22 thoughts on “Reader Friday: Animal Companions

  1. Almost always had a pet since Pop brought home a beagle named Boy, followed by an English Springer Spaniel named Amelia (after Earhart – from an airline pilot who two had her brothers – Orville and Wilbur).

    On my own after college – two Springers, two Goldens, and currently a rescue of unknown pedigree named Cash (after Johnny by my youngest son – and technically his, but…) and of similar size – I’ve never been much of a small-dog person.

    My siblings have been similarly canine crazed – my brother with Springers, my sister with Labs…

    Over that same time span there’ve been a couple of cats thrown in for good measure.

    It helps that we’ve lived out in the country, surrounded by trees and family.

    Cash is curled up under the kitchen table at my feet as I tap whilst the coffee perks.

  2. Oh yeah. As a group, I much prefer dogs and cats to people. I currently have a cat named Fennec and “foster” a feral “named” Felix. I am additionally known as a soft touch for a treat by all of the dogs in my neighborhood.

    I have always had dogs and cats and miss each of them every single day. I think that the life spans of dogs and people should either be equaled or, barring that, reversed.

    • Agreed. I’ll take pets over people. Chiefly because, although dogs have their moments, they generally live a quiet existence. 😎 Not to mention lower my blood pressure. I may not have a dog right now, but just looking at their photos each day gives relaxation from a stressful day.

    • I knew there was something (else), I liked about you, Sir… 😉 Dogs have typically been better listeners – maybe not in obedience, but in brainstorming and the occasional complaint… and almost always willing to go for good brisk walk…

    • Joe, I’m with you on the far too short lifespan of cats and dogs. I miss each of mine everyday as well. And I’m a fellow soft-touch that cats and dogs can spot coming from the proverbial mile away 🙂

  3. Back in the day, when people were asked, “What do you smoke?”, a cute answer was, “O.P.’s,” other people’s.

    Having grown up with dogs and cats and having had a dog and cat for a good bit of my adult life, I’m now at the “O.P.’s” stage, largely but not solely because of my wife’s allergies. But also because, as I try to simplify my life, I’m dis-inclined to commit the time and energy a dog would require.

    To compensate, I’m writing dogs into my stories. In fact I have a novella that centrally features a drug-smelling dog who recognizes the otherwise unidentified victim of a small-plane crash, sending his handler and the dog on a search to learn who she was.

  4. When I was a boy, my dog was Rocky, a black-and-white mix of some kind.

    I have never been able to get close to another dog, even our boys’ dogs.

  5. As a kid, hamsters and parakeets, with the occasional ‘tossed the ping pong ball into the bowl’ goldfish.
    Once we got a house, my parents agreed to a dog, some kind of terrier mix named Duke. A friend of theirs was looking for a home for him, since her kids hadn’t kept their “I’ll take care of it” promises.
    Next dog was when my kids were small, and a friend was moving and couldn’t take the dog with them. Shortly afterward, the Sea World Shark Institute in the keys had to get rid of the dog they’d bought to guard the place. Insurance company said it would cost more if he hurt an intruder than to deal with whatever damage was done. That was Shark (obviously), a doberman/lab mix (we think).
    Right now, we have a rescue dog of mixed parentage. Her name is FBI SAC Odell, but we call her Feebie.

  6. I’m with Joe–animals are better companions than humans.

    We had a rescue Weimaraner who decided I was the “other woman”–in bed, she would brace her back against my husband and use four her long, strong legs to push me out onto the floor.

    These days, we settle for “renting” other people’s dogs. Our neighbors two white Labs believed our house was their vacation cottage and showed up on the doorstep whenever they escaped. Same with another neighbor’s Golden Retriever.

    Currently, I’m the chew toy for a three-month-old Golden who belongs to yet another neighbor. Will be so glad when he loses his puppy teeth b/c I’m using up too many bandaids.

  7. LOVE dogs & am most partial to large breeds but especially love Labrador Retrievers. Grew up on a mini-farm where we had several dogs & cats. One of my fondest memories is taking my Collie/Shepherd mix, Bob Barker, for Show & Tell to kindergarten. I miss him as well as my black lab Cody Starsky Jackson.

    Don’t have pets right now. Goal is 3 labs subsequently named: Yellow lab will be Matt Dillon Jackson, Black will be Newly O’Brien Jackson, brown will be Festus Hagen Jackson. 😎

  8. I have four black cats. (Well, I do write ghost stories, so . . . ) I also have a long-legged mutt who jogs and walks with me. I couldn’t write without my head-clearing walks/jogs.

  9. Mom grew up on a farm so if an animal couldn’t pull a plow or be eaten she saw no use in it (except cats since they worked for a living). Fortunately Daddy was an easier touch, hence my first collie.

    After Daddy died Mom said I could have a dog as long as it was small. A friend gifted us a dachshund puppy, Skipper, who saved us from an intruder when he was older, earning Mom’s respect.

    I married a fellow big dog lover and we had a collie (mine) and a Siberian Husky (his). Our human kids came along and a friend who raised golden retrievers gifted them Buddy, who the kids still refer to as Wonder Dog.

    These days we have Tigger, a once emaciated stray kitten (now a fat and sassy senior) rescued by Hubby when he was setting up an event at the Citrus Bowl. (now a fat and sassy senior cat). a stray kitten from the Citrus Bowl. We have Smokey, an ex-feral kitten who literally attached herself to our Marine’s pant leg when he was jogging in the park during a storm. Our current pups are Princess Miyuki, my Japanese Chin (14) and two we inherited from Hubby’s mom when she passed Gizmo, a pomeranian (12) and Tinkerbell (16) a chihuahua.

    I really beileve between St. Francis and our former pets who are no doubt in cahoots with him, we will always have someone in residence.

  10. I love cats and dogs starting as a young child. I had a hardy orange tabby I named “Tango” when I was growing up. Tango was fearless, and once faced down a German shepherd when she’d gotten loose, making the “terror” of our neighborhood back off.

    My wife is also a pet lover. The first few years of our marriage were spent in apartments, so we had to do without a pet, but as soon as we bought our house back in 1988, we brought home two kittens, one from the animal shelter, and one from a pet store. We’ve had six here so far. Right now, that’s just one, our beloved Mittens, a fourteen year old domestic shorthair, the lord of our manor.

    We’d adopted him and his brother Simba when they were ten weeks old, from an elderly gentleman who was also a client at our vet clinic. He’d adopted their mother, a one year old stray who turned out to be pregnant, but he wasn’t able to keep them, so our clinic, knowing we were without cats at the time (our previous one had just passed away) called and we agreed. Simba passed away at the end of June, 2019, at the age of almost thirteen, after a few months spent battling kidney disease, Mittens watching over him when he left.

    As you can tell, I’m a pet person. In general, cats and dogs seem to like me. I think they can smell a soft-touch from a mile away 🙂 All I know is that they make my life so much richer.

  11. Always had dogs and cats when we were kiddos. My first dog that was all mine was Pepe, a chihuahua. He was a fierce little thing and slept in my bed with me.

    I remember we had two cats at the same time, both Siamese, a pure black named Jinx, and a Seal Point named Captain Hook. Hook could take a standing leap, straight up in the air about 7-8 feet, and grab whatever my dad was holding up there. Jinx liked to sit or lay on the top of the TV console, statue-like, where it was warm. More than once when we had company, he’d move suddenly and scare our guests.

    Presently, we have a large female German shepherd named Hoka. We inherited her at 6 months of age from our daughter, who was moving from the PNW to San Diego and couldn’t take her. She is quirky for sure, loves to go for walks, dig for gophers on our 5 acres, and is scared of gun noises…which, right now, is often…hunters sighting in their rifles, etc. She pees on command, and I spoon-feed her…it’s a bonding thing. I’m the Food Lady at our house.

    Before Hoka, we had a beautiful Chow/Samoyed mix named Bear. We had her for about 12 years or so, then had to put her down because of a pancreas tumor. We called a mobile vet. We sat out in our yard, Bear across both of our laps as the vet did his thing. We love Hoka, but we still miss Bear.

    And, before Bear, we’d acquired a Malamute from my brother, who’d moved to an apartment in Minneapolis. His name was Korean for Smart Dog…Dok Dogi. He was a good dog. We had him about ten years, then came home one day and he was dead in his outside run. We think to this day that some schmuck poisoned him.

    Wow, pets really get us going, right? I could go on, but I guess I’d better not. 🙂

  12. I’ve always been more of an animal than people person. Dogs, cats, and a horse. After Killer Kitty, assassin of all things squeeky, died about ten years ago, I decided it was time to be petless because I’m of the age where health and my living conditions could change drastically, and that wouldn’t be fair to an animal. The area around me has also become dangerous with coyotes and foxes moving in so an outdoor cat would not be a smart idea.

  13. I have always had dogs and cats, usually simultaneously. I have been teased relentlessly by family over one teeny tiny thing….

    I had several orange tabbies – all named Tony. It IS just a coincidence that my first born is also Tony. I swear! 😉

    My husband and I are now working with our third Brittany. Love the breed. Very intelligent, needs interaction (which keeps us from being too sedentary), and is about as loveable a companion as one could wish for. I can’t imagine life without an animal companion.

    As for my husband, one of his fellow officers once made this observation. “If there is a reincarnation, I want to come back as Rusty.” (My husband’s first Brittany.) Yeah, between the mutual love of dogs, books, history, and art, our match was truly made in heaven. <3

  14. Of course I’m an animal person. we have:
    1 cat
    1 dog
    1 Chihuahua

    And I volunteer at the local humane society. I walk dogs, clean cages, and carry cats around.

  15. I hope this does not come as a surprise to KZ readers, but I have cats. There were cats in the house when I was born, there have always been cats in the house throughout my life, and there will no doubt be cats when I die (I’ll make arrangements for them). Sometimes they drive me absolutely nuts and I wish they would just go away. OTOH I can’t imagine living without them. When I lived in Australia for a time I didn’t have my cats with me, and I really missed them. The feeling was mutual.

    It can be devastating when they die. I once had a friend who told me that she couldn’t have pets anymore because she couldn’t deal with that emotional pain.

    I currently have five cats with no intention of expanding the brood. There have been more at times. When there were three people living in the house there were a lot more cats. It’s important to pay attention to the cats to human ratio to make sure they are all taken care of properly. I like having enough cats that they develop alliances, etc. They provide such entertainment.

    People that don’t have pets, have never had pets, and will never get pets are just weird to me.

  16. I’m definitely an animal person. This is the first time I’ve ever lived without a furbaby running around my house. My “pets” live free but come when called by name. Brilliant animals, crows. I also have chippies that let me hold ’em and pet ’em, so I get my pet fix.

  17. Definitely a pet person. Have had dogs, cats, and rabbits over the years. Now I have a mixed Terrier named Finn, a rescue, who is the sweetest guy ever. As a kid, I had a Terrier named Mitzi.

  18. I’ve always had pets. Growing up, we had dogs and cats and I also had guinea pigs, a pet duck and a pet goose. It wasn’t unusual to go to sleep with at least one dog and a cat or two on the bed.
    Now we have 2 rescue greyhounds and a rescue cat. One of them will often keep me company when I write and the dogs ensure that we go for a walk everyday, so I reckon they’re good for our physical and mental health.

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