Pets are so important to me and to so many others. Without them I’d be talking to myself and finding my life at home so quiet.
I was always a cat person, I grew up with many at home and once independent and working started with one of my own and after she died ended up with four more at the same time. I find them amusing, lovable and self-sufficient; perfect for someone away from the house for long hours.
I took Amy in when my first cat Marmie passed away. The loss of a pet is heart-wrenching, especially if you live alone. I wondered if I could bear to go through it again, but when Amy needed a home it was the right time. She had been a wild roaming cat, taken in as a pregnant kitty then desexed after the kittens were weaned. She didn’t take to her new home, but with me she loved to roam my large property and sit on the roof watching the world below.
I ran a boarding kennel and cattery at the time and my heart sank when I saw two male cats up for adoption at the RSPCA that had boarded with me regularly; two shy boys who would surely suffer if separated! I had space and happily picked them up, sad that the owners could not take them to the United Kingdom when they moved. Those boys, AJ and Tiger, were so active and they would follow me to the on-site office when they weren’t tumbling around play-fighting. Tiger came home one day with a damaged leg. We don’t know what he did but with a choice of amputation or euthanasia we knew he’d be okay on three legs. Sure enough, he rebalanced himself and could run pretty fast but his jumping skills were not so great. He spent a lot of time on my reception counter greeting the customers as they brought my pet guest to stay. Needless to say he was the most petted cat in town!
The last of this group of four was a senior, 12-year-old kitty looking for a retirement home. Originally names Misty, I soon renamed her: Xena, Warrior Cat! She was feisty, knew what her claws were for and ruled over the rest of the cats to the extent that she alone slept on my bed from the time she arrived until she died five years later. All others were banished with a swipe and a hiss!
I never owned a dog until 2007, after I moved to Melbourne but felt I could take on a puppy who needed a home. We bonded immediately, and he fit in with my lifestyle easily. The cats gave him a wide berth and it worked out fine. Puppy training was a whole new experience for me; a few puddles but with overnight crate training and frequent outdoor visits when I was home Bertie was housetrained within 10 or 12 weeks. He’s 11 now and in my life without partner or kids, he is my shadow. The cats left me one by one, Amy being the first in last out, age 20 years. I recently adopted a three-year-old Persian and that is a whole other package of care compared to your basic domestics. Daily eye care, regular grooming and baths are essential for this breed!
I’ve been in the pet care industry for 20 year or so as a home pet feeder, kennel/cattery owner, and a dog and cat groomer. Animals are a huge part of my life and I see them in other people’s lives in various levels of importance: from young singles and couples with fur-kids, to families with furry family members and older folk who enjoy their company, especially those whose children have left home, who may have lost a partner or who never had family. They are treasures to be loved.