Gimme Shelter

Some of my best friends are animals.  Some of my family members, too. Both statements are true-any way you read it-but in this case I mean of the four-legged variety. Throughout my life, pets have provided countless hours of entertainment, solace, and unconditional love.

My pets have survived undignified names like Marshmallow and Puff, Elmo, Mookie, Bow and Poe-(and they weren’t even twins.) And who could forget Gilligan, Skipper, and Ginger? (Two cats and a horse, respectively-hope they made it off the island…)  Some had ordinary names, like Maddie, Tommy, Teddy, Shawn and Duffy-(okay, Duffy is a stretch.) We briefly had a dog named Fred, but I had a brother-in-law with the same name who proved to be a much bigger dog in the long run!
As a kid, I raised a calf named Charlie, from bottle to sadly, Armour Meat Packing Plant. I truly thought selling him meant he would be “adopted” and live out his life in a meadow. Imagine my surprise/shock/distress/ when my dad handed me THAT check. No amount of zeros took away the pain and guilt. It was hard enough that Charlie had to forgive me for rubber-band castration, I’m pretty sure he’s not going to be thrilled to see me on the flip-side.



Because we lived in what was then the country, our cats didn’t have a super-long lifespan. Hence the succession of groovy names. They did have lives filled with attention and love. I dressed them in doll clothes, drove them around in Tonka trucks, and played hide-and-seek in the tall corn stalks. They were very patient with me.

Being a mom who believes all children deserve pets, and the stewardship that provides, we branched out with our kids adding fishes, turtles, and hermit crabs-(not my favorite I can assure you.) We’ve downsized as the kids moved on and just have Zoey the Maltipoo, Bailey the Wheaten, and Jellybean the cat. I’m so glad to see their happy, fuzzy faces each day. Well, the dogs are happy-JB the cat is a diva, and snotty, and kind of a mean girl.  But she’s pretty! And she knows it…(if you’re pretty and you know it claw my face…sing along!)


image image Zoey & Baileyimage

(They have to be separated-even on the blog… as for Miss Jellybean-think Miss Piggy with orange hair)


I even have a grand-dog, a mini-dachshund named Colby who was adopted from a Missouri shelter-(but don’t tell him, he doesn’t know he’s adopted!)




My husband Bob volunteers weekly at the SPCA, making sure each dog gets time outdoors to run, play, and enjoy the day. The one thing he always mentions is the doggy kisses and love. No matter what their circumstances, they just want someone to love and care for and serve. October is National Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog month. It’s a good time to enrich your life and bless a dog’s life by adopting a forever friend. The thing is though, that animals are family members-so adopt when you’re ready and sure you can keep the commitment.

When my son Spencer was born, my daughter Courtney would jump for joy every time we passed the McDonalds.  It was in the same parking lot as the hospital where I gave birth, and she thought we were taking Spence-turd (her 2 year-old name for him) back to the hospital to return him. After all, that’s where he came from, right? So we would explain that he was part of the family and here to stay.  And then we may or may not have bribed her with french fries. So it is with pets. (not the french fry part…). Both sides will need to do some adapting and getting used to personalities, but family members are loving and patient with other family members and their foibles.
When my kids were small, we had the movie “All Dogs Go To Heaven.” I guess that’s what the pearly gates are for-to keep the dogs in. I for one, am sure that all dogs do indeed go to heaven. All pets, for that matter. And that’s a good thing. Because I’m probably going to need some of my old pals to vouch for me-and I’m thinkin’ Charlie the steer is probably still harboring a grudge.



Adopt a shelter dog in October, or volunteer or sponsor, or just donate.  Your life will be better for it.



A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.
-Josh Billings

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