To Love a Stray

For as long as I can remember I have loved having animals. I guess it was safe to assume me growing up on a farm. My memories date as far back as Grandpa milking Patsy and spraying a passing by cat or two. Every spring my Grandmother would get some new chicks for her coop and watching those lil balls of yellow fluff grow up was always a joy to me. My Grandmother had her chickens and my Grandfather had his cows. Life was pretty simple yet fulfilling all at the same time. Of course there were feral cats and if you were lucky we wold catch one or two but for the most parts they were just mousers and farm cats. Growing up so close to nature my imagination was vivid. I believed that cats were our spiritual protectors guiding us to the after world and dog’s were our mere companions and protectors. You can see it in the attitudes of the cat’s and dogs around you. At least for me it was obvious. Cats always had this way of only coming around when it was absolutely needed by you or them the verdict is still out. Dogs will always be our loyal companions our true ride and dies our comfort that will always be. How some can engage in grotesque acts against mother nature I will never truly understand. There is something special about the one’s who can connect like animals. A special unspoken bond that needs nothing else but love to survive. What bad people are capable of doing to animals is only a foreshadowing in what they are hoping to do to you. Good people don’t hurt animals this I know is true.

People truly don’t understand how broken an animal can end up being in the humans they entrust their lives. One only has to remember Michael Vick and his friends who committed horrible acts upon our furry friends. Some of these dogs were so badly damaged they could never recover from the horrors they experienced. These are dogs who engaged in fights to the death with other dogs, who ripped apart kittens all so they can entertain men. Animals aren’t as dumb as we need our minds to believe. It would be far easier to betray the trust of these friends if we didn’t think they would hold it against us till the day they die. Obviously I am vegetarian because I can’t indulge in eating of animals that were left in squalor conditions and beaten for others pleasure like some meat plant employees do. We grew up as farmer’s loving our animals where only the best of conditions would do. Yes we knew there would be a day when they would find themselves on our dinner plates but until that day they were free to roam with each other with maybe a loving pet or two from us. I remember wanting to be a vet so I can learn to save them all. When I was told that that wasn’t the case that there was no way that every sickness could be healed I went a more indirect route and got a business degree instead.

What I loved the most about animals is they were like all my teddy bears brought to life. Just like my toys they couldn’t talk back to me but with animals they all had there little ways. Some liked to have attention and other’s liked to be left alone. It seemed to me they were all more than just creatures with no souls they truly could become your best friends. Unlike human interactions nothing ever needed to be said. You could tell when they were pleased with you or if they were upset for changing their food. The way they allow their attitudes to shine through is some of the funniest naturally occurring acts on Earth. Animals either like you or they don’t like they have this heightened 11th sense. I will never forget when the guy we suspected of murdering our friend walked into our kitchen and our dog just lost his mind. We played it down like it was the alcohol because he was returned to the shelter but you can see he has a clear distaste for drunks. But this time was different he dug his hind legs into the ground and showed his teeth refusing to let this guy gain any ground. Animals will lay down their lives for you without questioning it in their heads. Find another friend who would do that for you and the answers might not come as quick. There is no bigger compliment than an animal that wants to follow you around. They want to be near your energy, they know you are safe and would never do them any harm.

I think that is how we became to have so many animals because after a point you aren’t going away for the weekends anymore. The animals in your care make it impossible. When you see the sad little eyes of an animal that is abandoned, at least for me, I wanted them to get back to a place where they know there hearts would never be broken. For the animals that love us it is like being dumped from a long term relationship. They have loved you every day since the day you met and you have only grew in their eyes. There is a special place in hell for people who abandon their animals and even worse for those who could ever abuse them too. Every circumstances change. I get it. I am no martyr. Out of college I was desperate for pets and I got two cats with a spouse I thought I was going to marry. It isn’t easy for any 20 to 30 year old to keep and maintain a pet. Life changes on a dime and sometimes we do things we will always regret. On the verge of declaring bankruptcy and becoming homeless I had to surrender my cats as well. I force myself to think about them from time to time because their existence to me still matters. There is a hole in my heart that lasts because I wished I was a better person. From that day forward I vowed that I would never betray any animal in that way. Having our own home as opened so many doors for us to share our home with so many. It is the least I can do for as many as I can.

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