It Makes a Difference to That One

From http://www.lamanchaanimalrescue.org

A vacationing businessman was walking along a beach when he saw a young boy. Along the shore were many starfish that had been washed up by the tide and were sure to die before the tide returned.

The boy walked slowly along the shore and occasionally reached down and tossed the beached starfish back into the ocean. The businessman, hoping to teach the boy a little lesson in common sense, walked up to the boy and said, “I have been watching what you are doing, son. You have a good heart, and I know you mean well, but do you realize how many beaches there are around here and how many starfish are dying on every beach every day. Surely such an industrious and kind hearted boy such as yourself could find something better to do with your time.

Do you really think that what you are doing is going to make a difference?

The boy looked up at the man, and then he looked down at a starfish by his feet. He picked up the starfish, and as he gently tossed it back into the ocean, he said, “It makes a difference to that one.”

~Anonymous

Christmas Eve (an excerpt from a novel in progress – Ollie & Spuds)

Spuds the cat and Ollie the dog watch from the hearth rug as Aunt Joan rolls out the dough with her grandmother’s rolling pin. She smooths butter on the dough, sprinkles it generously with cinnamon and brown sugar, rolls it up, and pops it into the stove. Outside it’s dusk. Snow is falling.

Tori comes into the kitchen, inhaling deeply. “Umm. What’s cooking?”

“Mouse. Your great-grandmother used to make it from the leftover dough from her pies. Did your mom make it?”

“I don’t think so. I don’t remember. Come on, Ollie. Let’s go feed the barn animals.” She motions for him to follow her.

Ollie sighs, reticent to leave the warmth of the kitchen, and rises. He follows Tori out the door, squinting his eyes to a gust of snow that swirls off the roof. They walk toward the barn. In the hills there glimmers the twinkling of lights of other farms. Tori looks up at the sky and sticks out her tongue to catch snowflakes.

They walk to the barn through the mounting snow. The donkey, Frank Sinatra, shakes his mane and the horse, Fred, whinnies in greeting. Tori pats them, gives them fresh water and hay and some extra grain, because it’s Christmas Eve. The chickens, which roam in the relative warmth of the barn, come over to them, clucking softly. Ollie noses them gently. Tori stoops down and runs her palm over their feathers, murmuring to them. She gives them extra feed and adds more hay to their nest for warmth.

They listen to the soft munching of the horse and donkey, the gentle clucking of the chickens. Tori closes the door and they step out into the snow, which has covered their footsteps leading to the barn. Stars have started to emerge, little pinpricks of light in the dark blue sky. The farmhouse roof is draped with snow, and each window is aglow with candles. Through the steamy kitchen window, Aunt Joan takes cookies from the oven. Through the living room window, Uncle Jon lights candles nestled in pine boughs on the mantle. Spuds follows Aunt Joan into the living room and sits beneath the Christmas tree. Uncle Jon turns toward Aunt Joan, laughing at something she says.

Ollie looks up at Tori beside him, who reaches down and scratches him behind his ear. Then they trudge through the snow together. At the doorway she dusts the snow off of Ollie’s back and kicks the snow off of her boots. They enter the house, which smells of pine and baking, and join the family.

The Hugging Rescued Kangaroo

(See the video link of hug-in-action at the end of this post)  Just like human beings, animals have feelings, too – there’s no doubt of it. Especially when it comes to those who take care of them, or more people who saved their life. And probably the best example it’s the story of Abigail, one of the most affectionate rescued animal in the world.

When she was just a few months old, the poor little kangaroo lost her mom. It’s when she arrived at the Kangaroo Sanctuary Alice Springs in Australia. Here she was welcomed with the open arms and a lot of love by the volunteers. Of course, the little one responded with the same coin and now, ten years later, hugging those who rescued her and took care of her became part of her daily routine.

Due to her friendly, lovely attitude, Abigail earned the tittle of the sanctuary’s “Queen.” And now, all the staff at the centre start their day with a warm hug from Abi.

“Abi was raised from a joey with Roger and Ella…Abi came to me as an orphan of 5 months old and was quite busted up with cuts and scrapes. Abi has grown into a very healthy 7 year old, and is my only kangaroo who comes up and gives a great big rugby tackle cuddle. Abi is also unusually light in colour and I think she is very beautiful,” wrote the Sanctuary Alice Springs on their Facebook page.

Watch the “Queen” on her daily routine, here:

h/t: thedodo

Lion, Tiger, And Bear Become Lifelong Friends After Being Rescued As Cubs

This story originally appeared at InspireMore.

Lions, tigers, and bears definitely aren’t meant to live as a pack. But not every animal has been through the trauma that forged the bond between three normally opposing male predators.

Back in 2001, police raided a drug dealer’s house in Atlanta, Georgia. In the basement, they came across a heartbreaking sight. There sat three terrified, malnourished, and parasite-ridden cubs that certainly didn’t belong in anyone’s home.

Photo: Facebook/The BLT – Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan

 

The African lion, Leo, had been stuffed inside a small crate with an open wound on his face. Shere Khan, the Bengal tiger, was emaciated, and the black bear, Baloo, was wearing a harness so small it had become embedded into his flesh.

But their nightmare was finally over; the Georgia Department of Natural Resources took them to Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary, a nonprofit animal rescue in Locust Grove. There, they’d spend the rest of their days on a beautiful 250-acre property. They’d already been through too much in their short lives to ever be released back into the wild.

Photo: Facebook/The BLT – Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan

“When they were first brought to the sanctuary, Baloo, Shere Khan, and Leo were injured, frightened and clinging to one another for comfort,” curator Allison Hedgecoth told HuffPost. And as they got more comfortable, they groomed each other, cuddled, and played together. Clearly, they were a bonded trio.

Photo: Facebook/The BLT – Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan

Sanctuary staff anticipated the need to separate the friends once they reached sexual maturity, as they would likely grow apart. After all, it’s the natural order in the animal kingdom. But the trio, known as BLT (bear, lion, tiger), never left each other’s sides. The sanctuary ultimately decided to keep them together.

Photo: Facebook/The BLT – Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan

For 15 years, Baloo, Leo, and Shere Khan lived, slept, and ate in the same habitat. And after surviving such horror together, they couldn’t have been happier.

Photo: Facebook/The BLT – Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan

Baloo, the playful one, loved teasing Leo with gentle bites. And the affectionate Shere Khan could often be found snuggling up to either of his brothers.

“Even though they live in a three-acre enclosure, they’re usually within 100 feet of each other,” Allison told Inside Edition. “That’s proof that they’re not just coexisting or cohabiting, they actually do enjoy each other’s company.”

Photo: Facebook/The BLT – Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan

Leo and Shere Khan spent the rest of their lives with Baloo before they passed away, respectively, in 2016 and 2018. Baloo was there for both of their burials — and a constant presence in their final days.

Photo: Facebook/The BLT – Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan

While everyone at the sanctuary is still heartbroken over their deaths, they find solace in knowing they gave all three a fantastic life together. And they’re making sure Baloo knows he isn’t alone.

Photo: Facebook/The BLT – Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan

Rest in peace, Leo and Shere Khan. The world will never forget your beautiful story of survival and friendship.

Four Winters, Four Summers, Four Days

Four winters.  That’s how long I was there. I remember each icy blast, each deep snow, and the mice far beneath, tucked into burrows I could not hope to reach.  I slept beneath the bramble and awakened with snow perched on branch and fur.

On the days when the creek’s ice cracked along the edges and snow melted in rivulets toward the pond, I knew I would not go hungry.

Four summers.  That’s how long I was there.  Other cats came and went from this place, and I fought often and hard for hunting rights, for the right to walk this piece of borrowed earth for a time.

You saw me one summer’s day, skirting along the edge of the forest.  I saw in your eyes compassion and distress at my gristly body.  You turned and disappeared inside, then returned with two small, circular objects, one with silvery water, the other with luscious scents.  You placed them at the garden’s edge and spoke softly to me:  “This is for you.”  I blinked slowly at you, acknowledging.

The scent of food brought back fragments of memory:  an old woman, a petting hand, a warm house.

I ate and drank my fill, then slipped off into the forest.  You watched.

Four days.  That’s how long you fed me.  On the fifth day, you placed a steel box on the ground with food and water inside.  I walked around it, wary, sniffing.  It smelled of other animals, and I sensed that you meant to trap me.  What I did not know then was that you would have taken me in and cared for me.

You dreamed about me that night—do you remember?  You stood on the back porch as I walked away, leaning into the wind.  I turned back toward you, my face round and scarred, my eyes telling you wordlessly: I will not return.  Did you remember every detail of the dream as you awoke, as if it were real?

Four days.  That’s how long you continued to set the trap with food and water.  On the fifth day you peered for a long time at the place where you had seen me in the dream.  Then you put away the trap and scattered the food in the forest for other animals to find.

He Wasn’t Much of a Hunter

He closes the door of the red pick-up truck, re-positions his gun over his shoulder, and sets off into the woods.  Despite trying to ease his weight onto the twigs and leaves, toe first then heel, his footfalls snap and crackle and echo through the pre-dawn forest.

A doe lifts her head from foraging, her button-black nose twitching with scent-taking.  With noiseless ease, she lopes off, her white tail high.  A groundhog stands on the crest of his mound-home squinting into the distance, his forepaws tucked up to his heart, his teddy-bear ears angled forward.  He squeaks and retreats inside his burrow.  A flock of quibbling sparrows wheels off into the sky.  Only the cat remains.   She is motionless except for the white tip of her tail.

The hunter walks on, pausing from time to time, looking around, then moving on.  The cat follows, unnoticed, at a distance.

When the sun has climbed well above the horizon, the hunter sits down on a large, sunny rock.  He opens a thermos of steaming coffee, crinkles flat the wax paper covering his sandwich, and munches thoughtfully, his head angled to the side.  Sun-warmed and drowsy, his shoulders relax and he closes his eyes.

The cats comes closer, soundlessly.  She sits a few feet in front of him and looks up.  The hunter opens his eyes and startles, then feels foolish.  He mutters something about cats—he’s never liked cats.  He glares at the cat and looks into her gold eyes.  She holds his gaze evenly.  He sighs, then he breaks off a small piece of cheese from his sandwich and tosses it on the ground.  The cat eats it and looks up expectantly.  The man breaks off a larger piece and holds it out to her.  She gracefully leaps onto the rock, and with one paw on the hunter’s leg, she gingerly takes the cheese from his hand.  The hunter slides his broad palm down her back, then offers her the rest of his sandwich.

After a while, he gathers his things, slings the gun over his shoulder, and sets off.  The cat jumps down and follows.  Twice he looks back over his shoulder.  He opens the truck door and sweeps his arm wide in a welcoming gesture. The cat jumps in, settles herself on the passenger seat, and washes her face.

Two seasons have passed since I found my hunter.  He wasn’t much of a hunter, really—I could read that much in the way he moved.  It was plain to me that he wasn’t really interested in hunting as much as he was playing a role.  It was also plain to me that he thought he didn’t like cats.  Most people who give cats a chance find they like them after all.

These days I wait by the window for my hunter.  He comes in with a blast of cold air.  I jump down and wind my way around his legs.  He stoops to pet me and says a word or two.  Then we pass a companionable evening in silence.  His gun is in the attic, tucked away forever.

 

• • • Have you ever rescued an animal?  Please tell us about it: Untoldanimalstories@gmail.com

Homeless Chihuahua Was Terrified Of Human Contact, But She Quickly Realized What She Was Missing

By Ashley Maisano – www.AnimalRescueSite.org

Hope For Paws received a call regarding a homeless Chihuahua who was alone on the streets and absolutely terrified.

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When rescuers arrived, they secured the area with fencing so the nervous Chihuahua wouldn’t be able to run away from them. One of the rescuers, Loreta Frankonyte, slowly went up to the dog to try and befriend her.

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She offered her some food, but she wouldn’t take it from her hand. She tossed it on the ground and she reluctantly gobbled it up. When she offered another piece of food, she finally took it from her hand.

She took a few more pieces, but when Loreta went to pet her, she snapped at her. She was still visibly afraid and didn’t understand yet that these people were there to help her.

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Eventually they slipped the snare around her neck and gently pulled her out. They thought it would be better if she didn’t feel cornered anymore. Once they got her out, they put the leash on and spent time with her to make her feel safe. They named this adorable pup ChiChi.

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She finally allowed them to pet her and began to trust them. They scanned her for a microchip, but unfortunately she didn’t have one. They brought her back to their clinic where they gave her a warm, much-needed bath to wash off all of the filth from living on the streets.

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She was still nervous at first, but after a while, her personality began to show. She was actually a very friendly and sweet dog. A week later, she went to live in a foster home with another one of Hope for Paws’ rescues named Washington. The two of them got along great and were the best of friends in no time.

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ChiChi is available for adoption. She is a very affectionate dog who loves to give kisses. She also gets along great with other dogs. If you’re interested in giving her a loving forever home, contact http://www.PawPrintsInTheSand.org.

ChiChi video

The Freckle on My Sister’s Snout

I am alone in my wanderings for a long time, but it hadn’t always been so.  I have vague memories–little scraps of images–from the past:  the tumble and tussle of warm fur, the shimmer of sun on my brother’s back, the freckle on my sister’s snout.  We grew up and dispersed, given away from a box in a grocery store parking lot to anyone who would take us.  We were held up and cooed over, and carried off under various people’s arms.

The person who took me changed his mind, tied me up in the back yard for months–with intermittent water and food–and then finally took me on a car ride and left me on the side of the road.  I’ve been fending for myself since then.  Sometimes I’m thirsty, sometimes I’m cold, often I am hungry.

This morning, a man saw me, stooped down and called to me.  I approached him warily and then darted away.  I have trouble trusting people.  I just spotted him again.  He is carrying a bowl that smells heavenly.

He sits quietly beside the bowl and I approach, then back away, then approach again.  With one last sideways glance at the man, I lean toward the bowl and begin to eat.  The man reaches out his hand and strokes my fur, first tentatively, then steadily.  His voice is kind.  When he slips a lead around my neck, he bends down to my level and says, “Come with me; we will find you a home” I go with him, to the first warmth and comfort I’ve known in a long time.

We Can Do More Than We Think We Can

What does it take of us to help an animal in need?  A bit of time, perhaps, and some inconvenience.  We’ve helped one animal to suffer less.  This small victory does not have a widespread impact, but it certainly changes the world for that one animal.DSC_0135 2

It’s easy to bypass an animal in distress, a lost dog, a stray cat, injured creature, a starving animal.  It’s easy to turn away and to assume that others will do something.  Most of us don’t do anything.  It requires giving of ourselves or our time in some small capacity, and we’re busy, busy, busy.  I believe that each time we turn away, some small portion of our humanity is eroded.

Years ago I made an agreement with myself: when I see an animal in need, I will do whatever I can to remedy the situation.  I’ve found that “whatever I can do” is generally more than I had originally thought.  This has led me to capture stray dogs and humanely trap stray cats and deliver them to the SPCA, to gently instruct children and others in kindness to animals, to intervene when I see human cruelty to animals, to become a vegetarian, to inconveniently arrive late at meetings when I’m rescuing an animal.  I sleep better at night for all this.

My dream is to have a widespread impact on humane treatment of animals.  If each of us engaged in some small gesture of kindness, of help toward animals, so much suffering could be reduced.  Will you join me?

raleigh