It’s no secret I’d rather be around animals than most people.
My grandfather always had a bulldog in his backyard. I remember seeing my grandfather walk around, the short stub of a cigar in his mouth, with this short pile of muscle at his feet.
From the very first time I learned that some people actually keep animals as pets, I wanted one.
Between Thaisi and myself we now have six.
Six animals that I can’t possibly imagine my life without.
I was introduced to her two Jack Russell terriers on a warm night in Muscle Shoals, Alabama a few years ago.
Rugby was a lanky, prancing pony of a dog. He was clearly the more sophisticated.
Then there was Cricket. She was short, more hyper, and never wanted to be alone. She’d been rescued from a puppy mill and had anxiety issues.
After spending a few hours with them, Thaisi asked which one was my favorite. She asked because the answer was predetermined. Everyone loved Rugby most.
“Cricket,” I said.
“Oh, no. Cricket is the small one. You mean Rugby,” she insisted.
“I know which one she is. Cricket is my favorite.”
I get the feeling maybe Cricket had never been a favorite before. She expected to always take a back seat to Rugby’s shenanigans.
But she was my favorite.
She is now 12 years old.
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We found out today that Cricket likely has a brain tumor, causing almost constant tremors in her head. They occur about every 20 seconds.
The spunky girl who was always agile and acrobatic now finds herself falling frequently. Unable to keep her balance.
She doesn’t understand why.
There’s medicine she’ll take. There’s hope that we can decrease swelling of the tumor. Buy her some time.
At 12 years of age and tens of thousands of dollars in expenses, brain surgery isn’t an option.
My hope is that we get Cricket back for a little bit longer. Weeks, months, or years.
Just one moment more.
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It’s a strange thing to have a connection with an animal. Something you can’t have a conversation with. Someone who can’t answer your questions. Someone who doesn’t really understand their place in your life.
But make no mistake, Cricket is part of my family. She’s one of the most important friends I have.
And she’s still my favorite.