Christina and Jerry with our first dog, Charlie, at Lake Merritt in Oakland.
Spring 2002: Jerry plays with cat #3, Jamoca.
1971 - 1974
We got Charlie from the Ronays. He was a crazy dog. He would run away, and Dad would go looking for him in the middle of the night, yelling "Charlie!"
Charlie eventually bit our landlady, Mrs. Fisher, on the butt as she was doing laundry on our back porch. Dad took him to a "farm" where he could run and be free.
Dad and I cried together - he was my first pet, and my first experience of loss.
July 1975 - Spring 1991
Adopting Friskey from the pound in Berkeley was an undertaking the entire family shared with us. A very pregnant Aunt Jeanne and Uncle Jim came along to look for a nice puppy at the pound when they came to visit that summer. Kim and Candi and Jamie were with me in the back of the car.
Mom was driving us and the puppy home on the 80 during evening rush hour, when the car ran out of gas, and thanks to our angels, we made it to the side of the freeway. It was so hot that Friskey vomited all over the back of the car.
He was my best friend and companion after we moved to Concord. I used to "train" him in the back yard. When we got home after being gone, Friskey would jump at the gate, and we would see his head - ears flapping as he went back down. One vacation, we had our neighbors, Tom and Chris, take care of him for us. When we got home that time, we could hear Friskey, but we couldn't see his ears flying. When we looked over the fence at him, he was at least twice the size he was when we left him! After that, whenever we went away, we left him at the kennel!
Spring 1979 - Spring 1990
Buttonwillow was the littlest (hence his second name) kitten of Hilltop, our neighbor, Mrs. Colvard's cat, whom she had found at her church on a hilltop. Mrs. Colvard would babysit me every Thursday when Mom and Dad had meetings, and it was very exciting when her cat had kittens - I finally convinced my parents that we should get one. Dad stipulated that Friskey was the original pet and had priority if the two species didn't get along. Mom and I made sure they got along!
He quickly became Mom's - especially after she "customized" him by neutering him and by taking out his claws so he wouldn't ruin the furniture.
Spring 1991 - March 2002
Steve named her Buttercup, which was fitting, since she had a little patch of yellow under her chin. I couldn't stand her at first, because I came home from Davis, not very long after we had said good-bye to Buttonwillow, and she was in the window. Interloper!
She was also very sickly, having been taken from her kittens too soon. She had mastitis, and matted fur. She was not very pretty, and the fact that her tail was crooked didn't help matters, either.
She was very sensitive about her tail, and didn't like for it to be touched - I think it may have hurt her. Buttercup was also very clumsy, and we soon realized that she was a Ragdoll cat - I would open my arms to let her jump down, but she wouldn't catch herself, and she would just fall. I only made that mistake a couple of times!
Mom also customized her, so her lack of claws and her clumsyness made navigating chair backs and bookshelves very precarious for her. She would fall, and we would laugh at her. Not very nice of us.
She wasn't wild about men, but once Dad started working from home and she got used to him, she became infatuated and absolutely fell in love with him. She was 100% Daddy's kitty.
She eventually grew on me, and I was dismayed (once I got over being grossed out) when I felt that her jaw was absolute mush. She had cancer in her mouth, and it ate away her jaw, so she couldn't eat.
Mom and Dad took her to be put to sleep not long after they found out Dad had terminal cancer. Dad was anxious to find her replacement for Mom. They went looking almost immediately.
Dad with Buttercup - Christmas 2001. Together now in heaven.
His favorite place to hide was under the purple chair, which had a skirt around it. I would dress him up in my doll clothes and carry him around like a baby, when he would tolerate it. He soon grew into a pretty big cat.
Buttonwillow took good care of Mom after her foot surgery, staying with her for moral support. And mom took good care of him, giving him daily injections when he developed diabetes. BW's body eventually gave out and we had to have him put to sleep. That was a very sad day. My boyfriend, Steve, came along with us, and did a really good job of comforting me, but he refused to go again when we had to take Friskey in a year later.
Friskey would run around the back yard, and from the neighbor's yard to ours when Woody came to live with Greg, who eventually rigged the fence so we could take a slat out to allow the dogs to play together. Friskey barked a lot and had so much energy that Jim, another neighbor, called him "Sparky" instead of Friskey.
Friskey eventually died of cancer - Mom and Dad and I drove him to the vet's office together. On the way over in the car, he leaned into me really tight, and I held him the whole way. We were with him when Dr. Disney injected him with the pink poison. He died before the vet even had the chance to push the plunger in - he was ready to go! I was granted a comforting vision of him running across a beautiful green meadow which was surrounded by tall trees - Buttonwillow was there to meet him. (Kathy said she saw him in this meadow coming to meet Dad when he died.)
April 2002 -
Jamoca came from the animal shelter in Concord/Pacheco/Martinez. He was the sweetest little ball of gray fluff! He and his siblings were hot properties, so Dad made sure he was in line when the doors opened the morning Jamoca became available. Mom finally settled on his name, since that is her favorite 31 Flavors ice-cream.
He was a wild little kitty, with sharp teeth and claws. Since Mom's focus was Dad and work, she couldn't give him the attention he needed to train him, so he would use her legs and arms as his climbing poles and scratching posts, biting her
Winter 2002 -
Believing Jamoca needed a companion, Mom brought Bella home. Another sickly little girl, as she was spayed right away. Under the influence of good drugs, she seemed to be fine with being held, but once she came out from under the influence, her terror of people became apparent.
I named her Bella because she was the most beautiful little kitten in the world - her eyes are circled in black as if she just applied her eyeliner. Her white fur is as soft as a rabbit's.
hands, and generally being a nuisance. Mom's skin was shredded by the end of the summer. She finally was able to spend time with him and teach him not to bite and scratch, so as he grew into a long, skinny cat, his behavior improved.
During the first year of his life, Jamoca became very sick, and the vet found that he had a dead kidney. The kidney was removed, and now he is in wonderful health in spite of a heart problem. Mom makes sure he gets his heart medicine every day. He is very busy, just like Dad was. And he enjoys terrorizing Bella now, instead of the humans!
As she gets used to Mom, Linda, and me, she grows more comfortable around us. She flirts, and talks in sweet little chirps to us as long as we don't pick her up -- she even lets us pet her as she walks by.
Mom didn't have the heart to declaw her, so she uses Mom's nice furniture to sharpen her claws -- the red leather chair is shredded, too!