Monday, August 20, 2007

Pet projects

Growing up my family weren't pet people. Any animal that unfortunately came our way always met a tragic fate. I love dogs and have always wanted to have a dog in the house..a dog that was my best friend and one that would just follow me around faithfully and loyally. I don't really want a dog that requires activity, just one that enjoys lazily strolling through life content to be by my side and not running to fetch something that I need to throw, or any duke like that. I went to the AKC website and did a "find your dog" survey. Their recommendations were in the terrier breed. Mildred says I can't have a cocker spaniel--just can't. The only problem is, lazily strolling dogs seem to have a real problem with drool. Bulldogs, basset hounds, st. Bernard's get the picture. I don't think I need to have that in my life. If there were a dog out there that would stroll through life with me-drool free then I'd be just fine.

Titus is about to be beside himself with wanting a dog. It's really in his soul, he just wants to be a pet owner. We have a fish, Rocky, that is a beta and one tough nut in my book. Rocky is fed at best occasionally and generally swims in milk. His water is so murky that it looks like milk. Fortunately for betas they love nasty water (I'm sure Rocky is the envy of all betas around the world). I did some research on betas once, just one of the many curious Google search journeys I took my brain on. Turns out Betas are Chinese, figures, fish that live in the shallow waters of rice fields. Betas have lungs for air and lungs for water--ever notice your beta coming up for air? They are very beautiful fish. Titus' first, Cobalt was a great fish too. He had a good character and disposition. We managed to feed him with more regularity than poor Rocky. Note: When you get a new another state...move from your home indefinitely...take your fish. Cobalt didn't last long not being fed. It was a horrible, unfortunate accident and I feel horrible about it. You know fish are really quiet and don't really draw much attention to themselves.

My first bout with betas came as a Christmas gift. My mother-in-law gave me a Christmas gift one year that was a large vase filled with water and a top the vase was a plant. The plants roots would drink the water and make a nice fixture for your bathroom or where ever (that's where ours lived) and they came with a beta. That was the ultra-cool part. Note: Betas that live in vases topped with plants do not survive or thrive on foraging for food in the root system--they require regular feedings..and they can get stuck in the roots and drown probably from being too weak from not eating. The second beta I owned lived in the same vase and had regular feedings.

My office beta, Oscar is a great fish totally feisty and just a hoot. No I don't talk to the voices in my head and no I'm not crazy--my fish is cool and a hoot. He will swim down and nudge a rock against the side of his bowl or splash to let me know he's hungry. He's been on my desk for two years and I'm attached. I've tried unsuccessfully to take his picture three times and have had no luck. Oscar is a brick red with rather large fins, quite stunning. His bowl has smooth black river rock. I bought the bowl and rocks in the floral section of Wal-Mart because I didn't want a traditional round "fish" bowl.

Kendra doesn't want a dog in the house...period. I don't want a dog that is sequestered outside, just don't think that's fair. I know that this poor dog will live out his life alone. Every now and then we talk about it and it always goes the same way. I've told Titus that we'll talk seriously about a dog when he can properly take care of his fish. "When is the last time you fed your fish Titus?"..."Dad, dad...I don't fink he's hungry...I just don't know." Point settled dog discussion tabled for another quarter.

When we lived in the pink house we had a beagle named Sam, one of our favorite dogs-ever. Sam was a great dog that we played with all the time because we pretty much lived outside. My sister's two Easter bunny's became a snack for Sam, it wasn't his finest hour. It's amazing how much two rabbits can poop, we were kind of glad they were gone. Sam probably felt our angst and just eliminated them for us. Sam was tragically hit by a car, witnessed by me, driven by a teenager that saw a three mile stretch of smooth highway never frequented by a cop and put the peddle to the medal. Poor Sam, we were all crushed.

Then came lady. She was a sheep dog, I think she was the original sheep dog God created in the garden because she was old..amazingly old. I don't really know how we came to have lady, she only lived with us maybe a year. Lady had pups...long after her pup bearing years. These pups were all born still and Dad and I buried them in the field behind our house. Lady kept digging them up and bringing them to the porch to care for them. It was horrible, sweet in a way, but really horrible. We finally had to take them away and bury them. Lady went to live with a cousin on a farm where she could roam free, she lived live five years after we had her. I think she died which would put her at 1400 in human years or something. She was old.

My all time favorite child hood dog was Amos. Amos was a jet black Cocker Spaniel with one white patch on his chest. Playful and happy, we had a great time. Amos came to live with us after we moved in to town, on Lincoln street. We always let him in the house when Mom and Dad were gone, some when they were home. He could stay until he peed on the carpet then he had to go outside, chained to his tree. I never liked having him chained. I just don't think a dog should be chained. Amos was dumb. Inbreeding I guess made him so. We sent him to a breeder to stud and after two weeks he was sent home. Turns out Sam couldn't figure out what to do...he knew he needed to do something...but just couldn't quite get it all together. Poor thing. When it came to my sister's leg...he knew just what to do. She would always launch him into the air with a kick, "Amos...stop it! Bad dog." When we went on vacation Robba took Amos in for two weeks and when we got home from vacation she said, "I just love this dog, can he stay with me?" I could not say not to my Robba. It worked out, he had a fence, no chain, and spent the days with her because she lived alone and didn't work. It was great. He loved Robba as much as I did. After Robba died, Amos ran away...forever.

Another day I'll tell you about Babylou, my Uncle Jim's family pet. That's a whole post for a whole other day.


Tracy said...

aw... love all the pets - fishies and doggies! dogs are quite wonderful - i love them and grew up with them. i still would love to have one but i think i know its just never gonna happen. i do have my kitties :-) and they are enuf right now. getting a dog - well that severely limits one you know? i'm glad you're still writin mister man :-)

Donna Layton said...

It always kills me to hear the stories of your childhood pets. I think you want a dog so you can somehow right the wrongs of all those childhood tramas. The way I see it, you don't have a chance with Kendra unless you someday get a Chihuahua. As long as you could quickly accomplish potty training, she would fall in love with the dog. They are too small to cause any trouble. The only thing is you must wait til all the kids are old enough NOT to accidentally kill him/her. As you know, I have first hand knowledge of how imperative that is.