Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

When Satan Lived in My Garage

Posted: June 11, 2011 in Dogs, Pets

Can an 11-year-old kid handle Satan?

In my previous post I wrote about my failed attempts of owning cats when I was a kid. Poor kitties in my care kept using up their nine lives in one quick sweep. Come to think of it, I owned cats during the time that my brother owned a 7 1/2 foot boa constrictor. No wonder some of the cats ran away! Our household apparently wasn’t cat friendly, so my parents decided that maybe we’d try dog ownership for a change. So, one day Mom brings home my first dog . . . a full grown Doberman Pinscher! One of her coworkers was giving away the dog, and naturally, Mom thought it would be nice to bring me home another pet (Before you ask, this wasn’t the same coworker that gave me Bugsy the Cat). Now visualize this for a moment: I was an 11-year-old kid who had never owned a dog before and instead of bringing home a cute little puppy, Mom brings home a “junkyard” dog that probably weighed more than I did and could probably eat me! At first, I was hesitant about petting the intimidating looking canine, but the dog was actually very friendly. I asked Mom what the dog’s name was. She told me that his name was Satan! I didn’t know how to react to that. Was the name cool? Or would owning a dog named Satan just give me nightmares? My older brother thought the name was awesome, of course.

Satan was a big dog, and we didn’t have a fenced yard. I didn’t want to keep him chained in the back yard, so my parents allowed me to keep him in the house while we were home. However, he would have to stay in the garage while I was at school and my parents were at work. So, that’s what we did. It took Satan a while to get adjusted to his new home and family, but before long, Satan and I were best buds. I enjoyed rough housing with Satan every day (something I couldn’t do with a cat without getting shredded like cheese). Every day after school, I’d open up the garage door to find Satan wagging his stubby tail and ready to play. After Satan took care of his natural duties in the yard (which I hated to clean up) after being cooped up in a garage all day, he would take me for a walk around the block. These walks got interesting at times, especially when Satan sniffed out a cat. Don’t worry, though, no cats were ever harmed… only I was after scrapping up my knees when Satan dragged me around the neighborhood.

Don’t open the door! Satan is in there!

Owning a Doberman named Satan turned out to be pretty cool. So, I naturally wanted to show off my new pet. I decided to start off with one of my friends who lived in the neighborhood… the rich kid that lived down the street. Michael was one of those somewhat snobby kids who liked to advertise “his” wealth, dressed all preppy, had all the coolest things, and thought he knew everything about anything. His parents both had a Mercedes with personalized license plates (LASTNAME “1” and LASTNAME “2”) and, of course, they had those cool new cell phones (remember “The Brick”?). Of course, for an 11-year-old kid, those were great reasons to be friends with Michael. Anyway, he and I both rode the school bus together, so after we got off the bus one day, I invited him over to play video games with my Sega Master System, which my Dad had recently bought me and was my prized possession. Michael, of course, owned the more popular Nintendo Entertainment System, which I personally thought was inferior to the Sega, except for Mario Bros., of course. This was a normal Friday afternoon of playing video games with friends, and we’d always go inside the house through the garage. Well, Michael didn’t know that I had a dog, so when he started reaching for the garage door handle, I warned, “No! Stop! Satan’s in there!” I wasn’t sure how Satan would react to seeing someone else opening the door instead of me.

Michael laughed and said something along the lines of, “Whatever! Satan’s not in your garage!” Michael then proceeded to pull the garage door up; he stopped immediately after hearing a growl from the other side. With fear in his eyes, Michael stopped laughing, pushed the garage door down, and asked me what the heck was in the garage.

Now I was laughing! Satan started barking, which didn’t help the situation. I ordered Satan to behave and told Michael that Satan was my new Doberman Pinscher. That didn’t appear to ease Michael’s fear. I suggested that I go inside the garage first, which Michael obviously agreed to. While Satan didn’t eat the rich snob from down the street, he didn’t particularly warm up to him either. If I remember correctly, Michael was a “cat person”.

Satan and I go our separate ways.

Owning Satan ended up being more of a chore that an 11-year-old kid could handle. Satan also started to show how he disapproved of living in the garage, too. Let’s just say he didn’t wait for me to get home from school to let him outside to take care of his business. While the garage accommodations worked fine for a while, poor Satan needed a yard with a fence to run, play, and poop. My parents were renting the house we lived in, and the landlord wouldn’t build a fence. Satan would have to stay in the garage during the day, and after a while, he started to dart out of the garage when I opened the door. After a couple of times chasing Satan around the neighborhood until he finally decided to come home by himself, I decided that I wasn’t cut out for dog ownership either, at least not yet. As much as I loved Satan, I had to let him go. It was just the right thing to do. So, Mom returned Satan back to his previous owner.

I had high hopes that owning a dog would end my childhood streak of bad pet ownership. But, alas, here I was again without a pet… well, sort of. My brother let me help him take care of his pet boa constrictor, Rosie. It just wasn’t the same, though. Maybe I’d take a crack at fish ownership! Oh, wait, I tried that. They all died. 😦

Sharky Teeth You might also enjoy:


Profile Photo (Cropped)Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is a native Texan, video game “enthusiast” [addict], and fan of all things horror. He left a career in the newspaper industry in 2011 to pursue the life of a nocturnal author, brainstorming new and creative ways to creep out his readers. He doesn’t only write horror though. He also pens the occasional family-oriented tale just to keep from going completely nuts with all those creatures of the night whispering in his ears. When he’s not pulling ideas out of his twisted brain, you’ll likely find him on social media or fighting alongside his fellow gaming buddies where they all get shot up into Swiss cheese (or turned into little bite-sized chunks because of “Sharky’s” obsession with explosives). Medic!

Pursue your dreams . . . and never look back.

Join Sharky’s VIP newsletter and get hooked up with a FREE copy of Devil’s Nightmare, entry into exclusive giveaways, and monthly updates on new releases and special promotions and events! You’ll also receive a free copy of the upcoming short story collection Sharky’s Book of Horrors. Click or tap on the shark below to sign up. It will open up a secure form in a new window.

Sharky Newsletter


Stalk Sharky on Facebook  Stalk Sharky on Twitter  Stalk Sharky on Google Plus  Stalk Sharky on Klout  Stalk Sharky on Goodreads  Watch Videos Posted by Sharky  Pinterest_Badge_Red

9 Lives? Not in My Household

Posted: June 5, 2011 in Cats, Pets

My Failed Attempt At Feline Ownership

Warning… If you love cats, this may be a little depressing, but stick around for the end. It’ll be worth it.

Growing up in Austin, I had always been a cat person. I loved every cat that I owned as a kid, but I could never seem to keep one for very long. It was one streak of bad luck after another. I had a beautiful Manx when I was about 5 or 6 years old that either ran away or was stolen when I went on a trip to visit family in Monterrey, Mexico. When I came back, the cat was gone. I was devastated! I loved that cat and now she was gone. The sad thing is that she was my favorite cat, but I can’t for the life of me remember her name. I think it was Bright Eyes… or maybe that’s what her mother’s name was.

Anyway, Bright Eyes (that’s what we’re going with) was eventually replaced and then that cat was replaced… and then that cat was replaced, because it either ran away or ventured off to the road and, well… we won’t go there. There was a pattern that became all too familiar with my failed career as a young cat owner. I even had a three-legged cat at one time that my neighbor adopted (that’s a story in itself). I’m sure if cats had a way of communicating (and we know they do… You’ve seen Cats & Dogs, right?) I’m sure they sent out warning signals to every potential prospect that might end up in the Pruneda home. The average life expectancy of a cat in my care was probably one year. One beat the odds and then disappeared, but she wasn’t the stealing type and I don’t think she got hit by a car. She was a very tough and mean Calico that could probably tear any tire to shreds that would come in contact with her. Yeah, she was that aggressive. I think she just got bored terrorizing my neighborhood and moved on… or maybe even died of old age. Imagine that.

I had one other cat after that. Poor thing lasted three months. I felt so bad because a nice old lady that my mother worked with at the bank had given him to me after hearing about my last cat disappearing. She obviously did not get the memo about the life expectancy of cats in my care. I thought this one was going to be a keeper, though. He was so smart and lovable. I even remember his name… Bugsy. He always liked to explore outside and come home for dinner, but when my family was about to leave town for Christmas, I couldn’t find my cat to let him inside. We had to leave so I just left Bugsy some food and water on the front porch. It got below freezing in Austin while we were gone and I found poor Bugsy on the driveway when we got home. He was my last cat.

So, as much as I loved cats, I clearly was not meant to be a cat owner. Ironically, later in life I discovered that I’m allergic to cats. I still love cats to this day, but I can’t handle them too much or else my eyes get all watery and itchy and sometimes results in sneezing. I think this is the cat community’s first line of defense. Word must have gotten around… even in a different city. My neighbor’s cats seem to like me though… or maybe they’re just extremely brave. I’m even allowed to take care of them from time to time. Don’t worry, they’re both alive and well… and I’ve been cat sitting for these feline friends of mine on and off for over five years now!

To end this entry, I want to encourage everyone who loves animals as much as I do to consider donating to the ASPCA or your local animal shelter. These organizations need our support to continue providing care for the helpless cats and dogs out there in our communities. Many of these animals have been rescued from abusive homes and just want a second chance at a good life in a loving home. I am a proud Guardian member of the ASPCA and give regularly to this organization because of what they stand for and all they have done and continue to do for all types of animals: not just cats and dogs.

For more information about the ASPCA, please visit

Stay tuned for Part Two of “Cats vs. Dogs” as I write about why I love being a dog owner. And in honor of our feline friends, check out this cute ASPCA video below:

Oh, by the way… I’m so proud of the fact that I actually figured out how to embed video! 🙂

Sharky Teeth

You might also enjoy:

Devil’s Nightmare by Robert Pruneda available in print and eBook formats. Click the image below for more details.
Devil's Nightmare