Inspiration can reveal itself so unexpectedly! It comes in many shapes, sizes, packages, in the form of simple or complex messages, and sometimes totally surprises us with random thoughts and complete spontaneity. Yesterday I was touched by Rosemary Adkins @ Extraordinary Dreams of an Ireland Traveler. Within her posting was a bonus story, actually a prayer, about her dog, Sandy, who is very ill.
Throughout the formative years of our children, Jim and I have encountered, helped, saved, fostered, and laid to rest many pets. Some have been more memorable that others each leaving behind his/her own tales of antics that brought on the tears, either from sheer aggrevation or pure happiness. They ranged from pet snakes to gerbils to the adoring puppy to the dog who dug into our yard to the fiesty and last, but not least, the cuddly kitten.
This would be similar to our gerbil cages.
Let’s begin with the gerbils. Cute with all the accessories that go along with keeping gerbils active and happy, cage with bedding and nest fluff, exercise wheel and chewing toys (household items worked best). Of course, there were two since the two youngest daughters (Nicole and Wendy) expressed the most desire for the gerbil as their pet(s). Oh, dear, one would not do so we ‘adopted’ two, that is two of everything for the gerbils ended up being one male and one female. (Don’t really recall if that was intentional or totally by accident. LOL!) The kids would watch them as they performed their stunts and the laugther and giggles could be heard throughout the house. All was well and each girl took responsibility for caring for her gerbil, until. . .
One afternoon while Wendy was visiting a friend, Niki felt like her gerbil was sad being all alone in its cage. Oh, I know what you are thinking and you are on the right path alright! Yep, she opened the tiny door to Minnie’s cage, carefully reached inside and gently lifted the little socialite onto her hand. Then, cautiously opened the tiny door to Micky’s cage releasing Minnie quickly as she closed and relatched the cage door. Well, rightly to say that was not the end of the story but only the beginning for the loving couple! I will add that all in all it was not a bad experience for with the birth of the baby gerbils came excitement that could never be replicated! May they rest in peace:>)
OOPS! A little of track. . .
Sharla, Jim & Chief 1984
Since this reflection began with Rosemary and her dog, Sandy, it cannot conclude without reference to Chief, the black labrador and Prince, the dalmation. Chief was the one mentioned earlier that dug under the fence into the yard. It did not matter how many times we let him out the back gate or how many times we filled in the holes under the fence, we would wake up the next morning with his having returned via a new entrance into the backyard. It was early one morning as Jim let Chief out the back gate AGAIN that he was approached by one of our neighbors who proceeded to make a comment insinuating the dog liked our yard better than his own. Needless to say, by the end of the conversation, we had acquired the dog! To this day, I do believe Chief was abused and that is why he kept coming into our yard.
As for Prince, he strayed onto the front porch one day so skinny his ribs resembled a bony rack and what little skin that was there oozed profusely from sores. So pitiful were those eyes that just bored right through you pleading for love! Our son, Scott, actually knew the owner of the dog (I really think the dog followed him home with a little help.) After contacting Prince’s owner, we found out he was unable to take care of the dog mainly because of the expense to get him to a vet. So, he became Prince Shults! [I searched for a picture of Prince but there was none to be found in the family albums. Probably still in one of the envelops that never made it to any of the album pages.]
Well, Chief Shults and Prince Shults were buddies from day one! Both loved to run and play (inside and outside the house mind you)! Understand that Chief was the water hound and Prince, the instigator. The yard was fenced in but Prince being slender and quite agile quickly learned he could leap off the deck. Chief being the much heavier of the two struggled but eventually made it not wanting Prince to have all the fun alone. That is how the escapade began but it definitely did not end with just a simple romp around the neighborhood. It resulted in several nights of missed sleep because the dogs could not be found.
The kids were frantic. Jim and I were worried. The weather turned nasty. Then, we played the waiting game. We contacted everyone in the neighborhood, called the rescue center, the Pound, animal control, etc., etc., etc. You know the routine. No luck. For days we waited, hoped and prayed they were alright. Then came the phone call. . .
Actually, it was Jim who made the call once again to the animal control center. Here is the gist of the conversation.
Control Center Operator: “Bay County Animal Control. May I help you?”
Jim: “This is Jim Shults and I live in the cove. We have two dogs that have been missing for several days.”
Control Center Operator: “Hold on, Mr. Shults. Hey, Glenda, do you still have that boat owner on the line calling about the two dogs? I think I have their owner on this line.”
Bottom line, the dogs had crossed town to the bay. Prince was leading Chief to water! When the weather turned nasty, they seeked refuge aboard a doctor’s boat (You can use you imagination about the boat!). As soon as the weather cleared, the owner went down to the dock to check on his boat. Here is the last part of the telephone conversation.
Glenda: “Yes, I still have Dr. McCormick on the line. I told him we may have the owner of the dogs on another line. He says a dalmation is on the boat and a black lab is in the water. He wants to get on his boat but the guarddog won’t let him come anywhere near the boat or the water!”
Control Center Operator: “Mr. Shults will one of your dogs guard a boat while the other swims? If so, they are at Dr. McCormick’s.”
We knew the doctor so when we arrived at his house the atmosphere was frantic but cordial. The minute those two dogs saw Jim they bolted toward him, both wet, scared, hungry and totally exhausted. They slept for two days.
Oh, my, I did get a bit long-winded, didn’t I?
When you start writing stories about your children and/or pets, it is sometime hard to just stop. Must though or the message behind this story might be lost. Since catnipoflife is inspired by the feline she will end with a prayer, but it is a prayer to all the loving, adorable pets who grace our homes and lives.
Be sure to stop by and visit Rosemary. Leave a prayer for Sandy.
A Pet’s Prayer
Thank you, Lord, each day
For the victuals I am fed
Petting and brushing
And my soft, billowy bed
Thank you for the extra treats
Persistently when I’m good
Especially the catnip
Dusted along the faux wood
Thank you for safe keeping
As I scamper and play
Climbing trees, chasing bugs
During the night and day
Thank you for my parents
So loving and kind
Who clean up my messes
And don’t even mind
After all the thanks
I must surely add
I’m truly feline
For this I am glad
If I should die
And it seem unfair
Please let them know
I’m in Heaven’s care
To them you see
I am their child
They need to know
For me you smiled
But before I close
My prayer, you see
Is for more than one
Not simply me
“If we treated everyone we meet with the same affection we bestow upon our favorite cat, they, too, would purr.”
—Martin Buxbaum (Author, photographer, artist and humorist, 1912–1991)