Service of Pets are Family

February 16th, 2023

Categories: Dogs, Pets

Our country house came with a feral cat which the former owner asked us to feed. I was a dog person but soon the kitty purred his way into our hearts and became a beloved family member especially after he moved indoors during a devastating winter storm in which he couldn’t negotiate a path through human hip high snow. One day my husband said he thought he might be allergic to the cat. My response was “Isn’t there medicine for that?” Turned out he wasn’t. But you get the point. I adored all my pets and wasn’t going to give up any of them easily.

Most people feel that way. Take the 14 year old daughter of Venezuelan migrants who ditched her suitcase with all her belongings so as to carry her miniature white poodle Lupe for six hours through hip-high swamp water on the way through Mexico to the US border. I heard about the family and their cherished dog on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday with Angela Kocherga reporting.

The segment was about Ruby Montana and her Bridge Pup Rescue Group that operates in El Paso. Animals aren’t allowed in border patrol processing facilities so Montana is fostering Lupe for as long as it takes and she video chats with Lupe’s family with the sweet pooch on her lap. She says the pup is learning English. Dogs are forbidden where the family is currently living–in NYC.

A US border patrol agent had called Montana after the heartbroken family was hastily put on the bus north. The system works due to coordination between Montana, caring border patrol agents and the El Paso animal shelter.

I lived on an Air Force base with a pack of roving almost wild dogs that had been adopted by families stationed there and left behind when they moved to their next assignment. I would hope that this is no longer the case on any base. In contrast one of the first dogs I loved was Snoopy a Beagle who lived next door–in Turkey–on base housing. No child was cared for better than the Snoop.

Have you loved a pet–yours or one that lived next door or at a relative’s home? If you had to leave your home and couldn’t bring your cherished pet, what would you do? Aren’t people like Ruby Montana wonderful?

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4 Responses to “Service of Pets are Family”

  1. Martha Takayama Said:

    An eccentric neighbor across the street from my family’s house bred over 100 cats at the time his wife left him. He kept on letting nature take its course on his property long after that. I ended up first feeding one of those many cats, and then, never having had any thing but a canary, ended up adopting two of those cats. The two could not be separated and I loved and cared for them even when I no longer lived at home. I would occasionally take sick time from my government job to go to my parents’ house to help get either one to the vet. I adored them. When I married my husband he had three girls. The youngest who lived with my husband was a poodle who was jealous at first, but became devoted to me. We kept her clandestinely in my condo and rented a parking lot so we could drive her to work and she would spend her days in our office. We even took her on long car trips and sometimes managed to sneak her into restaurants. she was anintegral part of our family. I still feel her loss many yaers later.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I love your animal stories.

    I wouldn’t want to see the neighbor with the 100 cat’s vet bill! And all the cat food. Yikes.

    Your step poodle was a lucky dog!

  3. Deborah Wright Said:

    When I was sixteen, my mother died and I had to go live with another family. Timothy was my Himalayan cat that my mother had bought for me after my father died. Well, the family that I was going to live with didn’t want a cat. They had a dog, Rex, and there was no court of appeal. Luckily, my brother was at college and he took Timothy. So Timothy lived at the University of Illinois until my brother and his wife moved to Montana. They took the cat, but I never saw him again. However he lived to be twenty-two years old! The Montana vet said Timothy was the oldest cat he had ever had in his practice. But initially, of course, I was heartbroken.

    Another bit: when we had so many foreclosures after 2008, a neighbor said that if he lost his house and became homeless, he would take his beloved dog, Sable, with him no question!

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Too much loss for such a young person. Himalayans are stunningly beautiful cats. Timothy had the secret to a long life. I wonder if he was waiting to see you again which kept him spry and accounted for his record-breaking longevity.

    As for Sable, I’m with his human parent. I felt the same about my pets.

    When his parents went on a trip we dog sat for Snoopy our neighbor beagle on the Turkish base [it actually belonged to Turkey although American airmen inhabited it]. He spent most of the day romping in his enclosed backyard. A child apparently teased him when we weren’t home and he nipped the kid. The base wanted to incarcerate the Snoop. My husband pleaded with the vet and promised not to let Snoopy out of our sight–no more afternoons in the backyard–at least until our neighbors returned from their trip. We knew that they’d be more than upset if we hadn’t done our best to keep their precious dog safe and pampered with us. We were able to do this thank goodness. Snoopy had every shot known to man and the child was more scared than harmed.

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