Friday, September 14, 2007

Four-Legged Friends Reading Challenge

Kailana is hosting the "Four-Legged Friends Reading Challenge". Yes, you're right, the last thing I need is another reading challenge. And I really wasn't going to join myself, though I knew Annie would be thrilled beyond words about this one. But then I went and read Kailana's post, and it was just so touching. She's hosting this in honor of Sandy, her beautiful four-legged canine friend, who recently died. And she said that with our introductory post, we might want to talk a little about a special animal friend of our own.

We've certainly been blessed to have more than one special furry member of our family. Really, really special. Taco, the fluffy feline furball, who seemed to think he was actually a dog, died a little over a year ago. And he is still talked about nearly every day in our home. It's hard to explain how loved this beautiful boy was. He was a stray who showed up in the barn of a house we rented in Cleveland, TN. He was just as beat up as could be, and yet still took to us immediately. We got the poor fellow to the vet, and then brought him in to recuperate. He did nothing but veg and sleep for three weeks. We thought he was about the most lazy cat we'd ever seen. But he wasn't lazy at all...he was obviously just healing. For after that 3 weeks, he came back to life.

Taco was such a people cat. He had to be where the action was at all times. Many cats are not particularly fond of kiddos of the human variety, but Taco was an exception to this rule. When he showed up in our lives, Annie was about 2.5 years old. He was wonderful with her. But of course, she was a gentle girl. Then along came Gray...and then Max. Two typical "not-so-gentle" little boys. But Taco didn't mind. He loved us all. He even slept with the boys.

He was, in fact, Max's best friend. Honestly. That boy loved that cat more than you could imagine. We lost Taco in a such a tragic way...we were away on vacation when he unexpectedly died, so no one got to even say good-bye.

This is a portion of what I wrote here after we arrived home...

And on arriving home, we were absolutely crushed. Taco, our big, loveable lug of a baby boy kitty, died while we were gone. It's still so hard to talk about it. He was absolutely, positively Max's best friend. And it takes a special kitty to be best friends to a 3-year-old. Taco even slept with Max most nights. Poor Maxie, being only 3, was not exactly getting a great deal out of our vacation. For the last 10 days of it, he would ask at least 20 times a day if this was the day he got to go home and see Taco. He was so excited the day we told him we would be arriving home to his buddy. Little did we know that none of us would see the sweet ball of fur again.

It was just such a sad time here. Not only did Rich and I have to deal with losing Taco ourselves, but we had to deal with the heartbreak of the munchkins, especially Max. In his own 3-year-old way, he tried to deal with the loss. He even tried to "build" a new Taco using his tools. He broke our hearts.

So my list is in honor of a very special furry orange friend who gave this family more than words could ever say.

*Whittington by Alan Armstrong (cat)

*Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, which I will be reading to the boys (spider and pig)

*Ragweed by Avi (mouse)

*Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes (dog)

*The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (mouse)


Kailana said...

A very touching salute to a very cute cat! What a horrible way to lose him, though. My mother prefers that, for animals to go out into the woods and die naturally or something along those lines. I personally like to be able to say good bye because, for me, it gives me closure.

Anyways, great list! I am glad both you and Annie have decided to join in.

Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

Awww, that is so sweet and so sad. Sounds like Taco was a wonderful part of your family, and sorely missed.

And kudos to you for doing another book challenge! :)

Alice Teh said...

Charlotte's Web is a great story. I read it some time ago. I'm glad you're reading it to your boys. :D

Chris said...

What a great picture of Max and Taco. Taco sounds like he was such a sweet cat, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, even after a year. It's so hard to lose a pet, isn't it? They really are just as much a part of the family as anyone.

That's a great list of books you have! I hope you enjoy Despereaux! It's such a great little book. DiCamillo is an amazing writer and you'll want to read all of her books after that one!

Anonymous said...

Awwww, what sweet pictures and such a sad story. It always makes it so tough when our pets are a true part of the family. :o( Poor kitty!

Melody said...

Debi, that is so sad! I know how you felt {hugs}.

I'm not sure if I'd participate in this challenge...I'll have to check if I have any books with this theme. Thanks for sharing though! :)

kreed said...

Why did I not remember that Taco had died? I must have blocked it out as a bad memory that my brain didn't want to keep. Because I didn't remember, I am so sad for all of you...he really was one heck of a cool cat.

Nicola said...

Wonderful list of books! My oldest boy loved Ginger Pye when I read it to him years ago.