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! 


  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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Is That A Rabbit Hutch I See…So Glad That You Asked!

The bunny hutch in our yard...

A dear blog friend of mine, noticed the rabbit hutch in the rain picture on Saturday’s post, and she asked me about it.  Her comment prompted me to tell you a few “rabbit tales”.   Thanks for the idea Country Mom! 

While I was still working, I discovered that the woman working next-door to me loved animals almost as much as I do.  We immediately became friends.  It turned out that she raised Holland Lops for show rabbits.  A Holland Lop is a rabbit that has long floppy ears that hang down over its head instead of standing up like traditional rabbit’s  do.  I eventually asked her if she ever sold any of her rabbits that weren’t suitable for showing. 

She told me that sometimes she did have rabbits that were not suitable for rabbit shows, but that they didn’t sell them.  She said that she would be glad to give me one, however.  She even had her husband build a rabbit cage for me.  One Friday afternoon, she and her husband brought over a bunny–complete with his custom-built home!  

The following morning I woke up and hurriedly went outside to see how the rabbit had done overnight in his new home.  I gasped!  The door to the cage had been torn open and the rabbit was nowhere to be seen!  I was very distraught!  A thought crossed my mind… 

I had several dogs that I had rescued from the shelter–and one of them was a hound–who’d been very interested when we put the rabbit and cage outside.  I had an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach that my dogs may have torn open the door of that cage and gotten the rabbit.  We searched everywhere, but didn’t find any sign of that rabbit.  Many weeks later, I found a piece of rabbit’s fur in our yard.  I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that it may have belonged to the missing rabbit.

When I told my friend–and oh, how I hated to tell her–what had happened concerning the rabbit, she offered to give me a replacement bunny.  My husband built a heavy-duty rabbit hutch, and put three different locks on the doors to insure the rabbit’s safety.  He built the hutch high off the ground, and gave it a wooden floor.  Once the hutch was complete, I got the new bunny.  I named him “Honeybun” because he is the color of a honeybun.  He had a large living space, with plenty of room to move around, but it wasn’t long before he had a new neighbor.  Remember, I was volunteering at the local animal shelter… 

One summer day I arrived at the shelter,  to find a lonely rabbit housed in a kennel among all of those barking dogs!  She was white–with just a touch of gray on her head and ears.  The rabbit was quite tame, and doing remarkably well considering there were about twenty dogs that wanted to eat her for their next meal! 

I couldn’t believe the shelter had a rabbit!  It seemed like each week there was a different kind of animal being dropped off.  I took one look at what I believe was an abandoned Easter bunny, and told the shelter officer that I would adopt the rabbit.  I couldn’t just leave her in the midst of all of those barking dogs! 

We discovered that Honeybun was a boy, and the white rabbit, whom I named Sugar Pie, was a girl.  We didn’t want to raise rabbits, so my hubby put a wire divider in the middle of the rabbit hutch.  The rabbits could be near each other, just not too close!  So near, yet so far away… 

 I gave each rabbit their own litter box and they used them–until one day Honeybun just stopped using his.  Now we just put his litter in a pile in the same spot of the cage every time. He uses the bathroom in  that spot–then scatters the litter everywhere!  He’s a true male!  He also sprays urine toward Sugar Pie now and then.  Disgusting!  

Sugar Pie is “lady-like” and uses her litter box.  Her living area is much cleaner than Honeybun’s is.  She loves to eat, and has a large dewlap to show for it.  That’s the “double chin” area on rabbits–and how you can tell they are overweight!  She’s a true female!  

  Although he originally did it to help me when I was babysitting and got home late, my husband has taken over most of the rabbit care because he enjoys them.  He waters and feeds them, and cleans the cages.  He also,  takes them a piece of apple, cabbage, or carrot every day and rubs their heads.  I think they look forward to his visits.  He also cuts  a limb from the nearby pear tree for them to munch on to keep their teeth filed.   All rabbits should have it so good!

 Friday’s giveaway winner is… Kate@ Congratulations to Kate.  Your  prize will soon be on it’s way to you!  The winning number was 74, and she guessed 72.  Thanks to all who participated.  Have a great Monday!

Published in: on January 25, 2010 at 10:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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