Pet ‘tails’: Heartwarming stories of your beloved pets

Margaret Davies

From the infamous and beautiful ‘Rainbow Bridge’, ‘Night of the missing Iguana’, ‘How much room can a small dog take’, to ‘The miracle we named Diesle’. We bring you some very touching stories of your pets...  

The Rainbow Bridge Just this side of heaven is a place called the Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to rainbow bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food and water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing: they miss someone very special to them; who had to be left behind .They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. The bright eyes are intent; the eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to break away from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. YOU have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together… - Author Unknown Night of the Missing Iguana Loving lizards is an acquired taste. As a child I was always fascinated with the little creatures. Besides crawling outside the screened-in porch of my Florida home with their flicking and bobbing heads, I witnessed spotted geckos sticking to windows and walls with their suction-cupped fingers. Strangely, they grunted in a low pitched tone on humid nights. Growing up, I couldn't learn enough about lizards. To me they were small dinosaurs deserving of respect. Being a female, my interest in lizards often surprised people. Never afraid of them, I came to discover that there were literally thousands of varieties with varying shapes and unusual colourings. My favourite reptile was one of the largest, the giant Green Iguana. With brown striped tails, giant spikes on their head and back, razor sharp nails on alien-looking, multiple jointed fingers, these creatures intrigued me. Native to South America, Iguanas run wild in many areas of the Dominican Republic, Equator, and Galapagos Islands. Even in the tropical paradise Cancun, they swim in hotel pools and bury their giant long bodies in the sand underneath the sidewalks. Males can grow over six feet long. Finally I obtained a six inch baby. Immediately I learned that these lizards don't think of themselves as pets nor do most other people. "What the hell is that? It's face looks like a frog and it's got a snake tail and a fat tongue?" A friend asked. "Is it venomous?" "Can it shoot those spikes off its head and back?" another questioned. "Isn't that a pest, not a pet? It looks like a bunch of different animals stuck together. Don't they feature those in Japanese monster movies? Why don't you get a normal thing like a dog?" others derided. Most of my friends didn't enjoy Jamison's presence or touching him. Either some refused to go out on the porch when he was there or stand near his indoor six foot cage. Although Jamison presents a very frightening appearance, he has developed a sweet personality, eating right from my hand and licking my face. On the porch, Jamison befriended other native lizards and was easily trained to use an empty litter box. Over the years he grew to be a family member; he also grew to be nearly four feet long. One misty morning, I walked out to the patio to discover his custom made shelf was empty. Nearby, the screen which once sported a very small tear, now was completely ripped out. Finding him missing, I cried out in horror. "Jamison!" Immediately panicking, I knew what dangers lurked out there. With so many neighbourhood dogs, cats, wild birds and raccoons, any one of them could take a bite out of my brilliant green reptile. With his striped tail, he could easily be spotted in the grass. Fearing the worst, I handed out flyers to neighbours, only to find a couple of my Hispanic neighbours ate Iguanas in their southern homelands. I certainly didn't want him to become a main course. I alerted the animal shelters, handed out missing posters, called the police, and animal shelters - anyone who would take a report. I pleaded for a call if a four foot lizard was spotted. I couldn't risk people hurting him because they thought he was poisonous or dangerous. Jamison was a kind-hearted lizard who didn't hurt anything! He wasn't even a bug eater like other reptiles; Jamison ate vegetables, leaves, flowers and fruit. Unfortunately, he looks threatening. As hours passed with him gone, my fear increased. Family and friends tried to console me. Some even helped my husband and me search with binoculars. Looking up trees, shaking bush branches and studying the ground, we continued, desperately trying to find him. "I'm sure he'll come home when he's done exploring," my husband attempted to comfort me. During the night of the missing iguana, I hardly slept. There was a terrible storm, one of the worst Florida had seen in awhile. The wind pounded against the windows. It was even rather cold and iguanas need to stay warm to keep alive! This would have been a night I set up his heat lamp in his indoor cage. Now he was out in the rain and the chilling winds! Would he even survive the storm? The next day my husband Louis went to the back yard to trim the bushes. "I'll watch where I step and keep looking," he promised. I entered my home office to finish some editing, still worrying about Jamison, praying he'd be found. Suddenly, I heard Louis calling, "Come quick! Come quick! Jamie's back!" Rushing outside, I could hardly believe my eyes. Trotting across the grass and heading straight for his porch was my beautiful Green Iguana. With his three foot tail raised, Jamison actually looked happy to be plodding on home. So the next time anyone asks me, "Are lizards pests?" I'll remind them of Jamison, who is incredibly intelligent, potty trained, and able to find his own way home all on his own. He shakes his tail, bobs his head in his own way of communicating. Knowing him makes the whole world feel a little smaller. I now appreciate that even a giant Green Iguana with a frightening appearance can be incredibly smart and loving. Unusual looking creatures only serve as a reminder, that nature (God) doesn't make mistakes. - By Michele Wallace Campanelli How much room can one small dog take? I wasn't really looking to adopt a new dog. But the search to adopt the perfect cat for my 18-year-old daughter had weakened my resistance and before I knew it I was reading the rescue boards again, this time looking for a dog. Perhaps it was the loss of our 16-yearold Silky Terrier or perhaps it was the fact that my last and youngest child was moving out to her first apartment. Perhaps it was a middle age crisis or the realization that the title Senior Citizen was looming closer. Whatever the reason, the more I read the more tragedy I found and those old feelings that I had when I worked in the shelter came flooding back. So many needing homes, not enough to go around. What could I do to help? Surely we had room for one more. After all, how much room could one small dog take? I found a story of a woman who rescued 11 Chihuahuas from a puppy mill. Having 3 chi's myself, the story hit home hard. The mill breeder could not place them with the brokers because of various reasons and had threatened to sell them to a less than desirable reputable mill, if you can imagine that. I speculated lab specimens or bait dogs, a horror story repeated throughout the United States. The rescuer couldn't stand the thought of such a painful demise and 11 little dogs of various ages came to Second Chance Chihuahua. By the time I came across Charlie and Second Chance Chihuahua, she had developed severe health issues and needed heart surgery. She had one week to place all 11 dogs. My pulse raced. I was in Texas, she was in Missouri. This wouldn't be easy, maybe not even possible. As irrational as it may seem, I sent her a note. "Adult home, professional pet sitter with American Red Cross certification in pet CPR and First Aid, spoiled and adorned pets, vet references, 3 well cared for Chis in residence. Will promise to love honor and cherish for the rest of their natural life. If approved for adoption, pick a dog for me, I will take one." Days and numerous emails later the decision was made that Biscuit, a shy 5-month-old white chi pup, would enter our lives. Transport was still an issue. Notes went out on the rescue boards for transport assistance and we made a connection only to have it fall through 24 hours later. Time was getting short; the clock was ticking. We tried enlisting various pet sitters to form a relay but couldn't connect all the links within the needed time frame. There was only one thing to do. I asked Charlie if she'd be willing to get in her car and drive south while I drove north and we would meet in the middle. I would rearrange my schedule and have my daughter cover my jobs for me that day. Charlie said she'd be easy to find and the arrangements were made. It was an early morning that I set out, coffee, carrier and cell phone in hand. There is a different kind of delight in adopting a dog with a less than desirable background. Their wide-eyed wonder and gratitude for the smallest show of affection and love is beyond your wildest dreams. Biscuit, now Oliver after the little orphaned boy, continues to fill our day with amazement like a child discovering the world for the first time, which is actually what he is doing. An indoor home, carpet, steps, a dog bed, my bed, my couch, a dog bone, a toy, people reaching out to hold him; all firsts. The once mute and tentative Oliver has blossomed. Never two steps from my side, he sleeps up against me at night and occasionally reaches over and gives me a lick before tucking his head back in the crook of my arm. He has been fully accepted by our four footed family members and is truly one of the pack. They gather around him and kiss his eyes; they run and tumble and wrestle while I sit and watch and laugh. So exactly how much room can one small dog take? Just enough to fill up your entire heart. - Kindly contributed by Teri Hurley, owner of King of the Castle Pet Sitting. The miracle we named Diesle I live in a house with my grandparent, parents and brother so sometimes I just want something that could only be mine (I was 8 at the time). My dad brought me a kitten off the street and as he said we had to "put it out of its misery." We had tried to help it for a year but she just got worse and worse it was the only fair thing to do. At the vet's office I cried and cried. My mom was worried that I wouldn't be able to deal with the pain so right after the cat was put down, my mom brought me to the humane society. She told me I could pick any cat I wanted. I looked in the cages and saw a kitten just lying there so I asked if I could hold her. It was love at first sight. I decided I wanted her and her name was going to be Tiger. She was just adorable, the only problem was that me and my brother fought for everything. Worried that we might harm her, my mom went back to the humane society and adopted another kitten. This one was supposed to be for my brother. As my mom recently told me, the people told her not to get him - he was horrible with people and very grumpy. My mom picked him up anyways, and he started purring. The lady was surprised and shocked. I guess it was just destiny! My dad named him DIESLE because he purred really loud and sounded like a diesle engine. We'd only had him for a little while when one morning he started licking my dad's face and purring in his ear. He woke up and heard a crackling sound outside, what he thought was just rain turned out to be a roaring fire. That soon led to fear and panic. Without this miracle we still call Diesle, we might not have woken up in time to get out of the house! And even though I'm only 11, I think destiny has strange ways of talking to us, and we should never underestimate our best friends. - Kindly Contributed By: Daniela

(Article source: Various)

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