Pandora: She was a Doberman, my mom’s dog from her hippy days, who died when I was pretty young, before we moved to Washington state.
Coco: Coco was a brown and white Springer Spaniel that belonged to the people who we bought our house from. They were living in a hotel for awhile or something and couldn’t take her with them so we kept her until they got settled. She was really gentle with the other animals and would catch the baby ducks and chickens when they escaped. I was really sad when she went back to her owners.
Katie: We got Katie after Coco left. She was a black lab nightmare, always jumping on my sister and I. We were terrified of her and soon she “ran away.” I think my parents gave her to the pound or something. Dog house bore the name “Katie” forever after that.
Jerry: BEST DOG EVER. Black and white Springer mutt who replaced Katie. He shook hands and sat on your feet if he liked you. My best friend. Died when I was in high school.
Trixie: Another brown and white Springer, another nightmare. Always ran away and had to be tied up while we were at work/school. Finally ran off for good. I hope someone took her in.
Blackie: First cat. Very sweet until my mom ran her over with the car. Then she got cranky.
Tuna: my mom would let him in every morning and he’d run to our bedroom and wake me up by jumping on me and purring. Then I’d wake my sister up (she was in the top bunk so Tuna couldn’t get to her). Tuna was our alarm clock for years.
Mo and Pookie: Mo and Pookie were brother and sister. My mom picked them up as strays behind her work. Mo lived until just a couple years ago. Once my mom saw a coyote pick Pookie up and she chased it until it let her go. Pookie got a hernia from that and required surgery. Then she wouldn’t eat so we brought her back and it turned out the vet put her spleen in backwards.
Also: Friendly (a super mean calico), Baby Orange, Lucy, Floppy and 80 million barn cats I can’t even begin to list. Many fell victim to the coyotes.
Misc House pets
Snuggles: Guinea pig. I didn’t really like it.
Bernice: Cockatiel. My mom’s bird; lived a really long time. I swear her ghost haunted the hallway where her cage sat forever after she died. I would hear her hiss whenever I left my room.
Fish: They were a hobby of my dad’s for awhile. I think in California we even had a saltwater tank.
Thunder: Palomino pony! A dream come true, except he was kind of mean. We sold him when we outgrew him.
Rex: A quarter horse-Arab mix my mom got from neglectful neighbors. He was all scrawny and sick but she nursed him back to health and beauty. He was a great horse; she originally got him for herself but I sort of took him over and then she got Skeeter for herself. He loved trail riding and was afraid of water, and had to be put down when I was in eighth grade due to stomach cancer. Watching a horse be put down is really heartbreaking. I never really rode after that.
Skeeter: A fat, cranky, colicky Appaloosa who liked to nip. My mom’s horse; got it from the neighbors when they moved. I’m not sure what happened to Skeeter.
Minesha: A real live actual Mustang that my sister rode. Such a beautiful horse and she’d get super fluffy in the winter. She didn’t like men. Minesha is still around and now lives in Spokane with my mom.
Misc. farm animals
Chickens: We had all kinds of chickens. In the spring we’d get a bunch of little yellow babies from the feed store and put them in a little bin with a heat lamp. They were so sweet but they only stay that cute for like a week. Teenage chickens are so ugly. And they really do sort of run around after you cut their heads off, FYI. It was mine and my sister’s job to collect the eggs.
Pigs: We raised pigs for a few years. My parents had to call someone in to kill them because if you don’t do it right you spoil the meat. I’d hide in the closet until I heard the gun go off. All I really remember about them is that they loved zucchini and that they were really smart. My dad built this sort of half-assed electric fence around their pen that broke all the time and the minute the fence turned off they’d be out of the pen and running around the yard all crazy like, and we’d call Matthew the neighbor boy over because he liked to wrastle them back in. We kept a “slop bucket” under our sink and we threw all our leftovers in there and then fed it to them. Gross! The bacon was the best ever.
Ducks and geese: Goosey and the two ducks (can’t remember their names) were a short-lived experiment. The coyotes ate Goosey before she could even grow up. I remember the patch of blood and feathers on the ground beside their little plastic kiddie pool. I feel like as soon as we got the ducklings they ran under the raspberry bushes and I never saw them again; I’m sure they got eaten too.