Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday Selfies: Furry Flashbacks

For yesterday's Caturday Art blog hop, I shared a drawing that I created in honor of the furry friends with whom I was blessed enough to share my childhood.

I then noted that I would use today's Sunday Selfie blog hop, hosted by our great furiends over at The Cat on My Head, to let you all get to know the furbabies in the drawing a little more. Luckily, Astrid, Evan, Thimble, and Eddy all indeed gave me their blessing to shake this Sunday Selfies post up a bit. Today, I'll be sharing some old selfies, selfies from way back before selfies were even selfies, selfies from the best friends I ever could have asked for as a child.

(Here's where I apologize in advance for what I know will be one of my lengthy posts, as I'm sure it will be full of my reminiscent ramblings.)


Let me start with the beloved furbaby that my regular readers already know. You guessed it - Rosie! I portrayed Rosie as the royal little angel she always was while on this earth, and that I'm sure she still is now.

Saying that I grew up with Rosie barely even skims the surface. My parents adopted Rosie and her brother (stay tuned, as you'll meet him next) back when I was 4 years old. Rosie stayed by my side throughout my early life, and I mean all throughout my early life. She was there for my first day of kindergarten, through grade school, my first day of high school, high school graduation, four years of college, my college graduation, and even all the way until I was settled in my third (and current) job in the real world.

Rosie was always a true calico, set in her ways and content to set the rules. But, she was also one of the sweetest, most loving, and most beautiful creatures to ever walk this earth. She was my loyal companion and confidante as I made my way through some of the most crucial years of my life. This sweet girl always knew how to make me smile.

Rosie was a master at the "if I can't see you, you can't see me" game, which she proved in this selfie from many years ago. (Just look at that cute pink nose!)

I can honestly say that the hardest day of my life thus far was the day I had to make the impossibly painful decision to say goodbye to Rosie after a grim diagnosis of heart failure and widespread cancer. That day was last year, May 7, 2015, when she was 21 years old. I still talk to Rosie every single day, and I don't see that ever changing


As I said above, next up is Rosie's brother, Sammy. In the drawing above, Sammy is the black and white mancat, chilling out on a stack of books, wearing a monocle and bowtie, because that's what cool dudes do.

Truth be told, when my parents adopted Rosie and Sammy as kittens, Rosie was technically my sister's and Sammy was mine. Although this didn't really stick, it did have its origin. It came about when, upon deciding that we would be adopting feline furbabies, my mom asked my sister and I if we had any certain type of kitties in mind. At the time we were asked that question, my sister and I were looking through some books about kittens. My sister pointed to a calico and said she wanted one that looked like that (good choice, sis!), and I couldn't help but point to a picture of a black and white kitten rolling its belly up and looking all cute and playful. Long story short, my mom called around to some of the local rescue groups and shelters. One of them told her that they indeed did have a calico as well as a black and white kitten, and that they were litter mates! And so, Rosie and Sammy came home as the newest members of the family.

Sammy was truly one cool dude of a cat. He was one of the most relaxed, tolerant, and patient cats around. In other words, he was the sort of cat that every kid needs. Some of my fondest memories with Sammy involve our many reading sessions together. He was the best reading buddy a kid could have ever asked for, as he was always more than willing to flop down next to me, or on top of me, as I read to him. Sammy wasn't just a great reading buddy, though, but was honestly a perfect playmate all around. The gentle soul he was, Sammy would let my sister and I do just about anything to him. For example...

This good boy always seemed more than happy to let my sister and I push him around in our toy baby strollers. He had to get help showing off those strollers skills for this selfie. After all, selfie sticks didn't exist in the '90s.

I will always cherish the time I had with my sweet boy Sammy. Sadly, that time was far too short, and I wish I had been able to spend far more of my childhood with him. Sammy was only 5 years old when he was quite suddenly called to the Rainbow Bridge on February 13, 1999. What called Sammy away from us was almost certainly hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a sometimes undetectable heart condition that, when undetected and therefore untreated, often results in a blood clot like that which Sammy very likely suffered on that fateful day. I may have only had 5 years with Sammy, but that was enough time for him to leave a major impression on me and my cat-loving ways.


My family brought home our first family dog when I was about 6 years old. That dog was a handsome, blue-eyed Australian Shepherd that we named Banjo. In my above drawing, Banjo is the one portrayed as a knight in shining armor, with a sword and all.

We brought Banjo home when he was a young puppy, and he was an active one. He could play and play and play and still never want to stop. Growing up, my sister and I loved this! In addition to being active and playful, though, I'll admit that Banjo was not a very social dog. No matter how many attempts we made at training and socializing him, the number of humans he liked was always very small, and pretty much limited to those living under the same roof as him. The same went for other animals. That being said, although Banjo may not have liked outsiders, when it came to his humans, I truly believe he would have been willing to die for us. He was a protector, and whether or not growing up with us instilled this in him, Banjo guarded over my sister and me as if his life depended on it. A kid couldn't have asked for a better babysitter than Banjo. Or a better security guard.

 Security guard selfie! Banjo was always there to make sure that no one (you know, like that evil mailman) dared have the audacity to walk up to the house.

Although I may be a bit biased, I can't help but say that Banjo was one of the most intelligent four-legged furballs I have ever met. He learned a lot of commands and tricks in his lifetime, and he seemed to understand vocabulary far easier than you'd think possible for a dog. Ultimately, even spelling some of Banjo's favorite words ("walk" being his absolute most favorite) wasn't good enough to keep him from understanding it. What's more, Banjo knew the name of each and every one of his humans, as well as his furry siblings, and if asked to find one of them, he would. This came in very handy when my sister and I wanted him to play hide-and-seek with us. He was as close to a human brother that my sister I ever needed.

Banjo was with us all the way until my first year of college, when, at the age of 12, he made his way to the Rainbow Bridge on January 31, 2008, after a battle with a disorder of the liver. Needless to say, that was a rough time for our family. It's hard to describe the despairing feeling of losing not only a furbaby, but one which seemed more human than you'd ever imagine possible. I know that Banjo is watching over me, just as he always did during his time on this earth.


Last, but certainly not least, is a pup known as Shellie. I portrayed her as the fashionable singer in my drawing.

My family brought home Shellie one year after Banjo came into our family, when I was roughly 7 years old. We wanted Banjo to have a playmate, and we decided on a Shetland Sheepdog. Well, we got a little lady that was at least part Sheltie, but certainly not full. After all, Shelties don't grow to be over 60 lbs like Shellie did. My family never cared that Shellie outgrew our expectations, though. Who cares about size when a dog is as sweet and happy as Shellie was? Honestly, I've never known a dog who truly, genuinely smiled as much as Shellie did. And she was a kisser. She loved to give wet and slobbery kisses, and lots of them. What's more, she was one of the most huggable dogs ever. Not only was she perfectly content to let you squeeze on her, but she was the fuzziest kind of fuzzy around, and it was like hugging a giant teddy bear. Needless to say, my childhood self loved having a teddy bear for a puppy.

A selfie to show off her shag! Shellie was incredibly furry, and therefore very, very huggable.

Just as much as Shellie was a kisser and hugger, she was also a talker. We always joked that she must have really loved the sound of her own bark. She would talk to her humans and furry siblings when she wanted to play, or when she wanted food, or when she simply felt like talking. She would talk to anyone who came in the door, whether she knew them or not. She would talk to other dogs on walks, and to cats, and to anyone and anything that she saw on walks. She would talk to people and animals who walked past the house, even from inside, where they couldn't hear her. Again, though, who can find fault in a talker when they're as sweet as Shellie was? For the same reason, we couldn't blame her for being the chewer and destroyer of inanimate objects in the house.

As Shellie grew older, she began to show her age. She developed arthritis, she went deaf, her eyesight began to decline, and she even went through two bouts of "old dog vestibular disease" that resulted in dizzy spells. However, with all of the grace of her more youthful years, she continued to smile, and she could still always bring smiles to the faces of her humans. Even when she needed daily medications, and needed to wear a vest with handles so that we could help her up and down with ease, she smiled and smiled. And she still loved to talk. She did all of this all the way until June 8, 2011, when, at the age of 14, she lost her battle to lymphoma. I will never forget my sweet Shellie's smiling face, or her furry bear hugs, or her beautiful voice.


Whew. Was that long-winded or what? My apologies. Kudos to those who made it through the whole post!

Wishing everybuddy a wonderful Sunday!


Our Tip of the Day:
To finish up our short series of posts on allergies in our furbabies, how about a few tips on helping your furbaby combat those allergies? If your furbaby seems bothered by airborne allergies, such as pollen, it may be best to keep windows closed. Also, don't forget to wipe off or remove your shoes when coming inside, as well as wipe off furry toes when they come in from outside, as they can track in pollen, grass, and other allergens. If your pup seems to itch and scratch a lot, perhaps consider a special shampoo formulated for sensitive skin or allergies. There are over-the-counter shampoos that are meant to soothe the skin, such as those containing oatmeal. And, of course, your veterinarian may have suggestions on shampoos, as well as medicated shampoos, should your dog need something more potent. To keep your dog's space as well as the whole house free of any allergens building up, be sure to wash pet beds and other such laundry regularly. In some cases, a furbaby may need medication, such as antihistamine, to combat allergies. So, if your furbaby seems to have trouble with allergies, consult your veterinarian regarding the best treatment plan.


pilch92 said...

I love this post, it was so nice to learn about the furbabies you had growing up. I especially enjoyed learning more about Rosie. How sad that her brother had such a short life. Your 2 dogs sound wonderful too and unique in their own ways. That is a cute story about how your Mom asked you what kind of cats you wanted and there were actually littermates that matched the description- that was meant to be. Have a great weekend!

Purrseiodn said...

Hope you're having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.

Anonymous said...

The stories about your kitties and doggies were so heartfelt. Thank you for sharing it, it brings back memories to Granny too. We always enjoy your artwork. You are so talented. Pawkisses for a Happy Sunday :) <3

Three Chatty Cats said...

No apologies necessary - I loved learning about your childhood pets! Sammy looks so cute in that stroller, like he's saying when are you going to put down the camera and push me? Let's go for a ride!

Marg said...

That was a wonderful post about all your animals. It is especially special to me, since during my life time I have had many Australian shepherd dogs and they are just so special and like you said, so darn smart. I had other dogs too, but nothing compared to the Australian Shepherd.
Your kitties sound great too. I have a calico that is my good friend but she won't go near any one else. Thanks for telling us all about the animals. That was fun.

Anonymous said...

Great posty, cute art and great fotos.

Luv ya'


Memories of Eric and Flynn said...

This is a lovely post about your furry family that came before. I enjoyed learning a bit about them.

Melissa, Mudpie and Angel Truffles (Mochas, Mysteries and Meows) said...

What a beautiful post full of memories. Each of our pets never leave our hearts...they have a permanent place of honor there.

Dash Kitten Crew said...

We love the post and we LOVE the drawing. Everyone should have one of theor of their pets!!

The Island Cats said...

We enjoyed learning about the furbabies of your past. What special memories!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful selfies and art!!!

meowmeowmans said...

That wasn't long-winded at all, Lorianne. The love you shared (and continue to share) with your angel furbabies is so, so evident in your post. It's beautiful, and we are thankful that you shared it with all of us. :)

Kitties Blue said...

Mom made it to the end without a problem. She loved reading about each of your fur babies. It was so sad to read that Rosie lost her brother, Sammy, when he was so young. And, of course, we loved your drawing of each of them with you at your desk. What wonderful memories you have, and what a great way to keep them alive. Thanks for sharing and hopping. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

Sweet Purrfections said...

This was a wonderful way to integrate the Caturday Art with the Sunday Selfie to allow us to get to know each of your furbabies. Loved it.

catladymac said...

What a beautiful tribute! And how lucky you were to have some of your childhood pets for so many happy years !