It all started when Twinkles died.
I couldn’t believe the words that fell from my father’s mouth. They were horrible and I shook my head back and forth thinking that what he said couldn’t possibly be true.
The only problem is that it those words were true and my beautiful, butterscotch-colored cat would never again cuddle and comfort me. Never chase yarn balls. Never just “be there.” I was sickened to think that he was lifeless and that a careless driver could actually leave his little body, flattened on the road near our house.
The cavernous void of missing Butterscoth left an achy feeling and it got worse each day. I missed his furry hugs and caring for something smaller than myself. I wanted the encompassing stab of sadness to go away. It took me a long time, but eventually my pre-pubescent heart was ready to love again – and to be a pet owner.
Until then, I’m sure Dad was fine without a feline – although he didn’t mind me having one. It’s just that he knew no matter how many times I swore to feed the cat, water the cat and take care of the cat that – it was all a lie. My goal was to obtain the security of having my own feel-good furball – so any coaxing with promises of responsibility were simply part of the plan.
At last, after many, miserable months, I learned of a friend’s cat that had six kittens. It was “find a home week” for them and after an unusually effective round of imploring, Dad finally broke, got his car keys and drove me and my two younger sisters to the “kittens to good home” house.
My anticipation soared. My decisiontime neared and six sets of kitten eyes looked up at me as if imagining what type of owner I would be.
How could I be forced to choose from such small angels of softness? This was exceedingly difficult and much harder than I had imagined! I was resolute, though, and envisioned myself leaving – not empty handed, but with my hands full of fur and warmth and happiness. My heart would beat happily again.
Upon initial inspection, I realized that sheer looks could NOT be the deciding factor. I had to find an alternate method to choose a kitten saturated with skills in car-avoidance. A plan began to hatch within my little brain.
I would find a cat that was nimble, and smart and FAST!
I instructed my sisters and friend to take all kittens to the far wall in the kitchen. As I stood at the opposite wall, I filled a small bowl with milk and placed it on the floor.
“Ready. Set. Go!” I shouted as my sisters and friend released the kittens. Some meandered meaninglessly, but one – a coal black one – spied the prize and traveled at speeds faster than any kitten should possess.
“I’ll take this one,” I said proudly as I held up the first-place winner for all to see.
He had raced his way into my heart by using his focused, lightning speed! And in my mind, I figured if he were fast enough to beat the others, he could dodge errant cars.
And that – my friends – is how “Boo” became my next pet.
What are some of your pet stories? What roles have pets played in your life? Tell us. We want to know!