Five Things I Love: Animal Edition

Happy Friday! It's time for the fun Friday Five linkup with Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Mar at Mar On The Run, and Cynthia at You Signed Up For What. This week's theme is All About Love--timely for Valentine's Day! I'd thought I'd change it up from running and fitness (since my post would be all about how much I love winter running and associated gear!) and talk about the things I love about my own pets and other animals.  

I am and have always been a huge animal lover. I rescued my first kitten was I was six years old and was staying overnight at my aunt’s house. When I heard a kitten meowing outside, I patiently sat outside for an hour on her porch until the kitten got brave enough to come up to me, and then I was able to get him inside, and my aunt found him a home. Since then I have rescued and fostered many cats and kittens, but I'm not just a cat lover. I like to say I’m an equal-opportunity animal lover, because I truly love them all. Here are five animal-related things I love.

1. Django, my greyhound. If you met Django on the street, you'd probably remark on how calm, docile, and well-behaved he is, as most people do. It might seem like he doesn't have much of a personality. But at home it's a different story! Django is a very quirky and goofy dog with a huge personality, and there are many things I love about him. One of those things is that he loves sleeping in. I am up two hours before he gets up because I run and shower before taking him on his walk. Even then, I have to wake him up in stages: first turning on the lights low, then puttering around loudly in the kitchen, then coming to pet him and giving him belly rubs, then calling his name and turning the lights on high, then putting on my coat and getting his leash. Sometimes, he will curl up in a tight ball and hide his face, perhaps in hopes that I won’t see him and let him continue sleeping! If all else fails, I have to get a little treat out to get him out of bed! These are pictures my husband took of him on a recent walk.

2. Orla, Elsie, and Rasputin, my cats. They are so different from each other! Orla is the only cat who likes the dog and is around him constantly. I love that when I’m petting Django, she could be dead asleep in another part of the house one second and then by my side the next second because she must also be petted when I’m petting Django. I love Elsie’s gentleness and her little squeaks when she wants to be brushed. And I love that Rasputin plays fetch, and will retrieve and bring back play mice and hair bands over and over again.
Elsie and Rasuptin sleeping together

3. My two gold barbs. (Yes, I consider fish animals--studies have found that fish are intelligent, have memories, and can feel pain like other animals and humans.) I got an old, used aquarium in 2009. When the pump broke three years ago, I could not find a replacement since the aquarium was so old. At that time, I had two gold barbs that were about two years old. I tried to find a new home for them because I was sure they would die soon without a pump in the aquarium, but I couldn’t find anyone to take them. Well, they are still alive! The aquarium is very large and they are very small, so I think somehow that has helped them live in an aquarium without a pump for three years! They are also Orla's TV--she will sit and watch them for hours.

4. Birds in my backyard. I have never fed the birds in my backyard because I have feral cats that live there, and I want to keep the birds safe. But in the winter, the cats pretty much stay in their house with a heated bed I have set up for them, so I thought it would be safe to feed the birds. I’ve learned that I have many wrens, a bluejay, and a pair of cardinals living in my backyard. The male cardinal always comes first and always tries to chase the wrens away while he eats the sunflower seeds. Then, he calls to his mate, and she comes to eat too. I love watching them!

5. Animal odd couples. I have seen this documentary on PBS before, but it was just on again this week. It is heartwarming to see all the stories of animals who befriend and show compassion to other species. I love all the stories, but my favorite is of a goat who was friends with a blind horse and every day would lead the blind horse to a pasture to graze and then lead him back. I love that this documentary really shows the depth of emotion and compassion animals have.

Have a wonderful Valentine's day with your animal and human loved ones!

Looking forward to seeing how everyone else interprets this theme! 

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