Tiger at 14 -- 07/26/07

Today is not Tiger's birthday. For want of an exact date we usually say his birthday is the same as mine in late April, although it's quite possible that he is a few weeks younger. Today is the 14th anniversary of the day he joined our family.

It was something of a family tradition to attend Camp Arbak, a day camp in the countryside near Binghamton, NY. Adam had spent part of every summer there (back in the 1970s) and Nancy's youngest brother (the one who is now a major in the U.S. Marines) spent a couple of summers with us while going to Camp Arbak. And, when they were old enough, Gillian and Jeremy also spent part of each summer at Camp Arbak.

In the summer of 1993 there was a litter of kittens and a litter of puppies at Camp Arbak and one of our kids' favorite optional activities was the chance to learn about caring for pets (and get the chance to play with) these animals. The kittens would be available for adoption by campers at the end of the summer. Jeremy absolutely fell in love with Tiger (who was, according to Jeremy, the runt of the litter) and begged for us to request adopting Tiger. We already had a rabbit (Jill's) and a hamster (Jeremy's) so Nancy and I thought that two kids and two pets was quite enough (Adam had graduated from college and was off on his own by then but Nancy was in the midst of getting another master's degree). Jeremy looked at us with big soulful eyes and with quivering lip and quavering voice said "But I love him and I would miss him so much." I don't think Jill even had to chime in with a "Please" before Nancy and I caved in and signed the form saying that we wanted to adopt Tiger at the end of the summer.

Jill and Jeremy had attended the first four weeks of the summer... and at this point I do not recall how we were keeping them busy the rest of the summer... but what we usually did was have them split summer, half at Camp Arbak and half at a different activity such as a summer program at the university or at the IBM country club (Nancy worked for IBM at that time) or a YMCA day camp. You could attend Arbak in multiples of two weeks. You could even attend all eight weeks, but this was a family run business, originally begun with the intention of putting their kids (Arthur, Barbara, and Karen = AR + BA + K) through college, and it was fairly expensive compared with those non-profit alternatives. Thus, Jill and Jeremy were not at Camp Arbak on Monday, July 26th when a new group of campers began their camp session.

When I got home from work that day I found a phone message from the camp. They wanted me to come and pick up Tiger immediately. Many of the new campers had also fallen in love with him and wanted to adopt him and were driving the camp staff crazy. The only solution the staff could think of (to avoid having to listen to such pleas every day for the rest of the summer) was to have me come and pick up Tiger right then instead of waiting until the end of the summer.

I got back into my car and went straight to Camp Arbak.

Thus... today we are celebrating the 14th anniversary of the day Tiger came to live with us.

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