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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Monday, August 10, 2009

Learning about love from our pets

My husband and I travel a lot these days, and I would love it if not for having to leave my fur babies behind. It's hard to imagine how much you can miss your babies when you're on the road for weeks at a time. You have to leave their care to others and you just know your babies wonder what's going on. Have you left them for good this time?

But when you arrive back home, you're greeted with welcoming barks and meows, tails that wag so hard they wag the whole body, kisses that leave slobber up and down your face. No recriminations, no accusations of abandonment. Just pure joy that you're finally home. If those fur babies could talk, what would they tell you? Tales of turtles that threatened the family home and had to be chased back into the pond? The dog that dared to come into the front yard, only to be driven back by ferocious barking? The fearful thunderstorms they endured when you weren't there to provide comfort?

How many of the human species offer such total devotion, unbridled adoration, and unconditional love? I don't know of anyone who offers the above like my Daisy and Blue. It takes many petting sessions to reassure them of my continued presence, but I never get baleful looks for leaving them so long. During the times I'm home, they rarely leave my side. Blue sleeps at my feet, Daisy an arm's length away in her favorite chair. I'm offered paws to shake and ears to scratch. And it's amazing how much stress those activities relieve.

I tell myself over and over that once these babies have crossed the Rainbow bridge, I won't get another. That I don't need the stress and worry of leaving a pet behind when I travel. But where will I find that kind of love without them? Though they can't express their love with words, I'm left with no doubt whatsoever that I am loved, and loved deeply and unconditionally.

Back when we had cows, I was constantly amazed at how much affection so-called "dumb" animals could provide as well. Don't let them fool you--cows are not dumb. They are devoted to their babies, and they can communicate with you if you know how to listen. One story I've told before is about a cow I bottle-raised from day one. She had loads of personality and she thought I was her mama. When she had a calf of her own, it couldn't latch on to nurse. We didn't realize this until the calf was 2 1/2 days old and her mama brought her up to our back fence and bawled until we came out to see what was wrong. After assessing the situation, I took off for the local dairy for a bottle of colostrum and a gallon of raw milk.

We got the baby on its feet, fed it with the bottle until it got the idea of nursing, then helped it latch on to mom. My reward was head to knee kisses (cow licks in human terms) from mom. Looking into her eyes, you could see her gratitude and--I swear--love.

I've included a few pictures of Daisy (the smaller, yellow dog. And yes, she is truly a blonde), Blue (the larger, black Blue Heeler), and Dammit and Valentino (the cow and calf in the story above).

Do you have any stories to share about your pets and their unconditional love?


At 10:04 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

One of my cats, Pixie, follows me around all day. Sometimes she cries when I leave her to get the mail. She's not a lap cat though. She wants to be near me, but not on me, which I like because it's hard to write with a cat on your lap!

At 10:25 AM, Blogger Tori Scott said...

My husband has a cat that he keeps in his office or in the garage since I'm allergic to cats. It wants to sit in his lap all the time, unless it's busy turning on the printer. It loves to watch the paper shoot out.

At 11:02 AM, Blogger Judy said...

Oh my goodness, Tori, how funny about the cat and the cow! I miss how my horse used to rub his face against me, but more I miss his low nickers and lipping. When I scratched just the right spot, he'd want to return the favor but knew he wasn't allowed to use teeth, so he'd work his lips along my arm. When I did something my dog didn't like or she did something I didn't like we allowed each other some space, ie, ignored each other. She started the routine that when her snit was over, she'd bring her string bone to play tug-o-war. It wasn't long before she started to bring it to see if my snit was over and all was forgiven. There is nothing in the world that is anything like the love of an animal.

At 2:16 PM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

Jinx has recently taken to waking me up (usually at 6:30 a.m.) with repeated lickings with her tong on my cheek. The first time she tried it, it took her maybe three seconds to figure out it was the most effective method she'd used to date.

At 5:54 PM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

Tori, what a great post and you have some gorgeous pets. Such expressive faces.

I can't go the bathroom or take a shower without complete canine and feline supervision. Nor can I sleep without it. Try taking a shower and knowing five dogs and four cats are sitting on the bathmat staring at the shower curtain wondering when you are going to come out.

The best part of my day is coming home to my animals. I live alone in the middle of nowhere and when I pull up the driveway the outside dogs (all nine of them) set up the alarm. My brothers call it "the doorbell") My neighbors always know when I have come home.

Because I have such a large number of animals inside and out (all are rescue animals. I have five acres with big fenced in runs for the outside dogs. The little dogs and the cats are strictly housepets) when I came to RWA I had my 18 year old nephew come and pet sit for me. The animals know him and he is very diligent in there care. When I came home, however, it was a veritable fireworks show of jumping, barking, licking and sheer ecstasy because "Mom's Home!" You just can't beat it!

At 6:13 PM, Blogger Tori Scott said...

Ah, those wonderful, sand-papery cat licks. If those won't get you up, nothing will.

Judy, that's so funny about your dog getting in a snit. Daisy has done that a few times in the past, but now that she's getting old, she's eager to please. We used to have a mule who loved us and would butt his head against us when he wanted his head rubbed. He died of cancer at age 5, which was heartbreaking.

Louisa, my hat is off to you for taking in rescues. I wish I could do that, but then I'd never be able to let them go. Not to mention not having enough time to give them the love and attention they'd deserve. We've taken in a few rescues over the years, but giving them up was so hard.

At 7:08 PM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

Tori, fortunately my rescues never leave. This is the end of the line for them. Most of them have or had such terrible emotional problems it was come to me or be put down. Unfortunately, at least for any animals that need me, I am at my limit. The number I have now is all I can provide a loving home for at this point.

At 7:17 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Tori, love your post! I also loved your cow story. awwwww I know exactly what you mean about saying no more animals and then getting another dog or cat! ha! We have a stray cat who just had twelve hundred dollars in surgery to have teeth fixed and cysts removed. the cat was in pain the doctors said, but not any longer! yay! We couldn't afford the surgery but pets are like kids and you do what you have to. My husband talks to our chihuahua all day long although to friends he talks a good talk about not wanting anything to do with the animals.

I enjoyed your blog. thanks for sharing with us today!

At 9:19 PM, Blogger Christine said...

I love this post. I love my babies.. not the cat litter or the cat barfs, but O I love my girl cats. But I have said that I won't get more babies after the last is gone due to travel considerations... but now I read this and I wonder? I probably will succumb to the sweetness they have and I'll spend time saying why did I do this to myself, but i love my kitties... they are sos sweet.

At 10:32 PM, Blogger Tori Scott said...

Thanks Theresa and Christine!

Theresa, OUCH! on the surgery cost. But you're right. They're our babies. How can we not do whatever we can to help them? Especially when they trust us so completely? When Blue tried to get the big, bad UPS guy and punctured a vein between his toes on the dining room window, it cost us a bundle. But he'd just willingly risked his life to protect our kids, so the cost wasn't a factor. We had to get him fixed up.


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