only Hannibal, who adored me, did have his daddy’s disposition. He hated my boyfriend. He hated all my friends. He had to go back to live with his grandparents.
I was dogless for several years until I was working for a daily newspaper, editing the feature section where we had a “pet of the week” from the SPCA and I fell in love with a springer spaniel mix I named Lola. Lo was with me a couple of years before I decided I’d had enough of Alabama and took off for the wilds of the Chicago area, and Lola had to go live with her grandparents. (You’re seeing a pattern here?)
I went dogless through my nomad phase, from Illinois to Texas to California to Louisiana. Until one day, Raymond, my coworker who raised Scottish terriers, told me about an Irish terrier living in the backyard of the house next door. She was underweight and neglected. The people in the rental were planning to move and were going to just let her out on the street–they had stolen her to begin with, they told him, when she followed their kid home from school. She’d been living on an old wet mattress and playing with beer cans.
Well, of course I took her. That was 14 years ago, and Shane O’Mac has been with me ever since. She’s slowed down a lot but she evacuated from Katrina with me, and for six weeks, she lived in the house with Jagger and they loved to play.
Six months after I got Shano, a starving stray wandered by my front fence and Shane adopted him. Really. It wasn’t me. I called the animal shelter and they came and took him away. He cried when they put him in the truck, and I was a goner. So I went to the shelter after his obligatory five-day incarceration and paid $50 to adopt the dog I’d had them pick up. He was fuzzy and scrawny, and weighed 40 pounds, half his desired weight. He’d been living on leaves and trash. The day I brought him home he slipped in the kitchen and ate an entire pound cake.
Tanker now weighs about 85 pounds and turns 14 this month. He’s deaf as a fence post, stubborn, and I absolutely adore him. He also evacuated Katrina with me and lived with Jagger. Tank did not play with Jagger. He did not like Jagger. He and Jagger had to go in “time out” at least once a day.
So…for a mystery box o’books from the TBR shelves, tell me about your favorite pets!