I have always been an animal lover, dating back to childhood when my mother relented and let me bring home a puppy from the neighbor’s litter. I named him “Muggins,” and he kept me warm on the cold winter nights in our little shanty, accompanied me to bring the cows home, always by my side. I grieved when he died.
Many years later, when my late husband realized his own days were numbered, he suggested we get a puppy. It was his special gift to me, knowing I would soon be alone and grieving. This one was a purebred Shih-Tzu, whom I christened “Skoshi (Japanese) Pojke (Swedish) Marty” which translates “Little Boy Marty.” (An in-depth story I wrote about this entitled “A Dying Gift” was published in the True Love edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul.)
And I must give a plug to the Happy Hound Hotel in Rock Creek, where Skoshi stayed whenever we had to be away overnight. He was so well-treated there!
By 2009 when I had remarried, Skoshi ruptured his back from jumping too high. I had to make the very difficult decision to euthanize him. Again, I found myself grieving the loss of a family member.
Two months later, my new husband was out by our shed when a half-grown feline came out of the woods. He called, “Here, kitty, kitty,” and the kitten came running to him. Needless to say, it was love at first sight when he brought the little creature to me. He was suffering from ear mites and stomach worms, but after a visit to Pine City Animal Hospital, he was soon in very good health. I named him C.W. (after my cat-loving daddy, Clarence W. Anderson), and for 10 years now, he has been a most precious companion to us. Yearly checkups by kindly veterinarian Dr. Webster have kept him in excellent condition.
I have recently discovered a few TV shows on Saturday mornings pertaining to animals—Channel 4, CBS (Antenna TV): Lucky Dog 9 a.m., Pet Vet 9:30 a.m., Hope in the Wild 10 a.m. They are well-worth watching.
How anyone can be cruel to animals is beyond me. Some years ago I heard an old woman giving a piece of advice to a young woman: “Never marry a man who kicks an animal, he may do the same to you.”
Margaret Marty is a writer and poet who is delighted to be living in retirement on the Rock Creek farm where she grew up.