Minggu, 02 Desember 2007

Addicted at an early age

My first cats were family pets, chosen by parents. Clearly in the photos I have I did love them but my real dream was a dog. Thus, in 5th grade the deal was struck - straight A's got me a dog, Trixie. I was never without a pet after that. I got the dog (and her pups) when I was divorced.

How is it I came to populate the household with so many critters and can I say it's not my fault?
It was an easy decision each time we added another animal and no it is not all my fault.

It is true that pet #13 is my mom's cat (was more my dad's for most of its life) and now she has moved to a retirement home which is pet-friendly only for visits. Come on. So we got the cat. But then, we did give them the cat. So, maybe it is my fault Bootz is here now.

The others, well, three cats just showed up and we took responsibility for them in terms of neutering, feeding, shots. They stayed. One cat we sought out when it was a kitten. One cat was bought at an auction. One cat was adopted. That's every one of them. They have it great, living in the garage. In the winter they have a heater and the rest of the year they have an indoor/outdoor arrangement so they can sun themselves without leaving the premises and ending up as coyote treats.

Dogs surround us and I am pleased to say are all adopted. They range from 5 months to 14 years and from 20 pounds to 85 pounds. Most of them are the result of us fostering them first and then not being able to live without them. But we have let some of the dogs we foster go to other good homes where they are flourishing and running the show. We have figured out we can't keep them all and that it is great to see them select their new families. Plus then we can foster more and go through that routine again.

I am addicted to animals. There is nothing quite like the affection they have for owners. I see it at home and I see it at the shelter where I volunteer as a temporary influence on them. Ha! I almost said "temporary human" but that wouldn't be accurate. I cannot say "temporary owner" as that too would be wrong - I don't own any of them.

Thankfully the addiction is a positive one with good rewards. All the same it does take some discipline to avoid any further over-indulgence. I am brought back to reality when the furniture is chewed, when there is hair all over the floor, or when the litter needed changing two days before it was. When all that is resolved though, I'm back to making them healthy treats.

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