Weetsie, Beetsie and the menagerie

Published 10:36 pm Wednesday, September 18, 2013

By Frank Roberts

First, there was weetsie beetsie, then there was weetsie, then there was beetsie. And I love the trio.

By way of explanation, in their growing up years, I gave each of my three kids nicknames. The origins have been lost to time. My oldest, David, was “Goo.” Clay, the one in the middle was “Pelly,” and, the youngest, Jennifer was “Weetsie Beetsie.” About two years ago, we went to the Currituck County, N.C., animal shelter and picked up twin Siamese cats. Jennifer suggested sharing her name — thus we have Weetsie and Beetsie.

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We have raised Siamese cats for about 45 years. When the last one, Minnie, died, we said that was it. But, one day we saw an ad for a Siamese cat. My granddaughter, Jessica, and oldest great-granddaughter, Madison, were visiting at the time. They chimed — “Call-call-call.” The kicker was Madison putting on a sad 8-year-old face.

We were told the cat had just been adopted but they had just received two kittens. The girls ran to the driveway, opened the car door and honked-honked-honked. So we told the nice lady to hold onto them.

The cats are unique. Weetsie follows my wife around, while Beetsie adopted me. They are fun and delightful.

I was raised with pooches. The first was a Boston Bull Terrier named Mitzi. The second was a mix of wire-haired terrier and Spitz: Tootsie. She was my special friend for many, many years.

After I got married, we raised Irish setters. They are beautiful, affectionate, fun. You don’t see many of them around, and it is a shame. They are perfect pets. Another beautiful dog that seems to have disappeared from the canine scene is the Collie — popularized, of course, by the Lassie movies and TV show — barking incessantly every time Timmy fell in a well.

Jennifer raised Great Danes — big, friendly and loving. Christy, my youngest granddaughter, has a cat and a Jack Russell terrier. He is weird, wild, wired. Her sister, Jessica, has a nice lab and a cat. David is up to his elbows in four dachshunds. They are cute and fun. Clay had a rottweiler. They get bad press, but ole Zeus was a loving animal. When he came visiting, he ran into the house and jumped right onto my wife’s lap.

A close friend of mine, Steve Lane, who produces a web radio show I do weekly (sometimes weakly) has a beautiful Weimaraner, a rescue dog, and his companion, a German shepherd.

I am happy to note that Suffolk has an active, energetic Humane Society. They have been in business since 2007, established with the help of the Virginia Beach SPCA.

I get a lot of requests for donations from various animal organizations. My contributions go to the SPCA.

There had been an SPCA in Suffolk several years ago but, essentially, they went out of business — no adoption events for animals, no humane education, no low-cost spay and neuter, according to Kay Hurley, the society’s director of community outreach, adding, “This all changed with Suffolk Humane’s formation.”

“We estimate that since 2008 over 1,500 animals have found new homes,” she said, and a mobile surgical bus offers low-cost spaying and neutering visits three or four times a month, averaging 30 animals each visit.

Good news for Fido and Kitty-kitty. It saves money and, as Hurley said, “It prevents so much suffering.”

Feral cats are spayed/neutered. The volunteer organization is a credit to the city. More volunteers are always needed for a variety of satisfying jobs.

“The Suffolk Humane Society is proud to report that our successful relationship with the Suffolk Animal Care Center has helped increase adoptions,” said Michelle Thames, executive director of the society.

For information visit www.suffolkhumanesociety.com.

P.S. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Dickie, the canary my mother got about a month after I entered the world. He had a long life for a canary. He died when I was 15. I came home one day, and he was on his back, his little feet in the air. And yes — I bawled.

During a 60-year career spanning newspapers, radio and television, Frank Roberts has been there and done that. Today, he’s doing it in retirement from North Carolina, but he continues to keep an eye set on Suffolk and an ear cocked for country music. Email him at froberts73@embarqmail.com.