• Terry Groves

B.R.A.T.S. Pets - Part of the Family

When we first moved to Clinton, we brought our cat, whom we had named Cotton because she was all white, with us from Winnipeg. Unfortunately, she did not survive our time at the farm. We found her dead, by the edge of the highway. There were no discernible injuries so we don't think she was struck by a car. We buried her in a stand of trees that bordered the farm's front lawn.


After we moved into the base PMQs, my grandparents, Dad's parents, came for a visit. They brought a puppy with them. He was a stray that had climbed the many stairs to their apartment in St Thomas, Ontario, but had not been able to climb back down. They couldn't keep him but knew us boys would welcome him. We did.


We named him Teddy and indoctrinated him into the family. Over the next year he grew and we enjoyed a pretty tough and tumble play schedule. He did too, becoming large and strong and able to rough-house with us on our best days. He was a good dog, but it turned out, he was a bit of a brat too.


One stormy day Mom had just taken a roast from the oven and set it on a plate on the table so Dad could carve it. The power went out, casting the kitchen into sudden darkness. There was some scuffling, then a crash, then the power came back on. In the sudden glare of lights, there was Teddy, the roast in his jaws and the plate on the floor. Talk about being caught red-handed, maybe red-mouthed. He didn't get to keep it.


I have no photos of Cotton or Teddy but I have this one of Nicky, our next dog. Here he is holding dad in his chair.

Another time, Mom and Dad were hosting a birthday party for Mom. Dad's sister Marilynne, and her husband Russell had come. After singing Happy Birthday, Russell thought it would be funny to pretend to give Mom birthday spankings. Teddy failed to see the humour and in a moment had Uncle Russell by the arm, dragging him away from her. He bit hard, drawing blood. This was when we realized that, when threatened, Teddy was a force to be respected.


His size and the fact that he shed perpetually, became a problem. In our smallish house, there was only so much space and us growing kids were taking up more and more. It was decided that Teddy was too big for our home and would be better off someplace that offered him greater spaces. We adopted him out to a farm.


We were invited to visit him whenever we wanted but on the second visit, we were advised he had been mauled by another animal and had to be put down. I was crushed. It was as though our decision to take him to the farm had condemned him to an early fate.


Out pets were big parts of our family and I have so many memories that are connected with them. What types of pets did you have and what adventures did they lead you to?



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