Okay, I admit Charly's eyes look a little creepy in this picture...I don't have a good photo editing program yet.
But his intense look - the watching, waiting, full of hope and faith that I'll head to the front door any minute to go on our walk - is irresistible. This is the look that got me started years ago on my daily walks. If it weren't for Charly, I'd be in terrible shape right now. He's my exercise partner, the one who doesn't let you slide when you think you're too tired or too busy. He doesn't have to nag me - that look is enough.
And Frankie has picked up on it, as you can see. He doesn't want to go on a walk - he just likes me to come out and talk to him and watch him peck at bugs - real and imaginary. He's a little bit of a show-off.
When I was growing up, my dream was to own a ranch where all homeless animals could live. I've always had a pet or two - growing up we raised Beagles, had several parakeets named Pete (in succession, not all at the same time), some horses and hamsters, plus a few random animals...Brenda cared for an opossum once, and I remember a duck in the backyard, although I'm not sure now where it came from or what happened to it. I became a cat person in my teens when Brenda brought home Char, a displaced antisocial Siamese that turned my mother from a cat..."disliker" (a cat killed her pet rabbit when she was a kid)...to a cat lover.
I don't know what I would do now without Charly, Max, and Frankie to keep me company and entertained. Now that my kids are older, it's nice to feel needed and appreciated in the way only pets and small children can show.
But I don't want more pets - that dream of adopting all strays faded fast (especially since I'm allergic to them.) At least one of my paychecks goes toward Max's food and medicine every month - he has one of those German Shepherd elbow problems. And Charly's on thyroid medicine. Frankie's pretty cheap, but he's developing a taste for bird seed.
There's no such thing as a free pet.
But a few people in Lago Vista must have had the same dream, and they didn't let allergies or money stop them from fulfilling that dream...as much as possible, anyway. With volunteers, donations of land and materials, and some city funding, they built a large shelter. Volunteers take care of the animals and hold fund-raisers.
For a little over ten years now Lifelong Friends Pet Adoptions, a no-kill animal shelter, has been taking in stray dogs and cats and finding new homes for them...trying to, anyway. The problem is every year there are more and more strays, fewer potential homes, and less money. Between the pet food recall last year and recent bad publicity and controversy over city funding and conditions at the shelter, their days may be numbered..both for the shelter and, consequently, for the dogs and cats living there. They will have to be moved to another shelter...and probably euthanized.
When Max first wandered up four years ago, the last thing I needed, wanted, or could afford, was another dog. I called the shelter, but they were already overcrowded and asked me if I could just keep him here long enough to find a home for him. Of course, I fell in love and he's never left.
If he hadn't wandered up to my house, if someone less of a softy had found him, Max could be one of those dogs living at the shelter, his future uncertain. So I'm going to scrape up some money to donate. They made my dream come true...they gave the strays a home...so the least I can do is try to keep it, the dogs, and the cats from being euthanized.
However, I don't dare go donate in person...one sight of all those eyes and I'd have to adopt them all. Thank goodness they accept online donations - I just have to go to their website and click a button. I hope some of you can pitch in a little, too.