Tiger Beat - August 1970 (typed by Carol R.)
My Brother, Bobby (Part 5) -
Bobby's Pets of the Past
By his sister, Darlene
Bobby has always had a great love for animals, and when he was a child, he had many animal friends. Now, in an exclusive story for Tiger Beat, his sister, Darlene, has recalled some of those previous memories.
First of all, I want to thank every one of you that have written in to Tiger Beat, telling them how much you liked the stories I've been writing. I really have enjoyed doing them ‘cos they have brought to mind many things that I haven't thought about in years!
I want to tell you about the animals that Bobby and I have had. As you know, Bobby is an avid animal lover and, needless to say, so am I. In fact, at this writing, I have one white toy poodle (Peaches) who in turn has three five-week-old puppies, one collie (Lady) who has six three-week-old puppies, plus we have a male and female gerbil who have eight five-day-old babies, two goldfish and two male cats!
MANY PETS - Bobby and I have had a wide variety of pets in our younger years, and you have already read about Susie, our fox terrier dog.
But, I want to add something about Susie. She did follow Bobby home one day, although I do believe that Bobby coaxed her a little bit. She had been very neglected by someone and had welts on her body where she had been beaten. When Bobby asked Mom if we could keep her, Mom was very reluctant because of her outward appearance. She was afraid that Susie was diseased. But Mom is a "softy," and the next thing Bobby and I knew, we were off to the veterinarian. Other than being starved and beaten, Susie was very healthy, the vet said, so he gave her all the shots she needed and some ointment for her welts, and we took Susie home to love her and her to love us, because that's exactly what she did!
A couple of months later, you wouldn't have recognized Susie. She had gained weight, her sores had healed, and she was so happy. She played like a puppy and was devoted to Bobby. She followed Bobby in all his adventures of the day, never seeming to mind that Bobby would put his army helmet on her head pretending that she was the mascot of his army troop!
SUSIE WAS THIRTEEN - She stayed with us until she was thirteen years old. Her body just got so tired, and one day she couldn't get up from the floor. She laid there and cried because it broke her heart that she couldn't follow Bobby. That was the day we all decided that if the vet said that there wasn't anything that he could do for her, we would go ahead and have her put to sleep. So Mac, my husband, was elected to take her to the hospital. At first, Bobby didn't want to go, but then changed his mind. He held her in his arms, then he went out the door with tears in his eyes. When they came back, Susie wasn't with them, and Bobby went right to his room. Mac told us the vet said that Susie had given out and she would pass on within the next couple of months, but that she wouldn't ever walk. We were all saddened by the loss of Susie, she was so much a part of our family. When Bobby came out of his room that evening, he looked at us and said, " I guess Susie would have wanted it this way, she would have died of a broken heart if she couldn't go outside and run with me, and at least I know that she didn't suffer."
It took Bobby a long time to get Susie out of his mind. He'd come home from school and call her name. Then you could see the sudden realization on his face that she was no longer there. We will never forget her.
OUR OTHER PETS - Bobby and I had other pets besides Susie. We had some friends that had a small farm not too far from where we lived. They raised horses and rabbits. If you know anything about rabbits, you know that if a doe has too many babies for her to take care of, she'll kick the runt or runts out of the nest to die.
Well, Bobby and I would come along and pick up the runts and take them home to feed them and see if we could save their lives. We would feed them with a doll bottle and put them in a shoe box. The warmest place we could find to put them was in the oven next to the pilot light. Poor Mom, she never knew what she was going to find when she opened the oven door. Bobby and I would take turns every two hours to feed the rabbit, and bless Mom's heart, while we were at school, she would feed them.
NEVER GAVE UP - We really didn't have too much luck getting them to survive through the first week, but Bobby and I never gave up. One day we brought a little runt home and before we knew it, the days went into weeks and the weeks went into months, and Thumper (that was the name we gave him) was thriving like the rest of his brothers and sisters back on the farm! Thumper was so tame and smart. We would call him by name or hit the floor with our hand, and he would come running. He'd sit up to beg and never nipped or attempted to bite either of us. He was also house broken. He would stand at the back door and hit his back leg against the floor and let us know he wanted out. He was a beautiful rabbit, snow white with black ears. He was what you would call a California buck.
Then one summer Bobby and I were going to Imperial Valley to visit with our grandparents. We were going on the bus, and bus rules are no animals of any kind are allowed. But that didn't stop us, we put Thumper in his shoe box and got on the bus. Thumper loved to ride in the car, but he had to look out the window, and as soon as the bus pulled away from the station, Thumper was banging his foot against the shoe box to be let out so he could look out the window. We didn't know what to do, he was raising such a fuss. The people around us kept looking at the box and finally someone asked what we had in there. We told them a rabbit and everyone said let him out, he certainly isn't going to bother us. We did, and as it turned out, he was a smashing hit with everyone, including the bus driver!
THUMPER WAS SCARED - That first night at our grandparents' house was a new experience for Thumper. He was a bit nervous and frightened of his new surroundings, so when Bobby and I went to bed, we put his box on the floor between our beds so we could put our hands in the box with him to let his know that we were near. The next morning, Bobby and I awoke to find that Thumper was missing. We called and called for him, but he didn't come. We went in and woke Mom up and told her, and she joined in on the search for Thumper, but to no avail. We couldn't imagine where he was and we knew that there was no way possible for him to get outside.
That morning when Mom went in to make up our beds, she found Thumper in between my sheets. She wouldn't have noticed him if it hadn't have been for his black ears, but Thumper was dead. Evidently, during the night he got scared. The covers from my bed had dropped partially to the floor and Thumper climbed up the blanket and under the covers and suffocated. Well, needless to say, Bobby and I were terribly upset over his death.
SAD FUNERAL - We had a big funeral for him, with Bobby playing his trumpet, and we made a cross for his grave and put lots of flowers on it. Bobby and I never did bother trying to raise any more runts after Thumper. There could never be another Thumper as far as we were concerned!
There's another little story I want to tell you about, that I think you will enjoy, involving a horse.
When we moved to Van Nuys, there used to be a big empty field there doors down from us. One drizzly Saturday morning, Bobby and I went outside and we looked towards the field and saw a horse standing there. The horse was really minding his own business, but Bobby and I couldn't mind ours, so we walked in all that mud to get to the horse. We noticed that he had a halter on, but he wasn't tied, and no one was around tending to him.
TOOK HORSE HOME! - I sent Bobby for a rope, then we led the horse to the house. We were attempting to get the horse in the front door of the house when Mom walked out of the bedroom to see what all the commotion was about. Boy, was she ever surprised! All she could say was, "get that horse out of here and who does he belong to?" Bobby said, "Mom, it's raining outside and we found this horse and we don't want him to catch a cold." Then I replied, "We don't know where he belongs because he was loose in the field." Mom said, "Darl, you don't know anything about that horse and he could be wild." Bobby and I both said, "No, Mom, he's a nice horse!" With that, we took him into the back yard where Bobby got on his back and I led him all over the neighborhood. Kids were coming out of their houses asking for a ride, too. So everybody took turns when Bobby and I noticed a man walking around the field. So I went to the man and asked him if he lost a horse and he said, "Yes." Much to Bobby's and my disappointment, we led the horse back with his owner to his ranch about a quarter of a mile from our house. The man said that we could come and visit the horse any time we wanted. We went back often and even got a ride once in a while.