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Pet Stories: In Your Own Words

Figaro

By: Betty Zia

When I first moved to Paris from Hong Kong in 1984, I bought my cat Puffy with me. She had been with me since a kitten for 8 years. Just as soon as we were settled in, I started to develop allergy problems which never occurred before when we were living in the 99% humidity city of Hong Kong. My allergy problems got so bad that my doctor said it was either she or I. Finally, one year later, after a surgical operation to remove the growths in my nose caused by continuous sneezing, I gave Puffy away to my friends. It was very painful for me, especially heartbreaking when I went to visit her and she would just turn her back and ignored me, like as if I had abandoned her. I cried so much for days. It seemed my life would be forever without a furry friend.

Then six years later, one night I had a dream. I dreamt of a black poodle dog. I had never owned a dog before. My friends all tried to reason with me that having a dog is not like having a cat. Cats are independent animals; my social and professional life would be all tied down with having a dog. I would have to take care of the dog, give him baths, taking him out several times a day, even on rainy days... But that dream stayed with me and I started asking around for good dog breeding farms. I know what I wanted : a black toy male poodle. One farm I called finally said yes, that they just had a batch of black poodle puppies, and in two months' time would be ready to leave the pack. However, all the females were already reserved and there was only one male left.

My best friend Blandine accompanied me that weekend to visit the farm. While we were waiting in the living room to make acquaintance with the parents of the puppies, this tiny black round fur ball came to me and when I held him in my palm, he started giving little licks to my hand. Figaro has just entered into my heart. Even as a puppy, he was already very gentle, discreet, graceful, unlike most poodles who are often considered jumpy and excited.

As I traveled a lot for my work, I had to leave Figaro with my friends when I could not bring him with me. It always hurt me to leave him. The first time I left him, he was just 5 months old. It was a long trip of 4 weeks. I was sure that he would have forgotten me when I returned. I remember how apprehensive I was when my friends came to the airport to welcome me home with this black furry elongated poodle. At first, he looked as if he was not sure where and why he was there, then he heard me call his name and saw me, he went wild with joy, jumping into my arms and licking my face over and over again. I don't think I had ever been shown so much declaration of love as that moment.

Now Figaro is 12 years old, he has had 2 major operations, white hair under his chin, still as gentle, adorable, and joyful as ever. He has had many adventures to his name, travelling all over the world, sleeping in the bed with Mr. and Mrs. Ambassador of a famous European country, was kidnapped and rescued in Santa Barbara one summer, and finally accepting to share me with the man I live with now.

I never want to lose him; I wouldn't know how to survive without him one day. I thought about cloning him, until I saw that kitty "CC". I realize that when the time comes, I would have to let go, for Figaro to find his eternal peace and happiness. Cloning would not bring him back; the soul of Figaro would not be there. I just pray that he would live as long as possible in his now healthy state and that one day we would be together forever, and that there will be no more partings.

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