• Jason E. Fort

Remember the Animals...


So lately, I have been getting a lot of posts from friends about animals. I have seen videos of amazing animals doing amazing things. I have seen pictures of other people's favorite pets. I have seen animals do 'stupid human tricks.' However, since God created the animals just like He created people...I thought they deserved a spot on my blog. I wanted to take a little bit of time to share some of my favorite experiences with animals.

I can't mention memories of animals in my life without first remembering my precious childhood pet, Gretchen. Gretchen was a schnauzer. She was the family dog at our house before I was born. My parents told me that once I came along, our little Gretchen was very protective of me, and she would growl at anyone who tried to hold me if they weren't my mom or dad. As I got a little older, apparently, Gretchen and I thought we had perhaps outgrown our house with mom and dad, so we began walking. I even have a vague memory of my dad cursing and laughing at the same time as he yelled at me and my little dog about a half mile away from our house, walking up Grove Road. I believe I was four years old. I don't think my parents understood that Gretchen and I just needed to get out more...haha! Nevertheless, my little brothers really never knew Gretchen. But I remember one day when I was eight years old, and my little dog had been sick. I remember coming home from school asking my mom where was my dog? She didn't have the heart to tell me what had really happened, so she told me that Dad had taken Gretchen to the doctor. When my dad got home, he explained to me that he had to take Gretchen to be put to sleep. That was my first real brush with death, and at least understanding what it meant. I will always have a special place in my heart for little Gretchen.

But I have had a lot more experiences with animals since Gretchen. I remember our neighbors up the street because they were breeders of Golden Retrievers. My friend Scott and I would go up to Neil and Betsy's, and we would play with their three wonderful retrievers: Ginger, Hutton, and Buffett. I remember Ginger being this big furry ball of love and energy, always running around and bounding with joy. Hutton was simply the sweetest, most gentle dog I can remember..and she was so obedient. Then there was Buffett. Buffett was the biggest Golden Retriever I have seen to this day. He had shoulders and a neck like a Rottwiler, and he had the biggest head...but the owners swore he was a purebred Goldie. My childhood friend Scott and I would go play with the dogs, and occasionally they would have litters of puppies, so we would play with those, too. But I remember one day Scott and I went up to visit, and our neighbors had a surprise for us - a real baby tiger! So Scott and I kept going up for the next couple of months as Neil and Betsy helped raise a young tiger cub for the Greenville Zoo. One time Scott and I went up to play, and let's just say the tiger cub had grown really big, really fast. I will never forget how Scott and I both taunted the tiger at the fence with sticks, making noises by running the sticks across the holes in the fence. Suddenly, the 'little' tiger cub backed up, got a running start, and cleared the fence! That's right; it jumped right over a four and a half foot fence like it was nothing...and then proceeded to give chase. Before I knew it, we had cut through two back yards, and I had climbed up the sliding board faster than my friend Scott. Let's just say that the old saying "I don't have to outrun the tiger - I just have to be faster than you" - well, it held true. Poor Scott got held up somehow and was down on the ground struggling with an angry tiger cub. Fortunately the neighbors heard my screams for help, and helped Scott out of his predicament. I guess you could say we had some interesting times with the neighbors' animals.

There have been other animals I remember that impacted my life. I remember our friend Michael Shake, and his Japanese fighting fish that he got for his dorm room in college. I also remember how we had a mock funeral in the men's room as we stood around and said some humorous parting words before flushing the fish down the toilet after just having him for one week.

I remember the humpback whale in the late eighties that got stuck in San Fransisco Bay, and the news channels affectionately called the poor whale Humphrey. I remember everyone at school being so happy the day all the news channels showed Humphrey safely make it out of the bay and into the open ocean.

Since then I have had a racing greyhound that couldn't control its body functions, a playful half pit bull who decide to try to take a chunk out of my wife's cheek...and the adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniels who are part of our family today. So there are a few of the wonderful animals that have played a part in my life. What are some of your stories?