Thursday, February 17, 2011


We hadn’t had a dog since we’d left Malden. We did have our first cat,
Mittens, when we lived on Capen St. Up until then Mom had been against
having cats, even citing the old legend that cats would suck the breath
out of infants as one reason against owning one. But during one trip
uphome to New Hampshire someone’s cat had had kittens and we ended
taking one home.

Mittens was a character. He liked to sit on the back of the toilet and watch
Dad shave and would swipe at the soap suds floating in the sink. Cheryl
would dress him up in her doll’s clothes and prop him up sitting in the
corner between the refrigerator and stove. Mittens was also how we
found out Dad was putting a little wine in the spaghetti sauce, because
we fed the cat some of the meat sauce and while it wasn’t enough to
give a human problems. apparently the wine gave poor Mittens a buzz.

When we moved to the first floor Evans St apartment we didn’t get a dog
right away but at some point my folks got us a small dog we named Flipper.
I think at some level my Mom missed Saddles. Unfortunately, Flipper was
the first of what would be a string of eccentric pets. He had house training
issues. Dad decided that Flipper’s breed was a Sooner, because as Dad
put it, “That dog would sooner sh*t inside that outside.” I can’t recall how
exactly Flipper left us but I think he had a fatal encounter with a passing
car (which probably proved that he was right to want to stay inside).

The second dog we had there was a large Alsatian shephard named Peppy
that belonged to some work friend of Dad’s. Apparently the dog had been
confined to a small backyard and been kicked in the head by an intruder
climbing over a fence. After that he became unmanageable so the owner
gave him to us. The problem was he was unmanageable. One day I took
him out on a leash for a walk and one of the kids in the neighborhood got a
bit too close. Peppy grabbed hold of the sleeve of the heavy winter jacket
and pulled one way while the kid pulled another. Well, the dog won that
tug of war and ended up tearing off the entire sleeve from the jacket.

We shipped Peppy off to a friend living in Hanover, a suburban town south
of Boston, where we later heard  the dog had a new pastime, chasing after
cars and ramming into them headfirst.

It was a few years later after we moved to Abington until we tried our luck with
dogs again.

((459 words))

Written for the Family History Writing Challenge

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