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I have no idea what possessed The Mom to begin writing obituaries for our pets, but she came upon the idea on her own. She’s always been writing bits and pieces since as long as anyone can remember, and so in some ways, this felt completely reasonable and normal to us. It’s only when you mention that an obituary was published for a beloved family pet in the family news (which is also the kitchen table – you get printed copies at your spot when ‘an event’ has taken place) that you realise it’s a bit bat-shit. But you know, things have never been normal at home, so why should this be any different?

Truth be told, I quite enjoy looking at the scrap books – there are two – from time to time. In many ways, the history of our family is told through pets. It’s also a great way of carbon dating, if the hairstyles fall through.

“Wait, was that in high school?” someone might ask.

“Hmm,” a picture will be scrutinised. “Did you have pink hair then?”

“Maybe?”

A closer look will reveal, perhaps, an Amazon parrot in the background, or a canary, or a dog of some kind.

“Oh, no, that was early in high school when Joe came to stay.” Joe, of course, being a friend’s amazon parrot. Hard to ship that sort of pet off to a kennel of any sort as it would be similar to leaving your five-year old at a hotel with full use of the mini bar and TV. Terrible idea, leads to a lot of screaming and crying.

Anyhow, this Christmas, The Mom and I got deep into the bird family tree, I think because I’d asked how old Dad actually was. She dutifully got the scrap books out and we went through them.

The tricky thing is with this, though, is that the vets (there’s one for dogs and one for birds) all send commiserations cards when someone dies. There are A LOT of those cards. And The Mom is liable to get a bit weepy, so you’ve got to keep an eye on her.

Especially when she gets to the things about Poochie. If you let her go down that hole, you’re in for a crying session, and this is not my forte. I tend to just sit there awkwardly, waiting for the moment to pass. I’ve always been like this. Everyone thinks I’m a bit cold for it, but I’m not, I don’t think, I just don’t like a lot of hugging and crying. No wonder I like living in the UK.

She found the essay she wrote commemorating Poochie and all her wonderful adventures – it’s very sweet and quite funny. I believe she emailed it to us as we were a bit far flung at that time, which is a black mark on all our records. You can be out of the country when good things happen, but you really ought to turn up when The Mom has to put her dog down. Thankfully, Other Brother stepped it.

She started reading this one aloud and got a bit teary, which is when I had to put a stop to things.

“Focus! We need focus! I want to see if Dad’s lived to such a ripe old age that he qualifies for some kind of record!”

The Mom’s good with that sort of instruction, and off we went. Turns out Dad’s only a decade old, which does not in fact qualify for a record. However, it was a delightful if possibly morbid trip down memory lane.

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