When I was 17, my mum got a puppy as a leaving gift from work. We called him Casper. My sister was initially underwhelmed. She’d been yearning for “a real dog”. When my dad got home from work and saw Casper asleep in my lap, he said: “I hope that’s a toy.”
My dad didn’t approve of pets, he thought an animal’s place was “in the bush”. He insisted Casper go back. Much weeping and begging followed. Dad relented and said the puppy could stay, but only if he lived outside.
The puppy was too little to live outside yet, so Dad let him sleep in the laundry. A week later, the puppy was allowed downstairs in our house. A week after that, the puppy was also allowed upstairs, but not on the beds. A week after that, the puppy was allowed anywhere he damn well pleased.
Casper had Dad wrapped around his little finger. He could do no wrong, even when he rolled on dead seagulls at the beach.
Casper lived to the ripe old age of 14 years and 8 months. He died after surgery to remove a rotten tooth. I’d left home by then. My parents were devastated. They never got another dog, but my dad is pretty besotted with my sister’s schnauzer, Sooty.
Casper changed my dad for the better, totally melted his heart. I think pets change everyone for the better, don’t you?
Tell me about your favourite childhood pet.