Perpugilliam "Peri" the Brown
Dec 7, 1994 - Mar 1, 1997
I can still remember the day we found you at the pet shop... you were so small and active, your fur all brown and highlighted gold, like it was touched with honey. We picked you out and took you home, Dad driving and me holding you. I remember we had barely started home when I first felt you sneeze. We had talked about bringing you back, because the stories of rats with myco or respiratory infections made us wonder if we should keep you, but in the end all it took was one look into your bright black eyes to tell us that we could never let you go. You were so small, my little perching Peri, balancing along the side of my hand, climbing up my arm, running around with all the energy an 8-week-old rat could have.
I'm glad you befriended Tegan when we brought her home, that you weren't upset with me. I'm sorry that I kept you alone for a year, without a ratty companion, and I hope Tegan made your life a little happier. I still have the picture of the two of you, curled up together with your tail draped across Tegan's back - it's sitting on my desk and it gets so hard to look at it sometimes, to remember you how you were. How lively, how loving.
I remember how you loved to have your head cradled in my fingers so I could stroke your head with my thumb, how you'd chitter your teeth with your eyes closed. How you turned from the spastic, hyperactive rat of your youth into my wonderful lapfungus, my Peri who'd share lap space with the cat, so long as I kept petting you. I remember the trips to the vet, and your first surgery - the abscess that drove me nearly crazy with worry over Sunday until I could get you to the doctor. Scared that saying goodbye that time could be the last. But it wasn't, and the subsequent trip had even the vet surprised at how quickly you healed. And a month later, when I found the first tumor. They got all of it, but you played with your stitches until they were infected. You put up so well with me, even though I know you hated taking the antibiotics, and it stung when I washed your wound, but you never fought, you never bit, you just let me take care of you, so long as I held your head and stroked it when I was done - you'd chitter your teeth for me to let me know it was all right.
The vet was worried you wouldn't pull through the infection, but you did. You didn't even scar. You seemed invincible... which somehow made it all the harder that last week, when you were losing weight and could hardly move. My darling spazrat who was too weak to crawl up my arm and perch on my shoulder... but not too weak to chitter your teeth as I held you that last night. We took you to the vet that final time, with Dad driving and me holding you, just like we'd taken you home so long ago. Letting you go was the hardest decision we've ever made, but I hope you understand. We couldn't stand to see you hurt, and knew it would only get worse. I think you did, too. When you, my darling Peri, let me lay you on your side and hold your head in my fingers while I stroked you between the ears with my thumb, when I hid your eyes so you wouldn't see the vet and the needle, I think I felt your teeth chitter for me, one last time.
I love you, Periperi.
Tegan misses you, and so do we.
Some 25 years ago, we became the proud owners of a cute little black and tan Dachshund puppy. We named him Heineken and he was the light of our lives. When he died, Walt wrote this song to honor his memory:
When he was just a pup
no bigger than a shoe,
I gave my dog a tennis ball
to see what he would do.
I never dreamed he'd fall in love,
I didn't, not at all.
Now what I've got is a weenie dog
with a crush on a tennis ball!
Heineken, oh Heineken,
you are my tennis champion.
You bring the ball,
I throw the ball,
and you bring it back again.
Some people say he's crazy.
Some people say he's smart.
But by the way he loves his tennis ball,
I know he's got a heart.
And when he rolls it up to me
to say "Come on, let's play!"
I know if I pick up that ball,
I'm stuck with it all day!
He takes his ball to bed with him.
He takes it for a ride.
And when he goes to eat, you guessed it,
right there by his side.
And when he passes on
up to that dog run in the sky,
I bet he takes his ball there, too.
Saint Peter's gonna cry --
Well, Heineken is gone now.
His life has ceased to be.
But I savor still his gift of joy
to my dear wife and me.
He left us with such happiness,
sweet memories and all.
And of course, he also left us with --
a lonely tennis ball.
Heineken, oh Heineken,
you're still our tennis champion.
If you bring the ball,
we'll throw the ball,
and you can bring it back again,
and again ...
We love you boy ... and we miss you!
Walt and Jane Barrow
The smallest progeny of two gerbils the experts at Petland swore were both female, Stumpy was a fighter from day one. In the frenzy of birth, Stumpy's mother destroyed her entire litter, with the exception of Stumpy. Little Stumpy did not escape the blood orgy unscathed, however; Mama chewed off one of his front legs, which my mother found when cleaning the cage.
Bloody and maimed, seperated from his rampaging parents, Stumpy showed an indominable will. It was if the lack of one leg made him jump all the higher and all the harder against the lid of his little cage. One day, he decided once and for all to go over the wall. We had to turn off the furnace and remove all the covers from the registers in order to facilitate his return to captivity. Rodential wanderlust sated, Stumpy dropped into my father's lap one afternoon, and was thus extradited to a maximum security holding facility.
Stumpy lived out his days in gerbil paradise, yet one cold winter morning, we found he had left us permanently (so we thought) for that great gerbil nest in the sky. With snow on the ground, we decided to put stumpy in a paper bag and store him in the freezer until we could provide a proper burial for him.
Yet as the ground thawed, so did our grief, and Stumpy remained in the freezer, waiting. That summer, a kind neighbor brought us some fresh snap-peas from her garden in a paper bag, which mom stuck in the freezer. Weeks later, she set a pot to boil, and grabbed the peas to throw in. Her scream could be heard all over Columbus, Ohio that evening, as my mother watched Stumpy's frigid body bobbing in the angry wake of the water. I lost Stumpy a second time that day, and my mom lost her best double boiler.
Now in college, I have moved on to larger forms of rodent life (a rat, Azie) but Stumpy holds a special place in my family's heart. His antics, both before and after his death, still bring a smile to our faces.
Love you, Stumpy!
Kit Messick, NYC
Elvis - I miss you. You were the biggest Airedale I've ever seen. When your previous owners decided that they didn't want you anymore after nine years, you came into our home. You chewed up clothes, ate one of the babies' shoes, and barked so loud it turned off the TV.
You were also a wonderful companion and had the patience of a saint with the baby. You let Nick crawl over you, play with your ears, and learn to walk holding on to your tail. I remember the day I walked into the living room and Nick was emptying a box of Kleenex one by one, and you were picking them up and eating them one by one. You would have made a great daddy.
When the vet told me it was time to let you go, it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. As always, you were there for me and made me laugh by eating all kleenex out of my purse.
It's been eight months now, and I finally decided to share my home with another dog. She's great, but she's no Elvis. Nick stares up at the sky at night and points to a star and tells me "That's were Elvis lives now". Long live the King.
Fish, the Red Bellied Pirahna
When I first began college I set up an aquarium in my dorm room. I rushed off to the pet store to buy a fish. Oddly enough, I decided to name him just that.....fish. He was a red bellied pirahna, the size of my thumbnail. For two years he travled with me from dorm to dorm to apartment. He was very reziliant, always a hardy fish who traveled well. He reached a length of approximately six inches. All my friends loved him. Especially at feeding time!!! He was always the hit of the party!!! One summer I began the 550 mile drive home from Ohio to N. Carolina for break. Fish made the trip vey well and showed no signs of stress. I set up his new aquarium, and a few days later he began losing control of his swimming ability. I knew right away he was dying. I'm still not sure what caused his death, but I suspect that the pH in the tank got screwed up. I never realized how emotionally attached you can become to a fish. Even though you can't pet it or hold it, you still form a bond. I buried fish in a grave amongst the tall pines in N. Carolina. His grave is marked by a small rock. I still wonder if I could have done something to prevent his death. At least I know that while he was alive, he lead a charmed life. He always had the best from me. Here's to you Fish :-)
We had been without a dog for fifteen months, and Jon and Beth were insisting that we get one before school started. In the local weekly paper there was an ad for a female, spayed, dog - free. Elaine called, and the woman on the other end said that she was sorry, but she had given the dog away that afternoon. However, her friend and neighbor down the street had a dog they were trying to find a home for, and she gave Elaine the phone number. I remember getting in the car and making the comment that unless this animal bit one of our outstretched hands, we would be coming home with a dog.
That was fifteen years ago. Bunny, the name she had when she came to live with us, was the gentlest of animals. We had her six months before we heard her bark. She was a mutt, but looked like a bearded collie. Bunny watched television, loved Wheat Thins, and was admired by all who knew her.
Tonight, Elaine and I had her put down. She will be missed.
Larry Stout and Elaine and Jon and Beth
March 27, 1996
Cody the Poodle
Cody, I will always remember you as the best dog in the world. If you had not gotten so sick and I had gotten a chance to say good bye, then maybe I wouldn't have been so sad about your death. May you rest in peace.
Your loving owner, Richelle
Chevy-Cat - Died March, 1995
I have two cats of my own, but Chevy-Cat was the most special cat I have ever known. He was so named because he was found underneath -- you guessed it -- a Chevy truck. Chevy looked just like the Cat in the Hat, and when I first looked into his roly-poly marble eyes, I fell in cat-love. He was a wild boy, spending most of the time roaming his neighborhood looking for critters and defending his territory. He lived with my Mum in S. California, and I only got to see him once a year. The first time I met him visiting my Mum, I inadvertently left a pair of my shorts on a bed. Mum said that he would sneak in the house, and she would find him in the guest bedroom snuggled on top of my shorts. The last time I saw him, I got a picture of him curled up in my lap, digging his claws into my jeans. You didn't mess with Chevy -- he was very possessive. I cried when my Mum called me a week later and told me he had been put to sleep after accidentally ingesting some poison. Chevy-Cat, I miss you and think of you every time I see your picture. My own cats aren't half as special as you.
Most people think birds don't make good pets. Nelson was different. He was cuddly, affectionate, and he used to follow me around the house. He was very protective of me. He loved spaghetti and eggplant. I really miss him. I woke up at 6:00 am one morning. I didn't have to be at work until 9:00. Strangely, I felt the need to play with Nelson. When I got to his cage, he had just died. His eyes were still glassy. I picked him up and buried him in my backyard in the rain. I felt he tried to hold on until I got there. I have no other reason for waking up so early to be with him. He was the best bird, and my heart hurt for the pain I felt. Nelson will always be in my heart.
Blanche the Cat
Blanche the Cat did not get her name from her snow-white coat, but because, like Tennessee Williams' heroine, she had "always depended on the kindness of strangers." She always welcomed people - big or little, loud or quiet, quick or slow people - to our home. She'd appear in front of them after they'd sat down, present her head expectantly for petting, and silently convey, "I'll be your friend if you'll be mine." People loved Blanche because they all got the same feeling from her -- that she liked them better than anyone else.
We were living in North Carolina when we met Blanche. She lived in the house next door. The two fellows who lived there would leave town for days on end, leaving Blanche to stare out the kitchen window into our dining room window. I learned how to jimmy their back door to get in and leave extra food for her. One day, they announced they were leaving town for good. We asked for the cat, and received her with thanks. She was about six months old, weighed six pounds, and was pregnant. This was in 1977.
We had always been cat people, my wife and I, since we married in 1971 right out of college. We'd had some memorable companions while living in Virginia, Connecticut and Georgia. Right away, we took to Blanche because she was - pardon the expression - an underdog. Small and with a pronounced overbite and a thin tail, she was nobody's show cat. But her face was sweet and her temperament loving and gentle. She had learned from her former situation how to be patient in all situations. And above all, she had a special quality that we would later come to recognize as wisdom.
I'll go on for a minute about the wisdom. When she lived with us, Blanche always shared the house with other cats. I'll only go into the last two -- Al the young ex-tomcat, and Gloria the neurotic fat cat. They're Blanche's feline family survivors. Blanche lived with Gloria for five years and with Al the last two. Gloria and Al have different objectives. Gloria wants to be the top cat, preferably an only cat. Al wants to have fun -- preferably with Gloria, to whom fun is largely a foreign concept. Blanche was in the middle, between them.
In this triad, everyone agreed that Blanche, although the smallest, oldest and weakest of the three, held the moral high ground on the basis of seniority, as well as on the basis of our obvious strong feelings for her. Resentful Gloria would hiss and swipe at her occasionally, and once laid on her and tried to crush her. Al would chase her at about three-quarter speed, which he knew was all she could muster. Here was one area where Blanche's wisdom shone -- in her ability to accommodate her younger rivals. She never refused Al an invigorating chase, even when her bones ached so badly it would take her five minutes to lie down completely. And she never held Gloria's peevishness against her, but would curl up against her antagonist's hindquarters only minutes after Gloria had perpetrated some outrage against her.
Blanche trusted most people, but especially trusted me. Sometimes I would give her a ride, holding her high over my head and walking around the house. Other cats might have stiffened and bolted, but Blanche enjoyed the ride because of her trust that if she fell, I would catch her. There was a contract between us that neither of us would ever let the other down.
I scattered Blanche the Cat's ashes in a Shenandoah County, Virginia field last Sunday. This field is the site of a house my wife and I have built for our retirement. It has a magnificent eastern view of Massanutten Mountain, and of the valley between our house and the mountain. Blanche had never been there, but I've heard it said that the dead should have the best view, because they're dead so long. Blanche lived with us in the Washington, DC suburbs. I decided not to leave her ashes there because someday we would leave that house, and her, forever. We'll always be together in the Valley. Now, when I look over Massanutten, I almost feel like I can see her face. I like to think of her as being in a place where there's always a sunbeam to warm her bones, and where she catches every fieldmouse she leaps for. Blanche was 19.
Annie the Pooh
You came to our home in a son's jacket pocket. Six weeks. Less than five pounds, a ball of fur, big black eyes. Oh, those eyes! They lit up when anyone touched you and sparkled when we rubbed your tummy.
Only two months old, you found the carcass of the Christmas turkey and devoured what you could. We found you nearly comatose in the garage, so full you couldn't even walk.
You ran in circles and barked excitedly when any of our sons came home from college and insisted on sitting in their laps, licking their faces in an outburst of love. You were even excited when others in the family returned from just a brief trip away from the house and insisted on greeting them with great excitement as if they'd been gone for weeks!
For nearly thirteen years you acted the puppy far more than the grand old lady you'd become. Then, time caught up with you. Your antics slowed and then finally all but stopped. No longer able to leap up onto the bed to have your ears scratched, you had to be lifted, but you still "talked" to us as we rubbed your now gray and frazzled muzzle.
Finally, one day at age fourteen you laid down and went to sleep, quietly. We talked to you, but there was no response. Your breathing became labored and then stopped, but in the moments before it did, you opened your eyes one last time and licked our hands as we held your head, tears in our eyes, lumps in our throats.
Annie girl, you weren't good for much. Couldn't hunt. Knew no strangers, so you weren't much of guard dog. Ate everything you came across, so we had to be on guard to be sure no food was left where you could find it. Slept on our bed, so we often had to make room for you, sometimes to our own discomfort. But, you know, we miss you -- a lot!
Four and a half years have passed since we got those last licks.
Wherever you are, surely you must be busy greeting those around you.
Surely, they must be delighted to be met by a floppy-eared, always hungry, black-muzzled, white and brown-coated bundle of energy.
Surely, we will see you again.
Patti, Phil and all the boys
To our beloved birds, Farley and Dr. Suess,
Our first bird, Dr.Suess, was an incredible enigma. He loved us ever so dearly, yet he strived to be as ornery as he possibly could be. He had style, pinache, and a heart twice the size of his body. On the day of his death, he didn't say a word. He used all his strength just to climb onto Mom's finger just an hour before he died. Now he passed his life to save another. We buried him beneath the young Hugo tree (a tree that had grown due to the seeds thrown underground by Hurricane Hugo) and used his soul as fertilizer. May he rest in peace.
The next bird, Farley, was bought shortly after Dr. Suess died because there was a big gap of love in our house. We nursed him from a baby, feeding him three times a day. He grew to love us as much as we loved him. He was a soft friendly bird. He wasn't as ornery as Dr. Suess but he had just as much personality. He died just before his birthday, about two months ago. He will never be forgotten.
Now, we have a new bird. An exspensive parrot that we received from a friend. He is no where near as special as you two were. He bites, and screams, and can hardly talk at all. We may have to give him away.
I just want you two to remember two things that you said: 'What a pretty bird,' and 'I love you'.
Annie the Cat
A girl who lived next door had a cat named Annie, who had longish hair and a tail like a plume. Annie was not a whole lot bigger than a kitten, even though she was full-grown. She spent a lot of time around our house. Annie would snooze on our porch, or walk right in through the front door if it was open, and make herself at home. She was so friendly! One of her favorite things was to charge headlong into a plastic grocery bag and tumble around. You could even pick up the bag by the handles with her in it, and she would love it.
When our neighbor decided to move to another city, I asked her if I could keep Annie. I know, it was quite a brazen request - to ask her if I could keep her pet - but to my joy, she said yes, mentioning that her boyfriend didn't like Annie anyway. So Annie came to live at our house, mainly outside, because that's how she was brought up. She seemed very happy to be getting an increased amount of attention.
About a week later, on a Sunday afternoon, we came back from a drive in the country and saw with horror that Annie was lying in the middle of the street. She had just been hit by a car and was dead. We were devastated. Earlier in the day we had picked up some of that old-fashioned, shredded wooden packing material called excelsior, thinking Annie would love to play in it. Instead we used it for her bedding when we nestled her in a little cardboard box. I picked some hibiscus flowers and put those in with her, then buried her in the back yard. Later I went out there by myself and cried over her grave. I hoped none of the neighbors would see me like that.
I'd never owned a cat before Annie because I thought I didn't like cats. But Annie changed my mind, even though she was with me for a very brief time. I now have another cat named Violet, and I love her to no end; but I'll never forget Annie, and I know I wouldn't have a cat today if it wasn't for Annie.
P.S. Violet is a house cat and she almost never goes outside. I don't want a repeat of what happened to Annie.
Bitsy (June 8, 1981 - March 13, 1996)
Affectionately known as "the best old doggie in the world". She was not only a part of our family, she was the thread that tied us all together. We got her when she was a tiny puppy, only 4 pounds. It was a very hard time in our lives. My husband, and the father of my three daughters, who were then aged 2, 5, and 7, left us. We got Bitsy because we had always wanted a dog, and that seemed like a good time to do it. She filled a void in our lives, and she did a hell of job at it. She was loyal and devoted and loving and she took her place in the family and made us whole again.
Bitsy was a mutt - mostly brown, with black on her fluffy tail, and white on the ends of her paws. The cutest dog in the world. My oldest daughter, Carrie, who was in the second grade that year, wrote about her family, and this is what she said: "There are 5 people in my family, Mom, me, Lisa, Amy, and Bitsy." Over the years, how true that came to be.
She was our comfort always. No child of mine ever worried about being home after school - "I'm not home alone, Mom; Bitsy's here". I never worried about being alone in the house with the girls. Bitsy was a small dog, about 24 pounds, but she had a lot of bark to her, and she let us know if a car even came down the street.
Everyone in our family loved Bitsy, all the time. I don't remember anyone ever being angry with her. The girls haven't always gotten along with each other, but they were always united by their common love for that dog.
Bitsy followed me around the house every minute I was home. She was always right behind me, sometimes almost tripping me if I turned around too fast. I see her everywhere I look at home. I will never forget her.
At the vet's office today, I kept saying to myself "How can I do this to her?" and then I thought "How can I not?". She was so sick, and not going to get better. Bitsy, I did it because I loved you so, I couldn't stand to let you go on like that. You'll be in my heart forever. Thank you for all the years we had. There never was a dog more loved.
Spike and Randi Hedgehog
My friends lost the newest offspring of Spike and Randi Hedgehog. Their litter all succumbed to cold and dampness due to flooding conditions. They were greatly loved and treasured by their handlers and friends, Gayle and Jenny .
Jill's Fish Cemetary
Everyone told me when I went to buy my first goldfish that they die quickly, and not to get too attached. In the six months I've had goldfish (common comets) as college roommates, I've discovered their amazing abilities and different personalities. I'd like to take this opportunity to recognize those goldfish who have come and passed:
Stephen: Died on the way home from the pet store
Steven "Stevie": Lived for nearly two months, then "jumped tank"
Lizard King: Christmas gift, died from stocking-shock
Still with us, but probably won't last much longer:
Annoying Customer: A beautiful white fish, former tank mate of Stevie Fat Albert: An enormous orange goldfish, probably won't last in little bowl.
To all of my fishies,
Ralph, my deceased Basset Hound
Ralph was a large brown and white male, weighing about 85 pounds. My favorite story about him is when he would lay down beside the road and sleep. (He could sleep anywhere, no matter what was going on.) People walking by would see him and come over to look. (He didn't sleep in a curled-up position but lay stretched out on his side, looking a lot like a dead pig.) When they reached down to pet him, he wouldn't move, or else he'd kind of groan and look up at them with his bloodshot eyes. Most people would decide that he was hit by a car and would come up to the house to tell us what had happened. The first time I was really worried, but I started having my doubts after asking the people if they actually saw him get hit. They'd say, "No, but he just lays there and groans and doesn't move." I'd walk out to him and reach down to pet him, and say, "Ralph, this is really embarrassing, get up and come home." I thanked the people, and then Ralph would get up and trot along after me. This happened several times. At our local pet parade, there was a category for "Laziest Dog," where a small amount of prize money could be won. Ralph easily won two years in a row, before he passed away.
Submitted by Carl Hanson