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Animals are intelligent

Updated on May 18, 2012

When we pay attention, we become aware that animals are far more intelligent than we think.

Ever since I moved to this city, I have become sadly aware of the number of animals that have no home. This is an ugly side of city life that I find so difficult to bear. I do understand that we are living in very challenging economic times and that there are many families that cannot afford to take good care of their pets. However, having said that, if pet owners would simply get their pet fixed and give them their annual shots, the problem would largely take care of itself.

So many pets are left outside. Cats are free to roam around and breed and get into fights, while dogs are either left at home outdoors on a long leash or worse, are abandoned to run free in the streets, their collars recently removed. I saw a group of dogs that formed a pack, running around near a busy road. Luckily for one large dog, he was taken in by a loving young woman who fell in love with him and took him home. He had a huge gash on one side of his neck, and she medicated him and secured him at her house. The amount of gratitude the dog showed her and her family was overwhelming. She has named him Jack and he greeted her when she came back from work, with big licks to her face, and the very first night, made his way into the bedroom of her daughter and found his place to sleep, snoring in relief.

One night, I was traveling along a road at 45 mph and suddenly a big black dog ran out of a side street with a medium-sized dog at its side, and almost ran right into my car. I slowed immediately and set my hand on the horn and the dogs got a fright and did an about-turn back down the side street. I think I saved their lives that night, as it was dark and the road was busy. The afternoon I arrived back at the apartments after a three-week trip and 36 hours of travel, to see my Dad overseas, two dogs, recently collarless, came running up to me as I lugged my suitcases upstairs. I could hear their silent plea for help. When I went back down to see if I could assist them, they had run off in search of their people.

Peewee's Pet Adoption World

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Local Animal Shelters

I have always been an aware and loving pet owner. My pets have been a part of my family and I have never abandoned them. The same way as I regularly service my car (and keep it insured), I take my pets to the vet for regular examinations, shots and whatever other treatment they may need. I would never abandon a pet. Since I have lived in this city for the last decade, I have helped over two dozen animals in one way or another. It is so sad to see a dog running around in a confused state, trying to find its owners and looking bemused and forlorn and in a state of panic. One small dog kept following one of the maintenance men in this building, but it was time for them to go home and the man could not take the dog with him. I quickly contacted one of two shelters that I know of in this city, and they agreed to take the dog if I could get there within half an hour. I did. When I arrived at Peewee's Pet Adoption World & Sanctuary, I was saddened to see dogs in every available space on their property, with a makeshift shelter in various fenced off areas. The dog that I delivered seemed somewhat relieved to be secured and to be with other dogs. The animals know they will be fed and taken care of for the rest of their lives, as it is a no-kill shelter. The shelters here are overfilled and struggling.

Gulf Coast Humane Society Mayday

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Gulf Coast Humane Society

There is a bigger shelter here too – the Gulf Coast Humane Society. The animals are housed inside the main building. I stopped in there the other day and saw the shelter filled to critical capacity with dogs and cats. These animals are the luckier ones as they are taken care of indoors and receive good medical attention, but each animal would love a family of their own. I discovered much to my dismay, that there is a surplus of black dogs and cats. These animals are not picked to belong to a family. I have tried to understand this phenomenon and simply cannot. This shelter does a good job of showcasing individual animals on Facebook, and I have always been willing to share their pictures on my wall in the hope that someone will fall in love with them and go by to adopt one.

The Cattery Cat Shelter

The Cattery offers an alternative to traditional animal shelters in providing a no-kill, cage-free haven for homeless, abused, or abandoned cats.
The Cattery offers an alternative to traditional animal shelters in providing a no-kill, cage-free haven for homeless, abused, or abandoned cats. | Source

The Cattery Cat Shelter

The Cattery Cat Shelter is also a wonderful facility in this city. The cats that are taken in there are lavished with love and attention and many find homes. It breaks my heart that there are so many animals that need help in this city. In my apartment complex, there are a number of cats that have no home. They are in need of shots and food and desperately need to be fixed. Mamacita has recently had a litter of three adorable kittens and one of the young females that I call Precious, has been impregnated. The tomcats all fight with one another for dominance, and Peaches, a young white cat with peach-colored markings, is looking terribly thin and beaten up. He no longer vocalizes when he sees me, but approaches silently and eats a lot but is skinny. He needs to be taken to a vet. I am not in a financial position to help very much at this point, as I have been seeking employment for a long while and I am waiting for paperwork for a job I have accepted in Canada. It breaks my heart to see animals in this condition. They all have their own very distinct personality and are simply delighted and grateful to get attention, and food, from me and some of the other residents here.

Sleepy Oscar

Source

Mr. Hobbes

Mr. Hobbes happy and content with his owner - me!
Mr. Hobbes happy and content with his owner - me! | Source

Cat stories...

Oscar is a most handsome young tom. He has gray and black markings and a big, round “O” on each flank. He has a broad head and intelligent green eyes and is very willing to please me. He will shadow me as I stride through the garage area when I take food to some of these cats. He follows and marks territory everywhere I stop. He will often lag behind a little, then do a hop, skip and jump and bounce ahead, with his tail in a crescent shape, as he enjoys his “stalking” of me. It’s playful and intelligent. He makes me laugh and loves when I respond verbally. He often comes to my door for a treat and has learned not to step over the threshold as the inside is the territory of my own cat, Mr. Hobbes. When I allow Mr. Hobbes outside to patrol, they will often touch noses, and Oscar accepts that Mr. Hobbes is the boss! Oscar always looks curiously to see what treat I have for him when I go to feed him. He often finds a place outside my apartment door, to crawl under a bush and sleep and keep an eye on my comings and goings. Mr. Hobbes was previously abandoned by tenants who left these apartments. When I became aware of him, he was thin and had mites and worms. He was sweet and appealed to me and I took him in. The first night he realized that he had a home; he hopped onto the bed, curled up between my husband and me and breathed a huge sigh of relief with gratitude rising up from him in a most palpable form. I swear that a tear emerged from his eye as he sank into blissful sleep between us. It was the first and only time he ever did that. Thereafter, he was happy to sleep behind my husband when we worked at our computers, and the day before my husband had his fatal heart attack, Mr. Hobbes lay in his lap and kneaded for about two hours when I was at college and my husband, exhausted, was relaxing in his recliner and watching TV. Mr. Hobbes is not a lap cat, but somehow, he knew.

Mamacita - feral cat - closely guards her three little kittens
Mamacita - feral cat - closely guards her three little kittens | Source

Mamacita and her three little kittens

Mamacita will often come upstairs if I haven’t gone down early enough, and she has a loud voice and lets me know she is hungry. I have started leaving a small bowl of food downstairs near her hideout and her three kittens are less and less afraid of me and more attracted to the delicious smell emanating from the bowl. Mama tolerates me as long as I don’t interfere too much or for too long. Yesterday, she swiped my hand with her paw and did manage to draw blood. She craves affection yet is torn between receiving affection and protecting her precious brood. About two years ago, a litter of her kittens, the cutest black and white kittens, was removed from her by management and put in a box in the cold lobby awaiting animal control. I had arrived home from college to discover them in the box at the close of the work day. Clearly animal control would not be arriving that evening and the kittens would be left in the box in the cold air overnight. I looked in to see their anxious little faces looking up at me, their eyes big and round and all of them huddled together in the corner. I sprang into action and loaded them into my car and took them to the nearest vet who agreed to take them in and find them homes. Mama cat looked for her kittens for two weeks and it broke my heart. She was too wild for me to catch and cage and take to a vet for help and I don’t have the resources to do it now either. She is an excellent Mama and my heart goes out to her – I do what I can!

I keep these animals in my prayers and I know that there are other residents here that also feed and care for some of these cats. If only we could all get together and strategize a way to trap and fix these lovely animals and have them receive their shots, then the cat situation would stabilize. Cats do keep the rodent population at bay and they enrich our lives by their wonderful personalities and cat-antics. The secret lives of cats are wonderful and interesting and my life has been greatly enriched by them over the years. I wish more people would become aware and take some action to help.

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    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi Zsobig: I appreciate your comments very much. I only wish that what you say comes true and that all humans wake up to the fact that animals are such a blessing. Thank you for your voting and sharing and taking the time to comment. :))))

    • zsobig profile image

      Sophie 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Nice and informative hub about one of my favourite (and I guess one of the most important) topics: animals.

      From this article I can see that you really love and care for pets and all I could wish is to keep up the good work!

      Hopefully sooner or later everyone will feel the same way like we do.

      Thanks for sharing, voted up + interesting!

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi Rcrumple: Thank you so much for your kind comments. :) The credit I get is the affection and appreciation from the animals, which is honestly a complete reward in itself. I do pray that there are others who will give them love, affection and food when I leave. These animals have seriously given me so much in return and I am grateful for them. I greatly appreciate your comments. :)

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 5 years ago from Kentucky

      Suelynn -

      You show great compassion for pets. I wish more felt the way you did. Your efforts are those of a pet hero. It's a shame you don't get the credit you deserve. Great Job and Great Hub!

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi Rajan Jolly: So nice to "see" you again and thanks so much for visiting this hub. I greatly appreciate your wonderful comments and would LOVE to see your fish waiting to be fed. Possible idea for a video on hub pages? :) You are so right in what you say. There is so much joy from taking care of a pet and the rewards are so satisfying. What kind of dog do you have? The love birds sound lovely! :) Thank you so much for your votes and for sharing. I look forward to visiting your hubs again when my feet touch the ground up north and I settle down.

      Hi Mary615: Thanks so much for saying. I sure do look forward to reading your story about Mister. I have no doubt that rescues are profoundly grateful for being given a chance. My cat, Mr. Hobbes is forever grateful - he's a pretty intelligent kitty! I am very grateful for your votes and for sharing. I sure do look forward to settling back down once my move is complete - I have been busy with packing and etc. but still don't know my timeline. It has been swelteringly hot here and I know I will be in a bit of a state of shock at the climate change when I get to Manitoba!!! I have so many hubs to visit and look forward to reading yours once I am settled.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      What a great Hub to make more people aware. I rescued a Maltese from a shelter about 3 years ago. He had been abandoned. I wrote a Hub about him. His name is Mister.

      I voted this UP and will share.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      What an awesome and beautiful post, Sue! Animals are truly loving without expecting anything in return except love. It is a pity a lot many are left uncared for. These shelters and animal care centers are welcome but they too have their limitations. I hope more people come forward to adopt the hapless ones.

      Your cats are wonderful and so are the pictures. I have a dog, a pair of love birds and some fish as pets and I know it is so mentally satisfying to see and interact with them. My fish know when it's feed time so the moment I go near their tank, they start clustering together clamoring for their feed. It is an awesome feeling.

      Voted up and beautiful. Sharing it.

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      KDuBarry03: Your post touched my heart too! It is a very hard thing to think about and a common problem in most cities, I am sure. Thank you so much for your very kind words and your vote! You really made my day.

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 5 years ago

      It is very sad to see so many animal shelters struggling with keeping the animals safe and healthy. I just got back from a friends house in Northern New Jersey and she told me her dog was going to be put down if no one adopted her. It's really sad to say that many animal shelters, even in New Jersey, are filled to their limits with animals that need help and love. I am in the same boat with you, Suelynn, where I wish I was in a financial position to help as many animals. THank you for sharing this hub! It really touched my heart, big time. Voted up!

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Oh MelChi... aren't you glad we met? There's nothing like synchronicity! One of the Hubbers wrote an excellent article about TNR programs... Trap, Neuter and Release (I've been so busy reading, writing and commenting that I am trying to remember who it is... Drat!) Without overpopulation, the problem would be halved at least. There are no coincidences. Thank you for such a loving response and I think it's wonderful that you are going to help. BRAVO. xx

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Suelynn your hub touched my heart, and the timing of reading this couldn't have been better. I am a huge animal lover and have always grown up with cats and dogs - my world isn't complete without them. I recently decided to try help out at a local animal shelter for a few days a month. I haven't gone yet - and I think I've been putting it off for fear of seeing neglected/hurt animals and becoming too attached to them. However, I received a sign the other day when driving and talking about going to the animal shelter - at that very moment, a van drove next to our car that had a logo on the side - it was an animal rescue van! Reading your hub so soon after this, is just another sign that this is what I should be doing. I only wish more people would do something to help, and that people who can't afford to look after their pets would give them to shelters / loving homes that can. Animals are no less than humans, they are intelligent and do have feelings, and they deserve all the love we can give them. Thanks for this reminder :)

    • Suelynn profile image
      Author

      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Dear Sierra, thank you for your wonderful remarks and taking the time to pop in and read! There are some of us who really understand the animal world and I do hope that in reading, more people get it! Woohooooo!

    • profile image

      Sierra 5 years ago

      What a beautiful, well written article about animal intelligence. They ARE so much more than humans tend to think. We seem to compare them to our intelligence as if that is the measuring stick. NOT!! They are intelligent, every single one of them, in their own way. Thanks for the article!

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Ausemade, I couldn't agree more. I think that animals remember a lot more than we give them credit for... I think they imprint greatly on their human family. Did you ever see the movie... way back when... called "The Incredible Journey" made in 1963... three animals belonging to a family, are placed in the care of a friend while the family goes abroad. The animals set off on a 250 mile trek to get back home! I think I cried my eyes out in that movie - and it left its mark on me ever since!!! Thanks for the comment, Ausemade! :)

    • Ausemade profile image

      Ausemade 5 years ago from Australia

      Yes, animals are intelligent and have their own individual personalities. It is sad that some people who can no longer look after their pets for whatever reason, just dump them or turn them out onto the street. It is a sad indictment on some people that their excuse is if they turn it in to the animal shelter, it will just get put down... I often wonder what a pet remembers after they have been dumped...

    • clairemy profile image

      Claire 5 years ago

      Absolutley,the more the merrier.

    • Suelynn profile image
      Author

      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      I couldn't have said it better myself, clairemy! The more of us who speak up, the louder the message for those that cannot speak at all. ?

    • clairemy profile image

      Claire 5 years ago

      Yes, times are hard, that pets are the ones that lose out and are abandoned to the streets is so sad. They are the silent minority and need us to do right by them. I love all animals and like you believe not only that they are intelligent, but have their own separate personalities.