Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)
By Susan Storm Smith
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I lived with them until I was three and a half. I got to help care for Bill and grandma's parakeets in neatly lined cages covering the lion's claw table that had to be extended to full length to accommodate all of them, and my little green turtle in its very special dish with a plastic palm tree. As a child I liked action, and a turtle just doesn't do too much. You can only hold it so long, and well, turtles just aren’t pets. And yes, it died from too much handling.
The parakeets were fun to feed and of course, poke my fingers between the wires of the cage and let them playfully nip. But Bill, he was my favorite. That dog was as old as grandpa, I believe. He didn't romp and jump like the neighbor's dog. That's one of the biggest reasons I liked him, he didn't try to bit like the neighbor's dog did. And I knew Bill Dog had to be old like grandma and grandpa, who didn't walk too fast either. The three of them just sort of had that same swaying side-to-side gait, like they belonged with each other.
I was sent to live with an aunt and uncle, in June that year. They didn't believe in pets in the house and the ones outside just ran away. Bill Dog died not too long after I left, and then grandma gave her parakeets away. At such a young age I couldn't understand why; but she knew she was going to be leaving soon too. Life just sort of changed for everybody. We'd still go to visit grandma and grandpa, but the house was just too quiet. When I got older I realized that those wonderful pets of my early days kept the house alive. When they were gone, the air started to feel old, just like the occupants. I missed the birds and Bill Dog even trying to make it to the door. I found at three that life has a beginning and it has an ending, and don't take anything for granted, enjoy them while you can.
They say that pets and kids go together—like my youth, they all vanished.
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