Saturday, April 23, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Pets

Week 17. Pets. Did you have any pets as a child? If so, what types and what were their names. Do you have pets now? Describe them as well. If you did not have pets, you can discuss those of neighbors or other family members.

Growing up I can never remember a time when we didn't have pets. Our pets was usually dogs but we also had some cats and some fish. One time we had a turtle, but I don't think it lasted long.

My Mom had a dog before I was born that she called Whitey (My Great Grandpa Sewell called him Spottie). He was a black and white Spaniel. He lived to be about 17 years old before Mom had the neighbors take him to the vet and have him put down. That was a very sad day. He got around like a young pup. He would jump the picket fence and him and the neighbors dog would visit but when another dog in the neighborhood came around a dog fight would break out. Whitey had a big lump on his neck and Mom was always afraid of one of the dogs breaking it open when they were fighting. I wish I had a picture of him. Maybe someday I will get down to Mom's and take my computer and scanner and scan her pictures. Then I will have some pictures of him and I think his mom.

Whitey was always where we were and watched out for us girls. It was funny when we moved to our Pleasant Lake house Whitey never came upstairs. He always slept at the foot of Mom and Dad's bed or in the doorway to their bedroom. When he got older he was losing his eyesight and was getting real hard of hearing. Dad tripped over him several times during the night because Whitey didn't hear him.

Our family pets started enlarging when my Dad's stepbrother Uncle Lew gave us their Toy Manchester Fox Terrier. Her name was Duchess. She went everywhere with Dad. She would ride on the top of the front seat right behind Dad and her stubby tail would poke him in the neck. Sometimes on long trips up north to Grandma Gibbs at Sand Lake by Tawas she would lay in the seat beside him. We would get to this certain road and she seemed to know. She would start watching for Grandma's house.

Then we added another pet. She was a beagle. Black and brown with markings on her face like Mickey Mouse. Her name was Bootsie. She was about 5 or 6 years old when we got her. She slept upstairs with us girls.

One night us girls were upstairs in our bedroom and we heard a noise on the steps. Everybody was in bed. We were a little scared, but we finally gathered up enough courage to see who or what was making that noise. It was Whitey!!! After 11 or 12 years of never coming upstairs here he was making his way up the stairs. All because of this new dog we had. He wanted to see what was going on up there. It took him a long time but he made it. Getting down stairs in the morning was a long process as well. From then on he would lay at the foot of the stairs right next to the bathroom door. Needless to say he got tripped over many times.

Then about 1966 our neighbors had a cat and she had a batch of kittens. And we were going down and taking care of their animals while they were gone. Well we fell in love with this one kitten. Us girls finally talked Dad into letting us have her. He always said he hated cats. But... to be continued. She was black and white and was part Siamese. We named her Mitzie. What a treasure she was. She became a great hunter of mice and ground squirrels. She would spend alot of time outside and when she wanted in she learned to go down in the basement (we had to leave the door open a little bit for her) and then she would climb up the clothes shute which was in the bathroom and scratch and meow at the clothes shute door. She did that most of the time because the dogs had a habit of barking and she would run off.

Our neighbors on the left side of us (Mr. and Mrs. Hastedt) were amazed at her hunting the ground squirrels and ground moles that kept getting in the flowerbeds.

Then we decided to add a fish aquarium and fish. We got a couple kinds of guppies, Angel Fish, Kissing Fish, Bumble Bee Fish, Black Mollies, and I can't remember the rest. The poor bumble bee fish came up missing so we figured one of the other kinds had to have ate him. Eventually the only ones we had left were guppies. Mitzie would lay ontop of the aquarium for hours watching them fish. Sometimes she would swat the outside of the tank but she never offered to try to get in the tank (course it had a hood and light). Even when we would clean the tank out and change the water she just watched the fish.

Well Mitzie had a batch of kittens. (Dad was going to have her fixed but the vet said to let her have a batch of kittens first because sometime they would get mean if you didn't let them have a batch of kittens.) She blessed us with 5 of them little critters. Smokey, Snoopy, Tina, Snowball and Tinker. Now we have a zoo or circus. Not sure which.

After a time we found homes for some of the kittens. But we kept Smokey and Snoopy.

I was the only one that could do anything with Mitzie. When I was crocheting or knitting she was always on my lap or beside me playing with the yarn until she got tired. We had a cat fight every morning. To hear her you would of thought I would have been ripped to pieces but no marks on me anywhere. If I ignored her she would swat me. Every morning she layed on the kitchen cupboard by the doorway coming from the dining room and as I went by she would swat me till I had the cat fight with her then she would be set for the day.

One time Mitzie got distemper and we had take her to the vet. We didn't have a cat carrier so we had to put her in a pillowcase. What fun that was. She did not like riding in vehicles. She loved laying in the back window of the car getting the sun but as soon as the car started she was off like a flash of lightning.

We were not supposed to feed the animals at the table. But every once in a while during the meal Dad's hand would go under the table and then he would reach down and give the cats some all the while saying how he hated cats. If you looked around Dad's chair the animals were all around him, waiting anxiously. But they never begged or barked just sat patiently waiting.

I think it was in my freshman year in high school in 1966 when Mom had Whitey put down. We came home from school and mom was crying. She had had his mother too. I was born in 1952 and he was born before me. Dad wasn't able to take him so Mrs. Reid our neighbor took him. She even had a hard time. He'd been in the neighborhood since 1955 and played with her dog and her kids too.

Then my Mom and Dad got a Toy Poodle. They called him Taco.

Smokey got hit by a car. Snoopy had scratched Bootsie's eye when they were playing so Dad had taken him to the vet to get declawed and he had some kind of reaction to the anesthetic and died on the operating table. Bootsie died after I left home in 1970 sometime but before I returned home in October of 1973. Duchess died in 1974 she had some of the same health problems my Dad did. That was hard telling him because he was in the hospital not doing so well himself.

I had bought some property in Otter Lake, Michigan and had moved my trailed on there. (More about this story sometime in the future). In 1978 I think it was Mom sold the house at the lake and was moving in with me. I was having surgery for my gallbladder so I had to move as much as I could for her before I went in to have the surgery. So I moved Mitzie. We borrowed a crate from one of our friends and it took me an hour or better to get her in that thing. She pretty much screamed at me the whole time it took me to get her to the trailer (about 20 minutes). She settled in pretty well at the trailer. Then one day she came up missing. My neighbor across the street hated cats and I have a feeling while she was out hunting he shot her because I had heard shotting before she didn't come home. At first we thought maybe she was trying to go back to the house at the lake, so we took several different routes and looked for her and went back to the house and the people that bought it said they would keep an eye out for her. But she never showed up.

I'm not sure what happened to Taco.

After leaving home and starting my own family we have had alot of pets. I'll have to tell the stories about them some other time. But right now we just have Maggie. She's a story in herself. She has many, many friends. Maybe I will do her story in the near future.

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