So You Want To Talk About Pets!

I am a lover of animals, keeper of pets, and I take my job VERY SERIOUSLY!  Many people have various things that they are passionate about–my passion is animals!  My family would argue that I am maybe a little too passionate about them… 

a message left for me by my clever youngest son

Six years ago I was working at our local elementary school, and volunteering at our local animal shelter.  As a result of both jobs,  my list of pets became quite long…and it hasn’t changed much today! 

  A pond full of goldfish/koi,  two hermit crabs,  a hamster,  2 rabbits,  a parakeet,   21 cats and kittens of various ages,  and  5 dogs!   Yes, our house is known as a sort of “mini-zoo”! 

The pond and fish was an anniversary gift from my husband, which I wrote about in an earlier post.  We’ve had it for many years, but I still enjoy watching the fish swim around.  We’ve battled birds, snakes, and turtles for the sake of our fish in that little pond! 

The two hermit crabs and  the hamster were classroom pets– kept at school during the week, but brought home on weekends and holidays.  Every Monday and Friday would find me lugging my precious cargo back and forth.  It wasn’t an easy task, but the children loved our classroom pets! 

"Oreo"

  It was no wonder that our classroom quickly became a popular spot for other students to visit.  The sight of little “Oreo”, the hamster, rolling around in his ball brought squeals of joy to the children. 

"Sugar Pie" shelter rabbitI rescued our first rabbit, “Sugar Pie”,  from the animal shelter after somebody discarded her after Easter was over.  The second rabbit, “Honey Bun”, was a gift from a co-worker and friend. The rabbits share a large bunny hutch with a partition in the middle of it, so they can be near each other, but not close enough to make baby bunnies! 

My parakeet, “Tweety”,  is a rescued bird.  Another friend and co-worker found him lurking underneath her car port one day.  Her husband was actually able to catch him.  They did not want a bird, and didn’t know who he belonged to…so she thought of me, and asked if I’d take him.  I could tell that he’d been someone’s pet, and he even talks at times–especially when my daughter comes over.  However, his speech is garbled and we can’t quite make out his words.  I’ve had him for five years.  “Tweety” has to live on top of my curio cabinet because “Bobs”, the house cat,  has this strong desire to catch him and have him for a meal… 

Once I began volunteering at the shelter, my outdoor cat “herd” quickly began to grow.  There is always an abundance of cats and kittens at the shelter, and most of them get euthanized.  There was a time when I “tried to save them all”.  My assortment of  cats quickly grew from 4 to 21!  My husband dreaded seeing my car door open on Friday nights, for fear of another hungry mouth exiting the car! 

Outdoor cats live perilous lives, and our numbers have diminished to around 16 or 17.  One died of old age, while some were victims of predators,  lizard poisoning, etc.  Did you know that eagles will kill and eat grown cats?  If the cat is small enough, the eagle will actually carry it away… cats also eat lizards–and some lizards(blue tailed ones) are poisonous to them.   

Please note the “Cat Cafe`” in the picture below.  My loving husband built it for me, so my cats could eat without worrying about the dogs stealing their food.  It’s about four feet off the ground, and has a top on it to protect the cats from the rain.  My sweet husband also built the rabbit’s hutch. some cats eating at the "Cat Cafe`" 

Although cats are my first love, I am not immune to dogs.  Although we already had one dog, a dalmatian,  within six months I adopted 5 more!  We became the parents of 2 more adult dogs, and 3 puppies during those six months.  Two of the adults have since passed away from old age, as well as one nearly grown dog who eventually had to be euthanized due to incurable red mange.  We desperately tried to save the dog with red mange.  We put him through 3 rounds of treatment, but he grew sicker with each one.  Finally, we decided it would be more humane to end his suffering.  The vet agreed.  He’s the white puppy in the picture below, and his name was Freckles.  What a heart-breaking ending for such a beautiful dog!  Ethan, the hound puppy in the picture, also suffered from the same “red mange” but responded well to the treatment and was cured. 

Me sitting with 3 of my dog babies... in 2004

I suppose I don’t have to tell you that for a good while,  most of my paycheck went toward vet care, and buying food for all of these pets!  Every one of my cats and dogs is spayed or neutered.  Even though our vet gave me a discount, and the county paid half of the cost, it still cost a lot of money.  I don’t regret a penny of it though.  It’s the only way to control the pet population. 

Every two weeks, it takes a shopping cart just to hold the pet foods and supplies for “my zoo”.  I can’t tell you how many conversations have been started by the sight of my cart full of animal supplies!  It’s been especially tough to  make the money stretch now that I’ve retired, and the economy has taken such a downturn.  I try not to let my husband go shopping for supplies with me because he tends to get ” ill”  when he sees the total on the bill! 

The hermit crabs and the hamster have passed away.  I no longer volunteer at the animal shelter.  It’s too hard to go and leave so many “needy” animals behind each time.  I’ve decided that I’ve done all that I can do there.  Even though I don’t go to the shelter these days, sometimes animals still manage to find their way to my door.  Two more cats have joined our family during the past year. 

I’m determined to care for my pet population for as long as they live…or I live–whatever!  By then my husband and I will probably be looking for someone to help take care of us…do you think there might be a place for us at the shelter? 

If you are interested in reading more of my animal adventures– just click on the links “Shelter Tales” or “pets” at the top of this blog…

Thanks so much to Brent Riggs for hosting Tuesday’s themed blog hop.  Just click on the link below to visit more participating blogs.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Click here to enter your link in the blog hop and view the entire list of entered links…

Published in: on March 15, 2010 at 8:56 pm  Comments (8)  
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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You are truly a pet lover and this is a great post – what a lot of pet love I see!

    I’m coming over from the MckLinky Blog Hop.

    Corinne
    India

  2. Wow! I would say you are definitely an animal lover. LOL That’s awesome! I’m coming over for the Pets Blog Hop! Stop by and visit if you get a chance. 🙂

    Tree aka Mother of Pearl
    http://www.motherofpearlitis.com
    http://www.mommiesfaves.com

  3. That’s a lot of pets. I thought we had a lot when we had to two dogs, two cats, two birds and two fish! The fish have since passed on, I’m not so good at properly maintaining the fish tank 😦

    On bird died suddenly, we think maybe old age because we don’t really know how old she was when we got her. So now we have two dogs, which one is getting up there in age, he’ll be 12 in May, two cats one of which just cost us a hefty vet bill, and one bird that I’ve had since I was 12 years old. That makes him 18 and still as onery as ever!

    • Wow, what kind of bird do you have that is18? I love birds! It’s nice to meet a fellow animal lover! If you get a minute, check out my post at my second blog http://www.many-mimi-mini-tales.blogspot.com today. It’s a post about my favorite bird, Sparky–a remarkable little fellow. Have a great day! Kathy

  4. Hello,
    We are asking for your assistance, and guidance to get the word out about an
    amazing program to make small pets available to grammar school teachers
    in the classroom.
    This program is designed to help teachers that would like small animals as
    teaching aids or mascots etc. in the classroom, or to assist teachers who
    presently have animals, in obtaining supplies needed to care for the pet.
    We realize that teachers have limited funds and our program offers grants
    of up to $150.00 for the purchase of small animals such as fish, hamsters,
    birds, as well as supplies.
    We have the money, we have the program, we have a web site, all that is
    needed is your help to get the word out. We at Pet Care Trust, feel that
    exposing children to the care and responsibility for animals is imperative
    in the development of good character and compassion in relationship to all
    living things. Too much time is spent killing and destroying as a pastime
    on the computer. The care of animals teaches children life affirming values.
    If you could pass this along or give me advice on the best the get this
    information to teachers it would be much appreciated.
    Join us on Facebook!
    Pet Care Trust.
    http://www.petsintheclassroom.org

  5. Hi, got here through the pets blog hop…WOW, you are truly an animal lover! Good for you…so many little critters need good homes. Great blog, I love your colors, layout and posts! 🙂

    Chris

  6. I love animals too but only have two cats and one dog. Even that is quite costly but they are definitely worth it to me. My dad built a cat hotel on his porch for the strays in the neighborhood to come to. It was even heated in the winter for them. He really loved the kitties, but didn’t trust vets.

    • Thanks for stopping by my blog. A cat hotel…what a neat idea!


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