Parakeets were the first pets I ever had—Samantha and Max. I was six. They weren’t anything special, but they were my ticket into the ‘I have a pet club.’ I tried to treat them like cool pets; I’d read them books and watch them hop around their cage, but my imagination could only take me so far into believing the birds were neat.
Max was the first pet I ever lost. My mom took him to the vet and came back with an empty cage. I cried on the couch that entire day.
When I was nine, we brought Giselle home.
When you look “pet” up in the thesaurus, you find synonyms like love, beloved, treasure, darling and jewel. For nearly 17 years, Giselle was all of those things and more.
The first time I met Giselle at the pet store, I was too afraid to hold her with my bare hands. Instead, I pulled the sleeves of my sweatshirt down to hide all exposed skin before scooping her up. (I soon overcame my absurd fear of animals.)
For 16-and-a-half years, there wasn’t a being in this world whom I loved more than Giselle. She was with me for nearly three-quarters of my life, and I had high hopes of her being around another three-quarters more.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t in the cards for my Baby G.
Be it a bird, cat, fish or dog, losing a pet is never easy. I asked my dad once why he felt the need to endlessly spoil our cats.
‘Because, babe,’ he said, ‘pets are only with us for so long, and it’s our job to make them as happy as they can possibly be.’
I can only hope we made Giselle half as happy as she made us.
“If there is a heaven, it’s certain our animals are to be there. Their lives become so interwoven with our own, it would take more than an archangel to detangle them.”