Friday, December 26, 2014

Happy Holidays for Shelter #Pets - #ShelterPetLove

I love animals.  And I come from a long line of animal lovers, on both sides of my family.  Growing up, we had at least 2 cats and a dog in the house at all times; we also owned a horse that lived at my mom's best friend's barn (that's the setting I used as inspiration for the stable where Jamie keeps her horse in my Young Adult novel DIVINE FALL).  I have many fond memories of playing with the barn cats and "camping out" with the other kids on the patio, under the stars, while all the dogs that lived on the farm tried to squeeze into our sleeping bags.

My mom, waking up with 350,
plus two cats.  I love this pic
We often took in rescues from shelters.  When my parents married, our first family dog was a St. Bernard named 350.  Why?  Because that was his cage number at the shelter, and that was how much his adoption fee was - $3.50.  Of course, this was 1969.

Sadly, my mom is gone...but I've continued the tradition of making animals a big part of our lives.  Right now at home we have a rescue cat (he's 16 now, and he's had several brothers over the years, both his actual brother and a few other rescues, but he's the only cat at the moment) and a rescue dog (see his story here) who is a 2-year-old Border Collie mix who could power the entire U.S. if we could figure out how to tap into his energy supply.  Luckily, my husband is a runner who takes him on 10 mile jaunts almost daily.

I wish I had a bigger house, a bigger yard, and a bigger income to be able to afford more.  If I could, I'd rescue them all.  Maybe someday we can have a farm too, that would have enough land to support a lot more.  In the meantime, I donate what I can to organizations that help homeless animals.

My younger son playing with one of the shelter cats
A few years ago, I decided our new Christmas tradition would be buying all the things on the local shelter's "wish list" and delivering it during visiting hours, with my kids, so we could also give the animals some extra holiday love.  The very first year we did this, the strangest thing happened on Christmas - a psychic medium at a party (who had never met me), gave me a message from my mother about this trip to see the animals.  More on that story here. While I write romance mixed with ghost stories, I'm a bit of a skeptic about "readings" and such.  But this was enough to make me believe some gifted people can talk to spirits, and I truly believe my mother wanted me to know how happy she was that we made that trip.

This is the stuff my sister got for
the dogs - she had a cart of
treats and supplies for cats too
This year, I posted some pictures on Facebook, in the hopes I might inspire others to visit their local shelters.  My sister saw the post and immediately said she'd do it too.  We live eight hours apart, which I hate, but I was thrilled that this gesture connected us in a small way for the holidays.  And I hope this tradition reminds my children of the importance of showing kindness to all the creatures of the world, especially those in need, and of the joy you can get from picking out presents for animals without a family.  My hope is that my boys, and my sister's girls, will continue the tradition with their children someday.  Happy holidays!

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