Thursday, June 11, 2009

Carol and the animals...

Ms Kizzle left a comment that was very supportive of me, regarding my dog Sarah, and her vet bill(s). I really appreciated that, but it made me think that there are probably a lot of you who wonder why, if we are so broke, do I/we have so many animals....and I really don't know the exact reason, but I wanted to share a few things that popped into my head just so you know me a little better :-)

The very first thing I need to share is that they say that everyone has a "special talent". Well, it appears that my most special talent is that I'm a "stray magnet". Stray cats and dogs will come to me under very strange circumstances. I don't understand it and probably never will. The animals just find me.

I don't go out and "get" animals. I've only done that two or three times in my life. I went out to "get" Kirby when he was a puppy, sixteen years ago, from a farmer, because I wanted a dog. I set out to "get" a friend for him, when he was about 6 months old, that was my/our dog Oreo (I didn't know DH at that time, it was 16 years ago!). We got Oreo from the Humane Society, and she died when she was 12 of hemangiosarcoma. Then, I missed Oreo so much, that we went to a different shelter and got Sarah. Otherwise, strays just find me. I've been like that my entire adult life. Even in college, stray cats would find me. It was easier back then, though, because there were people around who were willing to help.

I only take in an animal if I feel that it's life is in immediate danger. And I always try to find the owners. It's still very difficult for me to recognize in my heart that someone could "throw away" a dog or a cat.

I hate having this many animals, especially when I'm not home enough to give them the kind of care I feel they should have. But there's no way to decide who would stay and who would go, because I love each individual one.

There are no animal shelters in my county. None. There are some people who take in stray dogs, but stray cats...? Well, if someone finds a stray cat in my area, the options are: a) shoot it b) let it die on its own or c) find someone to care for it

Even the vets really don't value cats. When my cat Que-Queek was dying of kidney failure, the vet told me, "you know you could get a new cat for a lot cheaper..." I was appalled. But that's kind of how it is around here. Animals, especially cats, are a dime a dozen. Or even less than that.

Most farmers I know just shoot the cats they run across. There really aren't a lot of options. So the cats that come into my life stay. All the animals are spayed or neutered. I understand way too well that the reason there are so many animals in my house is because there are more animals than there are homes.

Many of these animals were family members of mine long before I was struggling financially. And a couple of them arrived while I believed that DH would get better, and things would get "back to normal". They didn't, as you know, but I had already made the commitment. For me, it's a lifetime thing.

The chickens and ducks, I've been just letting the numbers dwindle via attrition. I hate dealing with them in winter, and right now I'd be fine with just two or three chickens for eggs, and that being all. But...I've made a commitment to them, too, and I'll let them live out their lives if at all possible. I'd be really sad, thinking that any of them ended up in a soup pot.

And the two rabbits. I think they're about 6 years old. Supposedly Mrs. Bun has uterine cancer. DH bought the buns as babies for a dollar each at a farm auction when nobody else wanted them. I don't find stray bunnies (yet anyhow, LOL) so there won't be any more.

And as crazy as things get, I have to tell you, that there are many days when those animals have saved my marriage. They've saved my sanity. They've made me laugh when I was miserable. And the love and gratitude is so worth it to me. I wish I was home more. But they don't complain. Some days, those animals are all I cling to....when DD is being hateful, and I'm married to "That Guy", the animals are my family....and I'll deal with their old age issues just as I would any family member, to the best of my ability.

I love my pets. They're the best.


Elizabeth A. said...

My dogs are my babies. I've had them since they were 8 wks old. The first time I left them at the kennel, I bawled. Some days I don't know if I can get out of bed, but then I hear them whine to be let out and at the very least I'm up because of them.

Sometimes I feel like my brain is vibrating, and then they encourage me to take them for a walk. They just know. They're very good for me.

I have no idea what I'll do when they get sick.

Stacy said...

I totally understand about the animals, I have many too...while they are a source of stress for me, and they are financially draining, I wouldn't have it any other way....

Pann said...

Yes, pets are wonderful for relieving the stress that humans cause.

I'm really sad to hear about farmers shooting cats. That is really sad.