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when you look at what cats do in the wild it is obvious why they need to play. They sleep about 18-20 hours per day and when they're awake .they need the excercise that play provides.

A Home for Peper
After graduating from ant farm to gold fish and thereafter a hamster, one fine day my eight year old nephew, Michael declared that he was now ready to take on the responsibilty.

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After graduating from an ant farm to a gold fish and thereafter a hamster, one fine day my eight year old nephew, Michael, declared that he was now ready to take on the responsibility of the dog that he had been yearning for in the last five years
I sat across the table watching some of his mother's hair almost starting grey right before my eyes. And she had that look that said it all. I understood it better than anyone else could have, for I had been her partner in crime, so to speak, when we replaced the overfed dead goldfishes successfully. Though finding a look alike for Bernie, the hamster was a challenge in itself, let alone convincing Michael that a hamster often outgrew that spot on his nose like Bernie had. Before she could say a word, Mike as he preferred to be called, launched into a five minute speech about breaking promises and about how he had proved that he could take care of his pets. After much pleading and persuading the search for the perfect dog was on.

We had kind of assumed that the dog had to be a pup, so the usual rounds of calls were made to breeders to make appointments to see the litters of pups that were available. Despite having seen countless colors and pure breeds of canines, much to our surprise Mike didn't seem very impressed. When we finally sat him down and asked him if he was having second thoughts about the dog, the answer we got was simple, "None of them looked like they needed me." Later on after a lot of probing, he finally told us that he wanted a dog that wanted him as much as he wanted it. I didn't really understand what he meant and started to tell him about the good breeds the breeders had and how healthy and clean they looked. But all I got in return was a rather distasteful look, and to that all he added was, "Don't you think it is unfair to sell a dog's puppies"

Over the next couple of weeks I found myself thinking more and more about the whole issue of pets and breeders. When I asked a few colleagues what they thought of the issue I was given sermons on how the breeders had hygienic and pure bred dogs to be taken home as pets and picture perfect PG 13 movie visions of a puppy being brought home from the breeder, being chosen by the parents after much deliberation. The more I thought about it the more it sounded like taking home a show piece to put on display. A month or two later I returned home from work to find a stray dog had taken shelter from the rain under the tree outside my living room. Being drenched myself all I could think about was getting into a pair of dry clothes and a cup of coffee. However my mind kept drifting back to the wet and shivering dog outside and I found myself taking out a bowl of milk for her. Surprisingly she did not come immediately to sniff and then slurp at the warm milk like I thought she would, but took her time, sniffed at it suspiciously and finally drank the milk. I wondered what could make her so wary of me. Perhaps she had not had an easy life; we, humans can be very cruel when it comes to animals that can't retaliate.

Perhaps I could take her to a shelter I thought to myself and on an impulse found myself calling up Tanya, a neighbour who was forever taking in stray injured animals. When she arrived I was hesitantly trying to dry the dog with an old towel. And to my surprise Pepper, as I had unconsciously named the dog for its salt and pepper fur, stood still. Perhaps Tanya sensed my apprehension and began talking of how most people tend to avoid stray animals whereas all they really want is care and affection. It almost seemed like she was talking about me. Before Mike had brought up the issue of his pet, I had never really given much thought about wanting a dog, let alone a stray. In fact to be honest, the only time I had spent a thought on stray animals was when I saw one on the street and was worried about being bitten. But when I looked into the eyes of this mongrel all I saw was a quiet resilience. I was determined to find Pepper a place in an animal shelter.

On our way, to the first of the many shelters we would visit that evening, Tanya asked me if I knew that Pepper would be euthanised if someone did not adopt her in the next couple of weeks. Judging by the stunned expression on my face, she continued to explain that there were too many stray animals that needed the space in the shelters and if an animal was not adopted after a few weeks it would have to be put to sleep. I looked at the shocked expression on Pepper's face. Did her eyebrows nearly shoot up like mine? Or was it my imagination. Either way this dog was slowly but surely finding its way into my heart. I couldn't bear the thought of leaving Pepper at one of the shelters where she may be killed, so we drove around from one shelter to the other, but in vain. At each of the shelters I saw dogs and cats of various breeds and sizes, however what they all had in common was a look of quiet gentleness, a need to be loved and cared for by an owner. Not a single one of the animals I saw seemed so ferocious that it should be put down. It was difficult to believe that South Carolina did not have a single No-Kill shelter, till late in the evening we finally found one. Just when things were starting to look up we were informed that the shelter did not have any space and could not take Pepper in right away. The only other options seemed to be to either leave her at a Kill shelter or let her out into the streets again. Finally I knew what to do, "Let us go home Pepper" I called out to my new pet. Wagging her tail she followed me, as if it were the most natural thing to do. It's been two years since Pepper came into my life and now I can't seem to remember what it was like not to have her in it. Love comes into our lives in many different forms, but a pet's love is the only one that is truly unconditional. I now agree with Mike, it makes no sense to bring puppies into this world to sell as pets when there are so many wonderful animals waiting to find their homes. I was lucky that Pepper found me, but perhaps you could find your pet at a shelter near you. And even if you have your doubts, still visit it, you may just find yourself seeing stray animals in a different light. By adopting one of the animals not only will you be saving a life but also adding something truly special to your own. And if you are wondering about Mike, well a month after Pepper found me Mike too found himself the cutest little bundle of fur at a shelter.

Profile: Founder/President: Maria Brittis

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  • Shelters good place to find a dog
  • shelters good place to find a cat
  • breeders are not the only solution
  • dog shelters are great
  • dog shelter save lives
  • cat shelter are good place
  • cat shelters save lives
  • pepper the dog
  • story of pepper
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