January 28, 2013

Critters: Healers of the Heart

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 8:50 pm by Debbie

While I was writing ‘Thank You, My Friend‘, I couldn’t help but think of another group of special friends in my life: my critters.

I learned at a young age to love and respect all creatures, especially the furry four-legged variety. Dave was intrigued (and often baffled) by my love and devotion to those critters. As a matter of fact, his nickname for me was ‘Elly May’. And just so you know, I called him ‘Jethro’ (if you have no idea who they are, then you are probably much younger than I – look up The Beverly Hillbillies.)

My furry friends have taught me so much, and continue to do so. More importantly, their love, companionship and loyalty have provided countless therapy sessions. My heart has been healed on many an occasion. These past few months are certainly no exception. So, in honor of the critters I have loved through the years, I’m sharing a synopsis of the lessons I’ve learned from each:

Spot – our childhood companion, a rescued mutt from The Humane Society. She taught me about loyalty and the art of listening. When she looked into my eyes, I believed in that moment that she understood everything. And cared. Spot and I had a lot of heart-felt conversations during my pre- and early-teen years.

Sheba – my father’s Golden-Lab mix. Sheba’s muscular body was gorgeous in her shiny black coat with flecks of gold. In more ways than one, she proved to me that strength is, indeed, a beautiful thing.

Abercrombie – my first-born, a black Cocker Spaniel. Abo reminded me to kick off my shoes and let my hair down. She also taught me a thing or two about motherhood.

Bandit – Abercrombie’s daughter, a black and white Cocker Spaniel. Bandit taught us all about patience, particularly as it relates to the very young. She helped my daughter learn how to walk by allowing her to grab hold of the fur on her back while slowly taking baby steps.

Molly – the deaf Dalmatian that we saved from destruction and gave to my father. Molly taught us about overcoming life’s obstacles. She didn’t need working ears to hear. Molly heard the world just fine (and knew sign language, too.)

Taffy – the blonde Cocker Spaniel we saved from an uncertain future. As laid back and relaxed as they come, Taffy taught us to not sweat the small stuff – ever.

Sassy – my daughter’s first gray Tabby, purchased at a pet store on a day when I sent my husband and daughter to buy turtle food (she was 3 years old at the time and knew how to melt her daddy’s heart – need I say more?) True to her name, Sassy reminded us that it’s okay to be a little sassy once in a while.

Brandy – my son’s rotund Beagle. She showed us how to find the good in everyone. There wasn’t a creature on earth that Brandy didn’t love – except, perhaps, the cat on days when she’d swipe at Brandy’s butt with drawn claws.

Callie – our Calico. Callie picked me (tapped me on the shoulder to get my attention) while visiting The Humane Society one day. She belonged to everyone. She belonged to no one. Callie taught us to always be our unique selves – even if your self is a tad bit eccentric.

Roxie* – my black and white Border Collie. Roxie’s philosophy is to protect your loved ones fiercely, play like you mean it, and give 110% every time. She’s also an excellent listener and sacrifices her belly for rubs because she’s convinced that belly-rubs are therapeutic for humans.

Tigger* – my daughter’s second gray Tabby. Tigger would tell you to speak your mind as necessary, stay away from those you don’t trust (e.g., dogs), and take naps often.

Faelen* – my red Border Collie. Faelen has taught us that kisses make everything better, you should keep your loved ones close to you 24/7, one should never really grow up, and the center of attention is an okay place to be. He’s a momma’s boy and believes that hugs from his human are good for that human’s heart.

Lucy/Louie* – my son’s black feline. Lucy was a Louie until we realized that he was a she. But she acts like a he. The moral of her story – go ahead, be a tom-boy.

As Elly May might say, “Them’s my critters and they’re really swell.” And Jethro would say, “This place is a zoo!”

* Roxie, Tigger, Faelen and Lucy run our current household. They are all spoiled rotten. They are all a godsend.

PS – Just so you know, my husband (Dave) and Jethro both used extremely large mixing bowls in place of the standard cereal bowl.

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