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Where We Get Our Pets

People often ask if I have a favorite breed. Honestly, I don’t. My first dog was a miniature poodle named Perot. He came with papers and a sweet personality. My family and I did not care a bit about those papers. An aunt of mine gave us Perot, after she decided she no longer wanted him.

I was a kid at the time, and my mom took him in. He was smart, and I adored him. Poodles are great with children, and Perot was my best buddy. He watched over my brother and me. When he passed, I was heartbroken. I was 12 at the time. Perot died too young.  Someone put poison in the park across the street from where I lived. A dozen dogs died from eating it. It was a tragedy that made the local news.

About six months later, someone gave my mom a mixed breed that was on his way to the pound. Mr. Chips was a beagle, German shepherd, and collie mix. He, too, was protective of my brother and me. He got along with everyone and eventually got used to the first cat I brought home.


Cats
Magic, a chocolate point Siamese kitten, wandered into my copy editing class at college. Fortunately, I had a great professor who let me find a box for Magic so I could take her to the vet. I had her checked out before I introduced her to Mr. Chips.

Magic was beautiful, very talkative, and adored my brother. The two of them were inseparable. She even brought him a mouse one night. I remember hearing a loud, “yeowwww” in the middle of the night coming from the next room.

Found Cats at Work
After college, when I got my first job working as a reporter for a small community newspaper in southern Louisiana, I met Belle and Gigs. A gray and tan tabby cat decided to have a litter of four kittens under our production table.

The first kitten to stumble out was Gigs, an all black cat. I fell in love, and then his sister Belle, a beautiful grey, tan, white, and black kitty appeared. She stayed by my side for 21 years. Gigs was loved by everyone because he was so friendly and sweet. He was 16 when he died. The other two cats and the momma all got good homes.

Over the years, I found homes for a number of strays. Our current cat, Mr. Earl Gray, arrived on our front porch the week after Belle died. I was going to get another cat, but not then. I needed time to get over the loss. A week to the day Belle died, we came home from a wedding and Earl was waiting for us on our front porch. His leg was badly broken. We opened the front door, and in true cat fashion Earl hobbled in like he owned the place.

I’m sharing details about my dogs and cats because I’m always saying “Adopt, Don’t Shop.” While I tell everyone to please get their pets from local shelters or rescue groups, I did’t even get that far. All of my fur friends found me.

This is Earl today. We found him 13 years ago as a cat, and believe he is about 16 years old.

Alley Cat Allies
I’ve recently been corresponding with Elizabeth Parowski, Communications Manager, at¬†Alley Cat Allies, an advocacy group for cats and cat lovers. Elizabeth told me that I’m not alone in having my cats find me.

Alley Cat Allies’ research shows:
43% of people get their cats from a friend or family member
34% are adopted strays
16% of cats come from a shelter

“Kind of goes to show that there is a whole community caring for cats under the radar,” she says.

I also learned that one in three U.S. households has at least one pet cat. That adds up to roughly 82 million pet cats living in people’s homes throughout the country. Unfortunately, pet cats only make up part of the total U.S. cat population. According to research from Alley Cat Allies, “scientists estimate that the size of the stray and feral cat population rivals that of the pet cat population.”

If you are looking to bring a dog or cat into your life, please Adopt, Don’t Shop. And please share with us: Where did you get your cat or dog or other pet?

Up Coming Contest to Feed Shelter Cats and Dogs
On Tuesday, I posted a story about Iams Home 4 the Holidays program. Iams has teamed up with Helen Woodward Animal Center and 3,500 animal organizations worldwide to help orphaned dogs and cats find homes and to provide 5 million bowls of food through their Bags 4 Bowls program.

Bags 4 Bowls
Pet News and Views is participating in the Bags 4 Bowls program starting October 19. So if you adopted a cat or dog from a shelter or rescue group, please leave a comment in the October 19 post. For every comment posted (only one per person), Iams will donate 25 bowls of food to a shelter in need. The contest will run through October 25, so if you miss the post on October 19, you still have a few days to leave a comment. Please check back here on October 19, and leave a comment. Shelter cats and dogs and I will be truly grateful.

12 comments to Where We Get Our Pets

  • Love the Shepherd mix … almost looks like someone photoshopped the head of a beable onto the body of a Shepherd! Amy and I will be back on the 19th to each leave a comment for Bags 4 Bowls.

  • Both Emmett and Lucas were shelter pups. We got Emmett from a no-kill shelter in Northern Virginia. We adopted Lucas from a shelter in downtown DC, though he had been a transfer from a high-kill shelter in North Carolina. And after hearing Dr. V read that letter from a NC shelter… I am forever grateful that Lucas made it to us!

  • Hello! Stopping by from the BtC hop…very thoughtful blog! I will pass along the news of the Bags 4 Bowls on to my Twitter followers. Stop by some time and say “hi!”

  • Michele, great post. My dogs have always found me, I never found them. That photo of the mutt looks almost exactly like one of my best friend’s dogs. I have to share a photo. Maybe they are long lost mutt relatives? LOL

  • Most of my cats have found me by showing up at the door or being given away by friends or neighbours. Most of my dogs have found me that way, too – but when not I adhere to the adopt don’t shop mantra, as it’s better for the animals if they are not bred to produce more babies when the shelters are full.
    My newest rescue, Lucy, was 2 when I adopted her from the shelter – born in the shelter to confiscated puppy mill mom, and then adopted and returned twice. Very sad – and that’s just one pup’s story. She has had some challenges but we are in this together and she has a forever home now!

  • I so agree with you. rescuing is so important! Some I have have adopted, but some have found me:)

  • [...] And she has a passion for pet adoption. Be sure to check out Iams Home 4 the Holidays Challenge and Where We Get Our Pets. (Full disclosure: Iams sponsored Michele at BlogPaws West [...]

  • Debi Bel

    I come from a family in southern Louisiana that lived by the idea that it was preferable to bring home a stray cat or dog than to leave it on the street. This was a remarkable way of raising children in the 1960’s and 70’s. (Yes, I was born in ’59 so that makes me 50 years old.) That is to say that it was unusual to encourage your children to have a social conscience if it meant allowing them to haul home critters that were likely to cost money in the short term and certainly for the long term. But we always managed to make room for another cat or on occasion, a dog. Spaying and neutering was expensive but necessary. Of course, when my sisters and I grew up and moved out of my mother’s home, we continued the practice of adopting strays. The practice of adopting rather than buying from a breeder is now filtering down to my family’s third generation with my sons and nieces and nephews starting their own families. It gives me hope that in the next decades, we will no longer have the millions of dogs and cats euthanized in this country that has been the practice for far too many generations of humans and animals.

  • I also have the same tradition in my home. I, though, grew up in the Bronx. I did live in southern LA for a spell. Thanks for teaching your children well!

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