All of my life I have enjoyed the company of animals, big and small. I bottle fed a raccoon at my grandparents farm, helped gather eggs with my grandmother and lived in a house with a variety of finches, dogs and cats. We even had a pet white rat, “George,” a former school room pet that ended up living with us at the end of the school year. I have found comfort with many a pet over the years when I was ill or needed comfort. I tried to provide the same to them when they needed it.
Currently I share my home with indoor birds including two parakeets “Mr. and Mrs.”, a blue fronted Amazon parrot “Patsy” and two Jenday Conures, “Sun E Day” and “Cute E Pie”. As you can imagine it can be a little noisy in the house, especially when I am talking on the telephone and they feel a need to join in the conversation. There are two cats indoors, Mouser and Smokey, two dogs, a miniature pinscher “Charly” and her brother, Doberman “Drogo.” Outside we find more critters, including cats, ducks, chickens, two goats, one sheep, five pigs, numerous rabbits, some wild birds and a few mice. Not at present but there have also been cattle and horses.
Twenty years ago a neighbors cat had kittens in my laundry room, entering through a former dryer hose hole. I was surprised one day when I was moving clothes from the washer to the dryer and was surprised to see a small kitten at my feet. Investigation revealed one or two additional kittens. I called the neighbor and they came up to see the little discoveries.
At the time I was working fulltime as well as holding down an additional job and tried hard to make ends meet. As I could I got the cats fixed and rehomed but did not keep up. Soon there were more kittens and I didn’t know what to do. I fed them and housed them, later dealing with another neighbor who didn’t like cats and threatened to kill them all.
One day I saw an ad for free breakfast for help taking care of cats. I met some women who worked to get cats neutered, vaccinated and homed or placed back where they came from. Some cats were tame, many others were feral. Over the years adoption events and activities have introduced me to a number of very interesting, like minded people who dedicate their lives to helping our furry friends and voiceless animals who need help.
Another neighbor and I went to volunteer our help. We learned how to clean cat cages, traps and carriers and how to tame kittens and cats, if they were tamable. We were introduced to resources available to get cats neutered at low or no cost, how to trap cats and working within the system to improve the lives of cats. Extra cats at my home were neutered, vaccinated and rehomed. I ended up volunteering with a three rescue organizations and helped several others. We could see euthanasia rates being lowered through the efforts of the rescues. I could not imagine myself trapping cats but I was made aware of the often harsh existence feral cats endure living outside, was trained and did indeed trap many. I helped transport hundreds of cats over the years. I learned placing these uncared for cats in “barn homes” and such locations as businesses, garages and places with rodent infestations was a win-win for both the cats appreciated for their “rodent removal” skills and for the cats, now provided with a steady supply of food and shelter. I also have shared in the adoption of rescue pets and placed some pets with great homes and people who provide them with a family and love.
Losing a pet can be very devastating. My father grew up on a farm and thought animals should not be penned in, hence we did not have a fenced in yard. The dogs enjoyed playing with my sisters and I and we had several over the years. Also several cats, including “Fred” who lived with us over ten years. I understand and know how our pets can be family members and offer their unconditional love and comfort. I only recall one time when I did not have a pet where I lived. To me they are part of the fabric and good things in life.