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Moving Animal Tales

The next time you start to feel sorry for yourself, read Almost Perfect: Disabled Pets and the People Who Love Them. Edited by Mary A. Shafer, this compilation of true stories about animals with disabilities and the people who care for them is uplifting, and at times quite funny.

Idgie doesn't know she has a disability.

When Mary and her partner, Shelly, decided to adopt Idgie (named after the feisty character in Fried Green Tomatoes–one of my favorite movies) a blind kitty, everyone benefits.

Mary writes: “I’ve had pets all my life and have loved them all, some more deeply than others. But this one had captured my heart with her spunky spirit and obvious joy in simply being alive. From that point on, I have never been the same, and now it’s a joke with my friends and family that she has me wrapped around her little white paw.”

Mary writes descriptively as she shares her story on how Idgie was transformed from an undernourished and quite sickly kitten into a beautiful and healthy cat.

The book has a total of 11 stories by different authors. While, I was moved by all of them, the one that took me by surprise was about a rat named Cagney, written by Crystal S. Parsons.

My View of Rats
While I love all animals, the one that I’m a bit frightened of is a rat–mainly the NYC kind that you find on the subway tracks. I remember standing at the Canal Street station saying to myself over and over again, ‘Don’t look down.’ And what do I do? I look down and usually see one or two rats about the size of my cat. It is unsettling.

Vermin as Pets?
So when Crystal was deciding on what type of small pet to get, a clerk suggested a rat. (She didn’t shop at a pet store that sells dogs and cats.) Her reaction? “A WHAT?” She then asked herself, “Who owns vermin as a pet?”

The sales clerk then placed a full grown brown and white rat in her hands. She wrote: “He didn’t struggle, just blinked at me, looking slightly bewildered at all the commotion around him. I blinked back, completely speechless. I was holding a RAT!”

She took Cagney to the vet and was told that Cagney was kept in a cage that was too small for him and didn’t get enough exercise. As a result, his back legs didn’t work.

So Crystal would take Cagney out and massage him. She writes: “The rat had pushed himself up on his front legs and stretched his head up as high as it could get, pushing it into my hand as if trying to get every last sensation of my hand on his head. His eyes were squeezed shut as if he was in some sort of heavenly rapture, enjoying every moment of my touch.”

Cagney would make a bruxing noise, which is like purring to a cat.

Crystal changed my mind about rats. I’m still fearful of the ones I see on the NYC subway tracks though.

Almost Perfect retails for $12.95. It can be ordered online here. Almost Perfect also has a blog. Here is the link.

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