My love of animals, and of course family, may be the only interests that outweigh my love of crafts. 

 

My husband and I are animal activists, vegetarians, and do a small amount of rescue work here in our own hometown.  Over the course of our 27 years together, we’ve adopted several pets that were abused, abandoned, or rescued from a kill shelter; many were purebreds.  Unfortunately being a purebred animal does not guarantee them a “happily ever after” future; often times they are just another unwanted and unloved pet and one of the millions of animals that die each year in shelters across the United States.

 

The first pet my husband and I shared was my Tabitha.  Now Tabitha was my very own beautiful long-haired tabby feline that I had when my husband and I met.  Bob, my husband, had been married once before and had owned a Sheltie whom he loved dearly.  He was unable to keep her after the divorce and regrettably had to adopt her out.  Therefore, he was not anxious to own any more animals...he could not take the heartbreak.  But...I had Tabitha before I had him and once I conveyed this to him...well he eventually came around. 

 

Our second pet was a beautiful red Irish Setter whom we named Ralph.  We found Ralph on one of our late evening jaunts to the grocery store.  When we first sighted Ralph, lying near the door in the dead of winter, we thought he was dead; he didn’t move, raise his head, or show any signs of life.  When I knelt down beside him though and touched his head, he came to life and the first thing I noticed was the gentleness in his eyes. 

 

Conversations with store employees relayed that he had been there all day and refused to leave.  The assumption was that his owner had abandoned him here, dropping him off at one door and leaving through another out of sight of the dog; thinking his owner was still in the store, the dog refused to leave.

 

We could not get him off of our minds.  Concerned about the many dangers of a dog on his own, especially given our exceptionally cold winter that year, the decision was made; we would drive back to the store after closing time and if he was still there would bring him home and attempt to locate his owner.  Knowing he probably had not eaten all day, we grabbed a package of hot dogs on our way out the door; this was before our vegetarian days of course.

 

As we pulled up to the stores doors, we searched the mounds of snow for any sign of movement but none were evident.  As we turned to leave though, we spotted a red head slowly making its way out of the icy snow.  After several failed attempts at coaxing him into our car, we opened the package of hot dogs, threw them in the back seat and in one swift motion he jumped in and quickly devoured the entire package.  Slamming the car door shut, we jumped in our seats and took off for home.

 

Once home, we were distressed to notice how thin his frame was, his hair was long, thick and matted and covered with fleas and ticks.  But this was not the worse, to our horrible dismay we saw there on the top of his nose the definite outline and burn that could only have been inflicted by having a lit cigarette pressed down into his skin; someone had deliberately put out a cigarette on this sweet-natured boy’s nose.  The tears began to roll as we realized the trauma this poor boy must have gone through in his few short years, and our decision to find his owner was abandoned. 

 

His first trip to the vet revealed, we believe, the reason for his abandonment; he had heart worms.  Already haven fallen in love with him, we knew that we would fight to save him.  For weeks Ralph withstood the “cancerous” type medications used at that time for heartworms received through a catheter sewn into the skin of one of his paws.  The effects of the medications made him so ill that often times he could barely get up and more than once we thought we might lose him.  Showering Ralph with love and attention, we tried to instill in Ralph the desire and the strength to fight...and fight he did.

 

Finally with a clean bill of health, we had our Ralph for 8 glorious and fun-filled years during which time he “peed” on our Christmas tree presents, ransacked our bathroom when we mistakenly shut him in there, became acquainted with all of the neighborhood children (who simply loved him by the way) during his escape ventures, and just simply filled our home with love.  At over 100 pounds, Ralph, our gentle giant, was unfailing sweet natured, faithful and beloved by all who came to know him.

 

Holding him in our arms as he took his last breath, our baby crossed over the Rainbow Bridge.  But we know that he stands vigilant to greet his adopted brothers and sisters, many whom have crossed over since him, and we know he also stands waiting for the day when we too shall cross over the bridge; reunited once again.

 

This site has been designed by Bob Greenwalt

Copyright 2007