Skip to main content

Animals and Society Class - Discussion 2, Pets

Q: Pets and/or service animals: If you grew up with pets and/or service animals, how many and what kinds did you have?


A: I think we had almost every animal when I was growing up. We had a black lab named “Ed” when I was a baby, which I only know from photos of the two of us sitting on a sofa and sharing some ‘Nilla Wafers. Within my own memory we have had dogs, dogs, and more dogs; a giant fish tank; a rabbit named Peter, a parakeet I named Tweety that flew into the backyard with a numbered leg band and wasn’t afraid of people so we kept him; a guinea pig called Nellie I got as a 4H project; cats; more fish; more dogs, and feeding lots of feral cats – one of which will now let me pet it (while it eats).


Q: What was the role of pets in your household?


A: They were ubiquitous, but mostly separate. My grandparent’s generation felt that most pets, but especially dogs and cats, were ‘outside animals’. Actually, it was more my grandfathers, than grandmothers. One of my grandmothers who had a colony of un-spayed cats in her front yard (sadly, most of the family pets growing up were not neutered) used to bring some of them inside at times. My grandfather would grumble a bit, but that would be it – unless/until the cat pooped or puked on his part of the bed (always on his part, funnily enough). Then the ranting about cats belonging outside would come back, the cat would be put out, and the whole cycle would start over. I think I was 8 or 9 before my parents allowed a purely indoor cat, and probably 12 before we had an indoor dog. Now my dogs take up the bulk of my bed every night – not sure my grandfathers would approve.


Q: How were/are they treated?


A: The dogs lived in the backyard, only coming in on occasion (same for the cats, except it was the front yard for them), one had to go outside to play with them. I believe my grandmother on my dad’s side always brought her dog(s) in to spend the night on the enclosed patio, but they were outside all day. They were all well-fed and loved, but not heavily anthropomorphized, and rarely taken to the vet. On my mother’s side of the family I think the dogs got their vaccines at home via feed store purchases mostly, and the cats didn’t get any as far as I know. On my dad’s side I’m pretty sure the dogs went to the vet once a year for shots.


I grew up in suburban southern California, but both sides of the family participated in 4H and FFA. All the kids on my father’s side, and my two uncles on my mother’s side all raised animals to be sold for slaughter in their youth. I distinctly remember one of my uncles who wanted to become a rancher going to the freezer, opening the door and calling out to Beaumont the steer he’d raised for one of his ag classes in High School. When he did become a rancher, he became the kind that tried to make a living off artificial insemination services rather than beef. He hated every time he had to sell any one of his herd for beef.


My current dogs are treated like my surrogate kids. They sleep in my bed with me, I cook them chicken thighs to top their Iams kibble (one of my dogs needs a special diet of chicken, rice, oatmeal, and vitamin/mineral powder), two of my dogs are on lifelong medication (one for thyroid, one for Addison’s disease) and they go to the doctor more than I do! The house is strewn with dog toys and beds (though they’re usually on the furniture, or me), and I even knitted a baby-soft yarn collar for my Boston Terrier because her old “soft” collar wasn’t soft enough and rubbed some of her neck hair off.


Q: How did you choose the names of your pets and what are they?


A: My current pets are:

Gracie - a Boston Terrier rescue who is deaf, has a fleck of blue in one eye, and only one side of her head has the black patch around her eye that is supposed to be there (all results of inbreeding in her AKC registered line). I call her Gracie because she is named after Grace O’Malley an Irish “pirate queen” – the dark patch on only one side of her head made me think of an eye patch worn by a pirate.


Chica & Chava – sister Chihuahua mixes given to us as puppies by a neighbor who had an unwanted litter. Chica means girl in Spanish, and Chava means female kid (like a baby goat) in Spanish.


Max – Chihuahua mix a neighbor found loose, tried to keep, and then offered to us before taking him to the pound. He came with the name; I joke that it stands for Maximum Trouble because he’s completely insane. He’s noisy, possessive, and not the brightest bulb, but we bonded when I nursed him through parvo as a puppy.


Harry – a Min Schnauzer/Chihuahua mix that meandered into our front yard one day and screamed bloody murder because he met, and was terrified, by a cat we were feeding. He looks like a blonde Austrailian/Cairn Terrier. He is named Harry as a play on the fact that he very hairy. He has an absolutely unmanageable coat and a natural Mohawk. He still hates cats.


  1. I have bookmarked your website because this site contains valuable information in it. I am really happy with articles quality and presentation. Thanks a lot for keeping great stuff. Custom Dog Id Tags Engraved For Sale Online


Post a Comment

Popular Previous Posts

Book Review - Three Tides - Part 4

Pineda’s ‘gathering’ chapters are all about the epic destruction of Katrina. I come away from this reading feeling some sense of relief that many people are decent human beings who will help others in times of need, including Pineda herself. Pineda talks a lot about the strong sense of community in New Orleans before the hurricane and that during the hurricane the effected people were repeatedly “helping one another, sharing what they had.”  But the sense of relief at the humanity between individual people, gave way very quickly to disgust at the negligence of the organizations meant to help. Starting with the callous government officials who actually seem to have viewed Katrina as an opportunity to ‘clean up’ the “public housing” of New Orleans in favor of “urban renewal.” Rep. Richard Baker actually said as much, adding, “We couldn’t do it, but God did.” Apparently, they blew up the levees intentionally to sacrifice the poorer parts of town, in order to save the richer areas and tour

I'm Posting on YouTube Now

I have been thinking about getting back on YouTube for a while now (a friend and I used to have a fledgling lifestyle channel together), but with a more writing/reading-related focus.  Since I am still between homes (sold old place and new one is still not fixed up en ough to move into) I haven't felt able to start back up on YouTube. I figured no one wants to see me and five small noisy dogs cramped into a tiny bedroom (with all but current schoolbooks still in boxes). Not quite the background I would like to present. But then I thought, I could always try recording and posting my real time random word poem writing sessions. They're short, and hopefully/possibly interesting. Now I admit this first video needs to be improved upon greatly when it comes to camerawork. But it's a first attempt, so cut me some slack. I'll work out the kinks as I go.  

The best laid plans ...

So this summer has gone to hell in a handbasket. I  had planned to get my "novella" (in quotes because of its awkward length), Fall On Landing out in June, but tomorrow starts Aug and it's not up yet. Part of the reason is because I tried to hire someone off Fiverr to do the cover, and it didn't work out. I had an idea, expressed in both writing and a sketch, but didn't trust my skills to do it myself. After that fail, I decided, despite not having done much painting since I was a teenager, to give it a go. What I created isn't quite the Old Masters epically nuanced version I had in my head, but I like it enough to use it. So, a couple weeks ago I finished it and ran it through the Canva site to make a cover. Now, I'm just trying to decide between two covers I made.  Anyone up for a poll? I feel one coming on 😉 I've decided to start two different series, and I had planned to get book one in each series at least written this summer. Now, I'm hoping