Happy National Mutt Day!! This is one of the two days of the year that are dedicated to the mix breed dogs that usually wind up in animal shelters hoping to get adopted. Most of our dogs have been mix breeds, that we either adopted from shelters or from friends (though there was one that we did pay a little more on to buy). I know that there are people that have allergies so they need dogs with shorter fur or that shed less (so in those cases are willing to spend the money on a “pure bred” dog), but I think in truth if you aren’t going to be breeding dogs (for show, hunting, or sled racing) you should go to the pound and adopt. Some of our mutts have crossed over the rainbow bridge, and some are still with us, though two of them are getting up there in the years. I know that after Chewi passes, it will take me a while before I decide to get another dog, but I will and I know that I will go to the local animal shelter and adopt another lovable ball of fuzz that will hopefully be with me for another fifteen or sixteen years.
The first full week of May was designated back in 1981 as National Pet Week by the American Veterinary Medical Association, to celebrate America’s more than 200 million pets, and to encourage responsible pet care every day of the year (petweek.org/about-npw.html).
So I thought that I’d share a picture of different pets over the week, and some background on all the pets that I’ve had over the years–plus a reminder to adopt, don’t shop for your next pet.
So I’ve always had pets my entire life–cats, dogs, fish, parakeet, and a rabbit. When we moved to OK, we left the rabbit with friends (it was difficult enough to move cross country with two kids, a dog, and three cats). The rabbit was cool, but it did chew through basically all the cords in the house (it was a “free range rabbit), so Stripe had to be rehoused. The parakeet, unfortunately didn’t last that long–Bigfoot, my cat managed to figure out how to open the cage (even after putting twisty ties on the cage door). The fish have always come and gone (certain species don’t live that long, and my one trial with an salt water tank was almost disastrous).
With the cats, we’ve had nine through my life: Ritalin, Bigfoot, Cyprus, Slash, Cesar, Gandalf, Pyewicket, Waffles, and Pancakes. The first six have passed over the rainbow bridge over the years–the last three are still with (the breakfast duo and Pyewicket). With the cats, unless they managed to get out of the house and get lost (Cyrpus) or get sick (Cesar & Gandalf)–the other three: Ritalin, Bigfoot, & Slash all lived to be between eighteen and twenty years of age. Our cats have always had long lives due in part to the fact that we don’t let them out of the house (indoor animals always have a longer life span than outdoor pets or feral cats do).
Also with the dogs, we’ve had nine through my life: Ferret, Frodo, Shadow, Okie Thunderstorm (Storm for short), Chewi, Speedbump, Piranha, Spelunkers, and Boozer. Again, six have passed over the rainbow bridge over the years (age or health related issues), and currently we have two (Chewi and Piranha) who are going to be both sixteen (Chewi) and fifteen (Piranha) this year. Both are starting to show signs of old age (loss of sight, hearing), and Chewi has other issues as well (cancer) that are starting to slow her down.
Choosing the correct pet is always important–are you in a house, an apartment, living alone, with others? What is your day like, how active? There are some people who are strict dog or cat people–I’m a both person–I’ve always had cats and dogs, and I will probably always have at least one or the other. Once I move again–I’ll be taking Pancakes with me (I’m not going to stress out my dog by putting her through another move, so she will be allowed to live out her life in comfort at home), but within six to nine months of being where ever, I’ll probably get a kitten so that Pancakes has a new playmate and someone else around during the day while I’m at work.
I know that there are people who also only want purebred dogs or cats (and we’ve had several over the years), but I would advocate going to the pound or animal shelter and find your next family member there. The number of animals that are abandoned, lost, found, and end up at an animal shelter are staggering–they also need a home, and while they may be a little more skittish than others, they love just as well as those that are sold by different breeders.