mare-and-foal.jpgI didn’t make a plan to save critters in need, but that is the path my life has taken. My passion for animals went all the way back to when I was four years old. For months, I stole rags from under Mom’s kitchen sink. I made little beds for stray cats, injured rabbits and other tiny four legged critters in our garage. Cardboard boxes were my favorite. I cut and taped them into tents, beds, or even houses for all sorts of animals. I raided the icebox and hauled morsels of food to my little haven.

This was all done nonchalantly of course, because I didn’t want my folks to catch on. My mother was a neat nut and animals and neatness never go hand in hand.

What I didn’t know is that Dad knew all about it. One spring morning, he hid in the bushes until I came out to the garage. I thought I was so clever shoving the mornings left over breakfast in my pockets. I strolled, ever so casually, to my hideaway with my goods.

I always made a big fuss over whoever happened to be there waiting for me. They were usually panting, toothless, tailless or something falling off them, but they were ecstatic that I had given them a home. I chattered up a storm with my new friends and pet them until, I swear, the fur should have fallen off.

Then Dad came up with a plan to help me, without Mom or I knowing a thing. He was considerate of things like that. He started the scam by offering to do the shopping for Mom. Next, he volunteered to make her a food storage pantry in the garage. He piled cat food, dog food, bird food, kitty litter; well you name it, on the bottom shelf behind a big box of fluffy, flaked mashed potatoes. He always quietly shuffled around the house doing mysterious things anyway, so we never noticed much.

One day, when he knew I was with my babies, he shuffled out to the opposite side of the garage. He made all kinds of noise and hummed dramatically. Then I heard something fall on the floor on the other side of the car.  Dad had opened the pantry and accidentally, on purpose, kicked the “mashed pots” over. I bent down, peaked under the car, and across the cement to view the box tumbled over, and what was hiding behind it.

There was my pot of gold! Loads of food and bandages and bedding and bowls and everything I needed for my babies. It was like getting special permission from my Dad! That’s all it took for things to take off from there and I’ve had furry-faced patients every since.

Stay tuned for more articles from Jeannie’s Entremanureal Journey…

Jeannie Sample is author and founder of Camp Critter in Emmett, Michigan.


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