Feathers, Fur and Family

I love animals. I don’t think that there was ever a time in my life as a child or an adult that I didn’t share my home with at least one pet.

The Early Years

Collectively, our family menagerie included at anytime, dogs, a cat, parakeets, a cockatoo, and a number of hamsters.

A gorgeous Moluccan Cockatoo with a penchant for chewing wood and screaming in the middle of the night.

Our Moluccan Cockatoo who used to bow.

We were always animal magnets. We gave animals a warm, safe place to live and a belly full of food, and in return, they gave us years of companionship, joy, entertainment and unconditional love. My uncle, who used to work in Public Works, found a stray parakeet – yes, parakeet – on the job, and kept it in the cab of his pickup truck all day until he could drive it over to our house.

The best dog, ever, dressed up for Halloween.

The best dog, ever, dressed up for Halloween.

One day, someone had left a homeless puppy in my dad’s car while at work. Shep, above, was the best dog ever. He was protective of his family, loving to all the kids, a nursemaid when I was sick, and just a cool pup.

Yes, I posed our beagle with my Cabbage Patch Kids!

Yes, I posed our beagle with my Cabbage Patch Kids!

Then came along Pixie. She was our first and only pure breed. We adopted her one summer day. My mother had taken all four of us kids and our neighbor friends (there were three of them who lived next door to us) to the mall. She made the mistake of letting us go into the pet store. We fell in love with this little short-legged beagle. I remember calling my dad and begging him to let us get her. He finally relented, and she became the spoiled princess of the house.

Of course, it’s not just domesticated animals that I love.

As kids, my mother often took us to visit the local Audubon Society.  I remember walking along the pathways among the protected areas where birds and other small animals lived. I wish that I had photos to share, because it was such a beautiful and peaceful place.

An exciting ride on a burro while visiting my Aunt and Grandfather in Arizona.

A exciting ride on a burro while visiting my Aunt and Grandfather in Arizona.

We always took every opportunity to meet and interact with animals. While visiting family in Arizona, we got to ride burros at the Phoenix Zoo.

Petting a dolphin at Sea World.

Petting a dolphin at Sea World.

While vacationing at Disney World in Florida, we took a day trip to SeaWorld, where we got to meet and pet dolphins.

The Love Affair Continues

We grew up understanding that didn’t own animals. We belonged to them. I’m reminded of that every time one of my cats “marks” me with a nuzzle, or bring me a favorite toy as a gift. It’s amazing how much space a beloved pet can take up in our hearts. I am constantly amazed at the gifts that God created.

My sister showing off her new puppy, Max.

My sister showing off her new puppy, Max.

Bringing home a new furry or feathered friend is always cause for celebration and excitement in our family. It’s always fun to meet new furry “nieces and nephews.”

The ride home from picking up my other sister's newly adopted puppy, Anakin.

The ride home from picking up my other sister’s newly adopted puppy, Anakin.

We often exchange gifts for each others’ fur-babies at Christmas. In classic grandma style, both of our kitties’ grandmothers spoil them with toys and treats. Milo adores my mother. He always runs to the door to greet her, and insists on sitting on her lap the moment she sits down. Molly is still a bit shy, but she’s realizing that Grammy is the bomb diggety!

My napping buddy.

Molly making sure I’m warm and comfy.

Our pets play important roles in our lives. They keep us warm…

Milo helping my write a blog post.

Milo helping me write a blog post.

Milo helping daddy work.

Milo helping daddy work.

They help us work…

Our angel kitty, Mackenize, keeping vigil when I was sick.

Our angel kitty, Mackenzie, keeping vigil when I was sick.

They watch over us when we don’t feel well…

One of our lovebirds, Mango, used to make kiss-kiss sounds only to my husband.

One of our lovebirds, Mango, used to make kiss-kiss sounds only to my husband.

They show us love…

Milo, our guard kitty, keeping an eye on an unfamiliar vehicle parked outside our house.

Milo, our guard kitty, keeping an eye on an unfamiliar vehicle parked outside our house.

They keep us safe.

Out In The World

I love seeing animals doing “animal things.”

Not sure what this little guy is, but he visited us often.

Not sure what this little guy is, but he visited us often.

Backyard critters…

Hubby took this photo outside the entrance to his office building.

Canadian Geese congregating outside the entrance to Ken’s office building.

Migrating birds…

Duck sighting at a local park.

Duck sighting at a local park.

…and other random animal encounters are such a treat to behold!

An incredible adventure - Whale Watching off the coast of Boston, MA.

An incredible adventure – Whale Watching off the coast of Boston, MA.

Although we lived right outside Boston for nearly ten years, we had never taken advantage of the “touristy” activities. On a whim, we decided to go on a Whale Watch. The ship captain told us that there was no guarantee that we’d see any whales, but they didn’t disappoint! It’s difficult to fire a shot off the camera in time from the millisecond your eye spy a whale, but we were able to capture the “footprint” of this mama whale who swam really close to the boat.

Some little goats at an animal exhibition in Boston.

Some little goats at an animal exhibition in Boston.

Random farm animals at Ken's uncle's ranch in Arkansas.

Random farm animals at Ken’s uncle’s ranch in Arkansas.

Since Ken grew up around farm animals, he doesn’t get excited like I do, but he indulges me in my obsession!

One of the "Big Cats" dragging a log to play with, at the Big Cat Habitat at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.

One of the “Big Cats” dragging a log to play with, at the Big Cat Habitat at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.

We both loved seeing the Big Cats at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. Such magnificent creatures!

Some sort of lizard hanging out near the pool at the hotel we stayed in while on vacation to Puerto Rico.

Some sort of lizard hanging out near the pool at the hotel we stayed in while on vacation to Puerto Rico.

Vacation is a great time to observe animals you don’t see in your daily life. Everywhere we went in Puerto Rico, we saw animals of all kinds – wild parrots in the rainforest, tiny chirping frogs called “Coqui”, and lizards of all sizes!

Answering the Call of the Wild

Well, as I’ve been writing this, little Miss Molly has been mewing for my attention, and Milo is begging to go outside. It’s time to answer the call of the real bosses of the house!

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