My parents loved animals, but they were not at first good pet owners. They let their dogs and cats outside. Even though we lived in the country, these animals soon died. Usually they were hit on the US-2 Highway that ran right in front of our house, or sometimes they just wandered off and didn’t come back. Life was usually short for an outdoor pet.
It was because of the neighbors that we started keeping our pets in. My mother fought ferociously with the neighbors. Even though everyone’s dog ran loose in the neighborhood, the family across the street called the police and complained about our dogs. Their teenage neighbor son actually drove off the highway to kill one of our cats.
I didn’t like these neighbors anymore than my mother did. Not after the son killed my cat, Maverick.
My mother was at fault for the fighting. While I think I am crazy in a good way, she was crazy in a bad way. She would stand out on the lawn, call the neighbors ugly names, and thumb her nose and butt at them. She never forgave anyone, not even for the slightest wrong or perceived wrong.
We had a pet chicken named Henny Penny who was not penned. When Henny Penny went pecking in Mr. Corona’s yard to the south of us, my mother ran out of the house shaking her fist at him and screaming, “Leave that chicken alone.”
After that she wouldn’t leave Mr. Corona alone. She yelled at him so much that he eventually built a tall wood fence around his yard, so he did not have to look at her or listen to her anymore.
The good that came out of the encounter was that she had to start penning Henny Penny who lived to be a very old chicken.
My mother’s craziness and her battles with the neighbors, are another story. The neighbors, especially the teenagers across the street had murderous thoughts about my mother, and unfortunately took it out on a few of the animals. We had to start keeping them inside, or as in the case of our one chicken and one rabbit, we had to start penning them in.
The dogs were tied outside most of the day and let loose when we walked with them down the tracks behind our house. They came in at night. The cats were kept in all the time.
I learned to keep pets safe by keeping them in.