Ever since I was a little girl I’ve seen my mother, who I will refer to as Snow White for all intents and purposes in this post, take in all sorts of animals. Exotic animals and pets you’d find in swanky pet shops would show up on our doorstep and back porch. We’re talking snapping turtles, frogs, lizards, beta fish, goldfish, ducks, chicks, Love Birds, Cockatiels, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, chinchillas, dogs of every breed, snakes (though those have been mostly uninvited due to their possibly threatening nature) and more recently a cat. Like a scene straight out of Snow White who attracted animals just by stepping out doors and belting out a melody, my mother simply needed to be present and they’d show up.
It got to the point where neighbors seemed to notice. Perhaps they believed we were good enough people to take unwanted pets in, for on several occasions some unforeseen force would leave fish in cups and baby turtles in bags on our front porch. While trying to not think of it as some strange Santeria being cast on us we were never able to leave them to die. We’d take them in too. Don’t get the wrong idea here. Although my lifelong dream has been to own a farm our household does not resemble one. Strangely enough it’s as if the universe gives us time between animals before delivering new ones to our care. Like a yearly subscription to the animal kingdom. And yes through old contacts I’ve also had the gift of cuddle time with baby wolves, tigers, leopards, bears and have even been able to do research on marine life, specifically dolphins. (I swam with them once and vowed to never do so again outside of their natural habitat. Shame on you Miami Seaquarium, Sea World and Taijin, Japan. Watch The Cove and Black Fish people.)
Many animals that come through our door are injured. We nurse the wild ones back to health and let them back into the world once strong enough. My mother has stories of reviving birds she’d find on her stoop during winter in New York, frozen and seemingly dead, as a little girl. She’d take them inside and witness the miracle of the animals starting to breathe again, flutter their snow crackled wings after being incubated, warmed by her hands and prayed over for hours. She’d feed them, keep them until they looked like they could stand on their own again and would release them back into the world. After she moved down to Miami in her teen years she retained this gift of caring for broken things, people and animals alike really. I guess it’s her God given gift. Though sometimes she bites off more than she can chew and that’s where I come in. If mom is Snow White then consider me a sarcastic and at times cynical Florence Nightingale. As oxymoronic as that may seem I have a soft spot for animals and people, specifically the broken ones too. Maybe that’s because I feel some kind of kinship with them and in helping them heal feel a bit of my own cracks fading.
Luna is our latest foster baby. Luna the kitten was found in front of our house one night, underweight, feral and with a broken tail. She was way too young and sickly to survive on her own. My mom took one look at her and did what she always does. I’m usually left to research the cares and needs of the animals we take in. Which is exactly what happened one morning when my mom was away on business in Washington D.C. and I found Luna with her tail hanging off of bloody matted fur and bare bone. Mind you my boyfriend and I were getting ready to go on vacation. My bags were packed when I discovered our newly adopted kitten in worse condition then we’d ever seen her in. A giant adult cat was caught slinking out of our yard when I discovered her this way and our vet says it was most likely a bad fight that got our kitten in such a bad state. My boyfriend and I were delayed from our vacation two days and took our now personally adopted animal with us on the trip to administer all the medication the kitten needed. No one else could take care of a cat that’d just undergone a tail amputation and who’d been neutered on the same day. Yes, we discovered she was in fact a he, though he retains the name Luna and all his things are still pink. (Thanks Dr. Claudio for clearing that up.) Taking care of animals and pets is a huge responsibility that takes time, money and attention. That is why I tell you now, before bringing a pet home please educate yourselves on the health and needs of the animal and its breed. Some animals are not for everyone. Unless you are Snow White and Florence Nightingale who have a habit of biting off more they can chew.
P.S. Luna is doing just fine and had his stitches removed this week. He is finally gaining weight again and has become the most playful kitten. See clip below for a glimpse at his progress.
If you and your family want a pet consider adopting. There are many animals waiting to find a caring home. Click on the links below for great adoption agencies, hospitals and vets in the Miami area.
Humane Society of Miami
Banfield Pet Hospital