Monday, December 31, 2007

Mishca: possibly the perfect pet

If you are lucky, at least once in your life, you will have a pet to whom all other pets will be compared. A sort of magical creature who brings joy and happiness to every waking moment. When you look back on your time with this creature you will only remember the good times and any rough spots will be glossed over or forgotten.

I was given Mishca as a birthday gift in 1991. She was a tiny miniature Schnauzer with a big red bow around her neck. She was the cutest thing ever. I loved her instantly. She was such a quiet puppy almost too good to be true. I took her to her first vet check up and she was running a fever. The vet said that it seemed to him that she had had distemper some time before I got her. He recommended to contact the breeder to return her for a healthy puppy. He felt she wouldn't live a year and should be put down. Hello! I already love her and don't want her to be put down and given a new puppy. I took her to another vet and got the same thing but he agreed to help me do whatever was necessary to give her a chance to have a good life for what time she had. I'll admit it was rough in the beginning. She threw up a lot and I had to give her a bank breaking amount of medication.

Mishca moved with me three times to three different states. She stayed with my father after he had by-pass surgery. She could tell if people needed a playful puppy or a snuggly lap dog and she gave them what they needed. She wasn't barky. She never bit anyone. She never met a person she didn't like.

Small dogs were her friends, as long as they didn't get in her face. For some reason she she aways wanted to kick big dogs' butts. I'd be like, Mishca, that's a Doberman don't be crazy! But she'd be chasing it down the street. Luckily she never met a tough big dog. She loved cats and would roll around and play with them if they'd let her. She would back off from any cat that wasn't cool with dogs.

Mischa loved bananas. Should could hear a banana being peeled from a mile away. If you didn't give her a bite of your banana she would pout. Everyone in the house was required to give her some banana every morning. It didn't matter if it she was in her house or someone elses. I learned to always have bananas on hand even if it meant traveling with some. People who loved her (and there were many) always had bananas for her. She and Herkimer (the turtle) had the banana love in common. Herkimer was a sloooow eater. I would put him in a different room with the door closed so he could have a chance to eat. It drove Mishca crazy to know Herkimer was alone with a banana. Herkimer would also walk around with Mishcas rawhide bones in his mouth to get to her. Once or twice Mishca walked around with Herkimer in her mouth to get even, but she wasn't trying to hurt him, just let him know she was in control.

Mishca died on March 3, 2007. She was over 15 years old. It was fairly quick and painless. She acted like a puppy right up to the end. People can be wrong. Doctors can be wrong. Veterinarians can be wrong.

Friday, December 21, 2007

First there was Herkimer

The very first creature I was totally responsible was a three legged turtle named Herkimer. This was before digital pictures but if I am able to post a picture of him I will later.

I found Herkimer in my back yard in Ohio. He had had some sort of scuffle with maybe a dog or cat. One of his back legs was bleeding and missing from the knee (turtle knee that is) down. I took him to a vet and learned my first lesson in the cost of taking care of another living thing. The vet told me he wouldn't live long in captivity even if he survived long enough for his leg to heal and he wouldn't survive out in the wild with his injury. I insisted that I wanted to try to save him. After an $80 shot of antibiotics I took him home to see what would happen.

The vet had said that turtles are miserable living in a confined space. So I let Herkimer have the run of the house. Well not the whole house but the lower level. There he had carpet and tile to crawl on, furniture to go under and over, and stairs that he never gave up trying to climb.

Despite the vets prediction Herkimer healed and thrived.

He lived for 9 years. He was probably in his 20's when I found him. He was a great pet and very interesting. I have many fond memories of him. I hope that the time he spent with me was a happy time for him. I know that he never would have had bananas in the wild and he loved bananas.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

In the begining.

It was a seemingly normal childhood. We aways had a dog, sometimes 2 (maybe 3 once?). There were the occasional snakes and unknown bug nests. Who knew that you could have a praying mantis nest in a jar for months and the one time you leave the lid off the little buggers would hatch and invade? So while I was never without some sort of nonhuman companion it wasn't like I was used to having a small zoo in the house.

So how is it that I have come to live with, and love, so many creatures? Hell, I don't know. This isn't psychotherapy.

All of the animals living here are interesting. They all contribute something to my life and I will attempt to give each of them a chance to tell their story here.