When I was seven years old, I started out with my pets having a collie named King. He was a multicolored Merle. I picked him out of a litter of Sable and White puppies. He was very shy and my father help me name him. Six months later I had to give him back to the breeders because my parents divorced.
Then my mother and I lived in a small apartment
in Kenton, Ohio. I found a little black and white puppy wandering the streets,
lonely and scared. I picked him up and carried him home, the second of my
pets. On my way to my apartment I named him “Charlie Rich”, that was my
favorite singer at the time. I was 10 years old and it was the mid-70s. My mom
told me I could not keep him because she was going out of town to Florida for a
while and I needed to walk the neighborhood to find his family. So I asked some
of my friends to walk with me. We walked many blocks and knock on many doors.
No one even wanted him or known him. So I took him back home. My mother called
are cousins to ask if they wanted him and so they did take him, but they told
me I could come and visit Charlie Rich (we kept the name) any time and I did
visit him. After my mom returned three months later, our cousins asked if we
wanted Charlie Rich for my very own. We did take him back and I finished naming
him Charlie Rich Cornwell. Then we found out from the Vet that my pet’s breed
was called a Border Collie, which is considered one of the smartest dog
breeds on the planet. Charlie Rich was my best friend and companion, since I
was an only child. He protected me and my mother from strangers and even people
that played a little too rough.
After a few years, my mother decided to marry a man that lived in Georgia. So my mother, Charlie Rich Cornwell and I moved to Georgia in 1978, I was 14 years old. My stepfather got my mom a small Lhasa Apso puppy which was a fur-ball. My mom named him “Baby Bear”. Then my stepfather decided he wanted to get all of us horses, the third of my pets. He purchased two horses at first, my mother’s horse which was a chestnut colored named “Sugar” about 14.8 hands high and her daughter a buckskin named “Pepper” about 15.2 hands high. Everybody thought Sugar was going to be the better of the two, she was not. Sugar ended up being, barn shy, which means, she would run the opposite way of the stables and try to throw her rider. Pepper had the most wonderful temperament and she was very loving to everybody. All visitors to our home wanted to ride Pepper and they did. Well, my stepfather sold Sugar and purchased two other horses. He bought a small female Appaloosa for my mother that was only about 14.5 hands high. My mom named her “Mandy” from the song by Barry Manilow which by then was my newest favorite singer. My stepfather also purchased a very young green broke neutered male Appaloosa that was beautiful, but was ornery as he was gorgeous.
Since I was small stature and lightweight at the age of 16, my stepfather decided he would have me finish breaking the horse. The horse’s name was “Kujoe”, that might tell you how mean he was to me. I would sit on the saddled Kujoe and my stepfather Tony would lunge him (my stepfather would stand in one spot and have the horse tied to a long rope, then have the horse run in a circle around him with me in the saddle, along with the bit and harness on the horse). My stepfather would then snap a whip in the air, I promise never hitting the horse, just using the sound to make him move. Then, after the horse became used to my weight and all the gear, we got rid of the whip and I would just begin using the stirrups as a normal rider would do, until one day my stepfather unhooked the line so I could ride him without the lunge line, that’s when Kujoe realized this and he began to buck. He tried to buck me off but I held tight around his neck with my arms around his belly with my legs which had come out of the stirrups. When Kujoe finally stopped bucking, he realized I was still on him and that’s when I sat back in the saddle and into the stirrups. I gave him a tap on his front shoulder and he began to walk slowly around the pasture. He never tried to buck me off again. But he did get me back later.
One day, I let him out to go to his feed bucket which was outside the pasture. As I opened the gate and stepped to the side for the horses to pass, Kujoe kicked up his back-end and hit me in both knees. Thank goodness I wasn’t standing stiff leg it or he would have broken both of my legs, right then. Always make sure you never get on the back-end of a horses business, because they will kick. My mom’s horse Mandy had a baby named “Snickles”. My stepfather also purchased another white Appaloosa, later on. They sold Pepper one of my pets, just before I moved out and 1983, then I moved to Missouri in January of 1984 with my husband. This is where the animals really became interesting.
I missed my Charlie Rich Cornwell very much because he stayed on the farm with my mother, so my husband decided he would get is the perfect apartment sized dog that was a little bit like a Border Collie but smaller. So he asked me if I knew what a Shetland Sheepdog was. I didn’t, but when I saw them, I fell head over heels in love with them. So, my husband Nigel and I went to a breeder to pick out the perfect puppy. We were able to see both parents on the property, too. We picked out the most gorgeous female; the fourth of my pets, Nigel named her “Sherry” after his first dog at his parents’ house. Sherry was AKC registered, her colors were Sable and White. Her full AKC name was “Precious Sherry Shereese”. Sherry was such a loving dog. She was playful, sweet, affectionate and cuddly. But, she seemed lonely. So one day our neighbor’s kitten needed to be watched for a few days, Sherry played hide and seek with the kitten. They played chase through our small apartment. Nigel and I laughed the whole two days. Then, the kitten when back home and Sherry seemed lonely again.
That’s when Nigel suggested that we should get a kitten. I was so excited, one more of my pets, I was never allowed to really be around cats, my mother was afraid of cats since she was a young girl, even though she grew up on a farm. So, Nigel suggested that I search the newspapers for the type of cat we would like to have. Both of those loved the movie Alien from 1978 which there was an orange tabby male named Jones or Jonesy. So, that’s what we went for, but we wanted a female tabby cat. I found one for free in Independence, Missouri, which was about a 50 miles drive from where we were living. Yes, I drove that distance for a six week old orange tabby kitten, the fifth of my pets. I drove home with her crawling all over of the vehicle and me, whaling all the way. By the time I reached the apartment, I was crying, the kitten was clinging to me and we finally made it into the apartment. While I let her down on the floor and she saw Sherry, she ran to her, cuddled up, and snuggled close to her. After a while, I calm down and Jonezy followed Sherry around like her baby. We named the kitten Jonezy Wales because she wailed all the way home in the car.
Then we got all types of fish, more of my pets including tetras, neons, guppies, and black mollies. But we develop great fondness for two types of specialized fish. Betas or Siamese fighting fish, I had a special female named “Elizabeth” one more of my pets, she was called a Cambodian and her colors were a cream body with red fins, tail and cheeks. I wanted to breed her and waited for a male of the same species. Our great pet store finally got one in two years later. I named him “Patience”, he was beautiful, but a few months after we got the male, it was a holiday weekend and Elizabeth got a fungus and died. The stores then were closed on holidays. Sad, I know, sorry.
Now, about our “Big Boys”, more of my pets. These were Oscars, a part of the cichlids family. The Tiger Oscar was named “Tic” and the Red Oscar was named “Ret”. Please don’t let anyone tell you that fish can’t have personalities! When it came to these two, they had major attitudes, I don’t mean if you just tap on the glass they come up to the glass and look at you. When changing the tank for the Big Boys, we learned that if you did not talk to them as my husband brought them out on their fish tank, by the way of using a trout net that my husband had won at a Ducks Unlimited Silent Auction, that was me talking gently to them each day would lay on top of the net and not make a fuss and they would just be good boys, until their tank was cleaned. Then the process would begin again to place them back in their cleaned tank.
Meanwhile, my husband and I acquired two more Shelties, more of my pets, a mail we named “Sir Reginald Chilton” (Reggie) and his sister we named ”Lady Teela Quietstar” (Teela). Teela was actually a miniature of Reggie and Sherry, so she was considered to be a toy. Unfortunately, Teela was a chewer; she chewed up my shoes that I wore in my wedding. So, now we had in a small two bedroom apartment - three Shelties, an orange tabby cat, a 33 gallon aquarium with two Oscars about 5 ½ inches long, my husband and me. In three months our family and my pets began to grow.
My husband came home one day from work and asked me if I had ever heard of a ferret, more of my pets, I told him I had not. So, we decided to find out more information about them as pets and then we search for a breeder in Missouri. They were legal in Missouri, but not so in many other states back in 1986. When we found the breeder, she had a whole litter of young ferrets, but the one we picked out was the runt and the busiest (more of my pets). As we drove home, her little body curled up in my lap and she looked as if she were dead because I picked her up to carry her into the house and her body just went limp in my hands. Ferrets sleep 16 hours a day when they are babies or kits. But, here comes the fun ferret stories and believe me; we have a lot of them. We named her “Missy Amoreena” or “Lil Am”. She actually got along quite well with all the other animals in the apartment except for one that was Teela. Lil Am taunted her constantly, only because she knew she could.
One of Amoreena’s favorite games to play was blown up balloons under the couch. We would blow up round balloons and watch her grab the tide and of the balloon and began to pull it under the couch. The balloon would pop out of her mouth and she would get angry and start doing the famous ferret war dance, then starts screaming at the balloon. Also, Amoreena had her favorite toys, when we needed to find her, we would squeak her cat toy porcupine and she would come running or if we figured she was sleeping with her other favorite soft cat mouse toy, she could be found sleeping beside it in my husband’s underwear drawer. Also, every two weeks we would have to shake out the count should to find lost items which contain dog food and cat food (since this was before there was any ferret food sold commercially).
Ferrets are notorious for being hoarders. We thought the ferret was our last apartment pet for a while, until one day when my husband walked out to his car in the parking lot near the trash dumpster, when he scared a mother cat carrying one of her young kittens. She dropped the kitten behind the apartment building in the grass. My husband walked over to look to see that it was okay and it was. He came to get me and asked me to keep an eye on it, to make sure no predators or other cats would not kill it and until the mother cat can come back for it. I went back to check on the little black kitten as it called out for its mother, its eyes were still closed but it was an ugly little thing. But by the time night fell the mother cat had not returned so I brought the kitten into the apartment and my husband picked up a can of kitten formula and a bottle from the Veterinarian hospital in our town, another of my pets. We learn how to feed a new baby kitten and how to take care of it in other ways a mother cat would do. We named her “Sootie Saphire”. It took our older cat Jonezy a wild to get use to Sootie, but when she did get accustomed to her she treated her just like her own baby. I have had many animals in my life.
On Labor Day 2010, September 6,
I was driving home from work in Newnan, Georgia. I was heading towards the
Whitesburg Bridge, which crossed over the Chattahoochee River. I have never
liked that bridge; I always get a bad feeling in my stomach when crossing the
bridge ever since they built it two years ago, the little bridge they told down
never bothered me before.
The time of day was about 6:40 PM, I had left work a little later since I was waiting to talk to my supervisor, and he presented me with my five year company ink pen. As I was approaching the ramp near the bridge, I began to slow to 50 miles an hour; I looked to my right on the shoulder of the road in the grass and saw a tiny black and white face (another of my pets) watching the cars ahead of me pass it by.
I pulled my car over about 10 yards away so not
to scare it by getting too close. I know what I had seen. I was just hoping it
hadn’t already been hit or injured. I jumped out of my call or, even forgetting
to turn on my emergency flashers. I woke up quickly has not to scare it across
the road. Cars were still passing by as I got up to it, I could tell it was a
small kitten (another one of my pets).
I waited for three cars to pass before I reached for the kitten. I didn’t want the kitten to dart out into traffic. Once the cars passed, I actually ‘meowed’ at the kitten and when I did; it fell backwards into the high grass. I reached down and parted the grass to find black fur. I pulled out the black and white kitten that ‘mewed’ at me. I spoke to it all the way back to my car.
I reached the car then tucked the kitten (another of my pets) between my work vest and shirt, it was that small. When I sat in the car, I put on my seat belt, placing the lap belt underneath where the kitten was laying. I drove 15 miles home with the kitten in this position, down a curvy back road, talking to it all the way home.
Before I left the bridge though, I called my husband to tell him I would be bringing something home, another chapter for me and my pets. He said “What’s that?” I said “Well, it’s black-and-white, maybe three weeks old and I’m not sure whether it’s the male or female. Oh yeah, it ’meows’ and ’mews’ right now.” he said to me with a chuckle, “You’ve rescued another kitten, didn’t you?” I said “yeah, hope you don’t mind, I’m bringing it home?” he said “not at all, BABE, bring it home.” Then I told my son on the phone. I also told my husband not to tell our 22-year-old daughter, let me, she was in the shower. Let me tell her, ever call me back. When she called me back, she sounded bored, then I told her the same thing about it was black and white and meowed or right now only mewed and she squealed with happiness, then asked was it a male or female? I told her I did not know yet, we’ll find out when I get home. How far are you from home? By then I was turning off of Jones Mill Rd. and now on the highway, about 10 minutes, I told her. Be careful and we will see you when we both get there, love you buy, that is our family’s sign off on the phone.
The kitten (another of my pets) would once in a while peak its head out and I would rub it and speak softly to my pet. It was happy to be stroked on the head. When I pulled in the driveway, they stood outside, my daughter, my son and my husband all in their sleeping clothes, but very excited. My daughter was the first to reach the car but I had my car door still locked, so my son and husband all reached the car by that time. I unlocked the door and opened it. I began to unbutton my vest, after unlocking my seat belt. As I unbuttoned my vest the kitten emerged. The OOOHS and AAAHS were amazing. I even got my real first looked at the kitten’s full face, that’s also when we discovered the kitten was a male. My husband’s first comment was “Mister, If you are staying here you will be sniped”, since we had two female cats in our home that are not fixed. We brought the baby kitten, my pet, into the house and my husband proceeded to look at his face, it had a white line over his nose, he has a full black face and it looks as if his nose is protruding with either spectacles or glasses, all people might say he has a protruding or Roman nose. So my husband named him “BRUTUS”, (another of my pets) like in Shakespeare’s character “ET TU BRUTE” which means “you too Brutus” which for us means “now we have you to Brutus in the family”.
That same night I found him, my pet, I had to run out to the store to pick up kitten formula and baby animal bottle. But the problem laws we gave Brutus warm formula in the bottles, he couldn’t figure out how to suckle on the nipple. After a while, he did figure it out, but he began biting her nipples. He bit two completely through, that’s when we realized that we should try feeding him canned kitten food.
I purchased to steal kitten dishes and several canned kitten food for my pet. It’s we did have a concern though, for a few days going from formula to canned food, Brutus (another of my pets) was not having any kind of bowel movements. So my daughter and I went on the computer and searched similar situations. We found a few remedies including using children’s Pedialite, mineral oil and pumpkin to help. Well, I told my husband and explained to him what will help Brutus to go potty. My husband purchased Pedialite and mineral oil; we get Brutus the mineral oil by mouth with a dropper and put Pedialite into his water which I also gave to him with the dropper because I was worried he wasn’t drinking enough water.
Finally the remedies worked along with the canned kitten food for my pet. Now Brutus is eating about every 4 to 5 hours. His favorite food seems to be beef and fish. He doesn’t like chicken at all. He is also eating some dry food like the older girls (cats). My pet, Brutus (another one of my pets) knows when it is time to eat, as we get his bowl ready, he ‘mews’ at us, then runs to the area in front of the couch where we always place his food and water dishes.
Now Brutus is starting to fit right in with our whole family. He is about seven weeks old, my pet place with the older ginger cat Jonezy. My daughter’s cat Bastet is still not happy about the new kitten. The Border Collie, Chaz is not sure yet about the playful little black and white kitten. We lost our borders 10 year old rabbit, Topaz two weeks ago. That was hard too.
My husband says Brutus is my pet, yet Brutus comes to “his daddy” before he does me. As a situation happened, one night when Brutus fell asleep under the couch and I could not get him out at bedtime. So I had to wake my husband up to call for the baby, which worked, because Bruce came out and was ready for bed with his daddy.
Brutus (another of my pets) also enjoys sleeping in my daughter’s bed and sleeping in my son’s lap. My pet has become an “All around family cat”. Yet, Brutus (another of my pets) still sleeps on my hair, on my arm, on my pillow and in between my husband and I, that his favorite place to sleep is his cradle, a shoebox that we replaced him in when I first brought him home, it is placed in the corner of our bed for my pet.
Brutus (another one of my pets) is loved, even if he was supposed to have been thrown away. When we did look them over his paw pads were scraped up and peeling. He seemed to have had bruises. But he is fine now. Two weeks later my husband went by the bridge and saw another kitten dead like the bridge, but it wasn’t our Brutus. HE WAITED FOR ME! And then starts another chapter about me and my pets.
Brutus (another of my pets) is helping me play some HTML on my website. This picture was taken November 23, 2011 and he is now one year and three months old. I love him more and more every day. He just keeps giving love back. Talk about a return on an investment!
Alice (another of my pets) is a
brindled Pit Bull and Terrier mix or as Nigel refers to her as a Parana with
paws. She is our latest rescue and comes out of the Paulding County Animal
Shelter. The way we arrived at Alice was we had to put down our beloved
Chaz because of his hip dysplasia had gotten so bad that he was biting
everybody. He was in so much pain after 9 ½ years. It was a hard decision to
have him euthanized but it was what, as a responsible pet owner, we sometimes
have to do. He is now at peace in the backyard, under his favorite place to
stand when barking at the neighbor’s dog. We couldn’t sleep for a couple of
nights, so I started searching for the best solution when you have to put down
your pet and that is to find another one. You get so busy with your new pet
that it eases the grief that you are feeling.
Alice was first adopted by a young couple with two children at six weeks of age. She became a problem for the parents as she would play with the children a little too rough. She is all mouth and sharp nails, which overwhelmed the young couple. After living with them for two weeks, they return her to the shelter. Normally, any Pit Bull mix in this state is euthanized after three weeks at a shelter.
I was searching the Internet to try to find a replacement for our beloved Chaz. When I say replacement, I know no canine will be able to protect us from airplanes, helicopters, blow dryers, and that mean old nasty vacuum cleaner that lives in the upstairs closet. Only Chaz could do that!
When I came upon a picture of Alice and we immediately went the next day to the Paulding County Animal Shelter. They were so surprised when I pulled out a picture of Alice and told them this is the dog I wanted. We were glad that she had been chipped with a HomeAgain device that we feature on our website. We filled out the appropriate paperwork and took Alice home with us. I do believe that Alice thought her name was “No Bite” for the first couple of weeks we had her. And for those first couple of weeks my friends at work through I was having problems at home with all the scratches on my arms and neck. But she is a smart little girl and is learning fast. More about Alice later.
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