I don’t think of myself as being particularly sentimental (others who know me may disagree) but I was really touched recently when a friend of mine shared with me the significance of her pretty sterling silver charm bracelet . “Randy, I’ve got a charm to represent every one of my favorite pets.” She did, too. When Sally was a little girl, she loved frogs, even naming one “Agnes” after her favorite aunt.

“Do you have a frog charm?” I asked.

“Of course!” It was the sweetest little thing, perfectly capturing a frog resting on a lily pad, only without the lily pad.

“Do you mean to tell me that every one of your charms represents an animal that you’ve loved?’ I was fascinated. I’d seen her wearing this bracelet for years, but had never gotten the full story. To think all those years I’d heard her bracelet jingling it’d been full of such meaning for her.

“Absolutely. See this little dachshund charm? That’s Nikki, the best dog in the world. I had her in my life for ten years. She passed away just a year before I met you. She discreetly wiped away a tear. “And this parrot represents Andrew, the talkingest African Grey parrot in the world.

“What about the dog bone charm ?” I asked her.

“Oh, that’s for Tony, the big Rottie-Shephard mix that protected me when I lived in New York City in the 1980s. It was impossible to find a charm that looked like him, so I bought this to represent him. He loved to gnaw on those rawhide bones, and that’s why the bone made me think of him. She held it up to show me, dangling between an armadillo and a raccoon.

“Don’t tell me you had raccoon and an armadillo pets!”

“Well, I did. My pop and I lived on the ranch in eastern Texas after Mom died, and he was just as much an animal lover as I am. When he’d find orphaned baby animals, even wild ones, he kept them in the kitchen and fed them with an eyedropper, day and night. They became part of the family, and the dog and pet cats seemed to accept them. One nursing cat even fed the baby raccoon when two of her own litter died.”

“That is amazing. Tell me about the rest of them.” She was on a roll now.

“Well, this possum reminds me of Sally and Ted, the two possum babies we found inside their mom’s pouch after she’d been hit by a car. My dad took care of them, too. The only thing wrong with raising baby possums is that they don’t live very long and it’s so easy to get attached to them. You know, these charms are sort of comforting that way.

I could certainly see her point! It made me wish I had a charm bracelet myself!