A is for ANIMALS

I had a really good blog here – it took me over an hour to do and it was REALLY long. However, I highlighted it to change the font, and must have done something because the whole thing disappeared. So I will try to duplicate it but it won’t be as good. I now know that control z will undo mistakes, however, I had tried to fix it other ways first and completely blew it. So, for a second time….

My sister Helen had a great idea for a blog – her life from A to Z. I liked it so much I asked if I could poach the idea, which she very kindly agreed to, for a small fee (just kidding). So I now will give you way more information about me than you ever wanted to know:)
A is for ANIMALS. I like animals more than I like most humans. I don’t know if I’ve ever gone without one kind of pet or another. Cats were always there while I was growing up. Cicero, Figaro and Frost were some of our early cats. They were indoor/outdoor cats. I remember Frost continually getting stuck in one of the trees in our yard and my dad having to go out on the 2nd floor porch to try and get him unstuck. Then there were a stream of cats, usually one or two at a time. Here are just a few ….

Hamilton, a large orange male cat (you will see this is a recurring theme for me) was one that started as a family cat and became mine. It was a very difficult time for my mother when she had to tell me he died while I was away at college my Sophomore year.

Levi was a stray we found on our way home from church one week. We had just been to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, hence his name. We were sure he was male until the kittens arrived. Levi stayed the requisite two weeks, til the kitten’s eyes were open, and then disappeared one night, leaving her offspring in very good hands. Helen and I were completely in love with most of the cast of The Outsiders at the time so we had a Soda Pop, a Pony Boy, a Darryl, etc. I remember Soda Pop was one of the fattest things I’d ever seen. He could barely make it through the hole to get under the porch. We adopted them out eventually but we had so much fun with them before they went.

Harry was a cat my brother found in an alley, where kids were throwing stones at her. He took her for McDonalds and then brought her home. She had the sweetest disposition most of the time but, after we spayed her, she would go through mood swings that made us nick-name her Hyde (as in Jekyll and….) There was one time she rode into the kitchen on the back of the dog, who was a completely unwilling participant in the endeavor.

Cecil – in a box that was much too small for him as were most things in the end.

Cecil was another large orange male that my mother picked out as a family cat that became mine. He loved to sleep in the front pocket or the hood of my sweatshirt as I was wearing it. That or in one of my hats. He had a great time chasing the little rubber balls that came with jacks sets. We would lie in a row down the hallway and he would jump over each of us, like an obstacle course. Then he started growing and wound up a very large 25 pounds. He was such a love, however, he had his ways to show his displeasure when we did not behave the way he wanted – like if we went away for the weekend. One of the worst things was making the choice to put him to sleep when he got mouth cancer at 10. It was something I was completely unprepared for, and a decision I really don’t want to have to do again.

Cecil playing a board game with us back when I smoked, a million years ago.

I have loved, and will continue to love, all the cats that come through my life, regardless to how or why them come. But Theo has a special spot in my heart because she is the only one that I chose for myself. She was all mine. It was my sophomore year at college and I was doing my work study in the Smith College Library. Someone left two kittens on the bottom floor of the library and I took one home to my dorm. We weren’t supposed to have pets but for the last month, Theo stayed with me in my room. She came home with me for the summer, and then, in September, I went back and Theo stayed. We figured she was female when she started going into heat every other week or so. She would pace the house and HOWL – that cat had a great set of lungs. I would call home periodically and hear her screaming in the background. She loved to sing with my younger brother, preferably in the bathroom which had great acoustics. Theo moved with me through several apartments and died in my arms about 4 years ago. Not a happy time.

We were predominantly a cat family but we did have some dogs. Orpheus was a black lab/malamute mix that could jump the 4 foot fence around our yard in a single bound. Due to this, she spent most of her time on a lead. But one of the times she got out, she managed to get pregnant and we got a litter of puppies to play with. Her litter came in 1976 so we named them all after characters from the bicentennial. Betsy Ross was the only one that stayed. She looked more like a black lab but was also an escape artist, usually while she was in heat. She had several litters and I know I named one litter after the characters from The Hobbit and we kept one named Albert. Other than that, I don’t remember that much about those dogs – they were not the playing with little kids kind. After they died, we didn’t have any other dogs for a long time. And then Fiona came! And all our preconceived ideas about dogs changed forever.


Fiona was a cairn terrier that my mother got for my youngest sister on her birthday. They did it all wrong – she came from a pet store, in the mall. Which obviously is the worst place ever to get a dog. Fiona was not welcomed effusively by my father who saw that he would wind up having to take care of yet another animal. It did not take long for Fiona to wrap him around her little paw, as she did everyone in the family! She loved cheese doodles and came to the shore with us every summer. We would wait until 5PM when the life guards left and then it was her turn to go to the beach. She would chase the waves, barking all the while, but she hated getting her feet wet. One of us was usually working a late shift and she, and whomever wasn’t working, would walk over to bring the poor schlub home. She was always so excited to see whomever was working – as if you had been parted for years, not a few hours. One summer, my cousin George spent some time with us and he and Fiona would go on TAC attacks – chasing after the poor unsuspecting creatures that happened to be out at the time. They never caught any of them but what a wonderful time they had in the trying. We lost Fiona in 1998 to a stomach tumor. Another pet we had to decide to put down because she was in so much pain. This is one of the very very few time I have seen my father cry. Like I said, wrapped around her paw.

Stressed out dog

We waited a few years and then Dad got another cairn, this one named Morgun (which I believe is Viking for King of the Sea). Morgun is about as different from Fiona as you can get. He is definitely an alpha male, not afraid to take on anyone anywhere, including my parents or whomever else happens to be walking by. He argues with everyone through barks and growls, but he loves us all and is not mean in any way. Just a little bitchy at times. As he is getting older, his ailments are growing as well. He is blind and just about deaf and diabetic. But Dad is also, so they shoot up their insulin together.


My mother has four birds (two African Grey Parrots, one Double Yellow Headed Amazon, and a Blue and Gold Macaw) and a rather unfortunately shaped cat (much like a very round barrel with very short legs sticking out, which I see every weekend when we come to the beach. However, they will have to be another blog because this one stretched much further than I thought it would. I do have some pictures of my earlier cats but I still have to scan them in. I will add them when I get a chance. And of course, I have my four felines (well 2 mine, 2 Helen’s) that are currently ruling our lives. But they are covered in my other blog, The Adventures of Andrew.


4 Responses to “A is for ANIMALS”

  1. Hey Teach! Says:

    great pic of morgun, i wonder where you got it from?

  2. Mary Beth Says:

    I found it in photobucket – did you not know that once it’s there, it’s up for grabs?

  3. amanda Says:

    So here I am reading your alphabet blogs backwards and unsuspectingly get to A. Lousy way to spend some time crying my eyes out looking at all of our furry friends…….

  4. Mary Beth Says:

    Lost maybe, but definitely not forgotten

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