I survived June 10th…..moving on.
I’ve become a dog lover. Although our lives are not ideal right now for us to have a pet, I’ve gained a new sense of appreciation for our canine friends, and although I’m not a fan of “pooper-scooper” duty, I definitely see myself being a dog owner down the road.
When I lived with my roommates Chuck and Jim 23 years ago, we also had two dogs: Chuck had a greyhound named Gale that he adopted from a dog track, and Jim had a pit bull named Katie (not named after my mom….different spelling) that he found abandoned at a truck stop. These dogs definitely had their moments – Gale got loose from Chuck one day, and took off at lightning speed. Chuck ran after her…I got in the car, and drove after her, which included stopping to pick up Chuck a half-mile down the road, where he was completely winded.
The dogs were not allowed in my room in our three-bedroom apartment (it was the “pet-free zone”), and part of the reason is because of something I still giggle about even now. Jim kept Katie in her crate in his room whenever the three of us weren’t home. As Jim was on the road a lot, Chuck and I would take care of Katie when he was away. During one of these times, Katie somehow wiggled her way out of the crate. I was the first one home, and I opened the door to Jim’s room – Katie had chewed up the Venetian blinds, and she COMPLETELY chewed the ass out of Jim’s favorite pair of Levi’s! After ensuring that she didn’t swallow any of the blinds or the jeans, I’ll never forget the phone call I made to Jim….”James, it’s Lane. Hey, are you truly fond of those Levi’s you left on your bed?”
I’ve been a Georgetown basketball fan since the days of Patrick Ewing playing for the team in the early 80’s. Living near DC now affords me the luxury of going to see my beloved Hoyas live and in person. One of my favorite parts of the game is when their mascot Jack (the hippest bulldog of all time) comes out in his motorized car and is driven around the court….it is too cool for school!
Before my brother and I were born, my parents had a bulldog and a cat, named Mike and Ike (if only they had trademarked their names!)…my mom used to tell me how when my dad would walk around the yard, Mike would always be right behind him, and Ike usually wasn’t too far behind….if and when I get a dog, it will definitely be a bulldog, and it will either be named Miles (for Miles Davis) or Ella (for Ella Fitzgerald).
An unexpected joy a couple of years ago is when Jenn’s daughter Katy got a Golden Retriever puppy for Christmas from her boyfriend (now fiancé Mike). Mike has a brindle pit bull named Diamond that he rescued, and now we also have Baxter. These are our grandpuppies, and it is truly a treat when they come to visit, or we go down to see them in Richmond. They are truly big sister/little brother, as Baxter is very playful, and sometimes Diamond throws him the side eye like you would not believe!
Growing up, my parents always had two cats. When I was little, we had two Siamese cats named Muff and Puff. They were incredible defenders of all rodents, as it was not uncommon to come out in the morning and see that they trapped a possum (and totally kicked its ass), or see them “playing ping pong” with a dead mouse. Because my parents did not de-claw the cats (where we were in the Catskills, our cats needed to be able to defend themselves), we kept the cats in the garage, and made sure that they had extra warmth in the colder months by putting extra blankets in their baskets and parking the car in the garage for extra warmth. My dad didn’t think that it would be an issue parking the ‘68 Caprice with the vinyl roof in the garage with two feisty Siamese cats with claws. Oh, the words we heard the morning after the cats used the roof as a scratching post!
After Muff and Puff passed away, my dad got two shorthair cats, that we named Rusty and Dusty….at this point, we no longer had the Caprice, but we now had a VW Rabbit (which did not have a vinyl roof). We thought there would be no issues putting this car in the garage during the cold months……the mistake was giving the cats Meow Mix as dry food. They figured out that it was warmer under the car. They also figured out a place to store food to stay warm….this resulted in the car breaking down for my mom on the way to work, the car being towed to the VW dealership, and my parents getting a bill for $350 in labor, as they cleaned out a large sandwich bag equivalent of Meow Mix from the air filter. I remember my brother Lee and I sitting in the backseat on the way home trying not to laugh at the bag of Meow Mix my dad was holding when he walked out of the Service Department.
When I was a teenager, my dad got yet another two cats, Piggy and Piper (and no cars were parked in the garage, nor did we feed them Meow Mix). When these cats were little, they were very feisty, including jumping in the air to try and catch butterflies. Piggy was a beautiful shade of grey, and Piper looked just like Morris in the 9-Lives commercials. Piggy passed away after 8 years, but Piper lived until after I graduated college. As he got much older (and a little plumper), he used to park himself outside on the sill of our big living room picture window, and lay in the sun like royalty. Either that, or he’d be watching the TV through the window. I just remember him as being very happy, even though the rodents were running around without fear.
I needed to write this post this morning, because after a day of tough and painful memories, I’m trying to focus on some of my happy and funny memories today. I truly believe that pets do make a positive difference in our lives, as my workday is pure fun when Baxter and Diamond are around. I realize just how much those six crazy cats meant to me as a child, and just how much fun it was living in an apartment with two good friends and two dogs. This makes me smile. And one day I will be hanging out with Miles or Ella, and hopefully I’ll have the same level of happiness.
Bow wow wow, yippee-yo, yippie-yay.