Thursday, July 17, 2008

Why so many pets????

I gotta admit, this is a question I get asked a lot...A LOT... From friends, coworkers, family ( oh BOY do they ever ask that question)...... started a long time ago....see there was nothing and then God came and created......oooppsss, I am going too far back in time.....

Seriously, it did begin sometime ago. When I left my first career and decided to try and make a change in the world (that's a simplified version of one of the many reasons for my career change) and I decided to go into teaching. I had decided that I wanted to go where I was really I prayed about it and God answered my request (whoo wee did he ever answer that request!) and I ended up in what is called a "Title 1" School (50% + of the total population of students receives free or reduced lunches) in "the hood" (a gang area)....and began working with these troubled kids.

One thing I noticed early on was that those with pets at home (real pets, not money-making machines either by backyard breeding or animal fighting) were more responsive to education and more in empathy with others. We could use their pets as a way to communicate about feelings, responsibility, compassion, etc. It is something that I cannot put into words (and so few things leave me like that!)

From my prev. career I had heard of the ties between troubled kids and animals, but now I actually got a small glimpse of it...and I was astounded. My respect and sympathy for these creatures of God increased...and it was only a matter of time before I wanted to make a difference in the lives of animals too.

Now, at this point I had two dogs at home (both pound rescues) and one cat. I expressed my feelings to my dad and brother (who were living with me at the time) and got a great deal of support from my brother was not too sure about this. I also talked to my boyfriend (the same man I am married to now) and he was cautiously supportive.

But....these could not be just any animals...they had to be in situations of abuse or neglect...little did I know what I was getting myself into...and how many animals out there fit those categories....

Fortunately I got my father's genes on this issue, so he was always on the lookout for animals in need of help....and to my great surprise my future husband was of the same mind-set.....

So now the furry/feathered/shelled ones enter our lives:

Oliver Cromwell Twist - a 7 mo puppy dumped at the hospital my dad worked. He brought him home one day and told me, "Here is one that needs our help".

Kalli's Tuxedo J. Bravo (named for Johnny Bravo) - abandoned by a family that moved.

Aggie - our neighbor moved away and left his dog. About 1 week later she chewed her way through our fence and joined the bunch here. My future hubby and his kids adopted her.

Beaurigard Stephenson Montgomery Moncrief Le Mayor - came to us ( I passed on my flair for creating names for our pets to Jason's kids) came to us because one of my student's parents was trying to conceive and did not want him around.

Trixie Pixie-Dust Dixie-Cup Fistulous Witherspoon came from an abusive situation where she was beaten so severely most of her teeth were knocked out (she is by far the most "broken" dog we have ever had...whoever had her truly crushed her spirit and she has never recovered).

The rabbits (Oreo, Tinkerbell, Harley --trust me, they all have long names too...these are just the short versions) were saved on the spot from becoming meals for snakes.

Molly May-Flower April-Shower was found during a function at my school. She was just running around in danger of getting hit by traffic...what made her so unusual was that she came to us 2 weeks at the exact time we had just lost another rescued dog.

Chakotay (see picture above) came to us from an abusive puppy mill where he served as one of the studs and was frequently beaten (we are guessing with a broom).

Savannah Belle E. Button Hamilton Dubois (Yes, I love "Gone with the Wind") was also in an abusive puppy mill situation where she just cranked out litter after another. Her teeth have been knocked out, she had been burned, and some of her toes had been cut off. Fortunately she has more stamina than Trixie and does not have the same broken spirit Trixie does.

As I have mentioned before, everybody in my family has a job....well so do our pets. I have used them via stories, photos, movies, and the occasional "visit" to help my students with their emotions. They also help teach responsibility and the proper way to express thoughts. As a bonus, they "help" teach some of the core classes I teach (the most common is writing...and recently a phone-video of Chakotay and J howling together to teach what the word meant to my ESL kids).

There have been others who have lived with us and shared our lives...but they have crossed over the Rainbow Bridge (and to write about them would make this even longer)....and others we had just plain ole' wanted to have (the Parakeets and the Hermit Crabs). One day I will write about them too.

Suffice it to say that adopting these animals has made me a better person. They have taught me how to give, how to be more patient, how to be more appreciative, and how to love more deeply...that is why I say in the "about me" part of this blog "...who in turn have rescues me in so many ways." The lessons I have learned from them I am able to carry over to my family, my friends, and my students.

So now you have an answer to "Why so many pets???"


Christina said...

That is beautiful Nina! I didn't realize your large furry family had reason beyond your big, soft heart. How awesome that you have witnessed them providing hope and encouragement and eduction to "your" kids.

And, I will never get over the name. :o)

Nina said...

Ah you know the secret of our "madness" here at the "Ark II" as J calls it.

Which name?