A Day in the Life
9 December 2000 I got up before dawn this morning, roused, as usual, by the restlessness of seventeen dogs and eleven cats. It's been a good morning. I've had my herbal tea and my coffee, and read Martin Goldstein's "The Nature of Animal Healing." Patriot, my 13 ½ year old whippet, sleeps next to me. She is nearing the end of her life, and we are truly enjoying these last days together.
As Christmas nears, marking the end of a very difficult year for me, I reflect on the sadness and the joy, and feel peace. This path I have chosen has not been easy. Sometimes I feel like it's just too much. This year has had so many heartbreaking moments that I have doubted whether I am doing the right thing. Today I know I am.
Right now, seventeen dogs, eleven cats and a blue and gold macaw live here. The bird, all the cats, and thirteen of the dogs are house "pets." It's a small house, but it wouldn't matter if it were a castle, because they're all always right by my side. Everywhere I go, I have a troop following behind.
So many personalities! I know them all so well. They have the best life I can offer, and it is a great life by any standard. They radiate health and happiness. Three of the dogs have serious health problems, but they are equally loved and receive the best of natural, holistic care for each of their ailments.
I wish that all seventeen could be house dogs, but there are some personality issues that just can't be changed. Annie isn't safe around cats. Morgan is too high energy. Fred has dominance issues. What upsets me most is that Kringle can no longer be a part of the house pack. He attacked Sadie without any provocation, leaving her scarred forever. Kringle is a charming little rascal, and loves being with people. Now his time with me and the other dogs is limited since it has to be so well supervised. I am working with him to find out where we go from here.
With this many dogs, I always have to be alert to "ishuz." Sadie tends to be a kind of lightening rod for problems. Chels is very intelligent, but jealous and snappish. Wylie and Zack bicker periodically. But if I maintain a strong, firm, loving leadership, things go well. The cats are easier. Whenever there's a problem between them, the worst they do is go pee on something, or knock something over, or run off with a pair of my socks or an earring…
Living with this many animals isn't for everyone. Even I will agree to that. But I would suggest to any animal lover who thinks one dog or one cat is enough, open your heart! There are so so many out there who will die if homes can't be found. You can make a difference. Sure, it's going to take some adjustment, for you and your animal companion, but you'd be surprised at how much love a house can hold.
10 July 2002
of course, Duncan, the Macaw
"Happily Ever Afters..."
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