If someone had said to me 10 years ago, we would own a dog, and 4 cats, after our children moved out of the family home to start lives of their own, I would have said: "you are out to lunch"!  Well, here we are.  It began with her:
Let me introduce you to Tara.  She is now 10 years old, and in her mind, there is no greater love for her than my DH. You see, 10 years ago, before we owned our own home, we were renting an up and down duplex.  We were on the top, and there was a couple with 2 children living downstairs.  Then they got a puppy.  Over time, we discovered, she was being neglected.  Tied up all day in a tiny tiny yard.  I would come home from work, in between treatments, stick my head out the window, and say "where's your ball, go get your ball".  She would run and grab her ball and throw it up in the air.  I felt, at least some stimulation was better than nothing!  Labs are highly intelligent, they are worker dogs, they need a job, they need to be active, and they need their own "pack".  She was left alone most days.

Sometimes without water or food. Pretty soon we were making sure she had water and food.  Now, I am going to share something....something...to this day that still  haunts me.  One day, I heard her scream.  It was the most ungodly sound I have ever heard! She had been kicked or abused otherwise by someone downstairs. I decided right then and there we had to get her out of that situation.  Within a week or two, the couple had split up.

By now, Tara was 10 months old. I went downstairs one day after work, to say, if by any chance it was not possible for them to keep Tara, we would be happy to have her. She told me that she was already given away.  I was devastated.  I then told this lady, please, if ,by any chance it did not work out for her new owners, we would be more than happy to have her.  One week went by.  We were moping.

Then as we sat on a Sunday late afternoon watching a video, the door bell rang, I looked at my husband and said, Tara is here!  Sure enough, there she was.  The people that had taken her discovered their youngest son was highly allergic, welts all over his body, from head to toe!  Poor guy, but we were happy, we we thrilled.  She then became our dog, many vet appt's later, and lots of money - she has allergies, skin conditions,  needed to be spayed etc. but, she was now in a happy gentle home, with lots of love and lots of frisbee.

Although, at 10, she is getting older, has some arthritic issues, sleeps more, she still has her puppy friskiness about her.  She is a part of our family...and if you look into her eyes, you see unconditional love.  How can you not love that?
Then came this pretty boy:
Now, I believe it was 6 or 7 years ago, when my daughter found this pretty boy, as a kitten, eyes still closed, in a box with a can of tuna, at the end of her street where she lived.  This little boy also had a sister.  My daughter was able to find a home for the sister, but she took Oscar in, and raised him from his devastating humble beginnings.  Then when my daughter decided to go back to college, she moved into our downstairs suite, and with her came Oscar.  He is a big scardy cat.  But such a love.  He would not come out of the suite for a month, then one day, he became King!  Actually, in this picture he looks like he has some serious attitude, but he really is sweet and has such lazy gentle energy, he is more like Garfield, but, with more sweetness.  We love him!  Next, oh my lord, came:

Jerr, Jerrs...actual name:  Jerri. We love her too!  She is a little hellion!  This is her at about 3 months of age. Once again, my daughter found her on a forrested hiking trail with her sibling, both eyes closed, umbilical cord still attached, we think abandoned by her feral mother. Unfortunately, the sister sibling did not survive.  My daughter had to bottle feed this little one every 2 hours. It is interesting with this little one, who is now 2, she thinks of me as her mother. I am the only one she listens to. She is a little brat, and she knows I wont' tolerate bad behavior.  She is not allowed to bite or scratch me, yet she carries on this behavior with  all other family members.  I am the only one she will not display this behavior with.   Such a rascal, but love her we do!  Then came our greatest challenge, our greatest heartbreak, and ohhh, how we love her:  This is our Lily:

We had seen this lovely little cat in our neighborhood for about 1 year.  Clearly, she had been abandoned. Through out the year we saw her, she would try to scoot into our garage or shed each and every time it was opened.  We saw her being beaten up by all the other bully street cats in the neighborhood - daily.  We saw her scared and hungry...it was obvious someone had abandoned her. One day last summer, I just could not take it any more. She was terribly afraid, but I managed to coax her onto our porch with a bowl of food and water. She gobbled the food, hastily, and was very wary looking all around.  Then when she had her fill, she rubbed up against my leg.  Then she rubbed and rubbed.  I bent down to pat her and she did a most unusual thing, she jumped up onto my shoulders, and purred and gently began kneading!  I was instantly in love.

If you notice...she does not have a tail.  We had to have it amputated.  It was the most twisted, scarred up tail you had ever seen.  I will not go into detail here, but suffice it to say...there are some cruel people in this world, but now...she is healed!  Well almost. She still has nightmares. See the towels underneath  her in that chair?  They are there because she still, almost one year later, has nightmares.  In her deep sleep, during a nightmare, she pees.  We have had all kinds of tests done....it is definitely a result of trauma.

We learned, to walk very softly, slowly around her, so that she would know, she would not be kicked.  We learned not to raise our arms in her presence, that nothing would ever be thrown at her.  We also learned, when carrying laundry, to talk softly and lovingly to her, that she would feel safe, and not have something thrown on top or over her.  Slowly, she is coming along.   This August, she will have been with us for one year.  I pray, by then, the nightmares will be gone, I pray she will be a normal cat.

Incidentally, for a cat that has been so severely abused, out of all of our animals, she has the sweetest, kindest, most gentle energy imaginable. Bless her little heart, how we love her, now comes our neighbours cat, let me introduce you to Tucker:

The day our neighbours moved in 2 years ago (not quite, almost), this guy showed up on our porch.  He would not leave. Seriously. Every time I picked him up, walked across the street, knocked on their door, I would say, "here is your cat, he has been staying on our porch".  He would run up their stairs, have a look around, and immediately run down the stairs, across the street, back on to our porch.  After months of this, I finally gave up.  We now consider Tucker part of our family, he is a big boy with very lazy, gentle energy - he thinks he owns our back yard, that it is his domain!

One thing is for sure....we love all of our animals.  They are gentle creatures, that deserve only love and respect as any and all creatures on this planet do.  They have given us so much love and joy!  Ten years ago, I would never have believed it, but now, we can not imagine life without these lovely animals.  With each animal we have rescued, we made a commitment, and a promise - to love and protect them, to give them a safe, loving home, to ensure their health and well being would always be taken care of. I also say a big thank you to my sister in law...for helping us along the way.

On that note, here is a YouTube Video...please check it out...this too, is close to our hearts. I do not understand how this is allowed to happen?  Why does man interfere so much with nature?  Wow, this shows that Abuse does not just exist in Suburban Neighborhoods, and that these beautiful animals need our help too!

Ina Gawne

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June 28, 2010