I love animals and growing up on the farm I spent most of my younger years around animals more than people. My mother was the same way and we had all our pets, including the dogs, cats, milk cows, horses, calves, and in many cases pigs named. For whatever reason I still remember many of these pets and their names.
In my career as a journalist I have also run across numerous examples of people, especially the elderly who relied on their pets for their best friends. Animals make incredible companions.
However, since my children left home I have not had a pet. I am a firm believer that pets, like children, need a lot of attention and I do not have time in my busy schedule to give them the love and support they require.
Lately, it seems as though I have a houseful of animals, not necessarily to my inviting or liking. It all started a few months ago when a beautiful black cat began hanging around the garden watching me work in the yard. Of course I started feeding it and before I knew it, it adopts me and moved under my shed. Although it still won't let me pet it I can come within a couple feet of it and it follows me around the yard like a shadow.
Then a month later a neighborhood dog showed up. I know it still has a home so I have been careful not to feed it because I do not need a puppy. But the more it hung around I began loosing garden shoes. I have a big deck and when I come into the house from working outside I kick off my dirty shoes and leave them on the deck. All of a sudden, before I even realized what was happening I had one shoe missing from three pairs. I checked the garage and they weren't there. About the same time I started finding single shoes (not mine) scattered throughout my garden. Then I caught him on the deck, with shoe in mouth. So somewhere out in Spring Glen there are two tennis shoes, one white and the other black, a single sandal and a bedroom slipper in very bad shape. And if anyone is missing three very small pairs of unmatched tennis shoes, they can claim them in my garage.
But the story continues. My black cat that I have been feeding made an unexpected visit to my bedroom last week that almost sent me through the ceiling. I don't like to run the air-conditioner at night so once the lights are shut off I open the door and it stays pretty cool in the bedroom. On Tuesday night I woke up with a big black cat and two illuminated cat eyes staring at me from my vanity. I screamed, and as he hissed he knocked over my lamp and water bottle and fled from the bedroom.
I was just getting over that little shock concerning my tennis shoes when some friends asked if I could watch their house cat for a few days while they moved. All the appropriate pet items came with a beautiful Tiger colored cat. He is now residing in my extra bathroom, but this is the fifth day and he has yet to come out of his little cathouse and he also refuses to eat. I have talked to him, sung to him, even begged him to please eat. But to no avail.
Like I said earlier I have not been around a lot of house pets or yard pets for a long time and for whatever reason the recent change has given me a whole lot of concern as I drive home each evening, wondering what will be the next pet that will come into my sheltered life.