I’ve been an animal lover for as long as I can remember. Growing up in Maine, we always had cats. I’m sure we would have had dogs too, but they weren’t allowed in the small apartment in which we lived. I remember Suzi in particular, who would be gone for days at a time and always come back smelling like a swamp. She never warmed up to Benji or Bo, both yellow tiger kitties. What a diva she could be!
Fast forward to my 28th birthday in Hermosa Beach, CA. As a gift to myself, I rescued Pookie from the local animal shelter, or, what I should say is...she rescued me. Her description: gray, domestic, short-haired female. She turned out to be multiple colors with long hair that was as soft as a bunny rabbit. She made life in Los Angeles bearable even though she was a nuisance in the middle of the night and wouldn’t play with any of the toys I bought her except an old shoelace, yarn attached to the sweaters I was knitting at the time and my spider plant. She was the love of my life and although she’s been gone for well over 7 years, I still miss her.
After she and I moved to northern California, we adopted Harry, a tiny, raggedy black kitten who fit in the palm of my hand and couldn’t wait to wreak havoc on the clothes hanging in my closet. Harry grew to be over 15 pounds and hogged the bed every night. It was during that time that the head at my school asked me to take care of her dog Waldo over a weekend. Waldo was a smelly black lab who spent more time at school than he did at home. After that one weekend, she recommended me to families at the school and before I knew it, I had over 20 families whose fur babies became mine for weekends and vacations. After Waldo, I moved on to Cody, a beautiful red-headed golden retriever, and deaf and blind Sparky, an old springer spaniel who loved Mother Hubbard peanut butter cookies, and Aggie, a yellow lab who still has my heart years after she’s been gone. She was a regular companion of mine for several years and loved to go to the beach with me in Half Moon Bay. There was Mr. Milton, a king Charles Cavalier Spaniel and Bentley, another lab, who had several puppies, two of which I took on after Bentley unexpectedly passed away. Sophie and Sunshine were my first introduction to doodles. There was also Betty, an italian greyhound, and Toby, a standard poodle who was smarter than most people I know. There was also Sasha, another golden retriever, who was a sweet, old dog.
Life was full in northern California with me sleeping at someone else’s house more frequently than my own taking care of dogs and cats and homes. I made lots of trips back and forth to my own house to check on the furniture. Pookie and Harry would often rearrange things in my absence and leave fur all over the house. At that point, I should’ve gone into pet care full time, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be and I relocated back to Los Angeles for a new job and a many more dogs and cats to add to my extended family including Boo Boo, who’s really named Boudreaux, but I like Boo Boo better. And there’s Meisha, a sweet old golden retriever who has since died, Daisy Mae, another retriever, although she’s pure white, and Lily, a precocious, little labradoodle who loves to give kisses and is relentless in demanding for you throw a ball for her to fetch.
Fast forward to 2017 and my move to Georgia. I adopted Cookie and Scooter, two sweet kitties who will be the death of me with their shenanigans. Like two little boys, they are constantly wrestling. I’ve love to have my own dog but believe that I can be of greater service to others by caring for theirs, which is the reason why I’ve started Got Paws?. I’m in a place where I can take care of animals full time and want to make this my career well through retirement age. Share your fur babies with me, and I can probably do it!