Within the past 3 weeks I lost two grandpets. And what amazing pets they were. Annie was a ginger tabby with a poof of red fur atop her head. Rusty was an apricot tinted labradoodle with a really big schnozzle (nose). (I can’t stand the fact I’m forced to use the word “was”.) Rusty was originally raised by a single parent, namely my daughter-in-law Katie. She fretted about Rusty’s future relationship with prospective boyfriends, they were so attached…that is until David arrived on the Chicago scene. Rusty and David quickly became BFFs. There are countless photos of the two of them in ice forts, paddle boarding on the Halifax River, and swimming in the ocean at dawn. Rusty was responsible for the purchase of our very own labradoodle puppy, so taken were we with this grown up labradoodle zen dog. David counted 26 states in Rusty’s geographical repertoire. He accompanied David and Katie through many academic transitions. He started off at Ohio State with Katie, moving to Chicago for a master’s degree, and a doctorate at Perdue. As if those degrees were not sufficient, he trekked to Tempe Arizona for yet another doctorate and then on to Atlanta for an internship. Such a credentialed canine was he!
Tracy rescued a traumatized and homeless Annie and her kittens from an inner city school in Baltimore. Once the kittens were safely ensconced in found homes, Annie became Tracy’s faithful feline. Dogs often win the best pet contest over cats. I might have agreed with that assessment until I met Annie. She shucked the “distant”, “reserved”, “independent” labels typically attributed to cats. She was Tracy’s constant companion, helping with laundry, enduring water droplets as she waited patiently for bath time to end, accompanying her on airplane trips to Florida, and listening attentively to her owner’s blog posts and podcasts.
My reason for loving these animals has more to do with the comfort and companionship they provided my children, especially during some dark hours. Rusty was truly David’s best friend during his lonely, transportation-deprived year in Atlanta. Annie was the one Tracy reached for after especially scary nightmares when she lived alone in a basement condo in downtown Baltimore.
The way they loved these pets says a lot about the kinds of people my kids have become. Tracy’s rescue of a homeless, defenseless creature speaks volumes about her compassion. She is a hero in my mind. David’s abiding love and commitment to Rusty’s needs laid a predicate for the kind of father he would be to his newborn baby girl.
Thank you Annie and Rusty for caring for my kids when I was too far away. We’ll never forget you.