Sunday, December 19, 2010

Seventh Day of Christmas

On the seventh day of Christmas I'm truly grateful for:

Seven pets, past and present.

Cotton is the first pet my family ever had.  She was a mutt that we got from the pound.  She was all white and had one eye that was blue and one eye that was brown.
She sort of looked like this...
...with eyes like this.
I was really young when we had her.  Mostly what I remember is how Joel and Derek could get her to chase her tail in circles.  She'd run around and around and around trying to get a hold of it.  She was a sweet and rambunctious dog.  One day Derek and Joel took her for a walk.  She broke free of her leash and ran out in the street as a car was coming.  It ran over her and the people in it didn't even stop or slow down or anything after.  They just kept on driving.  My sobbing brothers had to carry her back to our house.  She was put to sleep later that night. Sad.

Next came Domino. She was also a mutt we got from the pound.
She sort of looked like this, and was definitely as naughty as this.
She was a crazy dog.  Once our cats came along, she was best friends with one of them and mortal enemies with the other one.  She was a very sweet dog but was also very rambunctious.  One day she got out of our gate and never came back.  We put up signs everywhere, but never heard anything so we gave up hope.  Then, months and months later, maybe even a year later, we got her back.  We were bringing in groceries from the car so our door to our garage was open. Between everyone walking back and forth, there was suddenly a dog in our house barking and jumping all over Derek.  We were startled and I was scared until Derek started laughing and crying and saying, "It's Domino! It's Domino!"  What the?  She was back.  The next day a boy who was probably somewhere in age between Derek and me knocked on our door telling us his dog had run away and he was looking for her.  He had a flyer with a picture of Domino and him on it.  We told him that Domino was actually ours.  He kept calling her some weird name like Jennifer or something like that.  It was kind of an awkward situation to both be claiming ownership of this dog.  We ended up keeping Domino and Johnny was really sad.  He was an only child and loved that dog.  Over the next couple months Domino would run away to Johnny's house and then run back from Johnny's house to ours.  She couldn't make up her mind.  Finally, we decided that Johnny needed her more than we did and let him keep her there for good.

Penny is the cat that I got to name.
She was so pretty and elegant
Her full name was Penguin, but we called her Penny for short.  Penny truly had nine lives. She was the runt of her litter and was really small.  She somehow survived being run over by my mom's car (she had a bald spot there for the rest of her life), being smashed in the garage door twice, and getting into tons of fights with other cats.  By the sounds of it you'd think she was one of those mean and nasty cats that doesn't like anyone, but it was the exact opposite.
Notice her bald spot
She'd cuddle with anyone who wanted to.  She was the sweetest with little kids.  She'd let you tug her around by her tail, put doll clothes on her and even drop her from the balcony and she'd never get hissy or scratchy.  She was also a master huntress.  She'd hide in the tops of our trees in our backyard and wait for a bird to fly by and then LEAP out of the tree and smack the bird out of the air.  She was constantly bringing us birds and little rodents and things.  She had about six or seven litters of kittens, too.  She was the All-American house-cat.

Sphynx was a kitten from Penny's first litter of kittens.
Baby Spynx
He was a huge Siamese-colored cat.  He wasn't just fat, but he was built large.  He and Domino were besties while Domino lived with us.  Unlike his petite mother, Sphynx wasn't brave at all.  Even as an adult, if he saw a snail on the cement, he'd run away screaming and wait for Penny to come by and take care of it.  He wasn't the docile sweetheart that Penny was with kids, but he was pretty close.  He'd let you poke him and prod him and cut off one side of his whiskers and stuff him in an empty tennis ball container and roll him down the stairs in it.  The only difference was that he'd let you know he was mad.  He wouldn't scratch or bite but he'd yell at you.  His ears would go down and he'd show you his teeth and let out a low, sharp yell.  But once you got over how intimidating it was and realized that he was just a big baby, everything was ok.  Sadly, I acquired an extreme allergy to cats once I was about thirteen or fourteen and we had to give the cats away so that I could open my eyes and breathe.

When I was in about 8th grade, our family got a little dog that was 3/4 Lhasa Apso and 1/4 Toy Poodle.  He basically looked like a teeny Golden Retriever puppy that would never grow up.
He wasn't quite this white and you could see his eyes
We got him as a family dog and all decided on the name Homer.  But after that he sort of turned into my dog.  He'd sleep with me and shadow me and basically do everything that I did when I was home.  It even got to the point where I was the one who fed him and cleaned up after him because he was so much mine.  We were best friends. A couple years later, someone left the door open and he got out of the house for the first time without his leash.  He had his tags on, but that was pointless.  He was so cute that there's no way he would have been returned if someone found him.  I put up signs for months and prayed and cried about it, but we never saw him again.  My only consolation is that he probably didn't die but was taken in because he was so cute and well-mannered.  He was a great, great friend.

A couple years ago all Rex asked for for Christmas was a dog.  That's all he wanted.  That's all any of us wanted for him.  He and Nina didn't really remember any of the other pets we'd had and we wanted them to know the love that animals can bring to you as a kid.  My mom was hesitant because of the training and commitment it would mean.  Plus, she knew how hard it is to lose a pet, but with the encouragement and begging of my dad and my siblings and me, she caved.  After we had opened all of our Christmas presents and Rex hadn't seen a dog, he was trying his hardest not to seem disappointed.  He was smiling and saying how great everything was, but you could tell he had hoped he'd have a dog more than any of those other presents combined.  Then there was a ring at the doorbell.  We told Rex to answer it.  When he opened the door there was a little black puppy, all alone with a big bow on her collar and a note attached to it.  He immediately started crying and asking whose puppy that was.  He picked it up as we tried reading it to him but were all crying too much to get anything out.  Finally, Joel was able to get through the note telling Rex that the puppy was his.  Rex named her Dahlia Noel (and later Gasol) Nelson.  She's a little brat, but she's also a sweetheart.
On Christmas the day we got her
She loves to be held and paid attention to.  And I've never seen another dog do this, but she loves to be held with her back down and her head facing the ceiling like a little baby.  She'll put her paw on your neck when you hold her that way to show that she loves you and is happy you're holding her.  It's the cutest thing ever.  In all reality, I don't think she knows that she's a dog.  She jumps and climbs like she's a cat and expects to be treated like a human baby.
Thinking she's human
She's a great addition to our family.  We all love her a lot. She and my dad are especially BFF's lately.  And she's great with the grandkids.  Miles absolutely adores her.  And she doesn't ever bark or snap at them as they tackle her and sit on her and drag her around.

Last but not least is my baby, Nemo.
Nemo's family before I became his family
In case you've forgotten about how we came to be a family, here's a link to the earlier post I did about him. Nemo is my little miracle baby. I know he's only a fish, but he's also the only pet that I could sit and watch for hours and hours doing nothing more than swimming back and forth and being my miracle.  I love Nemo so much.  Sometimes I just want to hold him close to me and kiss him.  Then I remember that he'd probably die if I did that, so I take my hand out of the tank and dry it off and start staring at him again instead.  He's the greatest.
Nemo's first birthday
I can't wait to celebrate his second birthday next Cinco de Mayo.

So, on this Seventh day of Christmas, I'm truly grateful for:

Seven Pets, Past and Present,

Six Grandparents,

Five Nieces and Nephews,

Four Middle School Friends, Four High School Friends and Four China Friends,

Three Brothers, Three Sisters and Three Siblings-in-Law,

Two Loving Parents


One Promised King. Savior of the World.

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