By Pamela McLoughlin, of Orange
Ramblings of a cat person who had special feelings for Tesla
I had a few pets as a child who met tragic endings and in some ways looking back, were a reflection of my childhood.
There was a turtle whose shell melted when he escaped his plastic "environment" and slipped behind the clothes dryer, a cat, "Whiskers" who was poisoned by a spinster neighbor who didn’t like him chasing the birds and a litter of kittens thrown out a window by a rogue babysitter.
But few things are all bad and I also had some positive experiences with my pets.
My rabbit, Sam, escape artist extraordinaire, put the family cat Sylvester to the test when our friends visited one day with their ferocious, loose cannon German shepherd the size of a Shetland pony. When the dog went up to the outside cage and growled like he was going to rip Sam’s fence down, Sylvester jumped in front of him, all hairs up, back arched and made that scary cat sound. The shepherd ran away with its tail between its legs and never bothered Sam again.
That taught me that you don’t have to be big to pack punch - it’s in the presentation.
However, next time the dog was over he lunged at me and ripped my shirt off with his teeth.
I wondered, "Where is Sylvester now?"
Later, I had two orange cats, Alphonse and Ambrose, who could and did detect the supernatural elements in our house (their former owner), convincing me there are such things as ghosts or spirits that can’t get to the right "place." The two feline brothers had a strong bond and that taught me about loyalty, as I had no brothers or sisters.
My luck with fish, not so good. I had an Oscar fish who grew up overnight and ate all his neon tank mates, a rope fish who threw himself out of the tank each day and had to be scooped off the floor and a salt water lion fish who I had no relationship with because he was basically comprised of poisonous spikes.
I would later pass this fish issue on to my already confused child, Will, by letting his beta fish go down the drain while cleaning the bowl. His first phrase ever was spoken as he watched in horror: "Fish die, fish die!" Seconds later, the fish appeared in the sink after flipping its way back up the drain. "Fish back, Fish back!"
But not for long. I nudged it with the net to try to get it out (after all, how could I touch a fish after changing three kids’ diapers?") and it landed back down the drain!
I tried to make it better: "Fish swimming in septic tank! Fish swimming in septic tank!"
I don’t think Will bought it.
My first "children" were two Abyssinian guinea pigs, Lommie and Mommie, parented by myself and the man I should have married. We rushed Lommie to the vet one night when she couldn’t breathe, but there was nothing they could do. It was a very dark night. (and I should have stuck with the concept of guinea pigs as kids).
If you notice, despite all the dog stories I’ve written over the last 18 years, I’ve never had a dog.
That’s a story in itself.
But I hear there is no bond like the one with a dog. Most people say it’s that unconditional love that you’ll never get from a person, cat, turtle, rabbit, fish or guinea pig.
I may never know what it’s like to have a dog, but I still have the blue bowl deemed Tesla’s water dish under my sink. She’s the only dog I ever welcomed into the house and Tesla was special to me because Helen and Kiley are so special to me and she meant so much to them. I think to be taken so suddenly and soon that Tesla was sent here for a good reason that we’ll never be sure of.
May she rest in peace and continue to bring happiness in heaven!
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