Monday, July 18, 2011

Reading Author's Pet Mysteries and Inspiration Struck!

Past the witching hour and I hadn't gone to sleep because I needed to finish Creature Cozies edited by Jill M. Morgan. This delightful short story collection featured mystery authors and their sleuthing pets. It hooked me in with the first story and inspired me to write about my own zoo. I particularly liked the author/pet duo photos featured on the back cover and will be blogging a book review later. Check back for details.

Possibilities abound with my menagerie of animals. It's hard to choose which one to write about first. If I write about all of them, there'll be eight tales -- tails of glory!

Let me introduce you to my furry/scaly family.

This is Derrick. He's five and a half years of trouble with a penchant to eat anything he can put in his mouth. He's nicknamed "The Garbage Can". He's sampled oatmeal cream pies, potato chips, and lots of other things not on his preferred diet -- a regular connoisseur of junk food! I got Derrick from a member on a bearded dragon forum when I lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She gave him up free to a good home. Last month Derrick almost passed. We're not sure what happened, but he had horrible seizures and wouldn't eat. He's better now, but his illness remains a mystery.

This is Mike. My stepson named him after the movie, Monsters Inc. Mike is the reason I met my husband. We met on a bearded dragon forum six years ago and have been together ever since. Mike is seven years old and has the appetite of a Hoover vacuum cleaner. Yesterday he discovered he likes blackberries. He's an experience traveler, having gone many places, including Petroglyph National Monument and Roswell, New Mexico. He is a rescue from a clutch - purchased at a pet store in Albuquerque.

This is Tiggyr (pronounced Tigger). She turned thirteen this year. She is the first cat I adopted as an adult. Tiggyr came from The Humane Society in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I went looking for a black cat, but came home with a polydactyl tabby. Tiggyr wouldn't let me leave without her, meowing at the top of her lungs and grabbing me through the bars of her cage with her paw. I'm a sucker! She was dumped by her family. She wasn't even six weeks old and should have still been with her mother. I'm literally her mother; she imprinted on me. Tiggyr will sell me out for a piece of cheese in a heartbeat, but she's also very loyal and loving.

This is Toshio. He's a British Bombay (a mix of Burmese and black cat). Toshio is about two now. I adopted him from Texas Cares, a no-kill cat shelter located in Dallas. I'd had my eye on a black cat for a while, but my husband told me no more cats. Then one day we were at PetSmart and there he was on a leash visiting the birds. I asked if I could pet him and as soon as I did, I knew I wanted to take him home. My husband didn't want to tell me no; instead, he told me I could get him with the apartment's approval. Of course, they approved adding a third cat to my lease, so Toshio came home. He already had his name and for the past eight months had answered to it, so we kept it. It means "leader" in Japanese. And that he is. He bullied his way into being the head cat in the house. He will sell me out for a piece of sashimi. He's quite vocal, mouthy really, likes to play fetch, and is very affectionate.

This is Houdini, our five-year-old tabby. Houdini came to us by a case of mistaken identity. I'd just moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico to be with my husband and the majority of my boxes were still under a tarp on the back porch. Suddenly, a cat appeared in the patio door. My husband thought it was Tiggyr. He opened the door and a strange cat came charging into the living room. We tried everything to get him to leave, knocking on doors, shooing him out of our house, but each time we put him outside, he beat my husband back in the door. Finally, we gave up and kept him while we tried to locate his owners because he obviously wouldn't go back home on his own. He was so sweet and had to belong to someone. No one claimed him after a week and we took him to the vet. He had a microchip, but the contact numbers were disconnected. We figured someone had dumped him after they moved. Of course, my husband wanted to keep him, but didn't tell me. I had to tell him I wanted to keep him! Will named him "Houdini" after one of his favorite magicians; my husband plans on using Houdini is his magic act someday. Houdini loves to watch Will practice magic and is not afraid of fire. He's a sneaky cat. He can escape from most locked rooms and open doors and to this day, we have no idea how he ended up on the enclosed porch in New Mexico, but we're glad he did.

This is Ludwig van Beethoven, one of my favorite composers, aptly named because his stomach looks like a piano. He's a Western Hognose snake native to Texas and not even a year old. We've had him for a few months. We nicknamed him "Snakelet" because he is so tiny. He cannot even eat on his own, yet. Some day he will be a big snake, all of two feet, if even that. He is gentle and will not turn aggressive as he ages. He's really my husband's pet -- a birthday present for Will this year.

This is Fizzlebub. Fizzy is named after my children's short story character, a lovable demon. She's a Cuban Anole, the largest anole in the world. We don't know how old she is. She's been with us for about three years now and before that, she had two previous owners. She ended up back at the pet shop. One owner didn't have the time for her anymore and the other couldn't handle her. The staff was afraid of her, since she was quite aggressive, but with love and patience, she's now tame. I'm guessing she's around at least five or six years old.

And last but not least -- little Bradbury the Three-toed Box Turtle native to Texas. He is not even a year old and will live at least twenty-five years, if not more. I got him after I lost my beloved Tatsu, my bearded dragon I'd raised from a baby. Bradbury inherited Tatsu's tank. He is named after one of my favorite authors, Ray Bradbury. He's quite a grouchy, persnickety little fellow who likes to be fed on time and hates taking baths, even though he needs them to be healthy.

 Whew! That's my zoo! Hope you enjoyed meeting all of them. Perhaps, you'll see their mugs in print some day. I have some writing to do now...

As always, happy writing and happy reading to all!

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