Letter from the Editor: Introduce us to your pets!

  • Alexis: "Stop doing that with your face, Mel!"

      Alexis: "Stop doing that with your face, Mel!" Brian Shamie | Staff Photographer

  • Melynda Findlay- Shamie

    Melynda Findlay- Shamie

Updated 9/24/2020 6:43 PM

For a little more than 16 years, one of the first things anybody asked me when we talked was whether my cat, Gracie, had tried to kill my now-husband recently.

Most of the time, the answer was "yes" or "most likely."


Gracie was a curmudgeon from the time I brought her home when she was just eight weeks old. But she was also sweet, funny, and when we were both a little broken, we loved each other unconditionally.

She also loved any kind of movies with shooting and violence, would only accept a specific brand of cheese (and heaven help whoever tried to give her anything else!) and she hated everyone except me -- including Brian. She used to throw up where she knew he'd walk in the morning and tried to bite and scratch him. She also rolled around in his shoes which, as it turns out, was her trying to get his scent on herself to hunt him. He loved her anyway.

Sadly, back in June, Gracie got very sick and we had to let her go. I was crushed and didn't know if I'd ever want another cat.

Even so, we certainly weren't planning to get another cat so soon. But through a fortuitous series of events, here we are with a new little goofball, Alexis Something Rose Shamie, named after the character in the Canadian comedy that just swept the Emmy Awards, "Schitt's Creek." And she is definitely more than just a little bit Alexis. She's a little bit cuddly, even when she's not.

She wakes up Brian precisely when his alarm goes off, because that is breakfast time, and she wants her breakfast RIGHT. NOW. (waking up usually includes a claw to the foot. It's cute though!)

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We were told she was 2 when we adopted her, but we think she might be much, much younger because she has enormous paws and only weighs about five pounds.

She's afraid of the dark but loves catnip and her little tomato toy.

Herald staffer Dave Oberhelman also has a family pet: A turtle named Zero he got in 1987. His full name is 1001001 (BINARY! COLLEGE MATH FLASHBACK!)

"He's skittish," Dave tells me.

So why am I telling you about our pets? Because we want to hear about yours. Send in a picture and a paragraph or two about your four-legged furballs, or the ones who are scaly, slithery or swimmy. Cows, horses, potbellied pigs, hamsters, gerbils and even stuffed animals with an interesting back story. We're open to that.

We'd like to learn about your animal friends by featuring them in the paper every week.

Eventually, we'd also like to get adoptable shelter pets here, too. I'm working on that.


In the meantime, though, send me your pets along with "Pet of the Week" in the subject line.

Because if you don't, I've got all sorts of "Guess what Lexie did today!" anecdotes and 16 years of "Gracie-is-our-not-so-benevolent-overlord" stories and pictures just waiting for a whole new audience.

• Melynda has worked at the Daily Herald for more than 20 years. Alexis is currently walking across the keyboard, and she loves that journey for herself.

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