Children of the Earth

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.)

Springtime – Manic Monday

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.)

Gates For Thought – Thankful Thursday

Got to stop progression
And wait for things to come
The moment isn’t here yet
Evening hasn’t rung

Sometimes we have to slow down. We live in a world that wants instant gratification. Wants thingsĀ now and not later. We want that, too. We don’t want to wait and sit still, don’t want to acknowledge that we can’t run when it’s hard to even just walk

We want to do things, we want to do them when we want to.

But sometimes we need to slow down and wait. Not because patience is a virtue, but because we need to move slowly so as not to hurt ourselves. You don’t expect something broken and just glued back together to be hardened and solid for a while, after all. We need to remember that about ourselves as well.

This was supposed to be a post on how I’m still grateful for child gates as we have to use one to keep the dogs away from a section of drywall we have to replace while renovating the kitchen. Then I got tired and distracted. Still, I am grateful for the gates not just for how I’ve needed to use them, but also for when something like this makes me think.

He’s Up All Night To Get Funky

So we’ve been having skunk problems. Every night they try to get our chickens or ducks or rabbits. So our dogs (mostly Vincent) keep guard all. Night. Long.

We wake up in the morning and the dogs are exhausted and sleep most of the day away. They’ve earned it without a shadow of a doubt because we can certainly smell how much they’ve been working. Even if they aren’t sprayed, the backyard is definitely smelly from the skunks they’ve chased off.

(I’m so glad, now, that Vincent is so good at dodging things, because we don’t have enough tomato juice to bathe him in.)

We’re trying to get another dog, because Vincent might be young and spry and energetic (and super protective of ‘his’ animals), but Sissy is getting up there in years and there’s no way she’s going to be able to help Vincent out with guard duty once the temperature drops like lead in water. I have no idea how she’s keeping up with him now.

Seriously, though, Vincent does a head check on the rabbits every morning whenever we open up the rabbit garage (there are no vehicles or machinery housed in the rabbit garage, just rabbits and animal feed). He walks through and touches noses with all of our long-time residents and even some of our short-time residents, then he turns and walks out with me as soon as I’m done filling up their water bottles/bowls.

He takes his duties very seriously and won’t let us go to bed until we’ve made sure to let him outside to start guard duty, even if he was napping when we were getting ready for bed in the first place.

Now if only we could find a way to stop the skunks from coming over in the first place so that our backyard would stop smelling skunky in the morning.