The earliest memories I have of animals are from when I was about 4 years old. I thought I’d take a trip down memory lane and try to remember things from my early years, say between 4 and 7 years old.
The First Dog – Tally
When I was little, our family had a Siberian Husky named Tally. I don’t remember much about Tally except that she had puppies and we kept two of them. I remember all the kids in the family trying to come up with names for the puppies. I wanted one to be named Teeko and she ended up being named Tiki . The other puppy was named Sherry. My only other memory of Tally isn’t a good one. I opened a door to where Tally, Tiki, and Sherry stayed, and Tally bit or jumped on me and I ended up with a split lip needing stitches. I’m not sure who, if anyone, was to blame, but shortly thereafter my mom decided to put Tally to sleep. As an adult I heard mention that Tally became over-protective of her puppies and my mom didn’t trust her anymore.
Tally taught me: Responsibility
As an adult looking back, that experience shaped my intolerance of owners who make excuses for an unruly or aggressive pet. An owner has the responsibility of making sure their pet is not a threat to people or other animals and they need to find a way to manage situations so no one is harmed.
The good news from this memory is that Tiki and Sherry stayed with the family for the rest of their lives and they both lived to be about 14 years old.
A Found Puppy
When I was about 4 years old, I remember finding a little brown puppy in our back yard. My mom said we had to call “the pound” to come get the puppy. I knew that wasn’t a good thing and I cried a little. What child wants to give up a cute puppy?
The puppy taught me: People’s true nature
I think everyone is born with an innate ability or attraction to something. For me, it’s animals. I’m amazed by the beauty of a bird’s flight, the grace of a praying mantis, the social loyalty of elephants, and the sacred sound of a purring cat.
Tiki and Sherry
I have only a couple memories of Tiki and Sherry together. The Wisconsin summers were hot and humid, and Tiki and Sherry would both curl around the cool toilet bowl. Their rear-ends were behind the toilet and each had a head towards one side. Being of the age where company in the bathroom was fun, I remember playing with their soft ears while using the bathroom. I remember pulling long strips of toilet paper from the roll and tickling their ears with it. In winter, Tiki and Sherry would play in the snow with us and my brother tried to have them pull me on a sled. I remember my brother did most of the pulling.
Sherry – A Girl’s Best Friend
When my Dad’s job was transferred to California, Tiki stayed behind with my older siblings and Sherry moved to California with us. I was almost 8 years old and Sherry was the source of love and friendship to a youngster who moved half-way across the country with less than half of her family. Sherry was my best friend, always eager to have me come home from school, wanting to be petted, play fetch, or try to learn fun things like shaking paws.
Sherry taught me: Animals make great friends and companions.
Sherry was the dog who taught me about having to care for a pet on a daily basis and making sure they were happy and loved. She showed me the unconditional love and friendship that only a pet can give.
These are the only photos I have of Sherry. She was red & white and had beautiful blue eyes. She kept those soft, ticklish ears her entire life!
What’s Missing? … Cats!
After taking this trip down memory lane I realized none of my early memories include cats. No one in our family had a cat and I don’t remember seeing one in the neighborhood. Before moving to California, the only cat I remember is the puppet from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. I had to look up her name – Henrietta Pussycat. For some reason she really annoyed me. She was always saying “meow, meow”.
What Henrietta Pussycat taught me: Things Change!
I grew up, and I still cherish all animals. But I adore cats.
I believe cats are the embodiment of perfection.
What are some of your earliest memories of pets? Share a memory in the comments.