Well, it's official. The First Family has finally acquired a dog.
It took the Obamas awhile to get around to choosing Bo and, in the end, they got their pet the way most of us do -- because somebody (Ted Kennedy) gave them a dog.
Have you ever actually gone out and acquired a particular type of animal after mulling the options for months? I haven't. Pets have always come to me by other means.
This was also true of the cats and dogs my family had when I was a child. My father found our first cat, Tinkerbelle. This was during one of his layoffs from Westinghouse, when he was working nights as a janitor at Churchhill Valley Country Club. She was a young stray who came scrounging for food at the kitchen door, so he brought her home.
The two cats I have now originally came to my mother as strays. She took them in. When she died, I got them -- kind of an inheritance, the kind that costs money (food, vet bills, etc.).
Dusty has been the most trouble by far. He came to live with me first, while my mother was still alive. He was a nasty, hostile cat, a cat who bit and yowled constantly. I responded with a threat -- every time he meowed, I would take it to mean, "Pet me," and I would hold him down and pet him at least 100 strokes. Lo and behold, he did mean, "Pet me!" He started to act friendly and would even purr, something my mother claimed he never did.
Then he broke a hole through a weak spot in my basement door and escaped. He was gone for weeks. My mother would ask, "How's Dusty?" and I would lie and say, "He's fine." He finally got picked up by animal control, apparently heading for her house, and I had to bail him out.
Taffy was the nice one. He stayed at my mother's home while she was hospitalized, awaiting her return. My brother Joe, with his wife and daughter, who lived a few blocks from my mother, would go over every day to check on her house and feed Taffy. I brought him to my house after my mother died.
He purrs and acts friendly, but I suspect he sees me as the monster who kidnapped him and took him from his real home. They both do.
Anyway, how did you get your pets? Does anybody out there have a Portuguese water dog? Have you ever used your pet as a character in your writing? I used Dusty for a recent class assignment at Pittsburgh Filmmakers -- it was a "moving stills" project, which means that I had to take a series of still photos, then show them in sequence as a movie. Dusty Seeks Enlightenment features Dusty with various religious items -- from a rosary to Kokopele, angels to goddess statues. It came out rather weird.