MAINE MEMORIES: Pets and how they affect our lives

by Evangeline T.

Hello and welcome to Maine Memories, little snippets of life from our home state.

This week, I have a story about pets and how they affect our lives, young and old.

People love having pets. Dogs and cats are the most popular, but you’d be surprised at how diversified some people are, especially when it comes to pets. Here’s my example:

When I was younger, living on a small farm in Maine, I learned that animals were a lot like people. They all have different built-in habits. For instance, pigs love to rut, dogs like to bark and chase cats, and most cats love to catch mice, and the list goes on.

As a naïve young child, I thought any animal would be happy if you fed them and loved them. Boy, was I wrong! I’ll never forget the day I caught a raccoon in a barrel. Oh, wow, what a cute and cuddly pet, I thought! I didn’t realize he really wasn’t a pet and didn’t particularly want to become one, either.

Daddy explained everything to me, and I listened carefully. This raccoon was a wild animal and probably had a family somewhere that missed him. “You don’t want to make his family worry, do you?” Daddy asked. No, of course not. Much to my dismay, I did the right thing and let him go. Still, I cried buckets, and it wouldn’t be the last time.

My next pet was a long-haired fluffy white kitten named Snowball. She allowed me to dress her in doll clothes and didn’t mind riding around in my doll buggy. During the winter, I’d wrap Snowball up in a blanket and put her inside a red doll’s sled I had. We’d walk outside, over snow and ice, and my kitty never complained. Honestly, she was mild-mannered and sweet.

I don’t remember Snowball’s departure, but I haven’t forgotten crying once again. She had been my best friend, as I was an only child, and losing a best friend is always hard to take.

In May of the next year, my parents bought me a puppy for my birthday. He was so adorable, and an instant bond formed between us. I named him Rusty. He’d also would ride in my doll’s carriage and wear my sun glasses.

Rusty became the best pet ever. He loved everyone and went everywhere with me, even ice skating. He’d run and slide on the ice, and we’d all laugh.

While I was in school, mom taught him to call for me. He would utter a whine that sounded as if he was saying, “I don’t know,” to her question, “where is Evangeline?” He would run to the window in the direction of the school bus. What a smart doggie!

Years passed, and I grew up, fell in love, and got married, and Rusty came to live with us. Only one problem. He was so jealous of my husband. He was the only person ever that Rusty growled at. Over time, things got better, though!

My husband was in the Air Force, and he received orders to go to Texas. We knew it would be too much for Rusty, at age 13. He wouldn’t be able to withstand the trip and intense Texas heat.

I had four cousins, all girls, and they were delighted to give him a nice home and so much love. It was the right thing for me to do, though I missed him terribly. Still do.

My friend, my dog, my companion, my wonderful pet, Rusty lived the rest of his years making four little girls happy. That’s what a good pet does.


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