Thursday, September 16, 2010

Our Pet "Family"

Remember The Time ...30 Days of Memories...Mayby More - Day 12




 Our Pet "Family"
As I drove to work this morning, I happened to notice one of my neighbors sweeping off her driveway, which is not an unusual activity. Although what first caught my interest was the sight of her tiny puppy running back and forth after the broom, yipping loudly and trying valiantly to “catch” the broom without being swept away with each stroke.
This brought a smile to my face and conjured up images of the various ways our own pet “family” has been welcomed into our family. Over the years we’ve had several special pets, but the three we have now have somehow “taken control” of our home. The first little rascal that scampered into our hearts was a tiny six week old puppy that weighed only two and a half pounds. My daughter Amber had decided she really needed a dog, so she spent hours researching online to find exactly the right breed. She came across a web site on a Japanese breed called Shiba Inu. We’d never heard of the breed, but found it had been introduced into the U.S. about ten years before. We searched pet stores and shelters trying to find this breed, and after we’d almost given up, we found a breeder almost right down the street from us. So Micah came into our family. He was so tiny we were afraid to let him outside by himself for fear an owl or hawk would swoop down and devour him. The girls had such fun taking pictures of him sitting in different containers that would show off just how tiny he was. One of my favorites is this pic of him in an IBC root beer carton!
Micah was, and still is at age five, a spitfire of energy. He races around the living room as if it is an obstacle course. He is extremely fast, intelligent, and quite this mischief maker. Shortly after his third birthday, in which Amber made us take him to a doggie diner for doggie cake and ice cream, we met our next addition to the family.
In early July, three years ago, my husband Alex and I were preparing for a trip to Italy. We had planned to stop by Amber’s house the afternoon before we left, but were inadvertently delayed when we walked out in the front yard and found this little puppy nibbling on toadstools under the pine trees in our front yard. My heart just flooded with pity for this little pup, so we invited her in for some food and water. She was a matted, dusty mess, but she seemed so happy to be in a safe environment. I called Amber and she and Micah rushed over to inspect this new little vagabond. We decided our first move should be to clean her up. She had no identification, no collar, and she looked quite atrocious, but after her bath we all noticed how similar she looked to Micah. I couldn’t believe another Shiba had just wandered into our yard.
Amber’s first thought was that we needed a name that would go with Micah’s, so she began her internet search for baby names and came across “Maxie”. We thought it suited her well. Next she looked up the Shiba Inu site and read about the different types of Shiba’s. Micah is registered with papers and is a beautiful ,reddish brown with a white chest. Maxie on the other hand is mostly all white with only a little reddish brown on her back and up to her ears. Amber’s research found that the reddish shiba’s and the red and black shiba’s are considered the most valuable for show dogs (not our intention at all), but the white ones are considered rejects. She also has an underbite which gives the appearance of a cute, crooked smile.
We had a strange feeling that our new little girl had been “put out” by the breeder and left to fend for herself or die. Yet, even with her hard start in life, Maxie has a very sweet, loving personality and immediately ingratiated herself with the family.
As I said earlier, this happened the day before Alex and I left for Italy, so Amber took Maxie home with her. One early morning, as we were headed for Venice, Amber called to let us know of her recent adventure with the two dogs. She always took Micah to Petsmart and let him ride in the basket and “pick out” his treats, so she decided to take both dogs. She arrived at Petsmart, put Micah in the basket, and then put Maxie in the front, small section of the basket next to her. She had almost reached the door when Maxie decided to go on a short adventure of her own. She jumped out of the basket and ran into the Sam’s Club next door to Petsmart. Amber panicked and told Micah to stay. She left Micah and her purse outside of Sam’s Club and ran all through the store trying to catch Maxie. Outside Micah stayed in the cart, howling at the top of his lungs, and gathering quite a crowd around him. Finally, Maxie tired out, sat down, and waited patiently for Amber to pick her up and carry her back out to the basket. Needless to say, Petsmart was cancelled. Alex and I had a good time laughing over the picture this created, but Amber didn’t find it the least bit funny. Now we had two dogs that were very adept at running obstacle courses through the house at top speed, and Maxie found that if she jumped up on the couch and ran along the back of it, she could jump in front of Micah and beat him around the room. We did take Maxie to the vet as soon as we returned from Italy, and our vet said it appeared she’d been on the streets for several months, and was approximately 4 months old.
The next summer, Alex and I traveled to Michigan to visit our daughter Joanne and grandson Jake. We spent two wonderful weeks with them, and then returned to find a stray cat family had taken up residence in our backyard. There was a mother cat and four young kittens sprawled out under the trees, resting or playing with each other. This lasted until Amber came over and brought the dogs. As soon as they went out in the backyard the cat family vanished under the fence. About a week later, Alex came home from his walk and told me to hurry and get a towel because there was a little kitten right in the middle of the road. I was a little apprehensive about a feral kitten, but we quietly approached it and it didn’t move at all. I gently picked it up with the towel, and we took it inside, placed her in a small basket and gave her a little watered down milk. She didn’t move out of the basket for several days, but she would sneak over to her food and water when she thought we weren’t looking. The vet said she was a very healthy seven or eight week old kitten.
Once again Amber wanted to pick an “M” name for this new addition to our family as well. We decided on Maisy, but more often than not I just call her KitKat. It took many months to get her to be a “lap” cat. I had to force her to sit with me, but after a bit, she would climb up in my lap on her own and purr loudly. Amber says we have trained her to think she is a dog now because she acts just like the two dogs, she sits up like a little prairie dog and begs for what she wants. Often times when we get in from work, our animal “family” all want to sit with us on the couch, but I have a sneaking suspicion Maxie would like us to just move off and let her have the couch all to herself.
Animals can add a special touch to your day. I know when I come after a hard days labor, Micah and Maxie will be waiting with their toys in their mouths, bodies wiggling, ready to greet me with unconditional love. The cat on the other hand waits for me to come to her and then demands that I give her at least five to ten minutes of my time before I can even think about relaxing for a bit myself.
I’ve told Alex that it seems a little dangerous to plan big vacations anymore because we never know what might be waiting on our doorstep for us the next time we travel!
We’re content with our three pets. They are often very demanding because we spoil them a lot, but they have given us a lot of stress relief and love in return.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend… it is Friday tomorrow!!

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  1. Susan,
    I can see your love and gentleness shine through for all God's creatures in this article. Good stuff! Enjoy your weekend. :)

  2. Hi Susan,
    I left a comment for you yesterday but I can see that it didn't go through.

    I said that I could see your love and kindness for all of God's creatures. Enjoy your weekend. :)

  3. Thanks Dolores, I appreciate your comment! I've decided this weekend is a do-nothing, go-nowhere weekend. I think I really need it! You have a great one, too.