We supposedly had a dog named Scout when I was little, but I don’t remember him, and the only evidence of his existence was some claw marks on the inside of our downstairs bathroom door. I take that as a sign that it wasn’t a particularly fun life at our house if you were a dog…and I’m betting he wasn’t really much of a scout either. I don’t know what ever happened to old Scout, but I’m guessing there was a car ride to a lovely farm involved.
There are two pets that I actually do remember from my childhood. One was a cat that my sister and I got for Christmas when I was about 6. We promptly dubbed him ‘Christmas’ (aka Chris for short…see what we did there?) and he was famous for going on walks with my grandfather and a neighbor’s dog. The three of them would just meander around the neighborhood…Granddaddy in stride with Buster (a squat friendly beagle that belonged to our friend Cathy from across the street), and Chris bringing up the rear.
Once my sister threw that cat down a flight of stairs because she was mad about some silly thing. Well, that didn’t sit well with Granddaddy…Lynnie still talks about that spanking to this day, her head lowered just a bit. (No, she didn’t usually torture animals, but she did have quite a temper on her. And no, Granddaddy wasn’t a child-beater, but he was an animal-lover, I guess.)
Chris eventually decided to do his business on a pile of clothes that were for my favorite doll. No Barbies at our house…I had a TAMMY DOLL. (Note that she had a little more meat on her bones than the anorexic…and much more popular…Barbie.) I’m pretty sure that no one ever had that poor cat neutered, so he was just marking his territory, but Tammy’s things went into the trash, and Chris went away as well. Hmmm…I wonder if he ended up at a different lovely farm, or if there was one just for cats?
Then, a few years later, there was a poor (doomed) little box turtle named Stanley Myron Handelman, named after a popular stand-up comedian. I just Googled this guy, and he was famous for being on Flip Wilson, Merv Griffin and Johnny Carson, and I guess he does look a little turtle-ish if you squint your eyes.
Our Stanley had a short, sad life that ended in decay…literally. I wouldn’t touch him to move him so that I could clean the bowl, and we had to bribe my sister to comb her hair, so the likelihood of her cleaning a turtle bowl was non-existent. Luckily, the real Stanley lived to be 77 and had 4 wives, which makes me somehow feel better about our Stanley’s untimely end at the hand of two prepubescent turtle murderers…regardless of how great their pet-naming skills were.