Tag Archives: House Pets

Pet Obituary: Freckles

In 2014, I wrote my first pet obituary for our beloved dog, Freckles. She impacted me as much as many of my other human friends and family have and I knew her longer than some of my other friends that had and have since passed. I wrote this obituary as a gift for my family and through this learned that I love writing pieces that capture the beauty a life can hold and share with the world.

Because this piece is so important to me, I requested that my family allow me to post it here (with some minor editing and personal information removed).

Dear Friends and Family,

On the 29th of August, 2014, our family lost their furry daughter, Freckles. She lived a long life of almost 20 years filled with love, adventure, excitement, mischief, and the never-ending need to prove her intelligence to those bipedal creatures around her. Shortly after Joe arrived with another moving truck, Freckles suffered from a stroke, causing her to lose the majority of control over her hind legs and develop severe reoccurring seizures. Our family would like to extend our deepest gratitude to a new family friend and neighbor for finding a veterinarian that would take us on short notice and relieve Freckles of her pain and suffering in the kindest, gentlest, and fastest manner possible while Glenda and Lo held her, kissed her, petted her, and spoke very softly to her until she passed peacefully.

Freckles joined our family when she was 8 weeks old, rejected by her mother, abused, neglected, and scared of the world. Joe and Jennifer went to Winchester, Virginia to pick up her from the Virginia Border Collie Rescue League during January 1996. Since then our family was blessed with the most amazing friendship and companionship.

When this small 8-week old puppy arrived in our hearts and home in Annandale, Virginia, Rebecca convinced the family to name her Freckles because of the markings all over her legs. Unlike most dogs, responding better to distinct “-ee” or other long vowel ending names, Freckles immediately responded and took on her identity. Perhaps this was the first sign that we had gotten ourselves into trouble with adopting a precocious and intelligent dog gifted with unique cognizance and an understanding of the English language.

The powers that be gifted Freckles with a strong herding instinct. She herded everything. On at least one occasion our family was blessed by watching a small puppy corral a group of slugs on a back patio and herd them. Chickens too could not escape her herding instinct. Our former chicken, Chica, constantly engaged in a battle of tolerance and wits with Freckles as she would crouch in the grass and sneak up on Chica to begin herding her again after Chica’s retaliations against her. Other animals that did not escape her herding instincts included the Canadian Geese at the local community college campus, rabbits, many many insects, and anything else she could herd, sometimes including house guests.

In addition to her herding instinct, Freckles was also gentle and loving. As an example, one night Freckles collected two small baby mice and very gently carried both in her mouth over to where Joe slept and deposited the two babies on his chest. She succeeded in waking Joe and insisting on him caring for them as she nudged them to make sure they were still alive.

As a young dog, she accompanied our family on trips to Florida, New England, and Canada. One of her favorite past times were car rides with Joe and the family. A particular memory from these travels includes a hotel in Montreal, Quebec. After a long day of driving, Joe attempted to piece together bits of French and English in order to communicate with the hotel staff tried to get approval for Freckles to stay in the room with our family. The hotel concierge eventually simply asked “No yap yap?” in broken English, and Joe grateful for the language breakthrough responded “No. No yap yap.”

When Joe’s father passed away, she looked for him everywhere, following his scent around the house in Falls Church, Virginia, mourning his death and crying with Joe. She comforted Joe in silence as he dealt with the loss his best friend, father, and role model in life. Freckles also aided the rest of our family during this hard time, comforting each member individually in very personalized ways, and communicating with us through her imitation of the human language. She kept our entire family together and sane during the greatest loss we had suffered at that point in our lives.

Freckles’ exceedingly brilliant intelligence included many talents, such as problem-solving, language comprehension, obedience, her ability to act as an obedience teacher, and playfulness. Shortly after Freckle’s first growth spurt, she began opening the door to let herself outside, as just one example of her problem-solving abilities. Additionally, her talents in the English language are not to be ignored as part of her remembrance. On more than one occasion Freckles answered yes or no questions by nodding or shaking her head. She also regularly imitated the English language when greeting Joe upon his arrival home from work each day. There is no question that Freckles understood almost everything anyone said within her hearing range. Shortly after obedience training, it became clear that Freckles’ obeyed commands only on her own terms, yet she passed her obedience and expectations of obedience on to other family dogs shortly after their arrival in the family.

Her joy and vivacity in play with Joe were incomparable. Three of her favorite games included Tug-Of-War, the Black Drain Pipe, and catching the hand monster. Freckles aged with grace, dignity, and pride for herself and her family.

Our Family was always welcomed home, snuggled, and sought after, sometimes out of herding instinct, but mostly out of love. Our family human children: Jennifer, Rebecca, Lo, and Austin walked protected by her through the yard, and guarded every moment we walked through the streets of the neighborhood. She watched over the safety of all of Joe and Glenda’s children and the friends of their children of which she approved, both furry and bipedal.

Freckles will be cremated and her ashes placed in an urn made of pink granite to match that of our family memorial. At a future date, our family will take Freckles’s remains on a final trip to Savannah, Georgia to visit the family memorial in a small private ceremony.

Our sincerest thanks to all of our friends and family during this difficult time.


Thank you for reading Freckles’s obituary/memorial today. The comments section is reserved for readers to share their own personal experiences and thoughts around pet obituaries. Do you agree with having them written? Disagree with them? Comments are moderated only to prevent spam and middle school style indecency. Once you have one approved comment on the website you won’t have to wait for comment moderation. I try to get comments approved as quickly as possible.

Nyxie Update: Cat Personality Test?

General Update

This post is about a black cat named Nyxie. We adopted her 3 weeks ago. She talks. A lot. It’s sometimes hard to get a word in with her full vocabulary of chirps, naws, maws, mows, woas, nos, and other amazing sounds.

Nothing like the animals booping with an awkward lap shot

Nyxie is settling in well and is now sleeping in the bed most nights. She is a very affectionate cat that will do gentle love nibbles if you stop petting her and she wants you to continue.

She has decided that there is one position that is her favorite to snuggle in. She likes to be attached to my hip. When she was picked up as a stray she weighed 6 lbs, but when we brought her home she was so sick and skinny looking. She spent a lot of time gaining enough weight to look healthy. I’m happy to report she’s back up to 6lbs!

Figuring Out Nyxie’s Personality

I wonder about her history and why she craves so much affection. I don’t know much about cat behavior, so I consult the internet. Cat personality tests are a thing, right?

First in my quest to better understand my cat’s mind I hit up this website I discovered via Google: Meowingtons. They have a list of the Big 5 Cat Personalities they call Neurotic, Extraverted, Dominant, Impulsive, and Agreeable. So I check out their descriptions.

Neurotic

I would absolutely peg Nyxie as neurotic. There’s something absolutely skittish about her. Every time Jacob or the dog flex a muscle in her presence she flies off the bed or wherever she is lounging. In general she’s fairly affectionate with me, but not with many other people.

According to this website neurotic cats thrive on being able to build confidence slowly and having plenty of opportunities to hide so they can do so on their own terms.

Crap. I think I’m neurotic.

Extraversion

Nyxie is absolutely extraverted. She cannot stand to be alone and gets bored very easily. She made friends with Haskell and plays with him, even though he’s in the “I’m angry at not being an only child so I’m going to poop in front of the cat tree” stage. She loves being loved.

It’s noted that extraverted cats need to be kept busy or they could become destructive. Combining this with her extreme dislike of having her toe beans touched (meaning it’s difficult to trim claws) is a bit of a recipe for disaster at the moment if we don’t keep her entertained.

Dominant

Nyxie is not very dominant. I stand up to Haskell for her because he’s able to chase her off and I’m annoyed at him deciding it’s okay for him to be a little jerk. White dog being a jerk to a black cat right now? I’m not in the mood for that kind of theater.

Impulsiveness

Nyxie is definitely a little on the impulsive side, but just enough to be useful for problem solving. She likes climbing and getting interesting places. She is very curious about everything and wants to taste all of my house plants.

Interestingly, this website mentions that impulsive cats thrive on routine. Nyxie is a routine driven cat. It’s good to know that this is important to keep up.

Anyone want some succulents? I may need to re-home a few to save their lives.

The Personality Test

So then Jacob and I sat down to do this 2015 Buzzfeed Cat Personality Test. The not-so-scientific listicle experience of cat personality research has us intrigued now. How far can we take this? Time to anthropomorphize our cat to her fullest, purrrrforming potential!

WOW! Look at that totally not obvious sponsorship! You’re not obvious at all!

Okay. Surprisingly, Jacob and I both found this as accurate as any human personality test (which is to say, we have our doubts, but it’s fun to play along).

Have You Done Pet Personality Tests?

I’d love to hear from people who have done pet personality tests or have thought extensively about animal personalities. I find every animal very unique and find animals much easier to read and understand than humans. This may be because I like them better than humans, but look at the world and tell me you blame me.

Thank you for taking time our of your busy day to spend a few moments with me. Did you enjoy this post? Please let me know in the comments or by liking this post!

Nyxie Meets Haskell

Haskell met Nyxie today. At first, Haskell was rather apprehensive. Admittedly, that may be reasonable given half of the etymology for the cat’s name comes from the Greek goddess Nyx. The other half? Nixie Tubes (because we’re nerds), but the name Nixie may come from this kind of nixie. We have a habit of naming our animals in our own ways. If you hadn’t noticed, we named our dog after a programming language.

Nyxie took to the house as one would expect her namesakes to take to their domains: she owns it. As for how Haskell is taking the new addition to our family? He is confused and jealous.

Nyxie is not scared of Haskell, nor is she threatened by his presence. She has not hissed at him once, nor has she swatted at him. This is impressive given he has not behaved in the most reasonable manner toward her, but we’re doing everything at her pace here. By the end of the first 24 hours Nyxie and Haskell have spent several hours in each other’s company peacefully, under the same piece of furniture, sniffing each other.

Nyxie has a healthy appetite and is not showing any signs of stress. Haskell gets agitated if we show Nyxie affection and has learned her name faster than she has. He’s working through his only-child-syndrome.

Many jokes will come of this:

As in the Universe if for all Matter there is Anti-Matter then there too must be Dog and Anti-Dog.

Ceiling Dog and Basement Cat

Haskell is not very effective for Nyxie interactions

Thank you for taking the time to read and I hope this brought a smile to your face. Without you this would be bits of data stored somewhere and recalled only when someone stumbles on it by mistake. Maybe that’s you – Thank you anyway if that’s the case.