Growing Up With Pets

When I was little, my mom, dad, baby sister, and I lived on a small farm in Northwestern Ontario. We had two horses named Beaux and Dee, and a german shepherd named Tessie.

Our dog was somewhat famous because she had run off one day to save a boy who had gotten himself between a momma bear and her cubs. For those of you who don’t already know this: baby bears are super cute and friendly, but going near them can get you killed. Also, it is always best to have a dog with you if you are going out into the woods.

Eventually my parents split up and we moved into town. One of the horses had died, the other they sold, and Tessie got old and went out to live with Grandpa in the country. (No this isn’t one of those stories your parents tell you when your dog dies. We went out to visit them all the time.) She lived there until she was 16 or so, when she died of old age.

Mom had developed allergies to dogs and cats so she never wanted to get another pet, but eventually my sister and I wore her down and she took us to the pet store in Winnipeg. (There were none closer than that.) Mom had a cockatiel when she was growing up that she had loved so she led us towards the bird section. The girl working at the store showed us the budgies. She told us about how they had been playing with them and training them a bit. There was one blue budgie that had mastered the “step-up” command and she thought he was going to be very trainable and maybe even be able to talk. I named him Blue Boy. My sister chose an all white budgie she named Snowflake. We got all the accessories we would need and set off on the four hour car ride home with the birds sitting in their cage between us in the back seat. I still have this vivid memory of my aunt turning around in the passenger seat, and upon seeing my face saying, “Sarah is in love.”

(I'm looking for a picture of Blue Boy and Snowflake to put here.)