In December, our cat Miss Priss didn't come home. Miss Priss was primarily an indoor kitty, but she had access to the outside through the doggie door. She was with us for four years and always stayed in the yard. You could count on her to come when you called her. When she didn't come home, we knew something was terribly wrong. There have been several coyotes spotted near our neighborhood and we're almost sure that one got her.
Then, our sweet Mr. Marty had lung problems for the second time in a year. The first time, he endured a pretty painful treatment where they "tap" the lung. It worked for a little while, but when the lung problems came back worse than ever, we knew we had to do the most humane thing we could and made the difficult decision to put him down. Both Jeff and I stayed with Marty at the vet the entire time, and we both cried and told him how much we loved him. Marty was a genuinely sweet, loving boy and an ambassador for rescue pets everywhere. Everyone who saw him wanted to know "where we got that wonderful dog" and we were always proud to say, "At a rescue!" Marty was on death row at the animal shelter in Riverside when a rescue organization picked him up. We found Marty at PetSmart and the rest is history. He was humble, kind, selfless, and sweet, and we will truly miss our boy. Grace is convinced that Marty lives "in Heaven in a dog treehouse" and that he is running around with my sister's dog Lennie and a few of our other lost pets. I tend to agree with her. Revelations 19 talks of Jesus coming back on a white horse, and God says He knows of every sparrow who falls, so I don't doubt that there are animals in Heaven. The gals and I are convinced that it will be a reunion for us...with both humans AND animals alike.
Marty and Emma enjoying a book during his last week
So life goes on, and the pain of loss gets a bit easier every day.
...and a day comes along when the girls and I decide that we're short too many pets. Why...we ONLY have three dogs and a pony! There are SO many shelter animals waiting for our love. We decided to convince Jeff that a perfect Valentine's present would be a rescue kitty.
It took some pleading. Some "But Daddy's" and some sad, sad eyes
...and he caved. :)
We spent an entire day at the shelter.
What did we learn?
There are more pets in need of homes now than ever before. When people lose their homes, their pets are often left behind in the empty houses. Pets are left tied to the tree outside the pound. The owners don't even bother to bring them in. While we were at the pound, a lady was walking by and said that she "just didn't have time to walk her dog" and that was why she was leaving him. My sister said the disdain from the shelter volunteer was palpable.
The animals in the kennels outside were wet, and it was a chilly day, so many were shaking.
The cats in the cat trailer were so ready for attention that many of them swatted our clothing and pressed against their cages as we walked by.
I think every human being should have to spend a day at a shelter. Perhaps then they wouldn't demand "designer" puppies from posh pet stores which merely support the puppy mills. Perhaps then they wouldn't look for that special breed from a breeder, but rather wait it out and search the shelters until they found one. Perhaps they wouldn't think of the mutts and unwanted pets as being flawed--in some way, all pets are flawed, and like people, we work through the flaws once we've taken them on as our responsibility.
I think of our pug Bug who had a neurological disorder that caused him to drag his paws. He could no longer go for walks without bloodying his feet, and so Jeff and I brought him along with us in a wagon. Near the end of his life, Bug lost control of his bowels and had no idea when he needed to go. All we could do was let him out more often and treat him with understanding when he had an accident.
I think of Ace, who, at eleven years old is perhaps the most annoying dog EVER. He barks at the door, chases the vacuum, eats poop, and smells terribly, but he is still that same guy I adopted eleven years ago and brought home to Jeff. Heck-old people smell too, but you don't drop them off at the pound!
And Marty, whose life was extended a mere three years because of his rescue...those last few months weren't easy, but we loved him through it.
One of my favorite quotes:
'The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the ways its animals are treated~ Mahatma Gandhi
The happy news:
We brought home not one, but TWO of the most sweet, lovable kitties in the world. They are brothers, and they love each other like no cats I've ever seen. They sleep cuddled up together, often in the shape of-I know it sounds cheesy- a heart.
The kitties were owner turn-ins. They are nine months old and have the most mellow, sweet dispositions in the world. The girls named them Poe (not the Teletubby...more like Edgar Alan) and Gus (like Augustus, the mouse from Cinderella...ironic!)
The kitties love their new home, and we are going to make sure they are completely indoor kitties so we don't lose any more animals.
The pugs can't believe their luck. They love the kitties, and they love to inspect the kitties, smell the kitty food, and sit next to the kitties, who have an unbelievable tolerance and patience for them. Only Old Man Ace seems a bit crabby, but what else would we expect?
Rescue pets are the most rewarding, loving, grateful pets in the world.
Thinking about a new pet?
The girls and I (and yes- even Jeff!) would highly recommend it.