Monday, February 14, 2011

My 4 Legged Valentines

By Terri Rocovich

It is no secret that all of us - those who write this blog and those who read it - are all very similar creatures. We cherish our relationships with our 4 legged family members as much (and on some days more than) our 2 legged relationships. I am a very lucky, blessed person in many ways; I have a loving and supportive family (2 sisters and my mom), I have an incredible network of friends, great clients and countless kids and laughter around the barn and an endless source of unconditional love and devotion from my 4 legged family.

Even though there has never been a husband or kids of my own in this equation, I have few regrets and my life is very full and fulfilled. So on this Valentine's day I bought myself some beautiful flowers, got some much needed rest and spent most of the day hanging out with my 4 legged Valentines.

I have written many times about the equine members of my family Pete, Hank, Tahoe and the newcomer Hershey, but I have not written about the canine, feline and avian members of the family.
Morgan______________Murphy_______________ Marley
The canine crew consists of Morgan (the queen), Murphy (the clown), and Marley(the sweet one). Now I did not plan for this alliteration of names, it just happened by accident. Morgan is the only pure breed in the group, she is a royally bred Rottweiler who will be 11 years old on 4/29/11, the day of the Royal Wedding of Prince William which is suitable because Morgan knows that she is the Queen of all she surveys. I have had Morgan her entire life; she is the product of my beloved dog Memphis (I know another M name) and my sister's Rottweiler Nessie. She comes from champion bloodlines but most importantly has an incredible temperament and personality.

Murphy was actually a Christmas present from my sister to Morgan. She got him from a rescue group and decided that Morgan needed a buddy. Murphy initially had issues with insecurity and separation anxiety but he has now blossomed into quite a character. He is a Rottweiler/Greyhound mix (yes I said Greyhound) and he basically looks like a tall streamlined Rotti that can run like the wind. He thinks he is a horse and tries to walk in between the legs of everyone he likes regardless of whether he can fit or not. I was talked into taking Marley by friends to prevent her from being taken to the humane society. When she was a puppy she looked like a rottweiler and everyone decided that she was meant for me. I was reading the book Marley and Me at the time so she was dubbed Marley. She is however, nothing like the Marley in the book and doesn't even look like a Rotti anymore (my guess is that she is Queensland Healer and Shepherd mix). She is very quiet, even timid at times, and most likes to gently rest her head on your leg and look at you with her soulful, amber eyes with an unparalleled adoration.

Then there is the feline contingency - Orkin (my little exterminator), Cruiser (the lover), Piper (the shy one) and Stripes (the gluten). All of my cats live indoors because outdoor cats in my area become coyote food. Orkin is nearly 16 and has escaped many brushes with disaster and death (thank God for 9 lives) but even though she is the smallest, she rules the roost and all of the others - cats and dogs - bow to her wishes. Cruiser's needs are simple; she wants to be fed and wants to be in your lap or laying on your chest (which is not always great since she weighs about 15lbs). Piper comes from a very traumatic beginning. She is so named because she was found crammed maliciously (butt first) into the tail pipe of a car. After being discovered and the car's tail pipe dismantled, she was taken into my vet's office for care. A few days later knowing what a soft touch I am (or sucker, dumby, loser - however you want to look at it) my vet contacted me and asked if I would adopt her. She had been understandably traumatized and needed a home that could deal with her fragile emotional state, so I brought the then 3lb kitten home. Piper still won't let anyone hold her but she is otherwise very well adjusted and also nearly 15lbs. Stripes was born a Ferrel kitten and decided to take up residence in the barn at my old house. She would spit and hiss at anyone who got too close but was slowly won over by me, my students/boarders and food. She is now a glutton in every way possible - for attention, for food, for bed covers - you name it. She claims possession of anyone sleeping in my guest rooms to the point that I have to ask any and all visitors "I hope you don't mind a cat sleeping with you?"

Lastly there is Chance, a love bird that flew into my old barn now nearly 10 years ago. He had obviously gotten loose from somewhere and in spite of ads and signs posted at the local feed stores, no one ever claimed him. So Chance lives like me, single but happy.

Needless to say most of the members of my 4 legged family have come to me by accidental circumstance but they are treasured no less. I spent a few hours this Valentine morning luxuriously lounging in bed, drinking coffee and watching the morning news shows (a rare treat since I get a day off once every month or so) with 3 dogs and 4 cats either on the bed or the head board or foot board. I had one dog's head on my legs, another on my stomach, a cat next to the dog's head on my stomach and another cat on my chest. So I ask you - Is there a better way to start off Valentine's day? If this day is all about love I think I started in off right, how about you?

I wish you all every bit of happiness, joy and love on this day for sweethearts and hope that we all carry it with us for every other day of the year. Happy Valentine's Day!


Linda Benson said...

Happy Valentine's Day to you, Terri. Animals bring us so much love, don't they? I can tell that you have a caring heart, and I'm glad you are surrounded by so much love in return.

Francesca Prescott said...

I can just imagine you in bed yesteray morning surrounded by all your adoring suitors! Definitely a perfect way to start the day. My dogs are not officially allowed on the bed, as my husband CAN'T STAND the idea, but when he's gone the dogs and me usually snuggle up for a while. I'm such a rebel, eh?!

Lovely to hear about all your animals. About that poor little kitten stuck in the exhaust pipe of the car? What is wrong with people? Seriously. Poor cat. I'm glad she's got you now.

Terri Rocovich said...

Thanks Linda, it is amazing how much love animals give us. I personally don't think I could survive witout them in my life. I told someone the other day that horses are my oxygen and I think that is true for all my animals. And Francesca, you rebel you! I bet your dogs know exactly when the hubby isn't around. Piper was quite a site when I got her; just 3lbs and both eyes and her coat burned by the carbon in the tail pipe. She now has a silky soft, healthy coat and her eyes are 100% fine, especially at dinner time. Human's capacity for cruelty still shocks me. You would think that homosapiens would have evolved better by now. Have a great day.

Laura Crum said...

Terri--I, too, loved the image of your lazy morning in bed surrounded by your animals. Two cats and a dog sleep on our bed every night, and sometimes a little boy crawls in, too, so I know all about a cozy bed. My husband says "cozy" is another word for crowded(!)

Alison said...

Okay, now get those cats to pose for photos!

Terri Rocovich said...

Laura my sister once asked me what I would do with all the dogs and cats on the bed if I met the man of my dreams. My reply was - I would get a bigger bed.

And Alison if you know how to get a cat to pose for a photo, please let me know! My cats run the other was any time a camera is around. You would think that they were Lindsey Lohan and I was the paparazzi.

Anonymous said...

Late posting but I wanted to share my joy in your Valentine's morning Terri! In my most wretched moments my animals have provided some of my most loving solace. No matter what they are always there with a fuzzy hug! And how nice that you shared that love on Valentines day, as love really should not be contained!!

Francesca: My hubby is the exact same way, in fact if the dogs are on the bed with me and they see him come in they immediately dive to the floor, one under the bed and one off to find the nearest child's bed! It is equally fascinating that as soon as he leaves they re-materialize and poof! there they are again lying right where they were originally! Such funny dogs!!