One such little thing is owning a pet. For as long as I've been alive, I've been around animals (my older brother doesn't count). I was raised up with our collie Jack, and he was part of my life until we were both 12 or 13, and old age finally got the best of poor old Jack. Along with Jack, we had several other dogs, cats, guinea pigs, chinchillas, bunnies, a goose named Chuck, an iguana, a turtle and various fishies. We even had some baby duckies at one point, and probably some other critters I can't remember offhand.
After I grew up and moved out, I took my cat with me and from that time 26 years ago until now I've almost always had a pet or pets (Kevin doesn't count). When Samuel was just an infant, we got Moses the black & brown tabby. Moses was extremely cool and he was my cat, and I was his person. Then we moved out to the country and eventually Moses decided to head out and do his own thing one day, and we never saw him again. I missed him a lot, but he did what cats sometimes tend to do. After Moses was Wishbone, another black & brown tabby. Just as cool as Moses, he was a great people-cat and loved attention almost as much as he loved plain potato chips. Just like Moses though, he decided one day to do his own cat-thing and he left, never to be seen again. It's hard to love an animal and they just leave like that, but it's part of being a cat owner in the country. Sometimes they just need to go off and do their own thing, and you just have to deal with it.
After Wishbone came DJ and Pyro. We needed new cats since Wishbone's departure was an open invitation for every mouse for 20 miles to come party at our place. Living in an old farmhouse, you'd better have a good mouser or you're in for it. So, we brought DJ and Pyro home as skinny little farm kitties, and within a week they'd both earned their keep by catching mice. Not too long after that though, DJ became lazy and disinterested in us, and Pyro became the "love me because I'm cute" family kitty. A real attention-hog, Pyro loves people far more than he loves mice, but not nearly as much as he loves a fresh ham out of the oven.
We've had some real adventures with Pyro. He was stuck in a tree once for several days (I blogged about that a couple of years ago), and he's been in his share of fights with only God knows what, out in the fields. He's got enough scars and ear-chunks missing that he could be an extra in a Cat Thug movie, if they ever made one.
Last fall, Pyro went missing. We assumed he caught the Drifter Cat fever like others before him, but a week later he turned up again, with fresh scars. We were sure glad to have him back, but he was only home about a week before he went missing again. We were pretty sure that time he wasn't coming back, since two weeks passed with no sign of him. Just a few days later though, there he was again with plenty of new scars and quite a bit heavier than he was when he left. We were certainly surprised to see him, and to see him so fat! Wherever he was, they must have had plenty of mice or plenty of fresh ham. Then, about a week before Christmas Pyro left again. It was awful cold out there with temps often dropping down into the minus 20s and 30s, and days turned into weeks and no sign of Pyro. We were just hoping that he'd found shelter and food somewhere and was doing fine.
Christmas was 2.5 months ago, and we'd written Pyro off as just another loveable cat that went away, never to be seen again. That was, until this morning when Rachel screamed "MOM! Pyro is in the garage!!!" Surely I assumed it was some other black cat, and she knew I assumed that since she said "I know it's him, I checked his ear!" Pyro's ear is pretty chewed up from all the fights he's been in, and it's quite a tell-tale identifier. So, I went into the garage to see for myself, and sure enough, there was my great big fat adorable chewed up kitty, coming right for me. I must say, my heart just melted to see him.
I don't know how long he'll be home this time, but he's sure getting lots of lovin' and attention while he's here, and he's loving every minute of it. True to form, he's also got plenty of fresh scars and missing ear chunks, but he's fatter than ever and otherwise looking good.
I'm sure glad he came home again.