Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'm a Grandpa!

First, a warning: This entry has become a sentimental essay on the nature of pet parenting and not like my usual stuff, so you may want to jump ahead to my next entry which is about movies.
The first of Zebina's eggs has hatched! I caught a glimpse of the chick tonight, almost two weeks after first sighting the eggs. The chick is super tiny and looks more like a Sci-Fi alien than a bird; almost like a teeny worm with a wee beak. It's hard to see with all the nesting and down in the nest, but I saw it move twice so I know it's there.
And Zebina herself has doubled in size in just two days! I have filled their feed cup twice this week, added a millet spray and chopped fruit, and she just keeps on eating. She's actually twice Zebadiah's size. As for him, he is now pulling feather's from her back and taking them into the nest, though twice I saw her give him hell for it.
As a kid (and into recent adulthood), I had all sorts of pets: turtles; gerbils; anoles; tropical fish; hermit crabs; Sea Monkeys; 3 dogs and 3 cats. And I am told that I had parakeets (my maternal Grandmother's pet of choice) as a toddler. Many of these pets (the dogs and cats, mostly, if truth be told) hold many fond memories for me. Said Grandmother (a true character who will no doubt figure in a work of mine, one day) bought me a rabbit (Thumper - how creative...not!) one Easter and later bought me my first dog, an AKC registered Schnauzer which we later bred with a neighbor's Schnauzer, twice. We kept one of those pups. Not long after they were both gone, my mother brought home a gorgeous grey-tipped Persian cat named Samantha, who was rescued from a home overrun with pets and children. Samantha was a great cat and well-aware of her beauty, but she bonded with my sister more than anyone. Samantha lived to be eighteen - a very long time for a cat of any breed. My sister was devastated when Samantha died.
A rash of neighborhood burglaries prompted the purchase of my beloved Brandy, a Golden Retriever/Cocker Spaniel mix who was beautiful, hilarious, loyal and a bitch in every sense of the word. Samantha was still alive when Brandy came to live with us, and after so many years of being Queen of the Castle, abused and cowed the puppy into complete submission. Of course, all Brandy ever wanted was to be friends, but haughty Samantha would have none of it. After Samantha passed, Brandy was Queen Bee for quite a while.
Then my little buddy Kirby came into my life; Mom showing up at the door late one night with this adorable young kitty who walked into my house like he had always been there and within ten minutes stole my heart. Kirby's favorite trick was the "slow lap-leap." As I sat on my end of the sofa, watching TV, he would jump up onto the opposite end of the back of the sofa and very slowly make his way toward me. Soon, a little paw would land itself on my shoulder. A few minutes later, the paw was joined by its mate. Suddenly I would find myself with a lap full of purring cat, grabbing at my wrists for attention. If I completely ignored him, he would jump back up onto the sofa back and bite my hair. And he loved everyone - I never saw a more affectionate cat in my life. But if it came down to being petted by anyone else or me, it was always me he chose. It was devastating to learn that at just age 7, he was suffering from both liver disease and diabetes. Putting Kirby down was made a little easier by my dear friend "K" (if you've been reading, you have met her before) coming with me that awful day, even if she had to leave the room when it came time for the actual injection. And to be honest, my biggest solace was that my vet cried right along with me, telling me that no matter how many of these procedures she did, they never got easier.
And Miss Brandy once again ruled the roost. But, as all things must come to pass, Brandy's age caught up with her. She was about 16 when she passed, a good age for a medium/large dog. She was well-loved and when I knew it was time, I called a vet who would come to the house to put her down. The night before the vet came, I wrapped Brandy in a blanket and laid her in front of a small heater in the living room. When I woke up the next morning, I found her with her paw on the bottom stair to my room, as though she had been trying to say "goodbye."
"That's it. No more pets!"
Until three years later when a friend was about to move her boyfriend into her home. BF had a cat, to which my friend was allergic. Said cat, needed a new home. And so came Miss Pepper into my life. BF had rescued her 10 years ago, from a man who could no longer keep her. BF had no idea how old she was when he got her, because she was just a tiny little thing - 3 lbs, at most (the groomers at PetSmart always thought I was bringing my kitten to have her claws trimmed). Pepper was the neediest, most neurotic cat I have ever owned. She had an incessant need to lick literally everything (though she preferred my face and hands). And I mean everything: plastic bags; the drapes; the tub walls after a shower; the fridge; boots; people... Pepper was sweet and weird (one of about twenty nicknames I had for her was "Weirdo") but just a few years later, she was gone as well. I suspect she was older than BF had led me to believe.
Again, I said "That's it! No more pets" (though to be honest, I am almost desperate for a Boxer).
Then came The Skin of Our Teeth and Zebina. The rest, as they (whoever "they" are) say, is history (however non-Earth-shattering that history may be). This is fun, new and exciting for me. I hope they all hatch and survive. Maybe I can even make some money out of it.
This did not turn out to be the post I thought it would be when I started. But I suppose, if nothing else, it's a tiny bit of insight for you (I know there are at least four of you, now) into me.
OK - movies, next! Promise.
More of this, anon.

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