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Pets Are Family

Pets are Family – Sometimes they require hard choicesBerdell Mitchell getting to know each other

MeowSpace® and having cats is pretty new for me. For the first 5 decades of my life, I was essentially cat-free. If anyone asked…and they did…I was a dog person. From birth, I enjoyed the company of no less than 16 different kinds of dogs, ranging from German Shepherds to a 4lb Yorkshire Terrier.

To be fair, my mother had a way of getting a dog or dogs, and then when they became inconvenient for some reason, she’d “find them a good home,” only to miss having a dog and get another, starting the cycle all over again. To say that was hard on me as a kid would be a serious understatement. The last time she gave away my dogs was after I had gone to college. Sometime during my sophomore year, one of my friends informed me that she had told them she had given both of my beloved dogs away, and made my friend promise not to tell me. Obviously they broke their promise in favor of not betraying me, but it was still too late for me to find my dogs. My mother refused to divulge where they were. (I just learned recently where they went, and lucky for my mother, it was in fact a good home.) After several weeks in therapy I was able to say, “I am very ANGRY with my mother.” The phrase should have been “LIVIDLY ANGRY” or better yet, “MURDEROUSLY ANGRY.” 35 years later, as you might have already guessed, despite several more bouts in therapy, I’m still nursing a grudge…but I digress.

The most important lesson that came from those losses is how much our furry friends are actually our furry family members. Within 2 years of graduation, I had my own dog. He showed up on my front door one day, a young stray, and no one in the neighborhood would claim him. He became one of us, and though he very much wanted to continue straying, we saw to it that he was securely fenced during the day in our backyard, or in the house with us. Unfortunately, an unexpected terrible wind storm blew down our back yard fence, and when I got home from work that day, my dog was gone. I’d had him about 4 years and was devastated. I checked the shelters, neighbors, you name it. Then, 2 years after that, when I already had another dog, I spied him running around the neighborhood, obviously now owned by someone else who had given him a short haircut. I called to him. He recognized me, and promptly ran in the opposite direction, never to be seen by me again. OUCH!

Since then, I’ve kept all of my furry family members through thick and thin, and all of them to ripe old age. When our last two dogs were both 13, a 6 month old cat who had been abandoned adopted us. We named him after the street where we first met him, Mitchell (he’s the one in the video). When both dogs passed away that next year, we had already become confirmed dog AND cat people, so we adopted another cat, Flopsie, the other cat in the video (our little overeater).

Flopsie Barbra Lookalike
Flopsie and her human twin, (and my singing hero) Barbra

I cannot fathom our lives without them. The love and joy their funny little personalities offer us is an essential part of our human existence, and I thank God for them daily. No inconvenience great enough could make us part with them. Just think…when Flopsie became a pain in the butt with her overeating, if we had given her away, there would be no MeowSpace®. Together, Mitchell and Flopsie have become our “Mews.”

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