The Dog Blog – First Pets

Posted Sep 4 2015

mason and buddy

My nephew recently graduated from college (an engineering degree, no less!), moved to a new apartment in a different city, and got his first real job. He also became a daddy! Well, a doggy daddy, anyway, which is plenty for now. Here he is with Buddy, his adorable new BFF that he adopted at an animal shelter. The two are sure to have a lot of fun sharing their bachelor pad!

While many of us grew up with family pets that we loved dearly, there’s something extra special about the first pet that we adopt on our own as adults. Getting the first pet that is ours and ours only, for which we alone have full responsibility, is an exciting and fun rite of passage.

My first pets were a Siamese cat named Stir-Fry who’d wandered up to the apartment of my then-boyfriend (now husband) in Austin, Texas. He lived as an indoor-outdoor cat there for a while, before I decided he should move to Houston with me and Schultz, a Dachshund mix I’d adopted from a shelter. I shared an apartment with my two “boys” and it was a great arrangement. They kept me company while I watched TV on my couch, and I’d snuggle between the two of them in bed at night. After work, I’d take Schultz out to swim in the apartment pool with me. The only other tenant who used the pool was a thirtyish guy with a black lab, who’d hang out and swim with us. Luckily, nobody ever complained or reported us for bringing our dogs in the pool.

Stir-Fry and Schultz are long gone now, but live on in my memories. Do you have fun memories of your first pet? Share them here for a chance to win one of five print or electronic copies of any book in my Paw Enforcement series! Winners announced Monday, Sept. 13th.


  1. Penny Marks says:

    My first pet was a kitten. He was a orange and white stripped tabby. I remember when my dad brought him home he was so small he fit in his shirt pocket. He would let me dress him in doll clothes and would lay on my desk while I played my read along books. He was the greatest kitty. We now have 2 kitties and 3 German Shepherds. We live our four legged babies. Loved your blog. Brought back great memories ❤️ Thank you

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Shepherds rock! I’ve got a shepherd mix named Junior. Only problem is that he tries to hump all the other dogs at the dog park. Very embarrassing! How cute that your cat let you dress him up! In my experience, male cats are the most patient for things like dress up, though my daughter had a very docile female cat. Sounds like he was a big part of your life and left you with some very happy memories!

  2. Susan says:

    My first pet was a beagle named Penny. Actually the pet came to the family before me. If she hadn’t, that would have been my name as my folks greatly favored the name. For I long time I was very grateful. I am a redhead, you see. It could have been bad. When Penny had been a “bad dog”, she would go to her doghouse. I would often join her. I found all the biscuits we had given her. Not doggie biscuits … my mom’s biscuit-fails! My dad said Penny was saving them when they softened up. I didn’t understand then that was a joke. My parents were both soldiers when they married. So homemaking was fraught with highs and lows not often seen in civilian homes. hehe. Wouldn’t trade it. I have Penny’s dog tags in my jewelry box.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      I bet Penny was glad you came with her into the doghouse to do her “Penny-ance.” (Ugh! Too early for lame puns, huh? ha ha) Pets are great for military kids! I’m an Air Force brat so I can relate to those highs and lows you mentioned. Having a pet move with us all those times gave us some sense of continuity, too. Penny was lucky to have you in her life!

  3. Becke says:

    Stir-Fry is a cute name!

    My first baby was a Yorkshire Terrier named Muffin. He was ornery and cute as a button. He was so small he could ride in my uniform with his head sticking out.

    People would stop us and ask us his breed. When he wagged his tail, it looked like a helicopter. He was also a little genius and would play tricks on other dogs. If a visiting dog had his bone, he’d run to the window and bark. The other dog would follow and he’d race back to snag the bone. Mom’s schnauzer never caught on!

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Muffin was a smart and tricky little guy, huh? Sounds like a cutie!

  4. Robin Driscoll says:

    My first pet was a cat. He would follow me everywhere! Now I am a dog lover.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Was the cat’s name Shadow? Ha ha Sounds like he adored you!

  5. My first exclusive to me, not the family dog, was a stray puppy I found in the library. It was a scorching hot day and library staff felt sorry for the puppy-a collie mix…they were closing and worrying about what to do with her so I conned my mother into bringing Missy home. She was never returned to the library! 😉 We had her for 14 years…such a good dog!

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      That’s a story with a happy ending! Missy was smart to hang out at the library. That’s where all the best people go!

  6. BTW…Just read Laying Down the Paw…excellent…and have Cannoli ordered!

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Woo hoo! Thanks, Kathleen!

  7. Kat Kan says:

    My first pet that I adopted was a gray tabby I named Tiffany. I had just miscarried, and when I stopped in at the pet store in my local mall and saw her, I knew I had to take her home. My husband was very understanding. When I brought her home, she was so tiny she almost got lost in our sofa. I got pregnant again a few months later, and when my son was born, Tiffany ignored him for more than 6 months. She then stayed away from him. Amazingly, she only touched him with one claw the one time he tried to pull her tail; he was about 1 year old. She lived with us for 17 years, made the move with us to Indiana. She’s been gone for almost 14 years, and I still miss her, even with 5 cats in the house right now.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      I’m with you, Kat. Each pet holds a special place in our hearts, no matter how many others come along! Sounds like you and Tiffany were meant to be. : ) When my daughter was born, my cat Stir-Fry used to pee in her crib. Ick! But I suppose that was my fault for letting him sleep in it before she arrived. He couldn’t understand why suddenly a baby was in “his” bed. Needless to say, we gave up on putting her in the crib and let the cat have it as his own little apartment.

  8. Lauren W says:

    My first pet was a cat named Minnie. I remember my mom entering a raffle for a small black kitten at my school and being shocked when she received a call that she won! I think she might have been the only entry. I used to push her around in a doll stroller which she didn’t mind at all. She truly was a member of the family for many years. Love your books and the adventures of Megan and Brigit!

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Aww, a cat in a doll stroller, how adorable! Winning a cat is much better than a goldfish. : )

  9. Diane Kelly says:

    Surprise! Everyone who shared their first pet story wins a book! Congrats and thanks for sharing your first pet stories!

  10. Peggy Jordan says:

    Oh, poo. We’re always too late to the party. The lady at the bookstore suggested we check your webpage. We just finished K9 book 3, and are straining at the leash to get our paws on the next one. Thank you so much, Miss Diane.
    Allow me to introduce us. I’m Brownie, (the spirit of) a shepherd – collie mix, the family dog, Peggy’s first pet, guardian, playmate, protector, and favorite pillow. I took care of her from pre-toddler to first grader. I helped my family by bringing in the newspaper and mail, and carrying small bags, and by playing with them, and protecting them and our house. We were a happy loving group, but I had to leave my family after a fight with a crazed dog left me blind in one eye. Peggy and a friend were chasing thru the house, squealing as children will, but, with my limited vision, I mistook their play as Peggy being in danger, and nipped the other child in the butt. My tearful family did not want to send me away, but were fearful that I might injure a child, or get killed or injured by accidentally running in front of a car I didn’t see. Fortunately, a relative in NC had a farm, and took me in. It was nice there. I helped with the animals and loved and protected my new family, and got visited every summer by my first family when they came down for vacation. It was a great long life for a very happy, much-loved, lucky dog. I turned 17 on that farm. Then, one day, I lay down for a nap in the sun on my favorite rug – the one I used to sleep on in Peggy’s room, that she had given her great-uncle and cousins when I went to live with them – and never woke up.
    So, how do I know about the K9 books? Peggy, now many times 17 herself, has our picture from when she was little on her bookshelf, with her favorite books, K9 being the latest additions.
    And … here’s someone else who wants to tell their story. Hi, I’m Happy. It’s short for Happiness S.A. Warmpuppy, showing that my mistress likes Peanuts and puns and loved me a lot. I’m a border collie-mix. I met Peggy, a young Navy wife, when she came to volunteer at the animal shelter, bc she didn’t have a dog of her own, and thought she would have a better chance to find someone furry and special that way, and also save a life by giving a forever home.
    I was there bc my mom’s family wasn’t happy she was a mom of not purebred puppies, so they dropped me and my 7 brothers at the shelter. Peggy’s nightshift job was to play with the new arrivals at the shelter, and feed them and walk them and comfort them, so they felt ‘at home’.
    We met, and it was instant love. She asked the shelter people to ‘hold’ me for her, while she saved up money for pet deposit fees and adoption fees and such. I almost got myself in trouble bc I howled most of the night that she wasn’t there. Fortunately, soon after, she took me to my new home. She gave me my own little box/bed, with a cuddly toy and a clock, and set it next to her bed. She let her arm hang over the edge to pet me and let me know she was near. But I still howled. She understood, and said that I shouldn’t get used to it, bc daddy wouldn’t allow it, when he got back from the Navy. (He wasn’t happy about it, but my mama said the bed was big enuf for the 3 of us, and I cuddled up with her.)
    Peggy and I would go to the beach and play like someone left the gate open. She and I would race around the dunes and howl at the moon. We’d watch old movies, and she’d cry, and I’d lick away her tears. She was a pushover for giving people food to me. I’d try to sit up (my butt was too round and I usually fell over), and she’d feed me a spaghetti noodle and meatball, like we saw on that dog movie. She gave me an empty butter tub to play with, but I found a better use for it. Whenever she had a snack or food or drink that I wanted some of, I’d trot over to the butter tub and pick it up and sit in front of her until she laughed and put some of whatever she had into the bowl, which I then devoured.
    We were happy, but then one day after I turned 14, while we were playing, something was wrong. My side felt like it was on fire, and I cried and Peggy carefully examined me, and got that worried-i-can’t-find-out-what’s-wrong look she sometimes got when she was volunteering for animals or children, and someone had out-of-the-blue started crying.
    She gently picked me up, and put me on the front seat of the car, and to me to the vet.
    The vet looked me all over, and I didn’t understand what he told her, but she started crying so much I couldn’t lick her tears away.
    What he told her was cancer, inoperable tumor. The vet wanted to take me into another room. My mama refused, and said ‘she’s my baby; she can go to sleep in my arms.’ And I did.
    I woke up on the Rainbow Bridge where Brownie met me. With him were Shonko, a miniature Poodle, Freddy Whitepaws, a rabbit, and Mitsu and Riki, 2 Siamese cats, that Peggy had loved and lost. And where later he and I would meet Dancer, Peggy’s daughter’s first pet. She was a Sheltie and a Christmas present, when the little girl was 3, from Peggy’s folks.
    We all know about and love the K9 books. Our pictures share the bookshelves, and the love in Peggy’s heart with them.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Sounds like you had several very well loved animals and that they were lucky to get to spend their lives with you, Peggy! So glad you are enjoying the books. My three dogs are a big source of inspiration for me. I also found the K-9 demonstration at my Citizen’s Police Academy to be absolutely fascinating! It’s amazing what dogs can do. Very humbling sometimes how superior their senses are when compared to humans! I’m hard at work on the next book in the series and having so much fun with it. I love my “job!”

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Nice to know!! So excited
  Diane Kelly
Haha! Our terrier mix and shepherd mix are certainly selective, too. They hear "treat" without fail, but "down" or "no!" don't always register. Raggs is such a cute name!
  Molly Weston
Reggie certainly looks happy! My own dog, Raggs, has "selective" hearing--and he's not well trained. But. Our dogs are family and we do love them.
  Diane Kelly
Thanks, Barbara! I wish I could write faster, too! My ideas are backing up in my head. : ) I wish my brain had a USB port where I could automatically download the stories from my mind to the page. I'm so glad you enjoyed the book! I'm hard at work on the second one, A Trip with Trouble.
I LOVED getaway with Murder. The second book can't be published soon enough. Can you write any faster? ;-)



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