Duchess--my first cat

I think I may have mentioned in the past that my father used to work for the Portland, Oregon Zoo when I was a child.  In those days, the zoo didn't have a nursery and if a mother didn't take care of her babies, the zookeepers would take them home and raise them for a while.  It wasn't a good method--the poor animals grew up like pets, and then had to learn how to live as a zoo animal.  Most of them ended up in small roadside zoos in poor conditions, so eventually my father stopped bringing them home even if it meant the babies had nowhere to go.

Of course, as kids we thought it was very thrilling, and we cried when they had to go back.
My Brother and I with Duchess at 4 days old

 You can see why we couldn't keep them--Duchess probably isn't that angry in this picture, but they do have tempers!  I remember being knocked down, and she hated the boy next door, and would chase him out of the yard.    

My Dad & Duchess at 6 months old

I think this may be why I love big dogs so much.  I grew up animals were supposed to be big!