By Judith Whitehead
I was raised in a family where the only pet we were allowed to have was a goldfish that mysteriously disappeared one day during bowl maintenance. Some of my friends had dogs, most of them seemingly aggressive breeds that chased me when entering their homes, so I never thought I was missing anything.
When my boys were young we thought it was a good idea for them to have a pet so we adopted a kitten from the neighbors’ litter and she was a big part of our family for 16 years until she passed. Independent as she was we still enjoyed having her around. We never did replace her.
Now living in his own place, my son six years ago adopted an older rescue cat. Bruce (Lee) is a loving, black affectionate cat that sneaks up on you without a sound, hence “Bruce Lee,” and must have been raised with dogs because he carries a lot of dog mannerisms and thinks he is one.
A few years later my son adopted a rescue dog, part lab and who knows what else. After trying him out with Bruce, who also liked him, he became part of the family. Although he is over 100 pounds, he thinks he is a lap dog at times and loves to show affection. He must have some husky in him because he is a howler and joins in when the sirens pass by.
A year later my son thought Charlie could use some company at home to play with so he then adopted a rescue pug we call Perry. He seemed to get along with the other two and they quickly became a threesome in the home. Perry is also very affectionate as well, and at times all three do vie for attention all at once.
We do help my son out with dog walking, camp drop off and feeding at times. The overnight stay proved to be a bit much for us in the past but we also found the animals were happier in their own home so we travel to his home for their care most of the time. The one thing I can’t get used to is a large dog or small snoring dog in my bed; my husband’s snoring is enough for me.
I can’t believe I am saying this but I, we, have grown to love those animals. My husband always had dogs growing up as a child, but for me it’s a new adventure. I have witnessed the dogs when they are sad and happy, depressed or excited, and can actually tell at times what they want to tell me. If only they could talk. Charlie is a bit too large for me to walk so we walk them separately and Perry the pug is about my speed. A short walk, sniff and you-know-what seems to suit him fine.
Charlie is the talk of Camp Bow Wow and is a real ladies man; he is very social and has all the counselors loving him.
These rescue animals lived in a a few homes before my son adopted them; who knows what their fate would have been otherwise. Older animals don’t always see a happy ending at shelters but still have a lot of love to offer along with giving companionship and comfort to humans.
They all want to please and respond to rewards greatly, and can be retrained to suit your lifestyle. Yes there are “dust bowls” on the floor at times and spilled dog food but I have seen the rewards far surpass the trouble. And if you have a pug like Perry, there will be no need for vacuuming the dog scraps that fall on the floor.
I am sure not all rescue adoptions turn out as great as our family’s did, but it certainly is worth a try in saving an animal’s life. If you are in the market for a pet, a rescue animal’s unconditional love will fill your home with happiness.
Judith Whitehead, of East Amherst, has grown to love her son’s rescued pets.