When I was little, it seems there was a never ending parade of pets in our house, due mostly in part to me. Our awesome dog Sidney was part of the family even before I came along (I think) We used to call him ‘Good Patient Sid’ due to the fact that this awesome mutt would not even bat an eye when I would do typical kids stuff, like grab him, put an afghan over his back and pretend he was a pony, or play my dog has fleas using him instead of the actual plastic dog that came with the game. I would like to note here that this particular game, when played correctly, involved a plastic dog, with 4 different colors of plastic fleas that you stuck on the plastic dogs back. You then turned his tail according to the roll of dice, and whoever had the most colored fleas left on the dog after that won. So you can picture my toddler self sticking those plastic fleas on Sid’s back, then cranking his tail around expecting them to pop off, while he just shot my parents a look like “Is this kid for real?” Sid lived a very long life, not sure what his age was but I was 18 when we had to put him to sleep.
The there was our cat, Gertie (named after the little sister in E.T. of course). My dad was working on the car in our driveway one day and she showed up. they gave her some tuna, and she kept showing up. She ‘lived’ outside for a while, but after endless begging from me and my sister, my mother agreed that Gertie could live inside with us, even though she was allergic to cats. Gertie totally adopted us as her family and then- surprise- in a week or two I was asking my mom what was going on as Gertie walked across our kitchen during lunch with a kitten hanging out of her. So much to the delight of our allergic mother Gertie brought about 1/2 a dozen kittens into our lives then. they all found homes as soon as they were old enough but not before we named each on and dressed them up in our Barbie cloths!
Gertie tragically passed on a few years later – a victim of the busy traffic on Bray Ave, and was followed by a series of cats whose names I can’t all remember because sadly, they too had their lives ended suddenly on Bray ave (although I do remember a particularly feisty all white make cat name Oatmeal). There was a string of cats that I ‘rescued’ from the outdoors, or from the neighbors kids who I saw mistreating them, or from those horrible mean boys at my middle school who were throwing around a cat they found on the way to school. Yes, yes I did call my mother in the morning and explain to her that she has to come rescue this cat because Mom, they are THROWING him up in air over and over and he looks terrified. My aunt ended up taking that one in because there was no room at the inn in our house.
These cats were followed by indoor only cats, including the awesome Misha, who had thumbs and who we ‘adopted’ from my Uncle and Aunt after having ‘cat sat’ her several times for long periods of time while my Uncle’s job in the air-force took their family all over the world. Misha was joined by Mackenzie (named so because of her spots that resembled those of Spuds Mackenzie) who my mom rescued as an abandoned kitten in a remote location, and then by Janis, the crazy little orange cat who I begged, begged my parents to let me keep after my friends cat had kittens (by the way I was 16 at this point). All three of these amazing cats are now chasing that giant yarn ball in the sky.
And it didn’t stop at cats and dogs in our house either. There was Sophie the hamster who lived in a little cage in my room and used to throw her poop out of the cage and all over the place. My cats enjoyed batting her around when she was in her little plastic roller ball, which she would promptly poop up. Once I forgot to latch her cage door properly and she got out and into the walls of our house. i thought she was a goner, but my dad heard her scratching around near our linen closet and sawed a hole in the wall, luring her out with a carrot. She lasted about a year and her final resting place is behind my moms garden.
There was also an array of goldfish – at some point there was even an aquarium full of gold fish and some other slightly fancier fish. It all started with Chipper – my second grade school project gold fish that ended up having an incredibly long life, despite the fact that Mackenzie had it out for him. She also once ended up in the tank when we expanded our array of fish.
The first members of Ivy’s pet parade are our two cats, Frank and Stella, both Brooklyn alley cat rescues that lived with us long before Ivy was even conceived (well, actually Frank is only 2 so he wasn’t with us that long before Ivy was conceived). Since Ivy was born, Frank is definitely the more patient one, Stella just avoids her, unless it is during one of the rare moments that Ivy is doing ‘nice hands’ on the cat. But mostly she’s grabbing and squeezing the fur, the tail, etc (and by etc. I mean cat butt). Frank doesn’t seem to mind too much, he even risks cuddling up to her while she’s napping. I just can’t wait until she’s older to see the menagerie of creatures she brings home to us.