In honor of National Pet Day, FableVisionaries share stories about our furry (and techy) FableFriends. To kick-off the celebration our Tech Director, Brian Grossman, has an interesting memory about a family pet.
As a parent of three children, life always seems hectic. The prospect of taking in a pet is somewhat daunting. That, in conjunction with the fact that I am allergic to most furry creatures, has left the Grossman household petless. But there was one exception.
About 10 years ago, when my oldest of three was just starting Kindergarten, we had a pet. A betta fish. Named Norman. Norman met the necessary criteria for success in the Grossman household: he had no fur and required minimal care.
We took care of Norman for slightly over two years. He lived in a bowl on our kitchen table. One day, shortly after his two-year birthday, we noticed that Norman was lethargic. He wouldn’t always eat the few specks of food we left in his bowl and he seemed to be hauling fin. It was at this point that my wife and I realized that Norman would likely pass from this world to whatever kingdom lies at the end of our toilet pipe.
We saw this as an opportunity. The concept of death is not easy to grasp for young children. So we waited, attentively monitoring Norman’s health.
I was the first to see Norman belly up in his bowl on the morning of his death. I informed my wife and we put our plan into action. We pulled the kids aside and stepped through each of the carefully crafted, kid-digestable points we had outlined:
All creatures eventually die.
It was Norman’s time to go.
Death is permanent.
It’s not something to be afraid of.
My wife and I regularly exchanged glances during the discussion — we were putting on a clinic in advanced parenting skills — we were successfully tackling one of the more challenging teaching moments for our children. After a Q&A session that included weighty inquiries like “Can we get a red fish next time?” and “Have you seen my blankie?”, we went into the kitchen for breakfast.
Norman clearly did not get the memo.
Not only was Norman not dead, but he was dashing around in his bowl, arguably more alive than he had been in months, devilishly energized by the fact that he had unravelled our greatest moment as parents.
Alyssa Graca, Marketing Intern
“Meet Hunter! These photos are the closest most people will get to having a look at him...he tends to stay hidden whenever guests are over our house. When it's just my family, however, you can't get him to stop meowing. For a cat named Hunter, he does not live up to his name – even a little mouse is enough to send him running!”
Andrea Calvin, Brand and Development Strategist
“Jackie is a 18-year-old fluffy cat that was born under a porch. She enjoys naps, scratches under the chin, treats, and chow mein noodles. Her day begins promptly at 5:30 a.m. with a can of cat food and ends at 9:30 p.m. when she finds her spot in the bed. The hours in between are spent napping, snacking, and looking at doorways. She is a complex cat.”
Taryn Johnson, Production Artist & Animator
"When I was seven, I picked out a little kitten from the pet store display, and she was my cat for the next 20 years! I named her Pixy (with a 'y' because my sister and I both have y's in our names). She was a great cat, and a close companion throughout all those years."
Michael Fogarasi, Associate Producer
"I have two Dachshunds but they live with my parents in Germany. Ivy is the black one and Filbert is the brown one. I miss them both very much."
Leigh Hallisey, Creative Director
"Our family has more pets than people (4 to 3)—we really should have our own Buzzfeed newsletter. We have, in chronological age, Vanilla Chinchilla (14), Fable the guinea pig (7), Splat the cat (3), and our newest four-legged family member, Knuffle the dog (6 months). It’s hard to describe the uncomplicated joy that these animals bring to my life. If you are ever in need of some pet therapy—a wet nose in your eyeball, a flurry of whiskers tickling your face—the petting zoo is always open for business."
Danielle Gillis, Producer
“This is Darby. She's my pug niece. Her favorite things to do are: eat, chase squirrels in the backyard, hunt for scraps of falling food in the kitchen, snuggle, and stare at you one hour before dinnertime waiting for you to say ‘are you hungry?’”
Paloma Diaz-Dickson, Art Intern
So this is my cat, Mamma T. Cat, usually referred to just as just Cat or The Cat. She spends most of her time pondering the very important, and extremely often asked, question "WHO'S A KITTY?!" Also, quick shout out to my first pet, and only dog I've ever had, Kahlua. A beautiful and sweet Siberian Husky that enjoyed the tropical weather of Bolivia. She lived for 16 years and was part of the family and will always be my favorite dog ever.
Alice Kim, Marketing Intern
“My beagle Candy likes to bury herself in blankets and thinks she's a princess. Even though she's almost 10 years old, she will still poop on the carpet when we don't take her outside. And she’s convinced that the Kim family hierarchy goes (from top to bottom): Dad, Mom, my older brother, her, and then me.”
Gary Goldberger, President
"This was taken by my son, Gordon, of Holly."
Loren Lee-Flynn, UX/UI Designer
"This is Baxter. He's a distinguished gentleman of twelve years old, and yes — he's just as smart as he looks. He's very particular, so if he likes you, you should consider it an honor."
Cecilia Lenk, Creative Strategist
Boodle – Everyone's Friend (2002-2015)
“Boodle, Boo, the Boo loved everyone (including all cats and squirrels) and everyone loved him (except most cats and squirrels). Named after the famous line in the original 101 Dalmations animated movie ‘We want our Boodle!’, his joy was infectious. Every day was the absolute best day ever. If you were grumpy or tired, Boodle quickly changed your mood for the better. He was always part of the fun – from sleeping absolutely in the middle of the kitchen when someone was cooking, to playing with his crew of dog buddies down at the park, to jumping through snow drifts. A true epicure, he loved to eat cucumbers, enjoyed the occasional bone, and was always available for a tasting when cheese was present. We miss our Boodle.”
Didi Hatcher, Lead Animator
“Our pet Bogdanka has a story behind her name. I used to read my husband stories from a folk tale book in Bulgarian, so he could practice his Bulgarian. In one story, the prettiest girl in the village was called Bogdanka. When he heard the name, he cracked up laughing, and declared it the ugliest name he'd ever heard. To him, it sounded like ‘bog’ and ‘dank’...not a very pleasant association! He said that we HAD to name something Bogdanka. I would not sacrifice a daughter, so we agreed on a pet. (Though informally she goes by Kitty instead.)”
Jordan Persson, Production Assistant
“I never had a real pet growing up, but I had a huge collection of virtual pets when they were big. My first was one of the Tamagotchis – a Christmas gift from my grandfather – and I was hesitant to activate it. I knew that it would eventually ‘die’ and that I would probably be heartbroken when it did. Sure enough, 26 days later I woke up to find that my on-screen pet had sprouted wings and was flying through an infinite starry sky. I've heard that in the later models, they removed old age as a cause of death. It was a powerful teaching tool, though. Some things are inevitable, and all you can do after they happen is hold down A and C to move on.”
Do you have a pet story to share? Leave a comment!