I do remember a cat I adopted for myself when I was older. She was a pretty Burmese (brown and exotic looking), that we picked up from the shelter. She was technically mine to manage and care for even though I was still living at home. Hershey had alot of dog like behaviors. She even came to live with me when I first started my career, in Cincinnati Ohio. That cat taught herself to pee in the toilet! She traveled between Ohio and Detroit, curled up in my lap. (yeah, yeah, not safe, but I was young and stupid then).
Since then, I've had cats that seem to find ME! Midnight and Amber were both homeless little kittens that managed to get my attention at work and ended up moving in with us. Right now we have Holly Berry, a reformed feral cat (that's a cat from a wild colony) that I caught and tamed. She identifies more with the canine world than feline world. Chloe and Haley were her role models. Holly is crate trained, eats dog biscuits and just about anything else! She also comes when called. I've taught her to sit on command.
Pet ownership is not just about cats, tho! We stumbled into dog ownership rather abruptly and suddenly when we welcomed Chloe and Haley into our home. Chloe is our 12 year old Pomeranian who came to us via a relative who needed to rehome her due to a conflict with another dog living in the same house. Ironically, we ended up with Haley around the same time. (That's a long story) Haley was a gorgeous little, Papillon, and a rescue of sorts. She was returned to the breeder because of a change in the first owner's home situation. Haley, being so small at 5 pounds, did not adapt well to living with small children that had moved in. Haley ended up living with my parents for the few years they were able to care for her. My parents had lost both their dogs not that much earlier. Haley provided them with companionship and protection (yes, she scared off an intruder with her big dog bark and she alerted my dad to a health crisis involving my mom). When my parents could not care for her any longer, Haley joined us here. Haley crossed to Rainbow Bridge in Sept of 2013 at the age of 12. She lived with chronic renal failure for about the last 3 years of her life, so making it to 12 was a milestone. She was a tough cookie, and I did everything I could to manage her disease which gave her a little more quality time with us.
The call to change another four legged life was strong for me, so we ended up going to look at a stray pup one month after Haley died. She was older Pomeranian available at a shelter about 3 hours from here. A mini twin to our Pom, Chloe. She was such a mess. Shaved because of fleas and mats. Red and itchy from flea dermatitis. Scared to death and fearful of being picked up or touched unexpectedly. She would snap and fear bite. Her back legs seemed impaired too. Such a sad case. Naturally, I just had to have her. And that's how MInnie (mini = Minnie, get it??) came to live in our household. We don't know her history, but everything points to it being very bad and most likely abusive. I strongly suspect she's a puppy mill survivor. She was missing some teeth and lost a few more with her recent dental. She flinched at sudden movement, like she had been hit or had things thrown at her. She had and still has a ravenous appetite. It took alot of work to build trust with her. Now we can pick her up with no fear biting, and just telling her "up" lets her prepare to leave the security of the ground. Her fur has still not filled in fully, but it's getting there. I can finally bathe her without having to muzzle her or be snapped at. She's learned to play with toys and follow commands. She is somewhat disabled. Both of her back legs have dislocating kneecaps, so severe that she cannot jump up more than one small step. We had to build a little handicap ramp off our porch so she can go up and down on her own. Her front legs aren't right either, she has a pigeon toed walk, and she's not very stable with sudden turns or changes in direction when running. Despite all of that, she is one happy little pup who has bonded with all of us, but me especially. She's always nearby. I hate to think what her life was like before coming to live with us. I often wonder if anyone else would have wanted to adopt her. An older (she's estimated to be about 8), disabled dog that would need special handling and even adaptations, like a ramp.
So, where am I going with all this? So far, I have focused on what YOU can do to change an animal's life for the better. But pets can change YOUR life for the better too! There are many benefits that come with pet ownership. Take a look at these two links to see what I am talking about. Pets give US as much or more than they receive!
I know that not everyone can adopt a pet, circumstances and finances may prevent it. But keep in mind that you can support local no kill shelters, maybe even volunteer at one (see yesterday's musing for the benefits of volunteering!), and most importantly, encourage people not to enable the continuation of puppy mill breeding. (See the article links for more on that)
Here are my furbabies! Chloe, Angel Haley, Holly Berry and Minnie. Enjoy!