Did you hear the news that some state is trying to pass a law that makes it illegal to buy a pet from a pet store?  Sounds like the animal activists are at it again.  They are probably related to whoever put this ad in a San Francisco newspaper.  “All you hunters out there who kill animals, why don’t you put your guns away and get your meat from the supermarket where it’s made?”  (Paraphrased due to bad memory cells!)

We never bought a pet from the pet store anyway.  Our pets usually came from one of two places: either they came to our back door, demanded to be fed and would not leave, or a friend gave us one.  One of the best dogs we ever had was a come-to-the-door brand.  We called him Smokey because he was black with a thick coat and so short he looked like little bear cub.  He came while we were building on to this house and he would sit in the unfinished new part and watch me fixing lunch for the workers.  He never barked; just say there with an I-know-you-are-going-to-feed-me look in his eye.  As soon as I headed for the back door, he spun around, raced down the slanted boards that served as steps and was there to meet me with tail wagging and tongue lolling out from  the effort.

John’s favorite dog we got as a pup from a friend and gave to Mac for his birthday one year.  It was a Heinz variety, but mostly collie.  He loved Mac but also took under his wing Mac’s daddy.  When Mac passed away he became John’s outdoor buddy and even rode in the back of the pickup.  He knew exactly where that pickup was going at specific times of the day and if he was missed he’d take off for Carbondale where he knew his buddy was drinking coffee.  When he got too old to jump into the pickup, John would back up to a rise in the yard so he could “jump in”.

The girl’s favorite had to be a purebred collie pup one of the kids gave John when he was driving the school bus.  Laddie grew up with the girls and was part playmate, part protector.  When Melanie, at two and a half, decided to walk over the lane and pet the pony, Laddie circled around her until she fell down, then sat on her, all the time looking at the house as though to say, “Come and get this kid!”  Another time, Melyssa took John’s lunch to him in the field but missed him and came out on the gravel road.  When I realized she wasn’t with John I took off in the car to find her.  There she was, spitting mad, because Laddie would not let her walk on the gravel but kept her safely on the roadside!

Laddie only had three legs.  One back leg was lost in an accident when he was a puppy.  Of course, this made relieving himself quite simple.  One day we were visiting my sister, Jackie.  As we walked down the lane with her and her little Skye terrier, the dog raised its leg to a bush.  Mac grabbed my hand and pointed to the dog, “Look, Mom, Aunt Jackie’s dog pees out its foot!”

At the moment we only have some cats.  One cat began hanging around and John fed it.  Then he started buying cat food.  The cat got bigger.  “I think she’s gonna have kittens,” he said one day.  She had five.  Four survived and John bought more cat food.  One of those had four more.  John bought more cat food.  Larry Weston told John he’d like to have some barn cats.  “Great!” says John, “I’ll catch you some.”  That was several weeks back.  We still have four of the cutest, wildest kittens you ever wanted to watch.

“They” can pass all the laws about pet shops they care to, but us country folk will still have pets.  We’ll still care for them like family and we’ll mourn them when they die.

They will become part of the family in a casual way; greeting us as we come outdoors and dependant upon us for their food and for affection.  (Well, not the cats.)

Have a great day!


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About dswan2

Poet, author, columnist, lyricist, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, wife of 50 years. Born and raised in America's Heartland
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