Suzy the short hair Dachshound of my childhood.

If I think about it, I always lived in Flats, Houses where there was always one thing in common and this was the fact that there was always a Pet there at any one time or many Pets. For another point, I also do love my Animals which may in part explain it all. I grew up within a Family which had always Pets. Suzy whose picture is above was always regarded in my childhood as the main Dog for she was ruling the roost in her lovely, clever and intelligent ways.

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I must confess that Suzy was a Dog with character who loved posing. Here with me and my Mickey Mouse sunglasses.

Put the very first Pet I remember because he was already there when I was born was a Guinea Pig, grey and white called Tintin. He was already an old boy when I could remember things at about 4. Tintin was a very serious character and could not be petted easily without  my younger Brother and I being told off by mum teaching us that he was a Pet and not a toy but also to stroke a Pet and to feed him. Lord, did Tintin loved his Carrots and Crispy Lettuce.

Then came a 6 months old Mongrel called Ketty. I think she was a cross between a Beagle and a Fox Terrier. She was pretty wild and during a trip to the farm of my Uncle and Aunt on the return journey, she escape during the wee-wee break into a Forest between Lyon and Dijon. We tried to look for her for ages. Alerting the local farmers and houses in the area. My mum decided that as school was going to start for us for my Father to drive us back home. Then he made the trip back to search for Ketty and asked the local if they add any success with the quest, but despite her picture, he returned a few days later empty ended. So Ketty was lost for good and we did held the hope that someone would find her and call us but nothing happened. We were devastated to say the least.

 

Then another heartbreak did arise with the death at a grand old age of 10 to 11 of Tintin. My mum tried to reassure us that he was very very old for a Guinea Pig and that it was his time to go to Paradise especially since his back were giving him trouble to walk. The tears could not be quench but although my Mum ruled that we wouldn't have any more Pet, my Father decided otherwise and brought her to la Foire du Brix, reputed for selling Lifestock but also Horses, Dogs, Rabbits and Cats. They came back with a suprise for us: It was Suzy. The poor thing was tiny and the runt of a litter. The Farmer told my Dad that if she was not sold at the end of the day, he would drown the puppy. It clinched it for him and Suzy found a home where she was pampered and loved. She also loved my Dad so much as if she knew that her life did hang on the balance of his decision to take her or not.

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Suzy loved sleeping in my doll's bed. There was no way to talk to her away from it. It was her bed. At least it was not her weeker basket with a plaid, but in winter she would go back to the plaid/ thick tartan wool cover alright.

Our Dachshound was excellent at fishing with my Father, but also swimming, she could find where to spot a Crab, a Lobster under the right rocks. Her exploit were known. We decided to surrogate another Dachshound called Uvalli, she was Black and Tan with long hair. She was impossible to train to be clean according to my Mum who had to clean up the mess therefore my Father found her a Family of adoption who desired a Dachshound to find by sent the Boars he was breeding and releasing in the woods. Apparently Uvalli was extremelly good at that job.

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My Brother and I with Uvalli.

We were a bit disheartened that Uvalli was gone. We held up together but were a little mift at the decision of my Mum to get her another family but us. We had dashed hopes as per say. However the Three of us Children ended up respectively with our own Pets: the reason was for us to learn how to clean after them and to not rely on Mum to do so constantly. If we failed we would have the Pet adopted. It was a harsh lesson to learn but we almost all of us lost it against the will of my Mum who was cruel in that respect. My elder Sister wanted a Hamster: She had one called Punky. I had a Grey and White Rabbit called Clementine. My Brother had a Gold Fish called Bubulle (Bubble in English, but the version in French is the kiddish way to say it).

The entire scheme turned that way, my Brother lost Bubulle very soon. He fed it alright but after only about a week the Goldfish died. I promised to keep my Rabbit in a cage but I didn't do so because I wanted the Rabbit to enjoy a little space for freedom to run around the dinner table and the length of the hallway. Although I did it when my Parents were away, my trick was discovered very easily: you don't need to be a Hercule Poirot to know that each time or most of the time a Rabbit hopped, it leaves a drop of pu behind hence the 'pot aux roses' was discovered easily. I had to explain myself and I said about freedom to run, my Father took control of the situation, which could have escalated between my Mum and me. He found a little Girl who had a Grass garden and desperently wanted a Rabbit. She was the daughter of his Friend at work, who had lost his wife recently and wanted to do anything for his daughter to keep her a bit happier. So I consented to gave Clementine as long as she could run out of the Rabbit Pen everyday and that her name would be kept. The situation turn right for Clementine: The Rabbit couldn't live in a flat, she had to have a time to stretch her legs at the end of the day.

My Sister faired better with Punky the Hamster. Punky died within our household at the old age of 4 and half which is a feat for a Hamster. My sister was by then a teenager. My Mum which was still scrutinasing our every move, put the cage of Punky on the balcony and replied to my Sister that the cage did stink since my Sister didn't bother to clean Punky for two weeks. My Sister cried that Punky will get cold that she needed to be back in and so on. She went on a tantrum as well throwing her fists to the windows repeatedly. Punky was brought back in. My Sister cleaned the cage immediately and avoided the questions that she had been hanging out and smoking by the she: was preparing her exams with friends... However Punky had still a fair few months after that event to live. But I can swear of hearing spinnig her wheel in the hallway months after her death, my Sister, and Mum could hear it too. My Mum stated that the spirit of Punky may very well have staid with us...

Within the life of Punky, my Father took my Mum again to the big Animal fair in Brix. This was just for a leisure day with no expectation to have another Dog at home. However my Mum feeling guilty of the Punky event and my Father made her feel that she had been harsh upon Ziella who did so well for years to look after the Hamster, they came back home with what they thought was a Pekinese Dog but was in fact a Tibetan Spaniel for my Sister. They knew Punky was old and should have died a year or so ago, so fair to say, they expected her imminent death and wanted to spare the blow to my Sister. They got her a Puppy and we had our 'Darling'. I did choose the name so don't blame me for the oddity of it. But she was looking such like a 'Darling'.

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Tibetan Spaniel : 'Darling'. Later we knicked named her 'NouNours' because she was looking like a  fluffy teddy bear. Her cuteness stole her heart the minute we saw her.

Darling was such a good nature Dog. We adored her, all of us. She was the cutie. However since my Sister had to retake the first year of her High School and had to retake some years in Primary School and College, she decided to go to work instead of carrying on with Education. I understand because blow after blow after blow you end up being the oldest child in a class and there is a stigma attach to it which is not true the 'You are not clever enough'. But the person living it, hence my Sister didn't want to go to that prejudice again from the other pupils so she moved on. She found a first job as a waitress a few miles away from town in nice hotel restaurant where she had to live in. The care of Darling became mine most of the time: Walking the Dogs etc but I was used to it since the advent of Suzy, and I also enjoyed it.

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Darling enjoying the sun one Summer at L'Anse du Brick where we used to spend some of our Summer days because we had a caravan there.

Darling came in the Family prior to Suzy's death by about 4 to 5 years earlier, so it felt still a bit like the concept of my Dad before a Pet dies get one more to build the bridge ealier than later. It soothes the sorrow. I don't know about it too much but he may had something right. But one of my thoughts is that one can not replace the other, but why deny an Animal your big heart if you have a home to give him/her. I had to go to Boarding School at 15, for my high School Years but returned in the Weekend, then after my Baccalaureat (1994), I attended the Fine Art School in Cherbourg (L'école des Beaux Arts) for a couple of years, living at home. Then I found employement in London age 20. I had to leave Darling behind with my Mum who loved her. In 1997, I knew I was seeing Darling for the last time during a Festive Holiday when I had a chance to go to France to see my Family. It was the last time because she died a few years later, 2 to 3. Same thing as Tintin her back was giving way and her lower legs couldn't move. My Mum said she would howl in pain so the Vet took the decision to put her down. It was heartbreaking for all of us. Just like it was for Suzy.

But I am missing another inclusion to our Family, which was a Cat which I called Semiramis. The adventure came about like this but involves another Cat. I was coming back from Fine Art School one evening after class in a very nice Thunderstorm which was leaving one soaking wet through to the bones, a Ginger and White Cat followed me, maybe because of my umbrella which prevented him to get too wet... I thought it was a lost Moggy, that it was pouring Cats and Dogs out there and it was not a night to let a Cat outdoors so I brought him home with me, in my bedroom. My Mum was at one of her Careworker job looking for an Alzheimer Patient in the elderly Lady's own home for the night. So this meant I could roof that Cat for the night as well in our flat without Mum questioning my every move. I named the Cat Voltaire because he seemed very spirited and clever. But I thought he was a stray all along, like the Tom O'Malley from the Aristocats (Disney). In the morning my Mum arrived from work and found the Cat in my bedroom and I explained that he followed me under the torrential rain and hailstones and who would I be if I was leaving the poor thing outside. She said he knew where the cunny Cat belonged to, it was a stray Cat which had been adopted by a care home where she worked to for her training as a caretaker. And yes the elderly patients of that care home missed their Cat dearly especialy since he was not back during the thunderstorm. Well he followed me instead...

Voltaire was given back to the elderly patients who explained that he was a roamer. But my Mum decided afterwards to give me a Kitten. I still remember the day when I saw Semiramis, (my choice of name again but it was shorten to Semi after a while), straddling down our hallway towards me. She was unsteady upon her paws. Her story was that she was born behind a bush, that the entire litter was abandoned there. That passers by noticed them, fed them my Mum amongst many, and some took them away the last was Semi because she had a broken tail, so she wasn't wanted. Therefore my Mum decided to take her home. Semiramis lived for 18 years or there about with my Mum until Semi died of old age as a very loved Cat. I left for England only about a year after Semi came home and like my Sister did with Darling she was handed down to secured hands to look after her. But to be honest she was my Mum's Cat all along.

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Semiramis was allways allowed upon tables.

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