By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views
As a pet blogger, I’m often asked to recommend the best breeds of cats and dogs. My answer is always the same. I tell everyone that rescues make the best pets. I speak from experience.
Our very first dog was a miniature poodle. He had papers, which my family misplaced. It didn’t matter to us. This puppy was on his way to the pound when my mom rescued him.
Pierrot was adorable and incredibly smart. I was in kindergarten when we got him. We had him for just a few years. I remember being called into the principal’s office. The principal told me my dog died and that I should go home. I was in 5th grade. Someone in the neighborhood sprinkled poison around the outside of the park near my house; 13 dogs died.
It took us a while to heal from the pain of losing such a dear friend—a friend who slept at the foot of my bed at night and kept the monsters away.
A year after Pierrot died my mom rescued a collie, shepherd, beagle mix from a family member who didn’t want him. We named him Mr. Chips. I remember putting a few pieces of paper with different names on it on the ground. We let him pick from the names. He chose Mr. Chips.
He was handsome—especially around his eyes. It looked like someone took eyeliner and outlined them. Mr. Chips lived for 13 years watching me grow up. We were inseparable.
He didn’t want to share his space with another animal—especially a cat. However, in college, a chocolate point Siamese kitten wandered into my copy editing class. I found a box to take the kitten to our local vet to make sure she was healthy.
My mom said, “Bring her home.” We named her Magic, and she and Mr. Chips tolerated one another. Magic lived for 20 years.
When I left home for a newspaper job in southern Louisiana, I knew it would be a matter of time before I got a pet. I worked long hours covering school board and city council meetings. Weekends were often spent covering football or baseball—depending on the season.
Within two weeks of taking this job, a female cat snuck into the production area. The tables were piled high with an endless supply of newspapers. It was soft place to have a litter of four kittens.
The first one that wandered out was Gigs, an all black kitty. His body shook, he was so little. The next one that tentatively emerged from the pile of newspapers looked like the mom. Belle was a grey, rust, tan, and white tabby with a pink nose. I waited until they were strong enough, got them fixed and took them home. The other two kittens and the mom cat were also fixed and went to good homes.
I stayed in Louisiana for a little over a year. And when I got a job back home in New York City, I took Belle and Gigs with me. A few people wanted to adopt Gigs. I wrote an article about how he helped me break into my apartment when I left the keys inside. (The front doorknob had a lock on the inside; if you didn’t turn it and the door closed behind you, you got locked out.) I would forget to turn that damn knob at least once a month.
Gigs slept by a big sun-filled window with a latch. I would get a wire hanger and place it between the upper and lower windows and Gigs would swat it so the loop that I made on the hanger would land on the latch. Then I would pull and the window would open.
So Gigs was famous, and everyone who met him adored him. He was incredibly friendly. Belle, unlike her brother, was a one person cat. I fortunately happened to be her person.
Gigs died at age 15. My husband and I sobbed. It was a terrible loss. Belle lived to age 20. She was constantly at my side. She got sick the last three days of her life. The vet said it was her time. I was going to put her down, but she made that hard choice for me.
A week to the day that Belle died, we came home from a wedding. It was around 1 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Waiting for us on our front porch was Mr. Earl Gray, a handsome charcoal gray and white cat with a badly broken leg. It was an internal break—no blood or visible cuts.
We opened the front door and with his tail raised high, he hobbled into our house.
Later that morning, we saw out vet who sent us to a specialist. Earl wore a cast, which he kept on removing. My husband put up a five foot barrier to the steps in our house. We didn’t want him climbing upstairs for fear that he would tumble down. Well, Earl leapt over the barrier—cast and all.
Today, at age 19, Earl spends most of his time stretched across my desk while I write.
I tell everyone to adopt from local shelters or rescues. Yet, I never made it there. All of our pets found us.
This post is my entry into the BlogPaws Blog Carnival Contest sponsored by BISSELL Homecare, Inc.