I GREW UP ON A DAIRY and crop farm where cats and dogs roamed the property.
Although they were pets, they weren’t really pets. Rather, they were there to work. The cats caught mice. The dogs alerted us to wild animals and vehicles arriving in the farm yard.
My parents never bought cat or dog food. Table scraps, of which there were few from our family of eight, and a daily hub cap of milk warm from the cow nourished the cats and dogs.
Of course, we kids grew quite fond of dogs like Blackie, Shep, Rex and Fritz Carter Mondale Ferraro and Tommer the cat (why can’t I remember the names of more cats?), …
I recall dressing kittens in doll clothes and pushing them in a doll buggy.
There were endless attempts to teach the dogs to shake hands and fetch balls or sticks.
Spring always brought a search in the hay loft or haystack for newborn kittens.
Yes, my memories of felines and canines are mostly pleasant ones of working farm animals that sometimes allowed us to play with them.
As an adult, considering the cost and care, I’ve never wanted a pet. Plus, I’m just not the type of person who wants an animal living indoors and/or in town. I know I’m in the minority. But that’s OK. I’ll just admire and pet other people’s pets.
The other night I met Titan, an adorable seven-week-old puppy, at the Spitzack farm outside Faribault. Puppies are so darned cute. Titan reminded me of the story my mom shared awhile ago. One recent afternoon a man from a nearby town arrived at the senior complex where she lives with nearly a dozen puppies for residents to pet and cuddle. He’d engaged the litter in active play so they’d be worn out. His strategy worked. Mom was so excited about a sweet, cuddly puppy falling asleep in her lap that you’d have thought she won the lottery.
Pets possess the power to comfort and heal and lift spirits.
This evening, my community of Faribault holds its 78th annual Pet Parade beginning at 7 p.m. I can’t attend. But be assured, if you’re there, you’ll view plenty of cuddly cuteness.
DO YOU OWN A PET or have a favorite pet memory? Feel free to share.
© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling