This week’s memory challenge is about animals. Animals are an important part of childhood, both the ones we choose to bring into our homes and the ones we come across outside playing and exploring. I have been an animal lover all my life even though I haven’t owned very many.

The first animals I remember being around weren’t mine even though they lived in the same place I did. There was my grandfather’s hunting dog, Gippy, a Brittany Spaniel and there was Toby, a black lab that belonged to my cousin but lived, a short time, with us. I wanted a dog of my own but it would be a while.

There was a black rabbit, for a few days, that we caught in the yard, a wounded bird of some kind that I remember in the box in the cove under the kitchen sink. When I went to my cousins house a bit in the country we would chase and catch squirrels.

There are pictures of a fish tank in my children’s photo album but I don’t remember having anything to do with them. I did have one of those turtles that you are not supposed to have any more, the ones they sold with the little plastic bowl with the island in the middle.

The first dog I had was a little Pekingese/Pomeranian mix I named Lisa who loved my mom more than she loved me. I wanted nothing more than to have Lisa sleep on the bed with me and she wanted nothing more than to sleep with my mom. In retrospect I was probably a bit too excitable for her.

There was a stray cat I named Fluffy who let me feed him on the back porce and whom my mom insisted I must never touch because cats would give me ring worm. It was many years before I ever felt comfortable around a cat.

In junior high I had a horse named Sparky, the totally wrong horse for me, half Quarter Horse and half Clydesdale. There was no great love between us. He was the first horse we looked at and I told my mom I loved him because I was afraid she’d change her mind and not let me get a horse.

I wish my childhood had been filled with more animals.

What about you? Tell me about the animals in your childhood.