I’ve had pets all my life. When I was growing up, we always had a cat or two and I remember that we had a dog most of the time as well. Patches, Brownie, a girl dog named Rex, Lucy. Pets were just a part of my family when I was young. (My dad was an ol’ farm boy from Oklahoma where pets were animals you kept outside and weren’t going to eat, so allowing the cats and dogs in the house was a huge concession for him. That meant that mostly our dogs lived outside, but our cats, though – that was a different story.) I remember dressing my cat up in doll clothes that belonged to a neighbor girl and throwing a stick across the back yard for the dog. As a young teenager, I had a little chameleon lizard on a leash with a safety pin so it could be attached to your clothing. I don’t remember naming that lizard but I kept him on my shirt or in his “lizard dish” until he died, and then I buried him in the backyard. Animals were indeed a big part of my childhood.
When I left home at seventeen and started my own collection of pets, I couldn’t seem to pass by a single stray dog or cat without bringing it home. There were dogs named Snicker, Tom, Muggles, Pancho, Sampson and Sinbad, a goat named Sunshine, and three ducks we called our Quackers: Ritz, Graham, Soda. We had geese whose names were Israel and Rosie, and guinea pigs named Gloria and George. We had cats we called Wags, Peaches, Obie, Solomon, the Old Man, Max, Thelma and Louise, Mango and Melon. We shared our home with puppies being raised for Guide Dogs for the Blind – Honor, Gia, Petunia, Hula, Dusty, Auburn – several of whom came back to live with us as pets after not making it as guides. We had a snake called Sasha who lived in a glass terrarium with a tarantula named Boris, a desert tortoise whose name was King Tut, and a double-yellow-headed Amazon parrot named Ben. We had parakeets, cockatiels, hamsters, rabbits, and a handful of animals we called “contraband critters” because they were illegal to own in California: a ferret, a gerbil and a hedgehog named Helen. We even had tankfulls of fish and glass bowls of bettas, some of whom had names and others who were just a part of their little fish communities.
And then there was Dinah.
I sometimes think that, for us “pet people,” we get to have a dog or cat or other pet that simply touches our hearts and souls in a way that none of the other pets did, a special relationship that we didn’t have with any of the other pets, a friendship that defies the barrier between human and animal. It doesn’t mean the other pets weren’t parts of our families; it just means we got a special connection with one that we didn’t get with the others.
For me, that connection was with Dinah.
Before she left Planet Earth, we use to talk about what I was going to do with my life without her. I know it sounds kind of weird but I lived alone and talking to my pets is what I did. Truthfully, I probably talked to my pets even when I lived with other people but I know for sure I did when I lived alone with them. Anyway, she and I talked. And here I am, three years later, without having done any of what we talked about.
I’m not sure where time goes but it is truly beginning to bug me that I haven’t honored the plans we made during our conversations. I’ve let all kinds of things get in the way of those plans: family, money, health, vehicles, logistics, etc. I’m beginning to feel like I can no longer go on without following up on at least some of what we talked about. Because, you know, what we discussed is who I truly am. It’s what I really am here to do with my life. It’s me at my core. It’s the real me.
On the eve of the third anniversary of Dinah’s trip off Planet Earth, I find myself discouraged, frustrated, let down, disappointed, bummed. And I’m not sure how to shake it.
Okay, really. I do know how to shake it. I need to go do what I told Dinah I would do. I need to be me. I need to be okay with revealing who I really am instead of hiding it behind something I’ve done or been all my life, simply because I have. I need to be okay with being the person I was meant to be all along, even though I’m now 64 and feeling like life is over.
It isn’t over. There is still time.
As long as I’m breathing, there’s still time.
And I’m still breathing.
Dinah Doggie, I miss your warm fuzzy body every day and I’d give anything to see your fluffy butt just one more time. But I know your spirit is with me, everywhere I go, and I know you’re there when I still talk to you.
So I’m not giving up. I’m ready to take on whatever I need to in order to get this show on the road. I’m ready to be me. Bring it on.
Never give up. Ever.
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16 thoughts on “I’ve Always Had Pets”
Hugs to you. I had that one special dog. A black lab named diamond. She helped me 32nd a bad marriage and raise 3 kids. Pets are a friend like no human can be.we didn’t get another dog for 4 years after She died. Maybe its time Lois for a new pup to come into your life
There is one out there that could use the love you have to give. Dinah would be happy you did. I feel ya sister.❤
One of the things Dinah and I talked about was me getting another dog. I have two things I need to do before that happens and it’s just time to go ahead and do them.
Diamond and Dinah are running together right now, celebrating the time on Planet Earth when they knew us. Big hugs to you, Linda ♡
Oh Lois, what beautiful heartfelt memories written here. Then tears for Dinah..I know you are struggling now…things will get better I know it.
Big hugs back atcha, Debbie! ♡
How fortunate you were to have had so many “little people” to share your dreams with. Lois. Never give up on your dreams even when you can’t see the road ahead. Believe in those dreams. None of us knows what tomorrow brings but “luck” is just being in the right place, prepared, so that we are ready when our opportunities arise. Think one small step at a time. Dinah will have all the patience in the world while you do. If she could talk now, she would say “Didn’t I teach you about living in the moment? I cannot be free to chase these butterflies around heaven if I know you are unhappy. I need you to just enjoy each moment, free from the past or tomorrow. I love you forever, whatever and wherever.”
I do know how lucky I’ve been in my life to have had so many furred, finned, four-legged, and feathered friends! And yes, she is saying exactly what you said she is… thank you so much for your insight, Marilyn! I’ve always known there was something extra special about you – she brought us together! ♡ ♡ ♡
Wow I didn’t realize that you have had so many pets Lois. I only met Dinah nose to nose, so to speak. You are a female Dr. Doolittle!
I don’t think I realized just how many there were until I started listing them, Barbara, and I know there are ones I’ve missed. I really do enjoy having pets ♡
Well said and Dinah was a very special dog and you and her were lucky to have each other.
Thank you, Cyndi. I will always remember when I found her – she was sitting there like she was waiting for me. And I think she was. ♡
You are a strong and beautiful person! I know you will be on your way soon to wherever life takes you. You have endured more then most could handle and you are an inspiration!
I loved Dinah as she was a wonderful pup and loved Cole and Ella. I miss my Kodee too as he was ‘that one’ too.
Hugs, hugs, hugs!!!
Thank you, Tricia! Dinah loved Cole and Ella – I have some great pics of them together as well as a few of Maverick when he was just a little guy and wanted so much to play with Dinah. Great memories, huh? ♡
Lois, Dinah knows that when the right time comes, you will meet the dog that is meant for you. It will just show up out of nowhere and you will know.
However, if you are postponing or finding excuses not to do what you told Dinah you would do, then I think you need to get your act together.
I know you well enough to also know that you are and will be who you are and nothing will get in your way. You will crawl out of holes, you will climb or scratch your way over fences and you will show people how its done if they tell you it can’t be done. Trust the process, trust yourself, trust the universe. It has done right by you so far and it will do right by you again.
You know what you need to do….
Oh so true, Dace! You speak words of great wisdom, my friend. Thank you for sharing your insight. As always, you are spot on ♡
Love you, Lois! And Layla sends her regards. I have not given up on The Camino dream, no way… let’s do it together, with southern Spain tacked on just for giggles :-). I have started hiking on one of my 2 days off each week, errands be damned. Getting in shape. My goal is the 14 mile hike up to grays peak and back in one day by the end of the summer. Yikes!
Hi Silvianne and Layla! I would love to walk the Camino with you! I want to walk up through Portugal along the Atlantic Ocean… and then wander around Spain a bit. What a hoot it would be, wouldn’t it? I’ve been walking more and more, at least a mile a day and often more than two miles, working up to walking longer distances. Good on ya for hiking on your days off! You can do Gray’s Peak! I know you can! I’m rooting for you! Love to you both ♡
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