Our family has an unusual affinity for rescuing animals. Most people think of an animal shelter where one goes and picks from an array of cats and dogs when they say “rescue animal.” Or the melodramatic commercials asking you to donate the price of your daily coffee to the pitiful, sympathy- inducing picture of a dog in a cage. None of that applies to us. My family likes to take home anything it happens upon. For instance, today, my son was working for an outdoor management company and caught a baby raccoon. Soon my phone was blowing up with calls and pics of the little black fur-ball. I had to admit, it surely was a cute sight, but over the years, my rationale has won out. I started visualizing a 30 pound raccoon pilfering through our kitchen at night and scratching up our tiny dogs. No raccoon moving in….
You see, I have come home to a snake, hamsters, fish, hermit crabs, turtles and the odd dog found wandering the road. I handpicked 3 of our 6 dogs at shelters. And one, my children say, will be the end of me if anything happens to it. I wholeheartedly agree. I think God sent that one to help me cope through rearing high schoolers. It rescued me first.
I am all for rescuing when you have the option because a pet is expensive enough without the papers. There are so many animals in need of good homes that I can’t fathom driving cross country to get a So and So breed from the top So and So breeder.
I once succumbed to our daughter’s persistent request for a rabbit. I regret it every time I see another “cocoa puff” that’s turned up. That little white, angelic tuft of fur grew into the most demonic of biting creatures that actually snorted and terrorized our chihuahua. She had to go. But, I always wanted to be the parent who at least gave pets a chance and not always said no for my own convenience. That tactic was both overly generous and masochistic at the same time. Hamsters have babies (not one, but like 15). They also smell and require frequent cage cleanings, as do turtles. We never did get a bird, praise the Lord, but we did actually rescue an injured falcon and delivered it over an hour away to an animal conservation program (on a Friday at 5:00pm). Our altruism wasn’t that well received. But we did it as a family and we tried!