Pets and Lessons of Compassion


By Honey Good

Plumaria Elizabeth (our plumed-tailed cat), Princess Daisy (with her crown of glory), General George Patton (our Dobie who was a General), Mahalo (our Hawaiian Schnauzer whose personality was laid back), Schnekin (the Yiddish name for our multi- colored dog who was the color of a schnekin - sweet roll). Then there were turtles, a baby bird that fell out of her nest, lots of goldfish who were given funerals at sea in our toilet and we even went so far as to grow a moth into a butterfly. After the butterfly grew, we opened our window and as the butterfly flew away my daughter and I sang out “Butterflies are free!”

Can you tell I am an animal lover?

When my children were young, my youngest daughter Liz, brought home what she termed, “animals in need.” We always had pets. She knew in her heart, her mother would be a savior. She would come home with “something” in a cardboard box and I got the drift. Her saying to me never changed. “Mom, if you do not keep this little cat/dog/turtle/parakeet it will go to the pound and be killed!” What was a mother to say? P.A.W.S. did not exist in the olden days.

I always said, “yes!” I never regretted my “yes” response over the years as our animal family grew because, through example, I showed Liz the value of compassion. In return, Liz learned the value of responsibility. Mother and daughter made a pledge to one another. Liz would take care of her many pets and mom and the rest of the family would love them. We were a team and it worked.

And now...

Between my two daughters and myself we have a total of nine pets. They all have Hawaiian names (my children were raised in Honolulu) and are a major part of our lives.

My daughter Liz has two rescued dogs and two turtles that are as large as the turtles swimming along the coast of the Galapagos Islands! I bought them on a shopping trip with two of my little grandsons five or so years ago. The turtles were so little. We had no idea they would grow so large. They live in a huge tank, are in love with one another and are thriving! My other daughter has three dogs (Labs) and a killer fish! They live in Arizona next to a large park, which is perfect for the dogs.

As many of you know, we have a forty-pound Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier, Orchid. I wanted two dogs, but with living in the city it would be too difficult.

It's never a bad time to take your children or grandchildren to a dog shelter of choice and choose a pet. Make the trip a teaching lesson. Teach them the value of compassion and ask them to promise you that they will care for their new little bundle of joy.

Just as importantly, explain that in return their new pet will bring them unconditional love. As an animal lover, I cannot think of a happier time spent than shopping with my grandchildren to pick out a fury friend in need. I always walked out with a happy child and a happy little pet. And if the kids are happy, the pets are happy, then you will also find a great deal of happiness yourself!