My love for animals.
When I was a young child I has severe asthma and it seemed like I was allergic to everything, especially animals. This was particularly difficult for me because I loved animals. When I went to an allergist, at the age of about 6, I found out that I was allergic to all animals with hair, fur and feathers. To me this was very cruel. I really didn’t accept this and was constantly begging my mother for a pet. I began to have weekly allergy shots averaging about 6 shots per week to desensitize me to everything I was allergic to. I took these shots for about 10 years.
I can remember pleading with my mother to allow me to go to the Jefferson County Fair every summer, knowing full well that I would suffer an asthma attack because of the presence of the cattle and poultry exhibits. But I went anyway and always had an attack. I was even allergic to my cousins who lived on a farm. I couldn’t have my cousin Jeff spend the night with me because I would have an attack.
I managed to have a cat and the occasional hamster that didn’t bother me too much. I had many turtles, snakes, lizards, fish and even an alligator and just about everything that didn’t have fur or feathers. There was one animal that did not have hair, or so I thought, and I really wanted one. This was an elephant. I lived in a small town and we didn’t have an elephant at the zoo. I could only watch them on an old TV show, Marlin Perkin’s “Wild Kingdom” . As time went on my asthma subsided and I was finally free to have more pets. I finally got a dog during high school and also we had a cat. After graduating and getting a job in Boston I got a dog, fish and a parrot. But secretly I still wanted an elephant. I also began to develop a love for tigers. I knew I could never have either.
One of my best vacations I ever had was when I went to Thailand. The highlights of that trip was a visit to an elephant camp and a tiger farm. At the elephant camp I was able to get close to elephants and even ride one for an hour. I was in heaven. I wanted one even more after that. When I visited the tiger farm I was able to hold a 6 month old tiger cub. It was fantastic. Then I was able to stand next to and pet a full grown tiger. I really didn’t realize how big tigers were! After this experience I gave up the idea of having a tiger for a pet. They are really beautiful animals, but should never be kept as a pet. We should all strive to protect them in the wild. Sometime after this experience I was saddened by the news that all of the tigers at the tiger farm had to be destroyed because of the bird flu that struck Asia at that time. I did however still have the desire to have an elephant and even fantasized about moving to Thailand to buy a house in the country, where I could have an elephant and hire a mahout to care for him.
I visited Asia a number of times including Chengdu, China, where I had the chance to hold a 6 month old panda. Shortly after my visit there the area suffered a major catastrophic earthquake and many pandas were traumatized. I admire the work of the WWF for their work with the pandas in China. In 2007 I retired from my job in Boston and moved to Malaysia. The only elephants in Malaysia are found in Borneo, which is quite a way from where I lived. I still wanted an elephant, even though I realized it was an impossibility. In Malaysia at least I didn’t have far to travel to see them in Borneo or Thailand. I had already visited the elephants in Thailand and of course in the zoos in Malaysia. I had to settle for elephant souvenirs and figurines, instead of the real thing. I still hold out hope that one day I will become filthy rich and be able to care for one!
I consider myself to be very lucky to have been able to come in contact with so many of the beautiful animals that I love. Of course I could never forget my cat, Nero and Chi Chi, my prairie dog.
Some of My Favorite Times with Animals that I love
I may have aged but my love for animals hasn’t.
Living Back Home in the US.
After living in Malaysia in 2014 I moved with my spouse Kevin back home to the US, settling in the Rochester, NY area. While living in Malaysia I really missed having a dog for a pet. Many people in Malaysia had dogs, even if they lived in a condo, as we did. These dogs were mainly small dogs such as miniature schnauzers or toy poodles and they were trained to go to the bathroom on the floor in the bathrooms. They rarely were allowed out to run on the ground and most of the time they were carried about by their owners. These types of dogs did not appeal to me, as I wanted a larger size dog. I thought it was cruel to have a dog in a condo, where they did not have the opportunity to run and play in the yard, so I never got one while living there.
When we moved back to the US the first thing we had to do was buy a house, then a car and finally get a dog. We did not want to buy one since there were many dogs that needed a home and were up for adoption. We applied to adopt a couple of times, but were passed over because they wanted to give the dogs to homes with children. One day we saw an ad with a picture of two puppies, described as a “Cattle Dog Labrador mix”, up for adoption. We called and arranged to meet the person to see the puppies as soon as we could . Originally Kevin and I each wanted a different type of dog, but when we saw this brother and sister duo we immediately fell in love with them and took them both home.
We named the male Cato and the female Lucky. They are now an integral part of our family. It was difficult raising two puppies at the same time, but eventually they became potty trained. Their vet says they are more Cattle Dog than anything else and their activity level shows it. They play with each other and with us until they are exhausted and we are exhausted. They are also inseparable. I must admit though that they are completely spoiled!
Beside the two kids, Kevin finally got the chameleon he always wanted and I got a saltwater tank that I always wanted. We’ve been living here for 4 years now and have added to our menagerie, having bought a blue Quaker Parrot and then adopting another green Quaker parrot .There is a little room for more animals, but I don’t think an elephant will be one of them though, as the weather here is too cold and not near enough room to accommodate one. Luckily the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester has elephants I can visit anytime.