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February 23, 2013

Looking Back: What's in name? Sometimes a lot when talking about pets

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The Daily Star

---- — When remembering years gone by, I always think fondly of the many delightful pets we had. I still miss them as each one had their own distinct personality that was so enchanting, entertaining and even sometimes exasperating.

Even today, when elderly, a loving pet is so comforting. Having a pet is quite a responsibility and sometimes can be hard to handle, but it seems always well worth the effort. Many adult homes recognize having a pet as good therapy for their clients. (I’m not yet a client, but I attest to the above.)

Our daughter lives close by and simply dotes on her three well-behaved kitty-cats. The eldest cat’s name is Sebastian but we call him Sabbie for short. He, too, is elderly, so we all get along just fine. Sabbie insists on visiting us each day and goes home at night. He’s company and seems to know when we, humans, too need a little TLC with some comfort.

The many pets, as they came along in time, needed naming. I recall the beautiful orange tiger that we named Pumpkin-puss. He had lovely, deep pumpkin colored tiger stripes so what name was better?

One day, a beautiful, long-haired stray cat appeared, and our children just had to adopt her.

They named her Fluffy for that she was … sweet, petite and very feminine. She was the type of kitty that our girls wanted to dress up in dolls clothes.

Handsome Pumpkin-puss was besotted and before we had the opportunity of a veterinarian visit the inevitable happened. There was only one offspring and the name, “Flumkin” was attached to one outstanding long-haired calico feline.

I fondly remember how that adorable cat protected her territory from any challenger.

She’d fluff herself out with a menacing stance. With hisses and yowls she stood her ground — a fearsome relentless sight for any visiting neighbor dog especially the schnauzer from next door. She simply was a winner.

Some years later we had a huge, manly, gray-and-white tiger male that our son and dad named Matts-cat. Very robust, just like the beer they enjoyed.

He ruled the roost, but that was short-lived when my special delight was presented to me by our daughter and her friend. The gals were visiting a home in the neighboring village where there just happened to be a litter of Siamese kittens. One seemed to be the runt of the litter and probably not saleable. They wanted a good home for him and so home he came. He was my pride and joy. Meesie was his name.

Meesie would actually poise for my camera and so we had a real “ham” in the family. I greatly miss that cat. His framed photo with his buddy, Matts, still sits in our living room today. They are still cuddled up together on our avocado brocade couch … picture perfect.

I still have heart-rending feelings for those two favorites for they will always be remembered.

Some years ago a friend was helping us with chimney repair work when he glanced out our patio door to see two frolicking cats. “Hey, they look just like my cats.” He exclaimed in disbelief.

That they were. The cats were black and white tigers, each about the same size and were named Thumbs and Dickens. Yes, you can guess why. One had extra toes and the other full of the dickens!

Fortunately the guys saw the cats and coaxed them back to our friend’s pickup, It was obvious that they had spotted their Daddy’s truck with a comfy bed of hay in the back and curled up for a snooze there before he left home … some 15miles from us.

Cat-lovers can be doggie-lovers, too. Children love them all but sometimes we have to say, “Enough.” Too many is just too many.

Our girls visited a friend for a weekend. They came home with a puppy. All puppies seem to be irresistible and this little pup was no exception. But too many is too many and we already had our cocker Spaniel, Georgie-porgie, and two cats.

Now I must interject how Dad felt about all this. “Sorry, girls, but you must find a home for that puppy. You did not have permission to do this and besides we already have one dog and two cats plus a few chickens.” (That’s another story.)

They did find homes for Ginger, as they name her. Each candidate was interrogated by Dad: Where will she live and what kind of a home? Who are they? How many kids … etc. etc. and on and on until that little adorable “Heinz-57” variety of a dog wormed herself into my hubby’s heart. She continually followed him around the yard sticking close by. She loved the outdoors and was so content with a bed by the backdoor under cover of the wood-shed.

She became a pal and my husband now called her “Rickets.” How that name came about I’ll never know, but a bone disease does grow on you. So Rickets lived with us for well over 15 years, happy and well-taken-care of.

Elaine W. Kniskern is a 80-year-old resident of Schenevus and a grandmother of five. She can reached at elaine-kniskern@stny.rr.com. ‘Senior Scene’ columns can be found at www. thedailystar.com/seniorscene.