Today, I’m grateful for how our youngest dog wakes me up in the morning to let him out. He puts his front paws on the edge of my bed and lays his head in my side or stomach and then looks at me with his great big brown eyes.
He doesn’t hop all the way on the bed and run up and down it (and on me) like his mother, nor does he bark continuously like his father. He just puts his head on me and gives me his best puppy eyes. It’s one of the best ways to wake up during the cold mornings.
So my sister got goslings to help with the weeds in a part of the yard we haven’t done anything with yet. They’re doing pretty good with it, but they’re not fenced in yet. (Because, for some reason, this is how we do the ‘get animals’ thing. We get the animals and then get the fencing.)
Anyway, our oldest dog, Vincent has spent almost two years trying to teach our second oldest dog, Helena how to safely pick up our birds. She’s not the best at it and seems to take a terrible delight in pulling their feathers. We lost a chicken the first fall up here because of that.
They both have soft mouths and can hold raw eggs in their mouths without breaking them. Of course, there’s no way to get the eggs back after they show that they can safely hold them because they eat them.
Now Vincent has realized that the goslings are supposed to wander around, but every now and then Helena decides she won’t stand for that and picks them up to carry them around in her mouth. Whether because she wants to ‘put them up’ or just likes to do it, I have no idea, but she’s not supposed to presently do that and she does actually know that. She keeps doing so today, but half the time before we can even get outside or the window open to stop her, Vincent’s getting on to her and making her let the gosling go.
The gosling, which isn’t missing feathers and is completely unharmed.
It’s hard to think, hard to talk, hard to listen when no one wants to hear…that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try all the same.
I have never thought of my dogs and cats and other animals, both pets and farm, to be my children.
It just wasn’t what they were to me.
That does not mean that they aren’t important to me. That does not mean that I don’t love them dearly.
But they are not my children.
Now I do have siblings that see their dogs and/or cats as their children. It was never strange to me that this could be. We each need different things as we are all different people. The reasons for why some of my siblings look at their pets and think, ‘this is my child,’ just as there are reasons where I don’t.
What I do see when I look at my cat, or my dogs is a companion that is a part of my family, but not my child. They are dearly loved and I am ever grateful for the years that we travel through life together. There have been times when they were watching over and taking care of me and just as many times where I was taking care of them. Both instances were also hand in hand with us having our own lives separate though we do take time to just sit and be with one another.
For are those not things that companions have with one another?
I had a friend ask me once if I understood why others would look at their pets and think ‘children.’ I answered that I understood in a way. One of my siblings and his wife are unable to have children. They have two little dogs and three cats and are parents to those five little furballs. These are the grandchildren they show to my mother when she goes to visit and these are the grandchildren that my mom greets and loves just the same.
I have a sister that has two fine human boys as well as several other children in the form of a little dog and several cats. She loves them all just as much as the others. She mourns when some of her children reach the ends of their natural life long before she does, but that pain doesn’t stop her from loving them just the same.
I have another sister who is single with no human children, but has an aging cat that she took in as her child when the cat was already half-way through the cat’s natural lifespan. For a short time we had that cat with us at the last house when my sister was staying at a place that didn’t allow pets. Said sister rejoiced when she got a new apartment because it meant she could live with her little daughter again.
Again, I have another sister (yes, my parents had eight kids, there’s a ton of us) who does not view her pets as children. She still loves them and mourns them when they reach the ends of their lives. She has always been the quickest of my siblings to bring home dogs and cats because those animals actually followed her home of their own free will. They are still considered members of her family, but they are not her children.
Family and friends come in all shapes and sizes and species. They come at different times in our lives. Many come as complete surprises while others were carefully planned, but they come all the same. But just as humans need different things at different times, the same is true of dogs and cats.
Each being on this planet is different, even, or maybe especially, those that are of the same species.
There are, after all, just as many stories out there about animals adopting orphaned young from a completely different species. (In fact, I have a pair of ducks that hatched and raised a pair of chickens who follow them everywhere, as well as a pair of dogs that have three young, two of which are cats while the third is their own actual blood offspring.)
So I’ve been prescribed more aerobic exercise by my new neurologist, does hauling buckets of water out to newly planted saplings, herbs, and berry bushes count?
I get to sit in different rooms and listen to Bella call her daughter Ysma from one room to another with kitty chirps.
If it’s Springtime in Utah, my true love gave to me…
Twelve birds trying to pen-brake
Eleven hours of watching MASH
Ten cabinet doors to hang
Nine sleeping dogs and cats
Eight beings with coughs in the house
Seven humans on our land
Six weeks and counting
Five packages of tp in the store
Four adults going nuts
Three dogs that are happy
Two cats that are not
And waking up to freshly fallen snow
So life took an extra turn when I woke up to frozen solid animal waters and snow on the ground. The best part was that I was so tired that I didn’t even notice until my eldest nephew pointed it out to me. I’d been out there before he had when most everything was kind of frost covered and I hadn’t even noticed.
This wasn’t the first time since the Spring Equinox that I’d woken up with snow outside, so I’ve kind of had parts of this bouncing around in my head for a few weeks. Finally got to get it all out, though. (And the reference to coughs was that we all had colds of various degrees. We were tested and came back negative, but somehow still passed our colds off to the dogs. Everyone’s getting better, though.)
For I have felt fear
Lurking behind me
Even as I seek shelter
Especially with what I face before me
So my dogs figured out how to open the chicken yard this morning. No chickens or ducks were harmed in the events that followed, but I spent about an hour with my niece and then nephew trying to catch our birds and put them back. Most of them were fairly easy to catch with the help of our oldest dog. Vincent is very skilled at pinning our chickens without hurting them and can even pick them up without harming or killing them.
Our rooster, on the other hand, got out of the yard entirely. My niece and I chased up all up and down the easement to the south of our property. He kept trying to run out onto the road, which is a major road in our valley. We finally managed to pin and capture him, but it was very tiring and we were all scratched up. The easement is mostly a steep little hill that leads from our fence to the road.
I’m pretty sure commuters got a kick out of watching a grown woman and a teen chase a rooster alternately away from the two roads while occasionally lunging in an attempt to catch him. (Our house is on a corner.)
He evaded us every time until we were able to herd him around the fence and into the actual front yard where we pinned him in a hedge that partially shields the house from the road.