I think that as a kid, one of the greatest things you can have is a pet. When I was about gr.1 we got a cat from and animal shelter. She was about 12 weeks old at that point – I had really wanted the teeny tiny kitten that was only about 6 weeks but I was vetoed. Now the cat in question that we did adopt is 17 years old! Three years after the cat we adopted a dog from the same shelter. We had to put her down a year ago this past fall – she was 12.
When I was a kid my allowance was based on me doing my chores – cleaning the cat box and walking the dog. I used to cart the cat around everywhere – it was harder to lift the dog when she was no longer a puppy. I used to pack the cat in my backpack a week in advance for trips. I also tried to take her to school a few times. Understandably, she wasn’t my biggest fan when I was a kid. By contrast, now she can’t get enough of me. It’s gotten even more noticeable since we had to put the dog down – she follows all of us around the house, but me especially. She sleeps on my bed all the time – even when I’m in the room. She used to run away as soon as I came back in my room and found her. In fact, she often sits on my bed through me drying my hair with the blowdryer – which used to terrify her. On days I don’t get called in for work she follows me around most of the day. She’s also gone from being rather fat to being skin and bones. We think without the dog she’s very lonely and is really starting to show her age.
The dog was always funny – she could hear the sound of the drawer in the fridge that held the cheese being opened even when she was outside. She never touched food we left on low lying tables – oh she’d stare at it but very rarely would she make a move for it. The cat used to eat the dog food and the dog would sit and stare pitifully. Then she finally figured out she was bigger when she was about 10 and started eating the cat food. She wasn’t allowed up on the couches in the living room, but we always knew if she’d been up there because she’d run to the back door instead of coming to greet us. Or if she did come to see us her head would be down and her tail would be wagging – but between her legs. As she got older she stopped always jumping up to greet everyone – still would bark when she heard the doorbell though obviously. She always would tap to go outside at about 10pm, get her treat and go up to her bed in the upstairs office. She had a routine. Often we’d all be up early though as she got older and she wouldn’t come downstairs until we made her since she’d just sleep all day.
I’ve always been an animal person and a lot of my friends are surprised that I’ve said when I move out I’m not getting another dog. My reasons are simple – animals, while wonderful, tie you down. When I was home by myself for about a week, I had to get the neighbours to let the dog out if I was going to be out all night. Cats you can leave more easily, but you still shouldn’t leave them alone for a whole weekend. In any event, I’ve decided I won’t be getting any pets of my own when I move out – until after I’m married and have kids. Then the kids can clean up the poop for a dollar. Also – I’ll already be tied down with kids, why not throw some pets into the mix!