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My Not-So Glass Menagerie: My Animal Family

Updated on September 23, 2010
My Johnny
My Johnny

An Animal Lover from the Start

Animals have been a part of my life as far back as I remember. While my parents and I lived in an apartment in Los Angeles which allowed no pets, my father's sister, who lived only a block away, bred bouncy Pugs and owned cages of colorful parakeets. As a toddler, I learned to love these creatures; many of my childhood memories are of them. My first word, in fact, was "ohnny" which was most certainly my young voice trying to utter the name of the dominant male Pug, Johnny.   While not regular church-goers, my family knew much of St. Francis of Assisi, and I grew to appreciate his care for the animals.  Most of my childhood books were wondrous animal stories, and I could never get enough. As an only child, I found friendship and companionship with these animals, fictional and not, and most of my toys were creatures of all sorts and shapes.

Once on my own, I began a personal, never-ending collection of creatures, an addiction, so to speak, to their company and beauty. Each pet I have owned has had its own personality, quirks and tendencies which continue to fascinate me.  Their interactions are as complex as humans at times; rivalries as well as loving bonds exist between them.  What began over 50 years ago continues to this day, and will continue, I am sure, until I die. I am simply unable to imagine life without the presence of pets-perhaps to care for me, at times, since their lives enrich mine in a myriad of ways.

And so if I may, I would like to introduce you to my current menagerie, a varied lot that share and enrich my life.

Camera-Shy, but very much the boss.
Camera-Shy, but very much the boss.


When my husband, son and I decided to move to the Eastern Sierra town of Bishop, we really had no idea how very rural a community it was. What had initially been a plan to escape the dangerous conditions of South Central Los Angeles eventually became an infatuation that we have yet to get over. The beauty and lure of this area has made its impression on us all. Our first home was on the North side of Bishop, Mammoth Mountain and Mount Tom in view. My son was just beginning Kindergarten, as well as learning the art of persistence-he wanted a kitten. Now this was a rental, so financial arrangements had to be addressed, but without too much resistance on my or my husband's parts, we went to the local shelter and my son chose a pitifully small and weak-appearing kitten. According to the documents, the cat was in good health, my son was infatuated, so we took him home. My boy, Aaron, named the creature Rocky.

In the early years of Rocky's life he seemed determined to go through a number of his lives; he was hit by a car early on, lost a leg as a result, had terrible ear infections that persist to this day. His exploits ended early on, however, when he got in a cat fight so vicious that cats no longer leave these doors. Rocky is quite the grouchy old man these days, he is well-known for swatting at dogs seemingly for the heck of it. Rocky prevails as the most dominant creature that we own.

My Grande Dame
My Grande Dame


We acquired our first dog here in Bishop quite by accident. While enjoying a summer outing to one of the local natural springs, we saw a beautiful, lean black lab puppy scampering around a nearby trailer. I was horrified as I watched the pup's owner hit the dog with unnecessary force, and said so to my husband. We offered to take the dog off his hands, which he agreed to without a thought. Once home, Aaron named her Friday, and she has been everything that Labs are touted to be. Loyal to a tee is our girl Friday, obedient to a fault. Not too long ago, however, she began to disregard our commands, preferring to do as she pleased. Had we paid closer attention, we would have noted that she had gone deaf; I found this out quite by accident, and now it is we who need to remember not to call her, yet we still talk to her, every day.

My Shadow
My Shadow


When in fifth grade, Aaron decided that his mother needed a kitten all to herself.  Kattan was thus brought home to me by my young son with 'please' in his eyes, kitten in his arms.  What could a mother do?  He had picked up this cat at our local grocery store on his way home from school, and, well, I was hooked.  She is a lovely cat who has indeed been 'mine' since she set eyes on me.  I believe this cat is addicted to me, she follows me wherever I go, often getting dangerously underfoot.  At times she has been an annoyance, but I am blessed by her devotion.

My Miracle
My Miracle


Aaron was determined to name the next member of the family after a weekday, and it just so happened that we adopted him on my husband's bithday.  A Border Collie mix, Birthday has been by far the most intelligent of our pets.  He is quick to understand certain words, such as 'toy.' and when directed to find one, looks around a room in search of that very thing.

Recently, however, the dog has developed seizures, and 'goes down' for days at a time-obviously in a great deal of pain.  Last November our veterinarian determined that Birthday's spine was fused, and unless we were willing to spend an inordinately large sum of money for spinal surgery, he would have to be put down.  We said our goodbyes here at home, took our last photos of him, and my husband and son took him to the vet to be euthanised.  Within 20 minutes, Birthday had regained his muscle control and my boys brought him home.  He has recovered almost completely in only one year.

My Wolf
My Wolf


Ranger was not a chosen part of this household-he was, shall we say, dumped. In our backyard. Perhaps we were by now known as people who sincerely cared for our pets, and someone left him in our fenced yard-we'll never know of his origins. Aaron and I were the first to lay our eyes on this gorgeous young beast whose ears were far too large for his body. Convincing my husband to take in another animal by this time was quite a task. Once he allowed Ranger to show his playful affection, though, my husband couldn't resist, and we had one more mouth to feed.

As a wolf mix, Ranger is especially sensitive to his place in the pack, and shows his submissive behavior without fail when dealing with the other dogs. He has been with us four years now, and is still quite the pup.

My Baby
My Baby


Nemo is my familiar, though I am not a witch, he is my nemesis, my buddy and muse. We came upon this little cat over a year ago and he remains one of the most fascinating creatures I have ever had. From morning until night, he is a constant source of mischief, rattling away in cupboards I thought secured, and tearing around this domicile as if being chased by wily adversaries. He is far more intelligent than any cat I have ever owned, and far more watchful. His penchant for being 'in my business' is at times bothersome, yet always cherished

And so it Goes...

I plan on surrounding myself with animals for the rest of my life, and hope they remain, content, in my care.


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    • debbie roberts profile image

      Debbie Roberts 6 years ago from Greece

      I realise that this hub was written a while back, just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed your hub whilst sipping on my coffee and could relate to it. We have a few pets and wouldn't be without them, although over the last couple of years we've not added to them, been tempted too though.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Oh God, for some reason I am truly listening to your advice. We don't really know one another, but I feel your honesty and am grateful for it. Every morning I have said to myself, 'I don't need this operation, really.' But then I take a shower or something, and my hip goes, 'crack, crack' *(not like Scrubs!) amd I gross out, but it does hurt. Your words are a salve to me, thank you. That nurse of yours should be shot, I'd give it to her in an instant. I WANT my valium damit!

      I don't have a laptop, but I'll be home soon. all stupid and writing bizarre stuff. You're a nut and I really like you!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Oh I don't envy you. I do hate surgeries but you know how I trick my psyche? I only let myself think about after the surgery. Like I don't think about the before part. I had to have one several years ago - and I was so anxious the doctor told the nurse to give me a tranquilzier as soon as I got there - and the nurse didn't. I said, doc says you gotta give it to me now. She said, well I will just give it to you after we get you all changed and transported upstairs. I looked at her and said, "you don't understand if you don't give it to me now, I will have the escape route planned before I get out of this room!" She gave it to me:)

      You should just do what the doc says - and it will be a thing of the past before you know it. I hope you have a lap top or easy access to a computer while you recover!

      Don't reflect too much Laurel - look forward not behind!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Oh, you sweet one. I have no other idea what to call you! Well, I CAN say that you're not giving me a chance in h*ll to read YOUR hubs and comment! ;) Oh, yeah, Rocky was the ruler 'round here, and all the dogs-particularly-knew it. They were totally in awe of his sassiness. He was the guy to deal with!

      You are such the sweet one. Well, RHW, I am to have total hip replacement surgery 2 weeks from today and I am SOOOOO scared I can barely write. I did have the left one 'done' in '09, but now it's time for the other. I keep wanting to chicken out, but really shouldn't, cause it does hurt to even walk.

      Anyhow, that's why I'm not so quick to respond, I guess I'm just in a self-reflective mood. YIKES!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Oh you are a kindred spirit! Mia looks just like Rocky. She is the ruler here - and often smacks the dogs just because! All three dogs sometimes gang up on her but she could take any one of them alone. Dave and I laugh - Peanut is so afraid of her he runs. He runs from the birds too though?

      You are a superb writer - very eloquent along with a little sass. Perfect!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Thanks Lisa, I hope I'm a good person, or at least I hope my animals think I am!

    • lisadpreston profile image

      lisadpreston 7 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      I love animals and dogs in particular with all my heart. I have taken in probably around 60 throughout my life and love them as children. I only have my little son Mini me Preston with me now. I love this dog more than anything. You must be a good person if you love animals. Only mean people don't like them. What a sweet hub this was.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      I'll never live without my zoo, and I'm an admitted animalaholic!

      Thanks for coming by!

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 7 years ago

      Oh my gosh, Lorlie , this is funny ,I'm smiling as I read of your 'pack' , what would we do without them? They make my life tolerable too. Never in my days would I have though , Ok , a cat is my friend. But yup , one is......

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Thanks, thekittyhut-I don't think I'll let Nemo know what you said, it might go to his head! :)

      Thanks for visiting!

    • thekittyhut profile image

      thekittyhut 7 years ago

      Love your hub, Nemo is beautiful!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      @MPG-Birthday will be missed forever, I'm sure. He was my son's growing up, but mine after he left home. There's a hole here now where he should be. But time will help-I know that. Enjoy your Sassie!!

      Thanks for the visit.

      @Lucky Cats-Nemo is my love-cat!! He has a nub for a tail, and personality extraordinaire! He really is an awesome creature. You and Al are to be congratulated and thanked for your efforts! 80+ cats is no small number-I'm glad to know people like you do actually exist! ;)

      I just got off the phone with a woman I went to high school with, from Burlingame. Another of my classmates is from St. Helena. Small world!

      Thanks for stopping by, LC.

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 7 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Lorlie....I LOVE this! And Nemo is just like one of my current kittys who is named Trouble...for obvious reasons. Your story reads very much like mine. I am originally from Napa, CA. but moved to SE Kansas 3 1/2 years ago on a self dare....long story short; there are so many animals here in need of help...right now, my friend Al and I have rescued well over 80 cats and a dozen + dogs..all spayed, neutered, vaccinated, tested and well loved. We have 10 acres so we're doing ok so far. Thinking of coming back to N. Ca. I know your area...very beautiful.

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      You are so lucky to be able to have so many pets. Birthday, how beautiful was he? I understand how much you must miss him now.

      Sassie is my one and only pet as hubby isn't too keen on pets :( Still we are lucky to have her and she certainly keeps us busy (and fit).

      It's been good chatting today, thanks Laurel.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      That would be my loyal and constant shadow, Kattan! She's always at my side. I don't even know how old she is, mythbuster, but she keeps on keepin' on!

      Your brattycat, eh? Maybe they're related! :)

      Take care.

    • mythbuster profile image

      mythbuster 7 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      OMG Lorlie6, what is my rescue cat doing over in your photo album hmmmmmm? lol The grey-white-black striped cat (pic4). Hey that's my brattycat!


    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Yep, Quincy, Johnny will always be my very favorite...but then there's you!

    • profile image

      QuincyDaWonderDog 8 years ago

      dat Johnny was very cute. :)

      your furry buddies are all awesome. 'k, bai.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      I'd estimate that Ranger weighs around 75 to 80 lbs. He is such a wonderful guy, sort of a Mama's Boy-which is my favorite quality!

      I'm going to look over your hubs again to find a picture of Denaya.

      Thanks for your visit-Happy Mother's Day!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      Oh my - you are SO right! Ranger most certainly must be a sable malamute - at least part! He could be Denaya's twin!! That is too remarkable. He looks like a beautiful boy and what a lucky 'dude' as I call my Griffin to have found such a kind and loving home!!! I think you should get a scooter and hook him up (okay -probably not since you were having surgery, right?)....beautiful boy - how old do you think he is? I think Denaya must be at least 8 or 9 now - hard to tell since she was a rescue dog - but they would make a stunning couple! How much does Ranger weigh? I think Denaya is about 80-85 depending on how much we run her. Again, Happy Mom's Day - and thanks for taking another one of these poor things off the streets.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Thanks, cosette-he is an adorable pup, although he is by far the tallest dog we have. He also has a lovely curled tail and follows me throughout the house!

    • profile image

      cosette 8 years ago

      i love them all, but for some reason Ranger touches my heart the most. he looks like a big sweetie. this is a heartwarming and very touching hub. rating this UP~

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      You are right, h.a., I love all my beasts-even my husband!:o)

    • h.a.borcich profile image

      h.a.borcich 8 years ago

      What a heartfelt hub :) Obviously you have a great love of "beasts" as do I, Holly

    • profile image

      ralwus 8 years ago

      That is an amazing tale of your Birthday dog. I love animals and animal lovers are the bestest of peoples. I have a menagerie also. Now, as for my alien poem, don't let it bother you when and if you discover the truth. Much love, CC

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      I'm an animal lover, too! When we lived in a rural area, I had a veritable zoo: dogs, cats, chickens, horses, goats, rabbits, ducks, and a bull. Many of the critters were rescues. Great hub!

    • brandonfan profile image

      brandonfan 8 years ago from Mid West

      Awww! I love this! So sweet!!!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      I've seen a picture of Frank-he's adorable. Ranger is my baby wolf, thanks for saying he's cool. I'll let him know you said so!

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Ryan Hypner, one of the staff members here at Hubpages, has a dog Frank that looks just like your dog Johnny. His dog is so cute, and I love the pictures and videos he posts of Frank. I also love all of your animals too. Ranger is a very cool dog too!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      We do too, Duchess, thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 8 years ago

      I was fortunate as a child and we always seemed to have pets around. My mom still takes in strays (pets and people).

      Keep it up lorlie, I agree with Laura, they know an animal lover when they see one!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Thanks, Laura, they are living such a difficult life. :o)

    • Laura du Toit profile image

      Laura du Toit 8 years ago from South Africa

      Believe me the animals will be content. They are much more intelligent than we give them credit for and know a good animal lover when they see one!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      It was my pleasure, Sybil Marie!

    • Sybil Marie profile image

      Sybil Marie 8 years ago

      Wow I loved your Hub, I feel like I know all of them! I have 3 cats and 1 dog right know and they are all wonderful personalities unto themselves. Thanks for sharing your furry friends with us.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Beautybabe-That movie is what inspired my Hub's title! I loved that movie very, very much. And thanks for coming by!

      Franki79-What a sad and moving story-thankfully we own this property and won't have to go through such a heartbreaking experience.

    • profile image

      franki79 8 years ago

      You certainly are making up for what you were denied as a child,,,, with a vengence I might add. You have quite the assortment of four legged friends. Anymore come into your life and you might have to find a bigger house.

      It about broke mine and it did break my ole mans heart. A year ago his house was being foreclosed on, it had been in the making for awhile but he dreaded therefore procrastinated finding a place to move to and I started calling everybody we knew to get them to take Bear for us.

      Bear, as far as he can remember was 12-13 in our years, deaf, half blind,he didn't bark, nor did he have the energy to dig, he stayed close to or inside the garage and every so often would make his appointed rounds, he would go walking and walk the perimeter of the fence.

      Bailey the Beagle, I wasn't too worried about, she was young, still playful so I knew if taken to the pound, she would be adopted out fairly quickly, but I worried who would adopt Bear if he ended up there too? I mean, who would have it in they're hearts?

      I will never know, in the end, that is where both of them were taken. We carried them in, got them signed in, paid the fee (humane society here charges $10.00 per animal to help pay for food.) We put them in the cages they were asigned to and we stayed with them, saying our goodbyes, and just as we were walking away, we heard a wimper and knew it was Bear. That tugged hard at our heart strings. We got outside and Larry got emotional.

      We tried to find a landlord who would accept animals but finding a big enough place to live was proving very difficult and we were running out of time before the eviction notice was posted and we were fearing that we would not be given time to move out.

      Larry had filed bankrupsy and rental property groups were not even willing to work with him, we were lucky to find a place that was close to his job, big enough for all his stuff but the landlord is strictly no animals, so we didn't have a choice.


    • BEAUTYBABE profile image


      You never fail to amaze with your hubs.

      What an assortment of names, they are certainly original and it is very obvious that you love them so very much. It was such a moving hub, you certainly do have a menagerie.

      Did you see the move "The glass menagerie"? with Jane Wyman, it is based on a young girls collection of glass ornaments, which were all of animals. Her favourite one was the unicorn, which unfortunately gets injured in the movie.

      It is such a lovely movie, I have seen it 3 times.

      I have to learn how to make my hubs more interesting to attract more traffic BB

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Thanks, abcd1111, and no, there's nothing rational about having pets, that's the joy of it.

      blondepoet, I appreciate you stopping by!

    • blondepoet profile image

      blondepoet 8 years ago from australia

      Had to drop by I simply adore animals by the buckets so I really dug this one. Well done! :)

    • abcd1111 profile image

      abcd1111 8 years ago from Glen Ellyn, IL (Chicago suburb)

      Sweet stories all. Ranger is stunning.

      I would have more pets, but my husband isn't as enamored of animals as I am. We're down to two small dogs. I'm getting the itch for another, but I know it isn't rational.

      You're lucky you live in a nice climate.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      EarnMate-thanks for noticing that intelligence in Nemo!

      And Green Lotus, I wholeheartedly recommend a dog now and again-they're certainly not as superior...

    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Loved your story lorlie. I too adore animals but have yet to experience the companionship of a dog! It's always been cats, birds and the occasional fish.

    • EarnMate profile image

      EarnMate 8 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      I am cat lover and having 2 cats around me all day. :D

      One seem has similar behavior as Kattan but not much addict. I think she is smart and realize that she has to detach from me at night time.

      Nemo looks very smart. :D

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Thanks, Quickdraw! You amaze me, Lyrics, as always...

      Much Love and Gratitude.

    • profile image

      lyricsingray 8 years ago

      wow Lorlie, that's a farm alright, I have already fallen in love with Friday and wish I could meet them all. So beautiful only asking to be loved and return it 10 fold. Loved this hub, thanks, kimberly


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