When I was about a year to year and a half old, my parents adopted our first pet. She was a tabby cat that my parents allowed me to name. So I chose to call her “Mutt,” or “Mutt Cat.” My understanding is that I plucked this name out from my father referring to mixed pedigree pets as mutts, but I suspect that it was also kind of entertaining to allow your young child to name a pet, and then have a pet named Mutt. Mutt went on to have kittens, but I was young enough that I cannot remember what became of her.
My first dog was a yellow lab mix. Going to choose him as a puppy is actually my earliest memory. I remember there being a man taking us to see all of his puppies running around. I excitedly shout pointed, “I want that one,” (King was the only yellow lab in the litter). I would have been somewhere between two and a half and three years old. But definitely not three, because we got the puppy before my brother, Chad, was born, in September of 1986. My parents also allowed me to name the puppy. I named him King Tulip (short for king of the tulip bed), because he liked to lay in the flower beds at my parents’ house. King was ostensibly the family dog, but since my parents had three young children, he was actually my father’s dog. He was a great watch dog and good with us as young children. He passed away in 1991.
Writing about my early pets makes me realize how much richer my relationship with animals became as I grew. I can remember these early pets, but I have very few actual memories of them. I’ll try to keep this up in installments, and write more about my other pets, especially the ones that were actually “mine.”