My parents got rid of him unfortunately after about a week because he was so big that he kept knocking them off balance and was too strong for them to handle…not for infant me though.
Next, I believe was a small black mixed breed female named Smokey who was a smaller and more constant companion. Seems like I had her for quite a while but the one thing that all my pets of those early years had in common, was that I had no memory of what became of them. Surely some died, but how? Some were given away perhaps but WHY??
I have an excellent memory, yet the passings or leavings of my pets from childhood remains a painful mystery to this day. I remember Spooky, the beagle pup that I got on Halloween from a family friend, and I remember that they gave him back after a little while for some reason. I remember another beagle, a sweet female named Ginger that I took care of as a teenager for a woman- friend of my Grandfathers. I don’t remember why I had her but I do remember that I was so in love with her and that my parents should have never allowed her to be given back to this alcoholic who couldn’t really care for her. It broke my heart, and that I do remember and I remember doing somethings in my pain, that I shared with no one.
There was Bambi, the toy fox terrier with a testosterone problem who humped everything that moved and actually turned out to have a bad temper. We would take him to the Vet and he would bark at all the huge Danes and Shepherds and then scurry backwards under my chair when they looked up at him. He became vicious one day when we both had made a mistake. He was chewing something under my bed and I thinking that it was my shoe, reached underneath to get it from him. He was in fact chewing on a bone and about tore up my arm in retaliation. He later bit my mother on the butt and finally tore up my heel through my shoe to the point that sutures were necessary so Bambi went to a farm where he could be safe and not hurt anyone…or so I was told.
Happy the black lab puppy wasn’t happy enough when left by himself and howled at night so Happy was returned to the Vet a week later. Several other dogs and cats came and went which I have little memory. Rusty, my cat was hit by a car in front of me and those screams were memorable yet I have no memory of the disappearance of his sisters Patsy and Katrina. Angel and Satan,my white and black cats disappearance from my life remain a mystery into that black hole,my Bermuda Triangle of missing pets!!
What is clear to me as I write this piece, is that my childhood was fraught with loving connections with animals that were too often and too soon torn from my heart suddenly and mysteriously,at least to a child.
For any of you who are or will be parents, please find a way to sensitively but honestly tell your children about what happened to their pets. If they were sick,died,were inappropriate for the family,ran away…whatever,the truth really is the best solution and will help in the long run. Ideally, if the kids are old enough, let them be a part of the decision making process when changes with the family pet are necessary. Trust me, you will save them a lot of grief.
One aberration to these tales of loss was my amazing relationship with Sam,the starling that I rescued with a broken wing. I can’t remember how or where I found him as I was always finding un-nested baby birds, feeding them with an eyedropper and ultimately losing them. Sam was a different story altogether as he was a mature bird but injured. I made a special box/home for him with a towel over it to protect him from too early flight,fed him blueberries and insects that I could find and worms if we both got lucky. Before long, I was walking around town with him perched happily[I hope!] on my shoulder. We were quite a pair and I thoroughly enjoyed the uniqueness of my winged buddy. We had long talks and walks and periodically I would set him down on the grass in my yard to see how his wings were doing. My intention was for him to heal enough to fly and be a free bird again. I don’t think that my young mind had fully grasped that this could be the end of a beautiful friendship but one day he was in fact able to fly away and I wished him well with tears streaming down my face.
I recall raising a pair of ducklings which were so adorable and I think they wound up being brought to a pond with other ducks eventually and not the Pound!!
There were the hamsters which were very portable friends that could be carried in pockets to the beach or other such places. Their lust for freedom from their little jail with a wheel in it cost them dearly as they somehow got stuck inside the walls of our basement which was a lose /lose situation for all.
Prince, was the last dog that I had as a young person inside the domain of my parent’s home. He just showed up in the neighborhood one day, all black and scruffy, but to me he was my Prince! I brought him home, and promptly ran away for the day when I was told that I couldn’t keep him. I was in love and my Prince had come to rescue me from life like Cinderella at the ball but for me there was no glass slipper, just a rucksack and hammer. I hid with him all day at the “Lots” not far from my home yet away where I used to hunt for fossils and rocks amid the beginnings of the Jersey Palisades. My brother who was rarely if ever an ally, became one in this instance and brought me sandwiches and news from the “parent front”…they agreed to my demands…..Prince stays , or I go! I thought it was all perfectly reasonable. I swore to take good care of him and I did until one summer, we stayed at a place where we couldn’t keep him and he had to stay with my alcoholic grandfather and I believe Prince died of kidney failure. I cannot say strongly enough how important it is to support kids relationships with their animals.
It took me many years to let another animal in to my life after that loss. I believe that Prince returned to me as Spirit/Bear who bore some resemblance and was the most heartful creature that I have ever met.
I await his return patiently as I know he can’t be too far away,he never was!
My animal communication mentor Kay Cornish Mann assured me many years later that all of those cats that were murdered in time reincarnated back to me and I do believe her and then knew who they were.
That news was also part of my journey towards understanding about Reincarnation and Animals. This is where the mystery of the MISSING began and with all the pain and all the loss, one thing still rings true:
LOVE NEVER DIES!!