Discussion Post: Save a Heart! Pets and Animal Rescue

Posted October 9, 2013 by Kara in Imaginative Discussions, Kara, Lyn / 27 Comments

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Discussion Time!
I am sure that a majority of our readers have witnessed Kara and I brag about our furry little babies. Kara has a lovely dog, and I have a half-witted cat.  One thing Kara and I agree upon is our love for animals and the status of our pets.  This week, we’re discussing our pets, and touch on the importance of animal rescue!

 

Sir Clayton Raye (Lyn)
 
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In 2003, I was working as a veterinarian assistant at an animal hospital. During this time, it would be my last major year of battling depression and crippling anxiety.  I was a mere 22 years of age, and I was still struggling with my own self identity.  

I still lived in my hometown during this time period – 8 miles outside of a small north Texas town.  It was country in every way possible – lovely view, secluded areas and roads of meth dealers and poverty-strickened people.  My grandfather was still alive, so my entire family still ate Sunday dinner at his house after church (I was also drifting away from my religious identity during this period as well).  I was driving over to his house, which was a half a mile away from my own home, but the road that connected my house with his house on our property was still not repaired, so we had to take one of the roads inside of another neighborhood to get there.

I can still recall passing the trailer house to this day – the one where I spotted a dog with a toy that looked like a kitten.  I peered back in the rearview mirror, and a horrible realization hit me – it WAS a kitten! My sister told me I was wrong, but I turned the car around anyways, and ran out.  The dog instantly dropped his living toy and hauled it back to the trailer house.  I fully expected the kitten to take off as well.  Instead, covered in slobber, infected with Gods-know-what, he ran up to me and started to cry and purr.  I couldn’t just leave him, so I picked him up and took him back home and stuck him in a cat carrier with food, water, a small litter box and a towel.  I was still needed to cook and help out with lunch.

When we returned after eating, we found that the kitten had banged his nose into the carrier until it was bleeding.  I took him out and washed him up, telling my mother that I would find him a home (we already had 3 other cats by that point).

I took him to work the following day, and the vet checked him over. Everything on him was infected. His eyes were crusted over, he had a head tilt, his nose was green, and he didn’t even weigh a pound at 8 weeks old (estimation).  My vet tried to tell me to just put him down.  I’ll admit, he looked bad.  I said I wanted to try to save him, since he was so friendly and was constantly purring.  We gave him shots, medication and a lot of food.  On his medication, his name was “Not Staying.”

I’ll admit that we knew there was something off about him.  He never showed any sign of pain, he was ALWAYS purring, and he walked around with his head tilted to the side constantly.  I also noted that his right eye was showing that he had microphthalmia – one eye is smaller than the other. 

After a few months, the kitten was showing some signs of some major sinus issues and some mental retardation from his encounter with the dog. I don’t think I ever decided to not give him away, I just kept him and treated him. My mother and my sister became attached to the little guy, and we all nursed him back to health.

Clayton (full name Sir Clayton Raye) gained his first name from the 2003 series Tarzan – a failed series on the old WB. I thought the name was beautiful, and I named my new kitten after the main bad guy.  

Clayton just turned 10 years old this month. Over this time, he has been diagnosed with an incurable sinus disease and feline herpes. He was run over and his back leg was broken when my mother let him outside. He is mostly deaf and his eyesight is poor.  He always sneezes and he lacks the intelligence and grace of other cats. He is also the best cat ever. Clayton knows when I am sick or upset and always tries to comfort me. He waits for me in the window until I get home. He is always bored. He loves my pants, laser pointers, shoestrings and yogurt. I have to stomp on the floor to get his attention.

I love this cat, and rescuing him and keeping him as my pet has made my life wonderful.

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Shiloh Anne Powell
 


My story is not as interesting or as heartbreaking as Lyn’s was. I wanted a dog and I had discovered the website Petfinder a while back. I’d been browsing through the dogs a couple of times, figuring that when the time was right, I would see one that I just had to have. 

I remember being at my Grandma’ house, visiting, and we were looking at dogs on the website. I came across Shiloh’s picture, and somehow she just spoke to me. I wish there was another way to explain it to make you understand, but it was just one of those things that happen. I knew it was meant to be. I called the shelter (it was an hour and a half away!) and asked them if they still had her. The lady said yes, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it and get there during hours they were still open. She offered to keep the place open for me if I could come that day. So I did. I called Dan and told him what I was doing (he was not enthusiastic but he knew I wanted a dog–he wanted a much smaller dog and I have always been a fan of big dogs), and I got in the car and went. 

When I got there, they had me wait in the front room while they went into the back to bring her to me. When she came out, she was emaciated and unhealthy looking but just as cute as her photo. She took no interest in me whatsoever, and I had always been told that if a dog ignores you to not bring it home! But I ignored those things I had been told and asked the lady if I could adopt her anyway. I filled out the paperwork and she was mine. Fate has a way of intervening because while I was in the building filling out paperwork to take her home, another woman called and left a message wanting to adopt her. I even remember saying to the volunteer,”Not gonna happen, lady! She’s mine!” They said goodbye to her, we got in the car and left. 

I could have changed her name but I didn’t. It didn’t feel right. She knew it already, and even though I didn’t like it, it belonged to her. 

She fell asleep in the car on the way home, and slept the entire way (now she hates car rides and whines and pants until she causes herself to pass out). That dog was exhausted. She knew she was going home. We got back to the apartment and I just lost it. The dog and I collapsed in each other’s arms on the floor and I started crying. All the emotions that I had been holding in for so long just frothed over and I couldn’t keep them back anymore. My grandma had cancer, I had just moved away from Florida back to Michigan (I hated it), my grandpa was sick with Dementia, and I was severely depressed. There is a part of me that truly believes I would not be here on Earth right now if it were not for Shiloh coming into my life when she did. She saved me and gave me something to be happy about again. 

She has been with Dan and I since June 20th of 2006. We also celebrate this day as her birthday since we don’t know her actual birthday, and the shelter estimated her age at about one year when we adopted her. 

I live for this dog. She’s the earth and I am just a satellite. She’s the center of my universe, and I don’t know what my life would be without her in it. Some days it is hard to picture the days before I had her in my life. I lived 26 years without her but the days that mean the most are the ones she was in. I don’t think I will ever love another animal like I love her ever again. I might have other pets, but there is always that one that changes you for the better. The thought of living someday without her just leaves me with a pain in my chest and shortness of breath. I don’t even want to think about it. She’s not just a dog to me. She is the kid I will never have. The one I do everything for, and I spoil the shit out of her. 

This is why I get so angry when I see people mistreat animals or dump them at shelters. Do not bring a pet into your life if you don’t intend to give them everything you have. It is a LONG commitment for the duration of their lives. Don’t bring a dog into your life if you are not prepared to commit 15 years of spending, love, and responsibility. Anything else is just irresponsible and you deserve to get SHIT on if you treat an animal like anything less than royalty. Your pet has no one but you to keep them going. You have a whole world outside of that animal, but that animal only has YOU.

“Saving one animal won’t change the world, but it will change the world for that one animal.” –Author Unknown


Kara: I never set out to make a preachy post, and I think I have accomplished that, but the point I want to get across is that, if you at all possibly can, PLEASE adopt from a shelter. If you saw the statistics, if you knew how many loving, sweet animals are put down in shelters daily, you would be shocked. You can find almost ANY breed you want in a shelter if you are willing to drive a little bit to adopt. There are Great Danes, Newfoundlands, Maine Coons, Persians, etc…whatever you want, you can find it in a shelter. You can even find BIRDS in a shelter. There are rescue groups as well. So please think about that when you choose to go to a breeder or a pet store. For every animal you purchase when you could be adopting, think of the animal that dies. This part is preachy, and I am sorry about that, but I need to get the reality out there. I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time now. And I am glad it is off my chest. Adopt and SAVE A LIFE. 


Lyn: Kara summed it up nicely – please adopt. I found a cat through a rescue group, and he was the best cat ever. You can find rabbits, snakes, horses, lizards – ANY ANIMAL – through a shelter or a rescue group. 
As a former vet assistant, I also want to encourage people to spay and neuter pets, and bring awareness to pet insurance. Check with your own insurance companies as well to see if they provide it – most places are starting to pick up on the trend. 


What pets do you own? I know a LOT of you readers have lovely little animals! Share them below!

 

 

27 responses to “Discussion Post: Save a Heart! Pets and Animal Rescue

  1. Great post you guys!! I am an animal lover as well, although I’m allergic to cats to we don’t have any, but I have two dogs. I have a mini dachshund named Ginger, which we did buy from a breeder, but a couple of years later we rescued another mini dachshund/mix and his name is Otis. He is the biggest dork on the planet, we have tried and tried to get him socialized with other dogs, but something in his babyhood must have really messed him up, because he’s terrified of dogs he doesn’t know. He’ll bark his head off. My husband always says he turns into a werewolf when he sees other dogs. But he loves our family and he’s especially devoted to me, I can’t imagine life without either dog! And Ginger is the best dog ever. She’s the opposite of Otis and LOVES dogs, cats, people, anything (except rats: she wants to kill rats).

    Shiloh and Clayton are adorable and I know your post will really make people consider helping all those animals out there who may never get a home:)

    • Thank you for sharing your pet stories! It always makes me so happy to hear about others little furry family.

      That you! He’s my baby – I love him!

    • Many shelter dogs have personality issues tied to whatever it was that happened to them in their previous life. It can be trained out of them though with enough work. Shiloh destroyed everything in sight the first year I had her and now I trust her when she is alone. she’s still terrified of beeping though.

      Thanks for sharing your pet story.

  2. Awesome post ladies! My family and I always rescue/adopt! So many people think bad things about animals in shelters/rescues like they’re bad pets and that’s why they’re there, etc. Makes me SO angry. ):< We have an animal over population problem, and yet everyone wants puppies, and kittens from the malls…then the puppies and kittens get bigger, and all of a sudden they’re not as cute anymore and people think they can just dump them on the road. My whole senior project was on animal over population and volunteering at a no kill shelter, and it is absolutely disgusting how many times people would just tie there dogs to the shelter, or drop there cat off in the area and just LEAVE them there! Ugh…I could go on a rampage for days. Anyways awesome post ladies, everyone should adopt & spay/neuter their pets!

    Also your pets are beautiful, they both look very happy and spoiled (:

    • I am shocked how shelter animals get such a bad rap. I use to use in the veterinarian field, and I was shocked how many people would drop off animals at the doorstep. One time, a man brought in a cat with a broken leg and wanted it fixed for free. When the clinic would not do it, he left the cat on the floor and walked out. The cat’s leg was fixed (for free) and one of the vets adopted the cat.

      Working with animals made me very sinister towards people.

    • You’re right, Haley. There are many reasons animals are dumped in shelters, and I am the type of person that doesn’t think an animal CAN be bad. First of all, if an animal is poorly behaved the shelter will call them unadoptable and put them down. 🙁 So anyone that things that doesn’t have the facts.

      Agreeing with the spaying/neutering and thank you for volunteering!

  3. Clayton is a fluffy feline badass. WOW. All five of my cats (technically four since Bandit has un-adopted us, but my parents will continue to tell me five because they do not understand feline un-adoption) have been generally healthy and for him to make it to 10 years old with all those health problems is amazing. Kara, I knew you were really close to Shiloh (who remains one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet), but I had no idea she meant that much to you. That’s… There really aren’t words for it.

    Two of our cats were rescues: Jinx and Shadow (the one I’m always gushing about on Twitter because she is the softest little black kitty EVER). My mom and brother went to the pet store to get him another hamster because his had just died. At the same time, a woman was in the store with Jinx, then nameless and no more than four weeks old she’d found near his dead mother and dead siblings. As Mom says, “sucker” must have been written across her forehead because the woman made a beeline for her and held out a tiny, yowling Jinx to her.

    That’s how Dad’s brain nearly imploded because his wife and son left to get a hamster and came back with a kitten that wouldn’t shut up for a week. He was so small we could fit him in the palm of our hands and we had to give him milk with a little eye-dropper. We didn’t expect him to live because he was so young, but live he most certainly did.

    Jinx was a vicious hunter when he was younger and hasn’t gotten along with any of the cats that came after him, though he’s BFFs with our oldest cat Tiger. Now he’s a mellow old cat who spends most of his time lounging on Mom’s car, looking at you like he wants you to pet him, and drooling on those who let him get away with it.

    Now Shadow. Brad wanted a black cat to call Shadow and when I got my wisdom teeth out in August 2010, I said I wanted a get-well cat. Labor Day weekend, he and his girlfriend went to a shelter where there were two black cats. One was mean and the other was just terrified. They brought the latter home and christened her Shadow, though we more often call her Dodo Bird or just Dodo. Best. Get-well gift. Ever.

    For the first month, she hid under the couch when I got home from school and I had to chase her out. That was the start of her adopting me as her mom. It’s also the starting point of her clinging to me so much that she threw herself at my bedroom door when I went on a trip to Las Vegas and accidentally left my alarm set to go off in the mornings.

    Since the Honors program at my school has a close relationship with the local humane society, I got to volunteer there and see what it’s like. After that, there’s no way any future pets I get will come from anywhere other than an animal shelter or humane society–and there WILL be future pets. I joked once that I wanted a Siberian husky because they’re so cute and Mom said she and Dad would think about it–if I went to live at home again after college, which I’m desperately hoping I don’t have to.

    • I cannot tell you how much I love the story about Jinx! My mother went to Walmart one time for groceries, and the people were trying to keep out a cat from going inside the store (we figured she was dumped). My mother picked her up, put her in the car, and brought her home. We named her “Kitty” (my mother’s doing) and she was a wonderful pet.

      I had to work at a humane society for my classes when I was earning my certification, and it was so horrible and heartbreaking. More people need to see the needs of the shelter life. They need to see how the pets in there need to be saved and given good homes.

      Thank you for telling me about your cats – I’m going to watch your feed for cat pictures!!

  4. Aw, you guys, you have no idea how much I love this post. I may be tearing up right now. The stories of how you guys found your furry soul mates are just so amazing and heartwarming. Lyn, I love that you never gave up on your cute, struggling kitty! And Kara, I couldn’t change Ginger’s name either. I never would have considered naming my dog that, but once I met her, it just WAS her name. She already had it and knew it and it was her.

    I’ve wanted a dog my whole life, but I grew up with a mother who did not like animals. Once I was on my own, I decided to adopt a pet. I had a writing teacher at the time who has a rescue organization, and I agreed to foster a pet from her with an eye out for adoption.

    My writing teacher’s associate had just recently gone to one of the Los Angeles pounds (and one of the ones in this city that is NOTORIOUS for its horribly high pet euthanasia rate) to pick up some paperwork. While she was in the lobby, she saw a couple come in with Ginger on a leash to drop her off. This awesome woman was all, “HEEEEELLL NO” and didn’t even let the couple sign Ginger into the pound. She just took her right then and there, even though she was fostering like six other dogs.

    A couple days later, Ginger moved into my house, and I had never owned a dog before and was totally out of my element. But since Ginger is the best dog ever and we completely adore each other (aka she worships the ground I walk on and I love her more than I can even express), things worked out pretty nicely. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your stories, and thanks even more for getting the message out about people adopting their pets, because it saves lives. Ginger wouldn’t be here today if that pet rescuer hadn’t gotten her out of the pound, and she could only do that because I was on the other end, ready to give her a home. <3333

    • Ginger is an adorable dog and I am so glad you were able to get to her in time. What a bunch of dickholes to drop off a dog at the pound like that. Shelter pets have a way of seeming more thankful than other animals. It’s as if they know you rescued them.

  5. Great post Ladies, I just love watching your Twitter/FB with your pets.

    There’s two part to my pets story, the first is about Norton (Brittney Spaniel) now he wasn’t mine, he was my dad’s. My dad got him from a breeder and Norton was the runt of the litter, Norton was probably a pup(2-3) when my parents got together and married. I have many fond memory of Norton, whether it was just being with him or him being around me and dad.

    Sometimes in the 1st grade, Norton was suffering arthritis and was going blind by then my dad knew that it was time to put him to sleep peacefully. While being a kid I didn’t understand that but a lot fo my elementray school writing was around norton. He will always have a place in my heart. He was 16 years old and some months plus days. He lived well beyond the life expectancy of a Brittney Spainel.

    So now as a family we didn’t get another pet until a few years later and this time we got a cat, although I orginially wanted a dog but I think with the loss of Norton mom and dad didn’t think they wanted another dog as a pet. Then I turn around saying I want a cat (Due note I was 8-9) The day I walked into the animal shelter to find a cat will alway be fresh in my memory, sure I look around at all the cats/kittens in cages.

    The shelter had one cage where there were at least 7-8 kittens from one litter (I believe) and Buddy who was named Benjamin was the first to come to the open cage, I cuddle him up and my shirt just so happen to be a fuzzy material and he gripped for dear life to me. I knew that was he who wanted me and I wanted him at first sight. I never even looked at other cats because I found my match.

    We chose to have him declawed on all four due to my medical issues/concerns. For a couple years we called him T.J (ThunderJam [I got the name from a disney movie I just watched]} then somehow some way we began to call him BUDDY and he responses to that much quicker than T.J. So offically/nonoffically the vet office will put T.J (aka Buddy) when it times for updates on shots.

    Buddy is a bed-hogger and I guess I can’t blame him he’s 15 lbs! He loves to communicate with us by his meowing, trust me he does talk to us! He love his walks (with a harness and with Daddy) but mainly he love outside time and eating grass which is not good for him half the time. He love getting treats and turkey which we have to cut up for him and then brushing and play time is always important. But sometime sleeping/napping is more important than playing.

    I should mention, Buddy does not like other cats . . . he will go the extra mile to tell that trespasser to stay off his yard even if he doesn’t have claws. He’ll used his whole body langugae that usually scared off first-timers but the repeated timers not so much.

    In the future after I’ve settled down I would want a cat and a dog, but mainly for a dog I would like a brittney and for a cat (I have no idea)

    I also want to get an ring or a necklace that will have both Norton and Buddy on it that I will wear once Buddy . . . you know. I’ve found some ideas but I don’t think too much about it right now, another thing is you know those family birthstones idea? Well I would like to do that have mine, mom, dad, buddy and norton in one. They are my family members before I have my own members then that will require another ring.

    I think all pets are rescued pets from the shelters whether they’re old or young, in Wisconsin we had a case about animal crueality and being stuck in cages that the animals were afraid of anything outside the cage. Luckily we were able to end that

    • That is such a sweet story – I really hope you have some pictures!
      I am not big on dogs, but I did have a Border Collie that I LOVED LOVED LOVED. If I ever own another dog, it will be a Collie.

    • Hey Lyn!
      Yes I do have photos, in fact my cat is the background/header of my Twitter handle @KatN21, I’ve shared a pic of Norton either on FB on my personal account or I’ve tweet it once. Norton was really my dad’s dog so I have all the pictures he has plus ones after I’ve been born. As far for Buddy there’s too many to count! He hates it or ingore the fact that the camera is in his face.

  6. I could never buy a dog. Rescue is the only way I roll. I had Trudy (who was a boy don’t ask) since I was two and he was two until we were both 21. Yeah lasted 21 years after that I had my gorgeous baby Gypsy who I adopted seven years ago, she was the sweetest, kindest soul I have ever come across despite being horrifically abused.

    I’m crying just thinking about it. It took years to rehab her but it was worth it and despite being broke and having no steady job I didn’t think twice about going without in order to pay the vet bills when she fell ill last winter with a tumour because it was worth it for the company she provided when my parents split, when I was diagnosed with a devastating illness that robbed me of my confidence and all the other times she was there and gave back just as much love as I gave her. Losing her in May was horrific, thinking about saying goodbye still aches and despite the fact that she was finally coming into her own and being the dog she always wanted to be and then getting sick, it was still worth it knowing that at least she finally knew what love was and hopefully we managed to blot out some of the pain she experienced in her early years.

    It was the reason why when the vet called a few weeks after she died to say she had two little poms who had spent four years in a shed being used as breeding machines I didn’t hesitate to adopt them. Already Ella and Gracie have made so much progress and shown just how loving they can be. It’s worth it to show them that there are people out there capable of kindness and that they are family.

    • I am so sorry to hear about your loss of Gypsy. She sounds amazing, and such a wonderful soul. It is comforting to have such fond memories and you gave her a wonderful life while you had her. It is inspiring and touching to see that you put her care and her health above all.

      I hope you have updates about the progress of your two new babies. Thank you for stopping by, and I am honestly honored that you shared such a beautiful story.

    • Thank you for rescuing, Danielle. Shiloh was my first rescue. And now that I have adopted, that is the only way I will go in the future.

      Your story about Gypsy is heartbreaking. But I am so glad you were able to love and save each other. That is the best feeling in the world. And now the changes Gypsy created in you will translate to your two new babies. The love of an adopted pet is like no other love.

  7. What a wonderful post!!! I have three furbabies – my little guinea pigs: Bacon, Hester, and Brady. I love the little buggers to death. 🙂 I can’t wait to have a house where we can have a dog or cat (preferably one that loves our piggies as much as we do! Or is at least ambivalent!). We used to volunteer at the local humane society, but life got busier, so we haven’t made it in awhile. I love shelter animals and I can’t wait until I can walk in and give a loving, grateful animal a forever home. <3 Here’s to many more happy years with each of YOUR furbabies!

  8. Oh my goodness, I have sat here reading these stories and just bawled. I get so emotional over animals. I grew up with a cat or dog or two ALWAYS around since we lived on a dead-end road and were always getting strays dropped off. Growing up I was happy to see the animals show up; as an adult, it makes me RAGE to think of someone abandoning or mistreating an animal.

    I have two dogs I love. Toby Lee is a pit/boxer mix and just a BIG BABY. Scooter is a Jack Russell and he loves nothing more than to play with one of our cats. We have Clara, a female stray we’re probably adopting, and then we have Thomas Luke. Thomas is…my baby. He’s just the LIGHT of my life. He knows when I come home and waits for me on the front porch. I don’t know what I’d do without him.

    Ladies, I adored reading your post. It’s clear that each of your pets was meant to be with you, and I’m so so happy you found it in your hearts to rescue them. 🙂

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

    • Reading these stories is causing some tears on my end as well. I, too, find that animals are the clink in my armor.

      I hope you post up pictures of your animals! I would LOVE to see them! It is awesome that you own a boxer mix – they get a lot of heat over the misconception that they are aggressive!

      Thank you for stopping by!

    • That’s so cool! I wish I was able to have that many pets. I live in a 2 bedroom apartment in a suburban area, but if I had more space I would have a lot of animals. I want a cat too! And I agree with Lyn. Would love to see photos of yours. Boxers are the cutest!

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