Touched by Animals
Growing up I was never able to have a pet of my own do to allergies which some times still affect me today but I know which animals are ok and which animals I need to stay away from. Now that I am an adult I do own two cats which I love very dearly.
Oreo we found when he was a kitten or actually I think he found us. My husband and I happened to be getting in our car one day and we kept on hearing this meow coming from some place inside the car. We looked all over the place but it turned out the small meows we had been hearing was coming from the engine of the car. We called the vets and animal shelters to see if anyone was missing this adorable kitten but the vet told us most likely he was a stray just looking for warmth in the engine of our car. We waited several weeks to see if anyone would claim him but no one did and we had already grown attached to him so we decided to keep him. Oreo reminds me of a dog because he loves to follow us around, greet us at the door when we come home and is just always a faithful companion. He is a very affectionate cat that loves to spread the love by rubbing up against you an giving out non stop kisses. One of my favorite things I love about Oreo is that you have to share your drinks with him. If you have a soda and he hears the can or bottle open up he comes a running to you. He only licks the outside of the containers but if you do not let him get a few licks in he will let you know he wants you to share until you eventually give in.
Then we have Snow. We got Snow in January this year during a sad time in our lives. We had recently had to make a painful decision to put my cat Les Paul to sleep because he had less then 1% of his Kidneys left do to a rare genetic kidney disease. Les Paul was only 4 1/2 years old when he died and he was a constant companion to Oreo. I did not want Oreo to feel a lone so I thought it would be best to find ourselves a new cat to keep Oreo company. We found Snow at the Humane Society and I fell in love with her the moment I saw her. What we did not know was that she had been a feral cat and she would be very demanding (especially for constantly wanting your attention). She has a wild side to her still but recently she has been starting to feel more like a part of the family. She seemed to never want any thing to do with Oreo and now she constantly is with him and she never would sit on the couch or in the bed with us and she recently has started to do these things now.
My pets always seem to know when I do not feel well or when I am just down because they are always there to try to make me feel better. I have realized this also when I am out at the zoo photographing the animals that I have photographed for years that have gotten to know me seem to sense when I need a little bit more extra attention. They know how to make me smile when I am down.
Recently I lost one of my beloved zoo animals that always made me smile no matter how I was feeling because he loved to give me the biggest smile when ever he would see me. He mainly only smiled at his keepers and it was rare for him to give any of the guest a smile but he did single me out and smile at me all the time. I was told by several of the staff and keepers that Jaho (Ya-ho) was sweet on me and seemed always happy to see me.
I cherish every moment when an animal has touched my life and I have so many fond memories of these times.
Photo credits: Susan Pettitt.