Obligatory Pet Pix

I used to take care of my sister's dog, Champy. She brought him down to her new house in Florida in September 1996.

So I wouldn't be lonely, she gave me a kitten for my birthday that year. I named her Velcro.

When Velcro wants to come inside, she climbs the screen door.

She liked to sleep on my printer ...

...and roll around in the dirt.

Velcro became a mighty huntress. She started catching field mice, then moved up to baby rabbits, birds, and finally adult rabbits. She would leave such presents on my shoes until I learned to keep my closet shut.

Once I found a huge rodent with a fourteen inch tail under my desk. I think it was a possum. I was revolted, but also quite impressed.

Velcro had kittens, who look very different from her. We called them Socks (because of her white paws) and Shadow (because he tried to follow his mother around).

They ran all over the house, curious about everything.

Velcro was a good and protective mother to them.

We gave away Socks and kept Shadow. Shadow grew up fast.

Then one day, Shadow came home and lay in a spot on the floor all day long, without getting up even to eat. He had small lumps under his skin. We took him to the vet, where he died while being examined. It seems someone shot poor Shadow with a BB gun. The wounds healed over, but the ball bearings remained under his skin poisoning his blood until his organs shut down. It broke my heart, since I had cared for Shadow almost since birth.