Week of Giving Thanks: A is for All My Pets

26 November 2014

Ever since I was a little girl, I always loved animals.  I think if I weren't a teacher, I would be a veterinarian.   As a shy kid, with not many friends growing up, I was always drawn to animals.  Animals don't judge and respond well to calm quiet people.   So animals were always drawn to me, too.   One of my first memories is of being three years old and getting to pick out a kitten from my Aunt's cat's litter.  I can still picture the litter of nursing kittens.   I picked the calico one.
Here is a photo of me and my little brother Kurt with our cat, Zina. 

Zina was hit by a car when I was five years old and I was devastated.   I begged for another cat or kitten.  It was the only thing on my birthday list and Christmas list for three years!  Then my parents finally caved and got me a kitten for Christmas when I was in third grade.  We named him Max and he was the best cat ever!  I used to push him in a doll baby carriage.   Then when I was in fifth grade, I found a stray Apple Head Snow Shoe Siamese cat, we named him Blue Eyes.  After about 4 months of feeding him, I convinced my parents to take him him and get him vet care.  (I don't have old pictures at my house but I will add some later.) 

Then at 16, I convinced my parents we needed a dog.  My parents like animals, but they don't LOVE them like I do.  My dad never had a dog and was worried that we would not take responsibility for it.  He made my brothers and I sign a contract about the dog's care before we were allowed to get a dog.  I think he still has the contract in a file somewhere.  The contract is often brought up at family functions and we all have a good laugh.  Unfortunately, that sweet dog, a Cocker Spaniel named Hannah, only lived to be six years old.  She died of cancer.    

In college, my roommates and I thought it would be a good idea to get a dog.  So my one roommate Christine, got Maggie Mae.  Then I got Niles to keep Maggie Mae company.    Maggie passed away from cancer, but Niles is still in my care and is a peppy almost 15 year old dog!

I brought him home from college and he joined my Cocker Spaniel and two cats.   By then the cats were old and within a year, they both died of old age.  Then the Cocker Spaniel died of cancer.  Poor Niles was all alone.  My mom and I did our research and decided we wanted a Havanese.    So eight years ago, we got Sophie (though I have custody).

I moved out and got my own house.  I felt guilty for purchasing dogs, when there are so many animals in need of homes.   I then adopted my cat Ella from North Shore Animal League.   The following year I went to drop off donations at the local pound and saw Greta.  The pound said she was a special needs kitten, but had not provided her with any vet care and that no one wanted to adopt her.  Her name in the shelter was "Skull Head" because she came in with a big bump on her head.   So of course I had to save her!   She turned out to be fine and the bump was gone by the time I took her to the vet.

Here is my whole crew.  When they say "Who rescued, who?" it really hits home for me.  I feel like my pets give me a reason to get out of bed and provide me a sense of importance.   I don't have kids of my own or a husband.  No one really needs me, but they do.  I am their whole world.   At times, I do wish had less cats.   I do feel really guilty about this.  It is a lot of work having four pets and most people are not cat people.  It is not something I throw out there when I first meet a guy.   I don't want to be seen as a crazy cat lady.  I also want a house that doesn't smell or look like a hoarder's home.  So, I don't have any carpets in my house, I don't want anything that will hold animal smell!  I have a Roomba to help with vacuuming and I LOVE my Shark steam mop.    Another thing I do, is to put easy to wash blankets on top of my bed and couches.    I also don't have any house plants!  They would just get knocked over.

Niles and Sophie got their picture taken with Santa last weekend.

The past few years, I have been fostering animals.   I have an urge to help all animals in need but I know it would not be fair to them or to me if I adopted any more animals.  Fostering lets me feel like I am making a difference and is a temporary commitment.   My favorite feedback on a product was that I inspired them to foster animals, too.  It really is so rewarding.  I love seeing photos of the happy and loved animals in their forever homes.  

Here are my two current fosters:

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  1. I love your post. Your friends eye shadow reminds me so much of myself when I was in Undergrad. Pets are awesome! I hid our families cat in my closet for a while. His name is Kip and my mother found him one day. He's very old now but still well behaved. My sister adopts shelter animals and they beg. Do yours beg much?

  2. Oh, you've just met a fellow animal-loving shelter-adopting teacher! We have four adopted Labs, one adopted terrier, four adopted cats, one adopted rabbit, and two adopted ferrets...and two biological kids! :-) Every time we get another critter, my husband says, "No more!" Then we see a posting and he's the first to say, "We have to save him/her!" Shelter pets are the most thankful, loving, giving animals out there!


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