I don't have "a dog (or cat) in this hunt." That is my disclaimer.

But, as you will see...there have been many "pets" in my life.

To paraphrase a George Carlin routine, for me..."Life is a series of dogs...cats.

"The Val" (Craig Allen photo archives)

Valentina..."The Val'...joined the family when I was 7.  The neighbor's cat had kittens, and I just had to have one.  I must have been absolutely relentless, as my parents finally gave in.

Val arrived about a week before my brother was born...and my mom told me recently that she wasn't very happy with me at the time. I had a new, baby brother..."and all you cared about was that cat."

As the back of the above picture says: "This is the life...she doesn't know it is -20 outside. Christmas 1983" (at my grandparents' place in Wisconsin...Valentina traveled with us).

Valentina was the coolest cat...she put up with a lot of abuse from 4 small kids...and she lived til after I graduated college.

We also raised guinea pigs...my sister had horses...and we raised, and trained 2 "Seeing Eye Dogs,"

The honey in that jar is yummy! (Craig Allen photo).

including Tosca, above.

My dad and Max at dinnertime. (Craig Allen photo).

Did I mention "Max" our pet crow? She had been abandoned...and we fed her first by eye dropper, and then progressed to feeding her small chunks of wet dog food.

Max always liked to be involved in what was going on...she'd just swoop down into the center of whatever was happening.

I was in high school at the time, and it was FUN to walk around with a crow on my shoulder...and I wasn't even a pirate (then or now).

When my dad would leave for work in the morning, Max would latch onto the car roof rack, and ride to the end of the neighborhood. She would then fly home to our yard.

Over time, Max found a "boyfriend," and one day...she returned to the wild.

Back to the cats..."DJ" came along after Valentina...then there was Julee and Tina.

Like I said...I don't have a pet at the moment.


Recently, I "won" a beta fish at a benefit...

One "pet" to come... (Craig Allen photo).

...and, I'll "go fishing" when my super-busy summer winds down!

In the meantime, you have til 8:00 tomorrow morning to vote for the cutest pet (my stories and pictures do NOT qualify, as they are in the past).

As I said on my radio show yesterday afternoon...friends are texting me to vote for their pet...endorse their pet on the air...and influence the voting...


So, I'll just say: "Vote NOW...and vote OFTEN!"

CLICK at the top of the nj1015.com homepage...or click the link HERE!

VOTE for New Jersey 101.5's Cutest Pet!