I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have a pet. There were always dogs and at one point I actually decided to turn one of our dogs into a horse, or better a pony. He didn’t have to wear a saddle. I guess that went to far even for my Dad. But I decided that I needed to ride on him. He was a big dog. Some kind of German Shepard mix. I’m pretty sure that my Dad was lifting me up while I was on the dogs back but made it seem like I was actually riding the poor animal. I must have been 4ish back then…
There were many dogs, the house I grew up in was a “dog house”. Then the ponies moved in and not long after a tiny kitten sought refuge from the Swiss National Day fireworks mayhem and found it in our house. The deal was clear for my Dad: No cats in the house. But it took a while for us to locate the owner and by then the cat had decided that she liked our house and our garden and the girls in the house (my mother and I) had made the decision that the cat would stay. No matter what my Dad thought. The owner was happy to give her up and so the “dog house” turned into a “dog and cat house”.
It actually didn’t took long for the cats to take over. Soon two other cats were moved in. For some reason my mother decided that the cat would not be happy on her own. Honestly the three of them never bonded but it didn’t matter for my mother. She wanted two more cats and she got them. By that time we had one dog, two ponies, two horses and three cats, a Dad and a brother living with us.
Our dog was a Great Dane. A beautiful gentle giant. There were many other cats around the house as it was surrounded by fields so it was normal to see other cats on a daily base. But there was this one cat. He was huge. Beautiful cat. We started calling him “Tiger” as he truly looked and moved like a mini version of a tiger. They say cats don’t enter through a cat door that is not theirs… Well, it’s not true.
One morning he was in our kitchen, happily eating our cats food. He was not even stressed when we arrived. We knew that he didn’t belong to anyone. We had asked around. He was too beautiful to ignore. He made it a habit to enter our house and help himself to the food. One morning I found him fast asleep in our dogs bed. He found himself a home. Needless to say, that my Dad slowly started to feel overwhelmed with 1 giant dog, 3 cats already living with us, 2 ponies and now 2 horses and 1 foal.
So he thought he set it straight telling my mother that if this cat moves in, he would move out.
What can I say, the cat moved in, my Dad never moved out and the dog had to share the bed from that day onward. Tiger wasn’t chipped and we never found out where he came from but he was a character. Very quickly he was running the show.
Then the day arrived I had to move to go to University. To be honest I missed the animals but in a way it was also nice not to have the constant responsibility. Until the day my friends got me the hamster. They had decided that I must feel lonely without the zoo I was used to. A hamster… Never in my life would I have thought of getting a hamster! They are sweet. But they are nocturnal if you don’t change their entire routine around and I just couldn’t do it. I felt sorry for this poor little thing in his tiny cage but I still liked him very much. So whenever I went back to my parents house (every weekend and every free day, after all there were the horses…) I took him along. Until that one day when one of my friends in the town I grew up in gave me the massive cage she used to keep her rats in. Yep, rats… I know… Let’s just not go there…
So suddenly there was this hamster mansion in my parents house and what first was like a holiday house to him suddenly turned into his residency as I decided that he would have much more fun and much more room there. So he stayed in my parents house. Together with the 4 cats, the giant dog, the ponies and the horses. He turned pretty old for a hamster. A miracle as he was an escape artist and got caught by one of our cats on one of his outings. I still remember the cat proudly walking around with something dangling in her mouth. She often got socks and carried them around so I first thought she got socks again, until I saw the tiny legs, then the tiny ears and realized that “James” got out again and got caught… Somehow I managed to rescue him and somehow I managed to give him the 1/10 of a drop of antibiotics he needed afterwards. I probably overdosed him but how can you possibly measure 1/10 of a drop???
When I moved in with my husband it didn’t take us long to get a dog. He was our first baby and when our son arrived the was there to guard him. They were inseparable until we had to say goodbye to this wonderful dog just over 3 years ago. It was so hard to say goodbye and the cat and the second dog were only just able to try to distract all of us from the loss. For some strange reason we decided that having another dog would help us get over the loss. So we got our crazy dog from one of the rescue shelters. She conquered us. All of us. So I’m back to a zoo. A zoo with two dogs, a blind cat, two bearded dragons and a fish… They’re all worth it.
I believe you get used to have a pet around. Although the responsibility can be a lot at times, it’s nice to have it. You need to be responsible, they rely on you. Having to take care of animals teaches you a lot and your pets give you so much, no matter what they are. Sometimes I feel like the love I give them comes back triple the amount…