Winter this year is not whimsical. It’s two-foot deep hard packed snow, now turned icy. It’s temperatures that dip, and stay, in the teens. And it’s an economy tipped heavily toward unemployment. We’re New Englanders. We’ll see it through. Unfortunately, one of the ways people are coping is by abandoning their pets. The lucky ones end up at places like the MSPCA.
Our family has three MSPCA rescues: Babe and Twinky, the cats, and Waffles. Waffles was found wandering the streets of Haverhill a year and a half ago. He was so badly matted that the staff sheared him like a sheep.
Yesterday, I clicked over to the adoption site because dogs were on my mind. We’d been watching the Westminster Kennel Club annual show on TV. I love to scan the hundreds of breeds, considering if they would be right for our family. Maybe we could find room for a Scottish deer hound, or enjoy the rollicking gate of a Clumber, or the elegance of an Afghan?
To their credit, the Westminster Kennel Club show now includes public service advertisements for shelter dogs in need of homes. I’m conflicted on the pure breed vs. mixed breed question. Earlier in my life, we had a succession of AKC registered basset hounds. We came to love the breed. They are stubborn, willful escape artists, loyal as heck and goofy enough to make you smile even before you are fully awake. Then came a Sheltie, Sweetie, who was the perfect herding dog and Niles our Italian Greyhound with personality 100x his hefty 14 pound frame. Then came Waffles.
My daughter Emma had searched rescue sites and sent me a photo of Waffles, all scraggly and soulful. Dark eyes peered up, looking more sad than jaunty with the bandanna someone had tied around his neck. I called the staff and …. here comes the totally biased plug … the staff at Nevins Farm is fabulous. They will actually talk to you on the phone about the personalities of the dogs because they really want their wards to find the right homes. Beyond that, the man I talked with advised me that if I was interested in Waffles I should make sure I was there when the doors opened the next morning. We were. I rushed to the cages. Waffles barked at my husband but when I stepped close he come to the wire and licked my hand. Love. Before other visitors knew what was happening, we put in our names, filled out the forms. We literally beat out at least a dozen other families. The story, for Waffles, is happily ever after.
Right now, the MSPCA has hundreds of cats, cockatiels, horses (many purebred, like the Arab Pinto, Tennessee Walker, Thoroughbred, Mustang …), bunnies of all types (did you know they can be house-trained?), and of course dogs. I immediately noticed Brownie and Daisy, Pomeranian and Lhasa Apso. In the prime of their dog lives, they are buddies and really would be happiest together. Daisy caught my heart. A blond sweetie for Waffles. Truth is, we cannot afford another dog. Certainly not two. Dogs, horses, cats are long term commitments. Not only do we promise to be their friends for life, we promise to care for them which means vet bills, adequate food and exercise.
Times are tough. Need is great. For the pets left behind, I hope they find their way to rescue. For those of us who already have full homes, we can still open our hearts and support the MSPCA.