Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Responsibilities and relationships come with commitments for life

http://kingmandailyminer.com/SiteImages/Byline/A_44385.jpg Butch Meriwether


Hooch loves to hang out with me in front of the computer. He believes he is helping when he reaches over with his paw and clicks the mouse to the computer and causes complete paragraphs to disappear.

Retirement can be one of the happiest moments in a person's life; you have worked most of your life and now you don't have to get out of bed to go to work. What a blessing!

Your children have graduated from school and they moved out of the nest, most everything you own is paid for and you have a few extra bucks in your pocket.

You don't have any visible responsibilities since retirement other than trying to figure out what you are going to wear upon crawling out of bed, what you are going to eat that day and how you are going to spend your idle time.

Everyone goes through life hoping to arrive at the time of their life when they can pick up and take off on a moment's notice. You know the instance; you wake up in the morning and decide to pack your bags, jump into the car and head off to chase the sun on the asphalt jungle of life for destinations unknown. It is so intriguing to be able to trek off to locations you've never been to and enjoy the freedom of doing something or going somewhere without even taking the time to plan the trip.

That's the scenario I became accustomed to upon retiring from the U.S. Marine Corps after almost 21 years of faithful service to our country and then successful careers as a private investigator and contractor for another 18 years. That's right, I didn't have any responsibilities, I didn't have any pets, no plants to care for and only used about 1,500 gallons of water each month at my home I called "The Cave."

Life for me was great, but then I learned something was missing from my "perfect life."

You're probably wondering what could make my life better. Well, a wonderful woman came into my life, and along with her came two wolf hybrids, two cats, a cockatiel and a whole bunch of fish. Many of our loving family members (pets) were rescued from folks who no longer could care for them.

So much for no responsibilities; I thought I was in control of my life - NOT!

I have rapidly come to the conclusion that my life is now run by the loving animals that reside with us. Each day, I learn new things and they bring a lot of pleasure to me.

So many people choose to get pets, but don't take into consideration that owning a pet is a life-long commitment and responsibility. You just can't get rid of a pet like tossing out a bag of yesterday's trash or change them like putting on another pair of shoes, but some people do just that. That's why the humane society and no-kill pet sanctuaries are always full to the capacity.

It's the little things of having pets in my life that makes me smile. An example is each night before I head off to bed; I walk into the bathroom to brush my "pearly whites." As soon as the sound of my electric tooth brush emanates throughout the house, there is a stampede of wolves and cats to the bathroom door because they know that as soon as I'm done, they will get their nightly treat. And I have to admit there are no socks and underwear in the top drawer of my dresser anymore; it is now jammed-pack full of dog and cat treats.

Hooch, our ever-curious male cat has helped me so often on my daily chores and feats. I have found out that when I'm on all fours fixing a toilet problem, Hooch can sit on my back and supervise the work. He even takes time out of his busy sleeping agenda to stretch out on my desk in front of the computer screen while I check my email, surf the net, and compose commentaries and blogs.

I've learned to snuggle to the extreme side of the bed when Holly, our adopted tiger female cat presses her little paws against my back. And of course when we are sitting on the couch watching TV, she always wants to be between us.

Sheba, our 10-year-old female wolf hybrid who is affectionately referred to as "Piglet" because she has an eating disorder, caused my loving mate and me to have a lot of worry right after we moved her to The Cave. We relocated her to our new home on a Thursday and she escaped to places unknown on Sunday because of bunch of cows happened by. We believe she thought the cows were really big dogs and she didn't like them invading her space. For almost two and a half days, I drove the area near our home for hours at a time looking for our wayward family member. Yes, I've also learned that that you won't sleep for two days and half days when one of your loving pets is missing.

Tala, Piglet's sister, used to be the Omega of the pack, but I believe she has now progressed to the Alpha stature. Before, Sheba would push her out of the way to get to the food, but Tala now is the one in charge.

I realize a cold wet nose can wake you up in the middle of the night when someone has to go outside to relieve them self.

Popeye, the cockatiel who is the only other male in our household besides Hooch and me, always greets me with his chirping when he sees me walk past his cage to get a cup of coffee in the morning.

I've been taught to recycle and I don't know what I was thinking when I dumped the juice from a tuna can down the drain. I was told this is a kitty delicacy. Besides that, I finally figured out a piece of tinfoil or a bottle cap will make a great toy and how dare I take an empty cardboard box to the garbage before the cats can inspect it.

What can you say about all of the fish we have; those inside the house in aquariums and the ones outside in the non-working spa and the above-ground-children's swimming pool we call the "blue lagoon." It is very therapeutic to sit and watch the fish swim around. No, the outside fish will not be in those two enclosures forever. They are just temporary until I have the time to construct the pond and a waterfall feature.

I really don't know what is good and what is bad for my family members who have either wings tails or fur, but my loving mate is the one who takes the time to read up on all of the food and treat products available for purchase. She provides me with guidance, direction, wisdom and sometimes correction when I do something wrong. I have rapidly learned that you don't toss a big handful of food into the fish tank.

Because of the additions to my family, I now use 10 times the amount of water I used for a month, but that's alright, none is wasted. When my mate cleans the fish aquariums and temporary ponds, she pumps the dirty water out onto the various plants and trees in our yard.

You might ask what the point of my current blog is. Well, what I want to stress is you don't have to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars to get a pet that will provide you with companionship and unconditional love. There are always advertisements in the newspaper for loving pets free to a good home. The humane society and no-kill pet rescue centers have an over abundance of pets ready to become part of your family unit.

If you are interested in welcoming a new pet into your home, ensure you take the time to visit the humane society or one of the various no-kill pet sanctuaries in our local area. Also do your homework to figure out what type of pet is best suited for you, your family and your home.

It is estimated that there are more than 1,000 dogs, cats, ferrets and other types of animals in the no-kill shelters, including lovable potbelly pigs, let alone all of them that are currently living in the various humane society facilities in Mohave County.

I don't know about you, but I would never contemplate trading the companionship and unconditional love that is given to me by all of my family: wolves, cats, bird, fish and especially my mate.

I can't speak for others in cyberspace, but I would love to hear your stories about what your pets have taught you so if you have time, why not share your stories on the blog.

Life is much better for me now since my family has grown to what it is today and I hope that if you decide to get a pet, make sure it is a commitment for life.

My life is now complete – or at least I think so until that time comes around that my mate says someone has wings, tails or fur that needs a good home!

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