My animals have been a big part of my life since I was little. Over the years I have had cats, birds, goats, dogs, and even geckos. I was always the animal caretaker in the family, all training was left to me and pretty much any first aid needs as well but outside of cleaning up the poop I thoroughly enjoyed it.
It started with me asking for a cat or dog for my birthday. As is the case with most first pets, I got the cat. Chester will always remain my most favorite cat in the world, and even if the husband wasn’t allergic it would be really hard for me to ever get another cat. He may not have wanted to go on walks with me (on leash anyway) but we found other ways to enjoy time together. He would come when I called with his special “cheeeeister” call. He preferred to not be in your lap for petting and wasn’t very fond of being carried. I was fine with that as I liked my space too and was content petting him on the couch. When he was feeling extra affectionate he would grab your hands with his paws/claws and mouth and play bite you. So long as you didn’t pull your hand away he never hurt you. He was a huge lover of catnip too and helped himself to the plants we had outside and often could be found flopped in the middle of them. We ended up having to put a bird cage over the plants to give them a chance to grow. One of my favorite memories with him is hunting for mice in the snow, I spotted him out by the rock pile hunting and he was generous enough to allow my clumsy human self join him. He was just a cool cat, I still miss him, 13 years just wasn’t enough time.
Besides a brief stint with a sheepdog, who proved to be way too much for our family since I was not even 8 yet, these two sisters were the two dogs who got me started down my canine path. Nilla on the left and Cocoa on the right. We know their dad was a pure bred husky but the mom was a stray so no idea what she was besides really pure bred sweet. They were good lil dogs, they walked nicely on leash, helped keep the deer out of the garden (in their early days) and happily rolled over for belly rubs.
They may have been sisters but they were quite different in their personalities. Cocoa wouldn’t bother to come to you if she didn’t feel like it, even for hot dogs (thank you husky side). I also found Cocoa burying her biscuits in the sandbox quite often. She was sweet but quite independent. The extent of her tricks were: Sit, wait, down, and stop your tail (she would stop wagging it on command).
Nilla was my pleaser. She knew all sorts of tricks and I used to set up jumps and weaves made out of bamboo poles and planter buckets. Where her sister Cocoa was scared of the Hula Hoop, Nilla was happy to jump through.
Despite the tricks they knew neither one wanted to play much. I think I got them to chase a toy 2 times ever. They also were not keen on pulling the Red Ryder wagon, which was a big let down as I had dreams of them pulling me in the sled come winter. They were also quite laid back and and not fans of water at all though they did love the snow. They were great dogs, I’m glad I have quite a few pics of them to remember them by.
I also had goats, yes goats. And they will remain one of my favorite pets to date as well. Hopefully one day I can have a couple goats again. Anytime I was upset or had a crappy day I would go sit in with the goats. They never ceased to put me in a better mood, even if it was because they felt like chewing on my hair or trying to climb their 50+ lb and foot-long horned selves into my lap. The two white ones, Phoebe and Fiona, lost their mama shortly after they were born so they were bottle raised and remained very
annoyingly friendly. And unlike my cat I did walk a couple of them on leash but found that off-leash walks were easier when you have more than 2. I took them on walks on the property and into the woods to find honey suckle and pricker bushes which were two of their favorites. Many wonderful days spent with my herd. I’m sad Luna never got to meet them, she has loved the horses and goats she has met and probably would have joined us on the walks too.
I had quite an animal-full childhood, and I am so thankful that my parents put up with and encouraged my love for animals or I wouldn’t be where I am today.