To be honest, when I was raising four sons,

I didn’t consider any of the family pets as

“furred children” (I never heard the term

until I met my friend, Sharon).

It was enough of a challenge, I believed,

having four boisterous, overactive, noisy and

demanding human children, let alone  cats and

dogs, (often with offspring of their own) —

we also had hamsters, turtles, fish, white rats,

guinea pigs and a double yellow-headed parrot

that went all the way to and from Florida with

us in 1979, returning to California in 1982.

Along with a steady assortment of cats/kittens

dogs/puppies, It was quite enough seeing that

they all got the necessary vaccinations (children

and pets alike) and making sure all the critters

were fed and watered properly and duly licensed

to live in Los Angeles county.

After my sons turned into young men, who

married and had children of their own,  I turned

my attention, perhaps more attentively, to the

cats and dogs, plus one parrot, who shared my


None, I confess, ever changed my life quite as

much as the Jack Russell terrier (mixed with some

chihuahua) named Jackie, who, admittedly,

was terribly spoiled and ruled the roost. (she

was an abandoned dog that my son Steve

had rescued).

Jackie had her own blankets (on all three beds

plus one on the futon); she loved to climb in

my lap and pretend she was a lap dog;

Jackie would pretend to go outside to go

potty, then dashed back inside, all perky,

dancing around the kitchen hoping for a

treat. Sometimes I was so amused, she got a

treat anyway.

So who was training who?


I wrote the above tribute to Jackie back

in 2009.  a few years later we came to

the end of the road, Jackie and me.

Illnesses and blindness got the best of

her and after some months of trying to

cope, I got my daughter in law to go with

me to the Vet, to have Jackie put to sleep.

She was in my arms throughout, happy to

be the center of attention.  I thought I had

coped very well–until, a few days later, a card

came in the mail, from the Vet, with her paw prints inside

The flood gates opened up then, and I boohooed for

some weeks. To give myself solace, I copied photos I had taken

of Jackie over the years, and dedicated pages to her.

She was my first “furred child”.

Sandra Lee Smith

March, 2009; updated June, 2018.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s