| I enjoy writing and photography but prefer to do it with the help of my best inspiration. My pets. I guess I was born loving animals of all kinds. I can't remember a time that I didn't want to have pets - especially horses, cats, and dogs. I remember as a small child begging for every kitten, puppy or pony I saw. I had a few cats, and dogs when I was small and remember a few parakeets, but none seemed to live very long. When I was 14, I got the first dog that survived more than a few months - a Boston Terrier cross. He was to be the first of many. As a teenager there were two other small mixed breed dogs and a couple of cats. But it wasn't until I was grown and married that I would really be able to indulge in the need to have lots of pets.
It wasn't just that I had the overpowering need to have pets but I needed to take in the homeless, the unwanted, the injured, the abandoned, or the orphan. No, I have never worked for any well-known or not so well-known Humane Society or animal control, or any kind of shelter. I could never do that kind of work. I would want to take them all home and keep them. With me it has been the animals that made a special effort to find me. The ones that needed me to help them. One of the first was the tiny, 3 week old kitten found in a trash can. One of the last has been a 6 week old kitten that a neighbor found in one of his chicken pens. How the kitten got there will always be a mystery. But now he is one of three black cats that live in my house. I have a special fondness for black cats or cats of any color. Once we had a stray cat have her kittens in my back yard. Some how she had made friends with my dogs. I was going to let her stay and have her spayed and find homes for the kittens but she got hit my a car (which is why my cats are all house cats, it's to dangerous outside). So I had to raise the four, one week old kittens on a bottle. And they all lived. I gave one away but couldn't bear to part with the other three. They lived to old age with us.
There have been about twenty cats, about ten dogs, and six horses. I lost count of the number of small birds - finches, canaries, parakeets. When my sons were teenagers there were a number of lizards, tadpoles, frogs, and a tank full of fish. But now I try to keep down the number of critters and only allow dogs, cats, and horses. Even those have to be limited. Unlike people that hoard animals I understand my limit or rather my monitary limit. I would love to take in more as my love for them is unlimited, but my pocketbook only allows me to buy food for a few.
Oh, they haven't all been rescues, as some were pets that I went and found on purpose. But even then they were pets that needed me. Never have I bought an expensive pet with all those papers. All the cats have been mixed breeds, as have several of the dogs. I have been lucky in having several purebred but unregistered Border Collie dogs, a breed of dog that finds itself unwanted frequently. Cute as puppies they are one of the smartest and one of the most determined dogs when it comes to herding sheep, cows, horses, goats, ducks, cats, and even people. The dog was found as a small pup running down a major street. (I have found several cats this way, too.) Two shepherd crosses were found as small puppies and the original owners never came forward. I raised one puppy that was found lying in the street next to the curb and didn't even have her eyes open. I took in a Great Dane once that needed a home. I certainly didn't need him, and even had to nurse him through a bout of provo, which is usually deadly to puppies. When he was about a year old I leaned about two boys whose parents had been killed in a car crash. Their grandma had told them they could have a Great Dane, their chose of dog, as long as it wasn't a puppy. My Great Dane had found his place. He needed me to take care of him until he was old enough to go to his chosen home with the two little boys. He was the only dog I ever gave away but I think he was born with a special calling to help two children in desperate need of a dog.
I've taken in five different horses. I had wanted a horse since I was born but was 48 years old before I got one of my own. Ruby was a yearling that needed a home. She was a wild horse; an ugly, long legged, gangling little thing that had just been taken from her mama. She was wild as could be but was desperate for some gentle, loving care. It was her big, brown eyes that got to me. I took her home and still have her after ten years. Trampas had been bought by a girl to impress her friends but she decided she really didn't like horses and wanted to get out from under the cost of boarding, hay, grain, and vet bills. I got him at a good price and he was a wonderful horse for ten years. Paint was another one bought to impress someone and then was unwanted. At age 25 he has been retired and gets to live out his life with me. When I got Paint, and my mare Skipper they were very skinny, had spur marks on their sides, head shy, and didn't want to be toughed by human hands. Their hooves that hadn't been trimmed in who knows when and Paint had an abscess in one hoof. Yes they came from a horse rescue group. Now they are friendly, fat, and always looking for a handout.
I hate to think of what would have happened to all my dogs, cats, and horses if I hadn't taken them in and given them a home. If I hadn't given the dogs and cats a home they could very well have wound up at the city or county animal control and been put down as so many stray dogs and cats are. The horses would have probably gone to an auction where most horses are bought by buyers that are called 'killer buyers' as they send the horses in over-crowded trailers down to Mexico to be slaughtered for meat that is then sent to several countries that consider horse meat a delicacy and spend money for it the way some rich people buy caviar. Maybe if the meat went for people that were really hungry it would be better - but it doesn't.
Yes, it costs boo-coodles of money to feed them, and get proper vet care when needed. And yes, it takes lots of time to feed, water, clean up after them, and give them the individual attention and training each animal needs. But I do it because they give me something in return that people can't give me. They are my best friends, never seeing my faults. They never see that I am over weight, blind in one eye, have a bad back; and have to use a cane to walk. They don't care that I am poor, and don't have a fancy home and clothes. They never complain if I am a few minutes late feeding them but dig in and eat up. They always appreciate a good brushing, or a bath, a slow ride around the block, or a game of fetch. In return they whinny, meow, bark, or whine in greeting each morning, or jump up to go with me each time I head for the door, or sit quietly in my lap in the evening and purr.
Yes, my best friends were all once unwanted dogs, cats, or horses. But I want them.