Sunday, January 1, 2012
All they want...
Randy is nine years old this year and we've had him since he was about four months old. His history and his coming to us is quite the story which I won't chronicle here--it'd be too much like a proud parent showing snapshots of their children: a topic fascinating to the parent and not many others. Suffice it to say, a lady in Massachusetts gave Randy to me as a thank you for some special treatment of a baby horse I was transporting to her. Randy traveled across the United States with me on one of my "long routes" which took me through Texas.
About two and a half years ago, Randy, who was extremely overweight (140+ pounds), was diagnosed with a thyroid condition. After blood tests, he was put on a daily drug to level this out. It was a success and he's now a svelte 90-ish pounds (he goes up and down depending on how much food he can steal from my puppy).
Said puppy joined our household in April, 2011. This photo was taken in May:
Early in the summer, I was working and received a call from Maryann, my wife. Randy was having convulsions! She was terrified. This gentle giant of a dog was having a full blown epileptic seizure episode and there was absolutely NOTHING she could do.
Needless to say we took Randy to one of our vets and he immediately blew off his condition with "he's epileptic, many middle-aged dogs become that way." He prescribed phenobarbital to help alleviate the severity of the seizures--another drug Randy will need for the rest of his life. Since he started on the drug, the frequency and severity of Randy's seizures has been reduced. He's had a number of minor episodes and a couple of major ones. As his person, I've been there for most of them and the feeling of helplessness and dread is all-consuming. I've done a lot of research and it's likely Randy will have these seizures for as long as he lives.
All this is leading up to my topic for today. Pets are important in many of our lives be they dogs, cats, horses, goats, monkeys or whatever. We adopt these animals and bring them into our lives. They depend on us for just about everything but demand very little except our attention and our love. I see Randy or Dietre watching me with big, soulful eyes. They love without condition and accept no matter what we do or who we are. I pop Dietre on his butt for doing something bad--it's only a matter of a minute or two before he comes back to me wiggling and begging to be loved.
My wife is very involved in animal rescue. For those of you who follow her on Facebook, you see or read about animals who have been treated terribly by their keepers. In most cases, those animals aren't angry at the world or the people who mistreated them--they accept and go on . . . or not. For animal lovers, this summons up anger and tears.
We are animal nuts here at Miniature Ventures. Our list of animals goes on and on and on. We love each and every one of them and their health and safety is imperative to us. The thought of mistreating or abusing any one of them is foreign to us and we can't understand the mentality of people who do. But we live in the real world and know this goes on every day.
Our local animal shelter is a non-kill facility. That means they do their utmost to find homes for all the animals brought to them. When we first moved here, I brought them eighteen feral cats which we live-trapped. They were able to rehabilitate the vast majority of them and placed them in adoptive homes. This is important to us. We don't live in a huge community but the shelter more often than not is over-flowing with pets of all kinds and ages. Maryann often posts photos of animals who need homes and has had success fairly often. We have adopted several cats and an elderly dog from our shelter and will continue to do that as we can. We love animals and it's not their fault that they are here and perhaps homeless. Generally, except for the horse babies we produce, we are a "forever home" for those creatures both great and small.
I've read case studies and stories about animals who have been able to touch and change autistic children; about animals who can reduce blood pressure for those who have hypertension; about animals who have brought back to life people who they loved; about animals who have rescued whole families from fire; and about animals who have traveled thousands of miles to find the people they loved. Creatures are a gift to us humans. Watching tropical fish in a tank is a tremendous stress-reducer. Seeing a herd of young horses galloping across a field is something that can take one's breath away. Puppy kisses make more than babies laugh! Cuddling up with a best friend or two while reading a good book or watching a movie is incredibly satisfying. Having an animal friend you can talk to or cry to without fear of judgement or recrimination is remarkable. They DO talk back...it's in their eyes. It's in their love.
All our pets ask is for us to love them. They return that love with loyalty. They return that love in kind. Our animals can overwhelm us with their love. And they want so little in return .
Unless their name is Dietre. He wants it all (smile).