Cat, Dog or Pony?
This early 50's photo of Uncle Paul, my mom's brother, gave me the idea for a post on pets - those animals we've loved and shared our homes with.
Although I don't know the names of Uncle Paul's cat and dog, they look similar to ones I've shared companionship with in the photos below of my childhood.
This photo reminds me of the dog Mamma and Pappa had during my visits with them. They called him Koira (with a rolled 'r'). I thought it was a beautiful name until Mamma said Koira is really the word 'dog' in the Finn language.
Another photo of Paul when he was even younger, is the one below where he's standing with Valentine, a milk calf, who was only a couple days old.
When we lived in town, Dad had bought us mini-bike, but we weren't allowed to drive it. Within a few weeks of moving to the farm, he'd traded the mini-bike to the neighbours for a pony.
When I look at the above photo now, I see that I was kind of big for her, but at the time she seemed the perfect size. Except for her width. Shetlands are known for their wide bellies, which is why many people buy the narrower Welsh ponies for their kids. Sheltlands are also known for their...ah... not-so-nice dispostion. This proved true when Flicka put up such a fuss whenever I tried to give her the bit and then saddle her. I can't tell you how many times she nearly stepped on my toes while I was trying to tighten up the cinch. And that was another thing - I never could get the cinch tight enough because she extended her belly and then seemed to suck it in later when I was bouncing around on her back. Flicka never ran, she trotted everywhere and I'm sure I looked like a sack of potatoes up there. She almost lost me and the saddle a few times. But what I really didn't like was when she turned her head to snap at my knees without warning.
All things considered though, I had a horse and wasn't about to complain about it.
Buttons was a short-haired domestic with a nice disposition. Although I'm not a cat person, I didn't mind when Buttons jumped on my lap and cuddled while I read my books in my playhouse. There was no glass and Buttons would go through the window and sleep on the chair when I wasn't around. One time, I smelled skunk as I neared my playhouse. Buttons was lying on the chair, all perfumed up in the worst way. Of course my chair took on the odor. We tried bathing Buttons, but in the end decided to keep our skin and let her clean herself. It tooks weeks before I could go inside and read.
In the next photo, the outbuilding behind Johnny was my playhouse. Originally a grainary, it might have been used for a playhouse by the family who lived there before us. About 5'x5', it contained an over-stuffed chair and small bookcase although I can't remember if they were there when we moved in or if my parents moved them there from the house.
Dad brought Suzie home just after we moved to the farm. She was our guard dog and protector and was only let loose during the night. I didn't spend much time with her because I didn't like dog smell. And whenever I petted Suzie on the way to my playhouse, Buttons acted like I betrayed her.
Yet I felt safe knowing Suzie was protecting us. Especially after I saw a timber wolf out strolling near the barn one Saturday during the winter. A thick layer of snow already covered the ground and more was softly falling. I looked out the kitchen window and saw the grayish movement on the white landscape. That day was so still, it was eerie. The wolf padded across the snow toward the barn and then behind it. I don't know why Suzie didn't raise the alarm. Within seconds, the wolf appeared on the other side of the barn and kept going toward the west. That's my only wolf sighting to date and I'm fine with not seeing another one that close. I may have been in the safety of the house, but I knew danger when I saw it.
What about you? What pets did you have in your childhood? And if you didn't have one, what would you have liked to have?
Related Author Memories posts with Pets or Playhouses:
Penny Zeller - The Dream House (playhouse)
Christa Allan - Camellia Manor: Back to the 1840s (1890 photo of girl and cat)
Valerie Hansen -Writin' and Ropin' (pony)
Jennifer AlLee - A Girl's Best Friend (chihuahua saves the day)
GIVEAWAY - Winner's Choice!
Leave a comment with a valid email address by midnight, May 20th
to be entered in a draw for a book from my giveaway pile.
If you're the winner, I'll email you the list and you can pick.
The pile contains an assortment of books including inspirationals, mainstream,
autobiographies, self-help, devotionals and children's books, all new.
And yesterday I added the latest Dean Koontz novel, What the Night Knows, to the pile.
I haven't read Dean Koontz, but I understand his books are NOT of the inspirational genre, nor are they for the faint of heart.
And how did I end up with a Dean Koontz novel? That's a story in itself...
If you read Regency, you probably know the works of NYT best selling author, Mary Balogh. Mary and I often travel to meetings of the Saskatchewan Romance Writers (SRW) together. This past Saturday when I stopped to pick her up, she thunked a small suitcase into the back of my van and told me she was running away from home. She was joking.
It turned out this generous author was bringing copies of her new hardcover novel,
The Proposal, as well as a paperback copy of Dean Koontz' latest novel,
What the Night Knows, to give each member in attendance.
(Lesson: if you don't attend the meeting, you might miss something great!)
I took a photo of Mary signing her own book, and
another one with Mary holding her book with the cover facing us.
I sent to the later one to Mary, and it now appears on her Facebook page
as well as the official explanation of why she's promoting DK.
(Hint - she received his in error)