To Adopt or Abandon: A Love Like No Other
I wake up to my alarm, set late because it doesn't take me long to get ready. For a split second I try to remember why I'm getting up, or better yet, why I wasn't one of those people who dropped out... (That quickly faded though, I'm not one to slack at school anyway.) The feelings of dread and misery of having to get up, for anything, quickly pass and are replaced with over whelming joy in the form of sweet puppy kisses from my shih tzu, Sophia.
I'm almost done getting ready and Sophia has followed me everywhere, like she does every morning unless she is feeling unusually tired, which, in that case, she goes back to bed. She stares at me with her wide brown eyes, wondering why I didn't stay in bed just a little bit longer, why I have to leave again this morning.
I kiss her on the forehead and close the baby-gate to barricade her from going into the rest of the house and creating a mess. She stands at the baby gate, again, paws at it, tries to fit her head through one of the diamond shaped slots. Cries, telling me in her puppy ways to come back.
Later that night:
I get home from school, work, whatever I did that day, depending on the day. I'm sufficiently tired, all I want to do is crawl in bed. My sweet Sophia dances in front of me, repeatedly jumping up on me until I set everything down and pick her up. Then, she showers me with kisses. Since it's late she goes off to play with a toy, or back to bed to wait on me until I'm done. Later, when I'm done, I crawl into bed again, and am rejoined by the loving company of my dog.
Sophia isn't the only animal we have on this farm. She is accompanied by Isabella and Leon, her bigger doggie companions, two cats, Zoe and Chevy, fish, two cows, Moses and Oliver, two goats, Maddie and Ellie, and chickens galore. We're like Noah's arc on our small, haven of a farm, except for Sophia, who pretty much considers herself a person.
I've always loved animals, probably a trait I learned from my mother who had a passion from the beginning. Her passion is why we are vegetarians, her passion is why we save those we can, her passion is why we have a strong passion. And most importantly, her love for these animals is so great. Her love betrays her at times, wanting to save them all. My love for these animals is the same, love to share with them all, to save them all, but not enough availability to help them all.
I remember when I was younger, my mother had an obsession with cows. We had a plethora of cow decorations scattered carefully throughout the house, we had dogs and cats, but my mother had bigger dreams than the town house we lived in. We started out by saving the ones we could, becoming foster parents to a dog until he found a home. I learned to truly love something and care for another living being through these animals, my mother taught us how. Her love grew into ours, and soon the animals were part of the family. With love, I learned loss. Loss for the first time with something that is innocent and can give you nothing but it's life and it's love, that's a hard pill to swallow for a little kid.
I learned to live with happy memories, this lesson helped when people died, and I understood that loss happens, we must enjoy what we have while we have it. We moved eventually to a house with land. Not too long after renovations took place, we saved our first cow, saved from an inevitable and frightening death. We named him Moses. Moses was a leader, Moses was the first, Moses was a beginning to something great; it was fitting, Moses was. Then the goats and another cow, Oliver, would follow, less meaningful names, but beautiful ones that sung to us. For a while we had Gracie the pig. We never knew a pig was like a dog, you could teach it to sit, you could teach it to play and come, even though stubbornness to coming sometime took place. With Gracie we learned a new kind of loss, a sudden one that happens on accident to the young. We learned life when the chicks hatched from their eggs, and we learned the dominion of chickens and roosters in their own little community.
I've learned a great deal from animals, more than a lot of people will ever know to teach me. Mostly, I learned a kind of love that can't disappoint, a love that you cannot deny.
Maybe that's why I wonder, I wonder about the factories who torture innocent creatures, who carelessly toss away baby chicks just for sake of money, who break legs of animals with too much hormones, which are beaten, treated like lifeless and heartless beings. I wonder about the ignorance in the people who say an animal is dumb, can't love, can't understand. I wonder how they think a chicken can't love when ours will follow you around and jump up to snuggle in your lap, how they think a cow can't learn it's name, who's car is who, who is their mother by voice, by smell, by look. The cows who moo for their mother but ignore most others, who jump and gallop in cheer, who call for her when her car pulls in, specifically hers. How do they think any of these animals are dumb and cannot love? I've learned the greatest love of all from these beautiful creatures. The ones who have more civility than some people in this town, who express more love and understanding than some will ever know.
I wonder how these people could deny these creatures. Hurt them, ignore them, insult them, leave them out, exposed to the weather devoid of any shelter. All through the night in below freezing temperatures. How? How? How? How could you deny a love like that?
I wonder what kind of person it takes to ask for a puppy, and then to leave it tied to a tree without love or attention. Without the warm of the indoors or a heart who cares for it. These aren't play things. They are real.
Even the small ones who fit in our hands, the animals that most ignore and take as bait or a toy. The ones who can love just as much as anything else.
So I ask you all, how? I know you know these people, who think these things of animals, who treat them poorly, who leave their dogs tied up to a tree all day every day, maybe you are one of those people. So answer me how, how could you be heartless? And why would you? Why would anyone take in an animal and then throw it to the wayside? There's no greater, more innocent love then the love of an animal.
I beg you now, if you have an animal you don't want, please don't just ignore it, give it a home where it can find the love it deserves. There's no point in having an animal that's going to be abandoned in it's own home, or abandoned at all. And if you are a loving home, adopt animals that need the love, go to shelters, become foster parents, adopt animals that aren't just babies, adult animals can love you just as much and need more help.
Visit the Asheville Humane Society to save an animals life. And if you have a lost animal, take it to the Humane Society or another no kill shelter that will make sure the animal is fostered or adopted. Please be part of this movement to help find homes for these animals, they need you.
ashevillehumane.org Also visit their Facebook page.
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