Tag Archives: Dia de los Muertos

Day 5 of 13 Days of Halloween 2019

I thought this year in celebration of Dia de los Muertos, I would take a moment to remember our very first pet. Believe it or not, she wasn’t a cat or a dog. In fact, our very first pet was a black and white rat. Her name was Kristy Dawn, proudly named after my and Monica’s favorite characters from the book series, The Babysitter’s Club. I’m so sad to say that I don’t have a picture of her handy to show here  – this was back before the time of cameras on cell phones, and while I know there are numerous photos of her somewhere, they’re all packed away in a cabinet somewhere :(. I mean, this was back in the day when cameras had film, and the film had to be taken to Walmart to get the pictures developed, and then they were packed in those green or blue sleeves.

Still, Kristy was a sweet rat who loved to roll around the room in her little plastic ball, eat any sweaters (usually Monica’s) that were left even a foot away from her cage (seriously, she could reach anything), and cruise around in our Barbie’s cars. She was patient with us, being our very first pet, both me and Monica we’re still learning what it meant to be good, responsible pet owners. It’s more than simply loving your pets, and giving them all the hugs, pets, and kisses possible. Being a good pet owner is taking care of them – providing the necessities, cleaning up after them, and providing enrichment for them. She was one of a kind, for sure, and definitely prepared us for our futures of being owned by Simon, Rosee, and even more cats.

Plus I always love telling people that my first pet was a rat!

So here’s to Kristy Dawn, and all of our very first pets…they taught us how to love and care for someone other than ourselves, and prepared us well for our current menagerie of pets.

Day 8 of 13 Days of Halloween

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” Thomas Campbell

Halloween is not the only holiday to celebrate this October.

Dia de los Muertos is also set to begin on October 31st, and it’s a holiday that holds special meaning. Even if you don’t really celebrate or observe this time period, I like to think that this holiday can at least serve as a reminder to remember our loved ones that have passed on.

This year I’d like to dedicate this post, in honor of Dia de los Muertos, to Artemis.

Artemis 2

Artmeis is a very special cat who we lost earlier this year. We may have only had a short time with him, since we adopted him last year around this time, but he was a special cat that made quite an impact on all of us—yes, even Simon and Rosee.

Artemis started to come around last Fall when we first began to leave a bowl of cat food and a bowl of water on our porch for George (our other cat, and you can read about him here). He looked terrible when he first showed up. He was practically skin and bones with scraggly, matted fur, watery eyes, and a runny nose. We thought all he needed was some food, water, and TLC. It wasn’t long before we took him inside, because it was just too cold for him to be outside without barely any body fat, and he became an official part of our family.

Artemis 4

He proved enthusiastically helpful when it came to making our annual batch of tamales for the holidays.

Artemis 3
The best tamale maker.

He loved sitting on the couch with us, and cuddling with George.

Artemis 1
Master cuddler here.

However, we quickly figured out that food wasn’t necessarily Artmeis’s main problem, or even his only one. After a trip to the vet, we found that he was pretty old, probably late teens, had no teeth at all, and despite his love of food, he just wasn’t able to absorb anything he ate, rather his food just ran right through his system. He was able to gain a bit of weight, but he always seemed to fluctuate and no matter what we tried, he only improved marginally.

We knew Artemis’s days were numbered, but we were determined to make his last days his best. He got extra special treats, extra cuddles, and even some cream here and there—our vet said it was okay and told us since he was old he should get anything he wanted.

While, Artemis may be gone, he is definitely not forgotten. He is remembered in all of our hearts. His perseverance and zest for life reminds us all to enjoy the moment, never give up, and to always be kind.

Day 5 of 13 Days of Halloween (2017)

Fair warning: things are about to get a little (or a lot probably) sentimental.

The month of October is special and it’s not just because of Halloween. This month there are two very special birthdays, and the first one (we’ll get to the second one later in the week) is my Grandpa Sal’s birthday.

This year he turned 91 years old! Although if you asked him he’d tell you he’s only 16 and never been kissed, which he accompanies with a cheeky smile 😉

Now, during this time of Halloween fun there is also the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos. It may not be celebrated by everyone, but the decorations are more commonplace these days and I think it’s a reminder (to me at least) to remember my family and friends both past and present. I think about loved ones I’ve lost and ones that I still have, and simply encourages me to appreciate my family and friends in general. (Also, it makes me realize that Thanksgiving will be here before I know it and I have no idea what I’m gonna do!)

So, this year with my Grandpa Sal’s milestone birthday I thought I’d reflect on what he has taught me, and specifically what he has taught me about dogs.

You see, my Grandpa has always loved dogs. As far back as I can remember he’s had a dog with him, and he was the kind of person that took his dog with him everywhere and anywhere, even to work! In fact, when he retired and started doing landscaping work just to keep busy he would actually turn down jobs if the customers told him he couldn’t bring his dog Lucky with him. He has always had a great relationship with his dogs throughout the years, and what’s crazy to me is that he never formerly trained any of them. Rather the trust that he established between him and his dogs was all he needed to have a great relationship with them.

Grandpa with Andy
My Grandpa Sal with Andy

The earliest dog (that I remember at least) was a Beagle named Andy and he was the sweetest dog ever. He was small with giant ears, and my favorite past time was watching Scooby-Doo cartoons with him in my grandparents living room.

Grandpa with Cookie
Cookie

Then there was Cookie who was a Springer Spaniel and giant in my memory, although that could be due to the fact that I was just a kid when my grandparents had him. Cookie loved playing fetch (early practice for me as now I have Simon who loves playing just as much) and would only relinquish his tennis ball to my Grandpa. He was an energetic dog that, despite his size, loved sitting on my Grandpa’s lap.

Grandpa with Lucky
My Grandpa Sal with Lucky

Finally, there was Lucky, who was particularly special to my Granpda Sal since he was the dog he adopted after my Grandma passed away and pretty much became his best buddy. For Lucky my Grandpa would do just about anything, including going to the grocery store to buy a steak or piece of chicken just for Lucky. These two were two peas in a pod and never went anywhere without each other. Sometimes they would even go on drives around town just because my Grandpa said Lucky wanted to. In turn, Lucky was just as devoted to my Grandpa and on their daily walks would make sure he never got too far ahead (my Grandpa never put him on a leash because he claimed Lucky didn’t like it) of my Grandpa.

I grew  up watching my Grandpa with his various dogs and was always in awe of the trust he was able to build with each one. Observing him with Andy, Cookie and Lucky throughout the years showed me how special and significant dogs can be to us humans. Dogs (or any pet really) aren’t simply just pets, but they’re family members that can end up meaning so much to us!