a too-long list of pets my mother adopted and then sent away
by Audrey Joy Carver
a Portuguese water dog:
I no longer remember his name
only that he wore a red collar and a tag like a talisman.
he was bigger than me and knocked me down.
I thought it was fun, but my mother didn’t –
and what did I know? I was only four
Skye the calico:
this cat, sweet and lazy as molasses,
let me dress her in American girl doll clothes
and push her around in a stroller.
I don’t know why my mom gave her to another family
but she promised we could visit.
that family moved back to Hawaii,
and I never saw Skye again.
August the great Dane:
another dog as big as me, so tall
he drank out of the sink and ate off the countertop.
(more things I thought were funny, and my mother did not.
Dad was disappointed too, but she always got her way.)
a long-bodied mutt and her poodle friend:
these two only stayed with us for a few days –
I don’t think we even named them.
Mom said they were “too energetic,” and so
they were back at the shelter by the end of the week.
Charlie the Yorkshire terrier:
Charlie was a nervous little fellow who’d never been trained,
so he pooped on the carpet a few more times
than was tolerable (for my mother).
she left him with the dog sitter over spring break
and never picked him up.
Rosie the Chihuahua mutt:
her fur was soft and silky, so dark brown it was nearly black
against the studded pink collar I picked out for her.
she was a friend when my mother thought I didn’t have enough of those;
Rosie went to the dog sitter and stayed there too.
George the cat:
we adopted George with his twin sister Georgina.
the only way to tell them apart at first
was the brown spot on George’s nose.
but he got fat and Georgina stayed thin.
I guess all that food was expensive because
Mom sent George away to an elderly couple who loved him
and euthanized him a few months later.
Ivy the terrier:
my mom always hated girl dogs – assumed
they were more high maintenance.
well, they are if you don’t train them.
and she didn’t train Ivy, or walk her.
“too much work,” she said. “too aggressive.”
and even though Mom borrowed hundreds of dollars
(from me) for this dog,
she gave her away after a year and a half.
Alicia the human:
she was a baby when my parents adopted her
and 20 when Mom kicked her out.
this was another decision
Dad did not agree with, but did nothing to stop.
Alicia’s married to a heroin dealer and
we haven’t seen each other in 12 years.
all three of her kids have been taken
by the court. at least she tried.
this entry might be a bit premature but
you have seen what happens to the pets
my mom adopts.
Audrey Joy Carver is an adopted black woman living on the East Coast of the U.S., though she originally hails from the West. She works in book publishing and is previously unpublished.