By Dr. Andrew Jones
Animals, specifically dogs and cats have been a BIG part of my life..I have always had a pet and continue to do so..
I grew up on a farm..cows, pigs, horses, chickens, sheep, pigs, turkeys, and the like, along with a variety of pets…rabbits, budgies, hamsters, and a herd of dogs and cats.
My father, the provider, the farmer, the chairman of the school board, and aficionado of Johnny Cash was NOT your typical ‘animals should be living outside’ kind of guy.
He was a big softie, and all of our dogs and cats lived in the house; my mother long since gave up on trying to keep our home free of animal hair. My room was a mixture of stuffed toys, dog fur, hacked up cat hair balls, the occasional dog bone, and the occasional mouse which escaped capture..
When I think about growing up, my strongest memories perennially revolve around my pets.
Do you remember YOUR first pet as a child?
It evokes such a strong feeling and warm memories for me.
My first pet was dog called Horace, a ‘snorting’ not especially intelligent and slightly overweight Pug.
He had one damaged eye ( as a result of a KICK from a cow); you could never really tell if he was looking at you, and I often wondered what he was really thinking.
Horace had the belief that he could do what the other ‘Big Dogs’ on the farm were doing. He attempted to herd the sheep ( unsuccessfully), chase in Gordina the Milk Cow, and ‘guard’ the house and farm from intruders.
Horace was not well suited to Farm Dog duties- he seldom EVER herded animals in the right direction, and if the weather was inclement- too hot, too cold, too wet- he would not even leave the house.
Behavior- ah not so good. In spite of dog training attempts, he was never even able to master the basics of sit, stay, or come here. My Horace played to his own piper, and did whatever he wanted.
Snorting, snuffling, wheezing and hacking pervaded my bedroom, making sleep at times difficult-but I loved the background noise, and that little pug.
One Sunday afternoon my father had his 3 sons helping to work on his old antique car. It was a warmish September afternoon, and Horace was jumping in and out of the car while we pretended to drive it.
A neighbor stopped to visit, Horace fell asleep under the vehicle.
He died instantly under the weight of a thousand pound truck.
My father picked him up off the road, cradling his limp little body in his arms.
We all cried- myself, my brothers Michael and Ian, and my Dad. I felt this huge sense of loss, and intense pain. Of all my losses up till that time in my life, including my Grandparents, I had never felt so sad.
Looking back on that time, Horace gave me the most joy, and most sorrow, I have ever experienced.
P.S. I would appreciate your feedback…
Leave a comment if you please 🙂
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