The VOICE of Inspiration
By Don Lindsey
If you’ve read past articles that I’ve written, then you know that my family and I are huge animal lovers. With six cats and two dogs, it seems as if we always find animals that we “have” to take in. I put have in quotation marks there because we know of some great rescue groups and could easily direct the animals we find or hear about to those groups, but instead decide that we don’t want to part with them. This over the years has turned out to be a wonderful thing based on how much we love our cats and dogs. These awesome little creatures are a part of our family and we feel very blessed that we have them. I spend a lot of time talking about my family, so today I’m going to talk about these awesome additions to our lives.
When I moved here from Ohio in 2012, my wife already had two of our cats, Tigger and Fuzzy. Tigger, as you would expect, is a tiger striped cat and Fuzzy is a tortie with beautiful colored fur. Each has their own personality. Tigger is a very vocal cat. When you walk past him, he’ll meow and reach out a paw for you to come pet him. Once you do pet him, he figures that you have nothing else to do for the day and will continue to meow and swat at you as you walk past for more pets. His sister Fuzzy isn’t too different when it comes to loving attention but she’s not as vocal, and she’s figured out that she doesn’t need to be. If you’re sitting down and she spots you, she’ll simply walk over and climb on your lap and refuse to move until you show her some love. These two were saved by my wife when they were just tiny kittens who weren’t weaned from their mother yet and she had to take on the responsibilities of feeding, cleaning and all the other tasks that are needed for making sure that the kittens survived. Every time I interact with these two, I am very grateful to my wife for making sure that they were welcomed into the family.
The next two cats on the list are Calypso and Apollo. This brother and sister tandem came into our family about five years ago. Calypso is a tuxedo cat who reminded me of one of my cats in Ohio that had just died. She’s much smaller than him, but her insistence to have people love on her is just as strong as the first two kitties that I mentioned earlier. She entered my life at a very sad time and has interjected joy ever since. Her brother Apollo has a different personality. He is an all-black feline and loves to be fussed over but will not seek out attention because he knows that it will come to him. Where his sister Callie is the smallest cat in the house, Apollo is probably the biggest. He’s also very lovable. When he’s sleeping, you can walk up to him, rub his chest and he’ll hug your arm tight before rolling over and going back to sleep. These two fit in right away after we brought them home and having them has been a blessing.
Since I’m going in chronological order of when we got our fur-based family members, our dogs are next on the list. Loki was the first K-9 we got. He’s a gorgeous mix of Doberman and hound making him the largest animal we have. He was rescued by a neighbor of his last owner who was abusive towards him and has been very happy to have this family as his own because we make sure he knows that he’s loved. Our other dog is one that I never thought I’d have based on its breed and that is our chihuahua, Leia. Everything I ever knew or heard about these critters went against what I wanted in a pet. They were yappy, mean in some cases and possessive of the human that they felt belonged to them so when my mother in law got one and she was nothing like what I had known about chihuahuas, I was pleasantly surprised and grew close to her. I also admired her reliance. She was raised in a puppy mill and when she had outgrown her usefulness was taken to a shelter to be put down. Another no-kill shelter rescued her off of the kill list and took care of her, eventually adopting her out to my wife’s mother.
While I was smitten with the dog, I still didn’t want one and thought that maybe she was the exception to the rule. After all, she was the only one of her breed that I ever felt comfortable around, until we found out that she had a sister that was rescued by the same no-kill shelter from the same situation as her sister was in. In a way, she was in worse shape because she has some sort of chemical burn on her back. Once again, I found myself admiring how strong they were to endure that abuse while also being thankful that we were lucky enough to have them in our lives. This little girl has a soft spot in my heart. I love all our animals and I know that you’re not supposed to have favorites but if I do, then she’s it. Her playful demeanor can cheer you up no matter what mood you’re in, and she doesn’t play rough. She opens her mouth like she’s going to get you but never makes contact with her teeth. She hardly ever barks unless it’s a quick, playful one and loves everyone in our house as opposed to being possessive over one person. I never considered myself a dog person until these two came along and am now happy to say that I am.
The last two animals are our cats, Cascade and Winter. Cassie was found by my son outside of our house when he was playing one day. She couldn’t walk, or meow when she opened her mouth and was in horrible shape. We took her to the vet and she was very dehydrated and malnourished. We had her enrolled in the Candy Cats rescue group I covered a couple months back and were set to have her adopted out, acting as her foster family until that happened. 3 years later and she’s a happy member of the household. She is a very calm cat, who doesn’t seem to get rattled over much and loves her humans a lot. The last of our animals is Winter. She’s a beautiful off-white tiger striped kitten who’s about 4 months old. Her looks are deceiving however and some days I wonder if she’s not an agent of Satan. I kid of course but anyone who’s ever had a kitten knows how much chaos they can bring. I can say that I admire how athletic she is. I know that all cats are graceful, but she takes it to a different level. She’ll scale door frames the way people climb coconut trees and can always be found destroying something in the house. With all the damage though, it’s still hard not to love her and she has her cuddle moments that help you forget the carnage that she causes.
She is the only one of our critters that isn’t a rescue and what I’ve found is that rescued animals appreciate being a part of a loving family the way that any of us would. These lost little souls are like people in the way that they want to be safe, and they want to love and be loved. If I had to give advice for those looking to adopt a cat or dog, I’d recommend finding a no-kill shelter and look for your future pet that way. You’ll love them, and they’ll spend the rest of their lives showing you how much they appreciate your love.
Don Lindsey is a follower of Christ, son, husband, father, and a survivor. Originally from Dayton Ohio, and resident of Apopka for six years, Don sees his life as a dedication to his wife, parents, children, and community.