Still on the subject of abundance. Catherine Mann just blogged about abundant puppy love and it made me think of the abundance of animals I've had in my life. I so admire Catherine and others who do so much for animals. I did once, not in an official, but a very unofficial way. Like chasing a chipmonk who'd revived inside my car after I rescued him on my way to work, or challenging the cat ready to pounce on a baby squirrell who'd fallen from a tree onto a sidewalk, or giving my heart and soul to baby kittens who'd been born in a culvert pipe during a storm.
Before I had kids, all my maternal instincts went toward animals. I've always loved animals and our family usually had dogs, but I've had some strange critters come and go. When I was young, my dad found two orphaned crows. Our property backed up to a National forest and we raised the crows. It was so cool to have them circling the sky and come down and land on our shoulders. Eventually they flew away and didn't come back, although my dad saw them circling in the sky overhead sometimes.
Then those darned kittens in the culvert pipe. Some neighborhood kids on the way to school saw them. It was storming and the kittens were ready to be swept away. It appeared Mama had abandoned them. I had to get a broom and sweep them gently out. Their eyes hadn't even opened. I fed them and did the best I could, but they died in about a day. I was devastated.
I was on my way to work when the baby squirrel fell out of a tree and landed on a sidewalk. The fat cat and I raced for him. I won, but got bitten by the squirrel. I couldn't leave him there. I didn't see the Mama Squirrel and I knew the cat was just waiting. The squirrel was too young to climb the tree. He wasn't hurt badly, so I took him to work and afterwards, to my parents place where there were lots of trees and other squirrels. He lived a long, happy life, and would come right up to the porch. My dad takes all the animals I find now.
The stinkiest rescue was the turtle. He wasn't injured, but he was trying to cross the road in a Washington D.C. suburb and would've gotten hit. Now this turtle was about 50 pounds, maybe 70. I made my boyfriend (now hubby) pull over and he watched for traffic while I tried to get the turtle out of the road. What's wrong with this picture? Why wasn't hubby lifting the turtle? Well, he has a bad back, and he thought I'd lost my mind. Oh...the smell. I've never smelled anything like this turtle. A man with a truck came up and offered to haul him to some woods where there was a stream, if we could get him inside. I think he was questioning my sanity along with my soon-to-be husband. I almost got bitten, but I got that turtle in the bed of the truck almost before the man opened the tailgate. We had to roll the windows down in the car on the way home because I smelled so bad. Death had nothing on this fellow.
The chipmonk that got loose in the car ended up staying with me. He was paralyzed in his back legs. A car had hit him. I kept him in a cage and massaged his spine and back legs every day. He was getting some movement back in his legs when one of my five dogs (the ones I got when the Cocker Spaniel I'd rescued from the dog pound surprised me with four puppies and I couldn't get rid of them so I helped the Cocker Spaniel give birth and put up a three thousand dollar fence so the mean dog next door wouldn't eat them) knocked the cage over and killed him, and then left him lying at the front door as a gift for me. Devastation doesn't even come close to describing what I felt. But I didn't blame my dog. She was just doing what comes naturally.
These are just some of the bizarre stories I could tell. But animals do enrich our lives. Having an animal lying next to you is just such a de-stresser, and I think we all need de-stressing. Now we have Lily, the white boxer who is so affectionate, but rules the house. She thinks we're her people. Before her we had the most wonderful black Lab, Neo. We lost him to kidney failure a couple of years ago. He was the gentleman of dogs. Just an amazing dog. He's pictured here.