I am grateful for all the Cats and Dogs who have crossed my path in the course of my life.
The earliest memories I have of animals in my life were the pollywogs Mom helped me take home from the pond at the Botanical Gardens in Claremont, Ca., as a Kindergardener, oh, and a Goldfish, or 2, but those memories are very vague, and few.
The first Cat in my life was also in the 60's, the Siamese that belonged to my Grandmother who lived in a trailer court behind the Indian Hill Mall, next to a Go Cart Track.
The Cat was leash walk trained, as I remember. :-D
The first Dogs belonged to my aunt and uncle, who lived next door to us, and in their last couple years, with us, as they died of Cancer, on Merrywood, in Pomona in the 70's. They owned award winning, pure bred, Boxers. There was sweet Baby Girl (Age 8 in the picure), her brother, and their parents, the mother named Tia, if I remember right.
They also had a miniature Bull Dog whose I name I no longer remember.
Also in the 70's and 80's we had our own pair of Dogs, a brother and sister Chihuahua/Terrier mix we got from a neighbor as kittens.
Ginger (Brown), and Junior (Both Age 3, 1978), lived to age 13, passing on a week apart from each other, he first, her next, a feisty old gal who missed the brother she had picked on all their lives. :-D
My adopted Granma, across the street, ran a Bed and Breakfast for Rabbits, for years, in the the 70's and 80's... She provided them a place to stay and good food...they provided her family, ours, and the neighbors hearty meals. :-DBoots was my Best Buddy, before Nikita, raised from a pup, and died the year of the 2 pictures above, in 1995, at age 12.
At the end he could barely walk, and I took him to the emergency vet, late at night, for his journey to Rainbow Bridge, carrying him in my arms, telling him I loved him.
Blackie, and Bonnie were cats who lived with my sisters in the early 90's.
Then there was an orange cat I called Tom, and later, for creative purposes, The Old Man. :-D
Tom (1986-1998) was an outdoor Cat we had since birth, who took to the indoors, at my insistence, when I took charge of him in the last 3 years or so of his life.
He lived only a few short months more after Nikita entered his life, but it was long enough to later become a major part of my earliest creative writing effort online, as "Nikita" wrote his "Memoirs", Tales from the Litter Box:Memories of My Kittenhood. :-D
Nikita and I tried to rescue a kitten, in 2001, but it didn't work out, and lead not only to some pictures, and a controversial essay, in 2003 but, eventually, to another bit of creative writing, as well.
MAXIMUS: A Feral Feline I Once Knew (Includes pictures and the controversial 2003 essay)
I, MAXIMUS: A Cat Tale (Originally written around 2004-05)
I am grateful for the friendship, companionship and creative inspiration, that all of these animals, including the most recent addition, a Tortie I named Elvira Mistress of Felinity, rescued off my front door step as a kitten in 2010, have played in my life.
Nikita is 14 1/2, has arthritis, and maybe anothte issue or 2, related to weight loss, so will head off to Rainbow Bridge, possibly in the next 5 years, or maybe not.
Elvira has been as much a creative inspiration as Nikita, and will no doubt take the "Creative reigns" of their blog when he is gone, and mentor a new kitten as he did her. :-D