World Animal Day: An homage to tolerant mothers

World Animal Day – now what does that have to do with writing? Well for me, a lot. 

I have a dog in my current book, who plays a major role. I probably will always stick an animal or two in my stories, just because I love them and like to humanize them (much to the dismay of vets I know – “they are not human!” Doesn’t mean they can’t have personalities, I think to myself.)

But how did I get this way?

One very, very tolerant mother. Let’s revisit my childhood, and all the animals that tromped in and out of our house:

Buffy: black poodle mix, first dog – the baby before my parents actual had babies. Took to us kindly, even though he knew he was being displaced. First pet to bury that I remember.

Hokey: mutt, best-dog-ever!  Formative years dog. Happiest when riding in the car, and would pull any any trick to get in.

Squeaky: first gerbil. Followed by two more.

Rat: red-eyed, white rat, class pet, found a home with us.

Leo: flop-eared black and white bunny, won at the local carnival (it was the 80’s – sorry PETA). He lived a glorious, non-carnie life.

Hermit crabs: at least five brought back from Florida over the years. Lost several in the house. Probably still live there, twenty years later.

Mouse: caught a mouse in the backyard. Thought it’d make a nice pet. Lasted a couple days before it escaped the cage. Lived in our house for several years, I imagine.

Bird: two parakeets.

Cats: Patches and Whiskers, both lived long lives, and had too many kittens to count. Patches was smart, and we all knew it. Whiskers got her name from burning off her whiskers when laying next to a heater. Not quite as smart as Patches.

Cubby: brown poodle mix. The dog that bookended kids in the household for my parents. Helped them through empty-nest syndrome. Kinda grumpy, but loyal to a fault.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the frogs, turtles, and snakes that made their way into and out of our house.

All of it was not only tolerated by my mom, but, kids being kids, she would step in and take care of all of them, when it just wasn’t convenient for us kids to do so. She not only loved animals too, but understood how valuable they can be to a child, and what they can teach. Responsibility, love, forgiveness, loyalty, death, and the gift of an unwavering best friend.

So to all the tolerant moms out there, and my own – I tip my hat to you.

Of course, I couldn’t write a post about animals without putting the other best-dog-ever! in it, Wiley. Here he is with his buddy in Florida (my parent’s dog), checking out the ladies at the beach. (Yes, they have bowties on. There is no shame in our family.)

~Two Wild and Crazy Guys~

All the best!

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14 thoughts on “World Animal Day: An homage to tolerant mothers

  1. vixieuk says:

    Me too – I put animals in all of my stories. I think you grew up with as many animals as me – I thought my family was the only one with the zoo 🙂

  2. novareylin says:

    I love the bowties!! Your mother was a great person. I also had a bunch of animals while growing up. My dad drew the line at snakes though. Which is sad, I would have brought a ton home!! 😀

  3. Angela (@LibraryGirlRead) says:

    My mom let us have all kinds of things too – dog, cats, hamsters, bunny, chameleon, hermit crab, bird… I can’t remember if there are any more. Right now my girls are way too little for pets but I’m sure they will talk me in to something in the future.

  4. naturemummy says:

    I solemnly swear to be a tolerant mummy just like yours. Especially since hubby has been so tolerant of all the animals I’ve dragged home since we met. Ahem, well he was sometimes.

    Your line about Leo “He lived a glorious, non-carnie life” cracked me up.

  5. ntiveheart says:

    i agree! here’s to tolerant moms, everywhere….especially my own, who wasn’t even phased by a rattlesnake (in an escape proof cage, mind you) that she found in my closet one day. she did make me release him (and made a new rule about venomous pets) but continued to support my habit and love until the day she died!

  6. Terri Giuliano Long (@tglong) says:

    What a wonderful and heartfelt piece, K.J. This line really stopped me in my tracks: “Responsibility, love, forgiveness, loyalty, death, and the gift of an unwavering best friend.” I can’t think of any better way to summarize what animals can teach us!

  7. David M. Brown says:

    Fantastic post and love the cheeky dogs at the end.

    That’s quite an array of animals your mum let into the house. She sounds like a great mother 🙂

    Thank you so much for taking part in the World Animal Day blog hop.

  8. JC Andrijeski says:

    Ha! This was super-cute (love the bow-ties) and really reminded me to be grateful to my own mother, who let us drag all manner of animals and pets both inside and outside the house. We had a turtle, parakeets, cats, snakes, hamsters, fish, tadpoles/frogs, rabbits, dogs, and a plethora of other outside critters we’d sneak in in shoeboxes or whatever else. My father, being an ex-farmer where animals were either “useful” or “pests” was a bit baffled, but my mom tolerated all of our experiments with an incredible amount of patience.

  9. Vikki (The View Outside) says:

    Just stopping by from the blog hop 🙂

    I’m totally with you there, I tend to have animals in most if my stories.

    And yes, I think my kids have definitely benefitted from having animals around them since they were little. They now have respect for animals and would never purposely harm another living thing 🙂

    Great post!


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