I had a poodle named Gidget. I never once remember taking her to the vet. It was as if she looked around, assessed the situation and came to the conclusion that there was no money for vet bills. She was a rangy little mutt who weighed no more than a sack of potatoes but somehow managed to press herself against the screen door to open it when she needed out or just wanted to roam the neighborhood. She was scrappy and self-sufficient: the perfect companion for a little girl who sometimes felt small and alone.
My first pet (that I remember) was Taffy. She was a medium-sized cocker terrier mix, a light tan with white markings. Her coat was soft, especially her ears. Although my parents wanted her to be an outside dog, she was allowed inside in the evenings when we were watching TV. I remember laying my head against her side and stroking her ears. In the backyard, we'd toss a tennis ball for her and she'd chase it and then race around the edges of the yard, daring us to try and catch her. We never could.
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