Just as some people were born with incredible gifts to sing, dance or paint, I lacked all these talents, but I had a limitless love for animals. Yes, this is like comparing apples with oranges, but I had to point our some sort of positive!
It didn’t really matter what kind of animals or if they were wild or domesticated:
Feathered friends, bunnies, cats, deer. Dogs were at the top of my wish list.
There was one small problem: My mother didn’t allow pets!
For that reason, my first pet was a naked neck chicken which I convinced my aunt to purchase for me at the Farmer’s Market, while I spent my summer vacation with her and my grandmother, away from my mother and the city.
I trained her… and assumed it was female, since I couldn’t come up with an appropriate male name.
I even baptized her, using the large rain-collection bucket in my grandmother’s garden. The chicken’s name of Zanica (Fairy) and I am still convinced she turned her head and twisted her naked neck looking at me when I called her name. I still don’t understand why no one believed me! She was too shy to do it when other were present, but she performed other tricks.
Fairy was a capable chicken! She went on my shoulder, then on top of my head and flew back at my feet following my commands. Sometimes she got anxious and as a result pooped unexpectedly, as I was unable to potty train her… I always had a napkin handy to clean such “accidents.” It was understandable, even humans suffer from irritable bowl caused by stress!
We had fun all summer, but when September came, I had to say good bye to Fairy and went back to the city in my parents’ one bedroom apartment where no pets were allowed.
Another summer, we went to the mountains and I saw deer. I tried to convince my mother we could get Bamby. It would have been ideal! It didn’t have to live in the apartment. I came up with a very realistic plan! We were to drill a hole and place a pole in the pavement of the walk leading to the apartment building. My baby deer, which magically wasn’t supposed to grow up, would patiently wait for me tied up to the pole. The plan was to walk her before and after school and feed her hey. The biggest problem was that I could not find a source to buy hey in the city… so the entire plan was a fiasco!
Every year, as I grew up I came up with incredibly good ideas but my mother simply refused to listen!
When I turned eighteen, for a little while the focus shifted from pets to being in love, getting secretly married and bearing the consequences of our foolish act. I must admit, there was a “severe storm,” in both families I could perhaps qualify the entire experience and our parents’ reaction as a “tornado,” but after a couple of months they accepted our legal union. We moved by ourselves and my mother gave me money to but a bed.
As my husband and I walked to the furniture store, at the corner of the street we saw a drunk man holding a small black dog.
“Dog for sale, dog for sale,” the man yelled holding the dog up over his head.
We stopped. The dog’s eyes were bulging out with fear and the tongue was hanging out.
“What a beautiful dog, ” I said, and touched its soft, black fur. “What’s its name?”
“Pearl,” the man replied. “She’s my ex’s damn bitch! “She’s too small to have a litter! I’m selling her! You want it?”
My husband and I, both at the very wise age of 18, looked at each other and made an instant decision: We really NEEDED a dog!
“How much?” I asked the drunk.
“How much do you have,” he asked back.
Hmm now, that I re-think the situation, perhaps he wasn’t as drunk as he seemed!
“I have 500 lei to buy a bed,” I answered, and took the cash out of my purse to prove I didn’t lie.
The man plopped Pearl in my arms and quickly grabbed the money:
“You’re lucky,” he said, “That’s exactly how much Pearl costs!”
He put the money in his pocket and disappeared inside the corner bodega. We walked passed the furniture store…
When my mother heard what happened she was furious. We might as well have told her we were robbed…
For the first year, the three of us slept on the floor until we saved enough money to buy a bed..
This is how love of dogs triumphed the first time, and continued throughout my lifetime!