A neighbor, who is an artist and cat rescuer - both professions of which I am in awe - drove by on Saturday and we had a nice chat while she exclaimed over the cuteness of the goats (which has somewhat dimmed - to be addressed in a separate post) and the regal-ness of the llama (no argument there). We were discussing strays, rescues, purebred vs. someofthisandthats. She said that all cats are beautiful, no matter what their pedigree or lack thereof. I couldn't agree more. I do tend to be drawn to the un-pedigreed, the also-rans, the bottom of the barrels. There was a point in my 30s where I toyed with the idea of actually going out and purchasing a Cornish Rex cat. Then I met one.
I am a real lover of mutts, however. The muttier the better. Almost all of the dogs with which I have had the pleasure of sharing a bit of my life (it's never long enough, let me tell you that), have been rescued dogs. Interestingly, three were purebred - a Great Dane and two Dachshunds. Geez, that reminds me of that Disney movie - the title of which escapes me. The GD, Riley, came to me out of the blue, just days after I had finished negotiations for Bernie (aka Bernadette). My sister called me and said that she and her husband's family had intervened with one of his sons who had this Dane. It had been kept in a crate too small for him to stand or move around. Something had to be done and I was the only one they could think of who had enough room for him. In retrospect, I assume they were thinking of acreage - not house footage. So Riley joined me on Friday, followed by Bernie the next day. Life with an elephant in the house was very interesting, but he was a sweet, nervous boy, so attached to me that I nicknamed him Velcro. Long story short - I had to rehome him three years later, due to the fact he took umbrage with a neighbor; I was very, very lucky in finding him a new home. The rescue organization that I support (and from whom both Bernie and Scrappy came) has a spot on their website where you can post 'neighbor' dogs. Riley now lives with a family that just adores him and has rescued him a brother, too. It is a wonderful thing.
Sorry - got off the rails there. I was thinking about people and dogs. And how there are so many people, still, who insist on pedigreed dogs and cats - which come a great expense, both literally and figuratively. As D, the artist said, for every pedigreed cat that is purchased, there is one less home for a stray. While I think that is true in the big picture of things, there are just some people who INSIST on pedigrees. Other than Dachshunds and Scottish Deerhounds, I am not a breed person. I tend to think that mixing up a lot of different breeds gives you a blend of all that is good from each. At least, that has been my experience. And there is something else pretty special about rescued dogs - after all the abuse, neglect, sorrow and pain most of them have been through (at the hands of people) - they are still ready to love you.
Along with the usual cast of 'pedigreed' people, I think there are mutt-type people, too. People who are quiet and keep to themselves; who are a little 'different'; don't march to the usual drum beat. In my childhood neighborhood (that grid of a development, carved out of flat farmland), we had a large wooded area at the dead-end part of the parallel side streets. This was jet fuel for the imagination of a certain tomboy who worshiped Davy Crockett. (And, if you don't know who he is/was, don't speak to me you little whippersnappers! And, no, I didn't know him personally...) In the middle of this island of wilderness was a small cabin with no electricity or plumbing. A man lived there that we children were terrified of. Of course, none of us ever talked to him, but our parents warned us - it was the equivalent of the Hansel and Gretel threat - he'd throw us in an oven and bake us for dinner; or so our fevered little minds led us to believe. One neighbor, Mrs. N., went against the norm and let him get bottles of water from their outside tap, left food for him in a basket, and generally kept her eye on him from afar. He, in turn, wove exquisite little baskets and left them for her. We thought she was incredibly brave. I know now that she was incredibly kind.
Wow. If there was an "R" day, I would have called this "Runday Ramblings"!
*Inserting note of clarification here: I read this after I had posted it (a little quick on the draw here), and thought it sounded too preachy. That is not what I had meant - there are a lot of people I know who have done both - purchased a particular breed of dog AND rescued a dog or two or five. I am referring more to the people who won't even consider a puppy without paperwork going back to the Mayflower, or who support puppy farms - which are a disservice to both the breed and the poor people who buy from them. And, if there weren't different breeds in the first place, how would we get these wonderful blends?