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Why Adopt an Animal?-Let Me Count ...
Slideshow Of Our Rescued Dogs and CatsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Why You Should Rescue or Adopt Your New Dog or Cat
There is something special about a rescued or adopted dog or cat that you get from a shelter. Most of the time, these precious animals have been abused or neglected. Think of them as child-like. They are helpless and for the most part, fully dependent upon humans for food and water, especially if penned or chained. If the owner decides to leave the animal behind, or just be neglectful or sometimes purposefully mean or neglectful, these animals can starve or die from dehydration in a matter of days or even hours depending on heat and health conditions. Some have been beaten, kicked, and hurt in unspeakable ways. Many people are wary of adopting an animal from an animal shelter because they are afraid the dogs temperament may be mean because of previous treatment. I can tell you this: We have adopted two large dogs and two cats, and none of the four have shown anything but extreme love and protection towards us. Of course, we have showered them with love, attention, toys, great food and plenty of fresh water. In return, we get constant and unconditional love from them, constant entertainment from their individual personalities and great protection from one of them.
We got the two cats first. I had to have skin cancer surgery on my face several years ago, and I was a bit depressed because I had stitches from the corner of my eye down to the corner of my mouth and figured I would be permanently disfigured. (The surgeon did such a good job you can't even tell I had surgery.) My husband loaded me up in the car and we went to the local "no-kill" shelter called Friends for Animals, here in Granbury, Tx. At the time, we lived in an apartment and could only have cats. we went to get a kitten and came home with a kitten and an adult cat! We got in there, and while my husband was playing with the kittens, I walked over to the adult cat section. They had some absolutely beautiful cats and I didn't think I was even a "cat person"! I went into the room and sat in the chair, and after a few minutes, a black and white, older female just came up and jumped in my lap. I could tell she had had a couple of litters or three, and she just seemed to love me on sight. One of the volunteers walked by and stopped and said,"That's funny, she is usually very shy and won't have anything to do with anybody". Well, I immediately identified with this cat. She was shy, I was shy. She had had a couple of pregnancies, so had I. She had saggy boobs, so did-never mind...Anyway, I decided we had to have her. I went over to the kitten side, and before I could say anything, my husband informed me he had found the perfect kitten! Strangely enough, the kitten was black and white also! That clinched it, and we paid our $45.00 per animal to cover spaying and neutering, worming, and general check-up by the vet. Off we went home, with one cat in my lap, and the other perched in the back window of our car.
Rescueing Our Dogs
The first dog we rescued was our black Lab/Hound mix, Ziggy. Thank God he didn't get the hound bark, or I would have gone crazy by now! He has the sweetest, most laid back temperament, loves all children, and loves us, but his special person is my husband. He is definitely a "Daddy's dog" as you can tell from the photos in my slide show. I can say "Daddy's home" and that dog springs out of a dead, snoring sleep and bounds to the door to wait, tail wagging! When we went to pick him out, we had no idea what we were looking for, but my husband was really looking for an Akita, as his parents had raised and shown Grand Champion Akita's for years. I had never had one, and was a bit leery, because we have grandchildren and a great-nephew that visits, and their temperament can sometimes be a bit unpredictable. Well, Kris, my husband, was looking at all of the dogs, and he stopped at this half grown, jet black dog's run. He stood there for a minute, then he opened the door and walked in. He grabbed the dog's face, stared him straight in the eyes for a minute, then kissed him on the nose. That was all it took. "Hank" was paid for (the adoption fee mentioned above), and off we went to our new place which is where we live now, and our animals have almost 6 acres to roam, all chain-link fenced in, with lots of oak trees to lay around under. We changed his name to "Ziggy" which was fine with him, and he has been the most spoiled dog I have ever seen, ever since! He has more chew toys than a lot of kids have toys to play with. Both of our dogs get special food and treats. They get tons of exercise by running all over our property, and Ziggy loves to play fetch. He has a very favorite toy, which is a bright pink rubber bone, that was lost for awhile, and he actually got depressed. We finally walked every inch of our property and found it. He was ecstatic and so thankful! He crawls up in my husbands lap, and just stares adoringly at him. Also,right before I had to have my bypass surgery, Ziggy jumped up in my lap with the front part of his body, and laid his head right on my heart. He kept his head there for a few minutes, and then just looked up at me and stared me right in the eyes like he knew something was wrong with my heart. I already knew I had a clot, but at the time had no idea how bad. I knew he was trying to tell me something. Two months later, I was having open heart surgery. After I came home, he did the same thing again, only this time, after listening for a minute, he jumped down, and went on about his business. I swear he could tell I had been fixed! Also, while I was gone to the hospital, his muzzle had gotten a lot more white hairs. I guess he had been worried about me. He sometimes has a little separation anxiety from my husband when he is working, but seems to have gotten better since I had my surgery, which is odd.
When we got our white dog, Thor, which is a beautiful, white Great Pyrenees, the shelter had sent us a newsletter and there was a photo of this beautiful dog, only he was very underweight and his coat looked very bad. We found out that his previous owner had gotten him to use as a "working dog" (they are naturally bred to herd sheep and goats in the mountain regions in extreme conditions of cold and snow). The children and wife had turned him into more of a pet, and to punish the dog, the man had starved "Thor" and beaten him. He was severely underweight when the shelter had gotten him, and now had him on a constant feeding system. I noticed my husband kept looking at this newsletter, and finally he showed me the photo and I read the story about him. I said we had to go check him out and see what his temperament was like. He was the biggest dog I had ever seen, besides a Great Dane!
When we got there, my husband immediately went into Thor's pen, squatted down, and grabbed Thor's face, stared into his eyes for a minute and then kissed him on the nose. I knew what that meant, and told the volunteer (who knew us well by this time) to go ahead and get the paperwork ready. We paid for Thor, loaded him into our car, and off we went home. We thought he and Ziggy might have to get used to each other since they were both males, but it was an instant success! I, on the other hand, was a bit intimidated by Thor in the beginning, but now he and I are best buddies. He is definitely the "alpha dog" in his and Ziggy's relationship, but they get along wonderfully. They play tug of war with a rope half of the day, and sleep the other half. Plus, I brush both of them at least once a day to keep their coats looking nice.
So, that ends the tale (or "tail", ha!ha!) of our adoptions and rescues of four animals who might have gone unloved and unwanted for the rest of their lives, but now live in doggy and kitty luxury. They have added so much to our lives, since my two sons are grown and living their own lives now. Don't get me wrong, nothing can take the place of my children and grandchildren in my heart, but our animals sure do help with my "empty nest" syndrome, lol!
Honestly, all kidding aside, the next time you decide to add a four legged member to your family, please consider adoption and/or rescue first. You probably won't get a full blood "show" quality animal, but as far as getting a pet to care for that will show you limitless love, gratitude and devotion, you can very seldom go wrong. Just be sure to talk to the people at the shelter about the animal. Tell them your family situation, such as whether you have small children, certain allergies, are willing and able to afford vet bills, shots and heart-worm medicines, and even whether the animal is the type to need a lot of time and affection or is more aloof and independent. If you have to travel much, make sure you either have a sitter, can afford to board the animal(s) or are willing to take them with you if feasible. There are a lot of things to consider, both for yourself and for the animal when acquiring a new pet. You want to make sure you have a good fit both for you and your family, and the animal's sake. Happy pet hunting!