The concept of ‘humanity’ is much broader than compassion for one’s own kind. It also includes sympathy for animals, and not on only on International Homeless Animals Day, which we observed at the end of August. The purpose of that day is not to celebrate, but to remind ourselves that, as Saint-Exupéry put it, we become responsible forever for those we have tamed.
STORY 1. ABOUT NATASHA, HER HUSBAND
Jackie came to us a year ago. My husband and I had moved into our own apartment and we wanted a dog. We quickly decided that we would not buy a pure-bred, but adopt one that needed a home.
I went through ads on social media every day and saw a post about a little black dog that lived on the street. Passers-by fed it, and somebody brought it a cat’s house. The dog had sad eyes in the photo, and we realized that we needed to make him our friend. The very next day, we brought Jackie home.
Jackie’s habituation process did not go smoothly. It turned out that the dog was afraid of men. He was afraid of my husband, too: he hid under the couch and wouldn’t go up to him to get treats. It appeared that our pet had run into some cruel man in the past. Somebody advised us to let my husband be the one to take Jackie out for walks and feed him. With time they became the best of friends!
Jackie is now about three years old. Honestly, he’s a guy who knows his own mind! There is still work to be done about some problems with his behavior. But the dog has changed a lot during the time that he has lived with us. We, too, have changed, and I hope it was for the better.
STORY 2. ABOUT MASHA AND ALISA THE CAT
A year ago I decided to get a cat. I shared this happy idea with colleagues at work. I told them I was looking for a Scottish Fold kitten. A colleague came up to me to show me, on her phone, a photo, and video of a homeless cat that her brother had found by the entrance to their house. The cat was a completely different breed or, to be more precise, it was just a mongrel. My colleague and her brother had been looking for the cat’s owner for a whole month through ads and social media. Nobody responded, but her brother could not keep the cat as he already had three pets.
I must admit I had my doubts. The veterinarian determined that the cat was about 18 months old, which meant that she was an adult. I had wanted a kitten.
However, I felt sorry for her – it is much easier for pedigreed animals to find a home. My colleague’s brother brought Alisa to my place. He made sure that I was a nice person and that the cat felt okay around me. He instructed me on how to take care of her.
Alisa and I have been friends ever since. She is a good-natured and affectionate cat. She needs constant contact and therefore always tries to be by my side. She meets me when I come home from work and asks me to scratch her tummy. If it were not for her fur getting all over everything, Alisa would be an ideal pet.
STORY 3. ABOUT LEO THE DOG, VARVARA AND SLAVA
Our red dog is called Leo. He was injured when he was a puppy, and his spine was damaged. The dog could hardly crawl for some time. Then volunteers got involved, and three years ago we adopted Leo.
We recently celebrated the anniversary. Leo had two operations and then a long rehabilitation period. All that time he was a very good boy: He neverbit anyone, nor did he ever bare his teeth, although he was in a lot of pain.
Good things and bad happened during those three years, but we never gave up – we worked together, hand in paw. We live, we rejoice, and we support other pets with disabilities. And we don’t get upset if our Leo occasionally steals cookies from the table.
STORY 4. ABOUT POLINA, MARUSYA AND GAVRYUSHA
We found Marusya and Gavryusha in the forest near our dacha – the kittens were two months old. Marusya was a bit wild, she cried at night, and she closed her eyes in fright when we took her in our arms. Gavryusha had multiple diseases – otitis, conjunctivitis, tracheitis, etc.
I had placed a lot of pets with people, but I just couldn’t entrust these poor guys
to anybody else. I had always been afraid to keep pets because I am very allergic. Currently, I am on antihistamines but I am happy and I am having a lot of fun.
Marusya grew up to become a real princess-and-the-pea. Gavryusha is more like a simple and kind-hearted rural calf. I had read that pets are the guardians of human existence. I agree – indeed, they help us retain the meaning and joy of life in our crazy world.
STORY 5. ABOUT DASHA’S FAMILY AND BALOO THE DOG
Our family consists of three people: my husband and I, and our daughter Alisa. There is also a cat called Ronnie. Now we also have Baloo. We all live together in a studio apartment. We had always wanted to adopt one more pet and make it a member of our family. My husband had been hoping to have a pure-bred puppy, a Jack Russell terrier. But I was thinking of a mongrel dog from an animal shelter or just a “little friend” from the street. Once we came across a photo of a dog on social media. We understood immediately that she should come live with us. Her condition was not great –one of her eyes was injured and she had ticks all over her body. But we were not discouraged. On the contrary, we overcame those challenges. That was the start of our acquaintance with our beloved Baloo and with the kind people who helped us bring her home.
STORY 6. ABOUT SASHA AND ZHUZHA
We called her “that dog” when we took her in, gave her a temporary home. Zhuzha quickly forgot about her homeless life and became accustomed to us. She would roll over to show people her white tummy and put her little “white-stockinged” paws up in the air. When we took her picture she would pose, turning her head in such a playful way that it gave the impression that she was showing us her best angles. We could not hold out against such amazing “dog appeal:” we gave in and kept Zhuzha.
It used to be that when I heard to stories by dog owners whose pets gnawed their
books and tore their jackets, I said to myself: That is just horrible, I couldn’t take something like that! Now I understand: all those curtains, chairs and even houseplants that I loved so much are just not that important. I do not think we had ever had so much fun in our home before we had Zhuzha.
STORY 7. ABOUT KAMILLA AND DOBBY
Volunteers had found Dobby in an underpass. The kids said the kitten was at death’s door: He was so skinny and miserable that he didn’t even look like a kitten, just an old rag. They picked up the poor shivering little thing to give it a temporary shelter and posted an ad online.
I responded to the ad and adopted the kitten. He seemed healthy and there was no sign that anything was really wrong. Later it turned out that the kitten was seriously ill, but this didn’t change anything. We were inseparable, and we are now best friends. He knows how to play “I Got You Last,” although it is not clear where he learned it. He also likes to sit
on the kitchen table and listen to human conversations.
STORY 8. ABOUT OLYA AND ONE MORE ZHUZHA
It was not my intention to get a dog. I found Zhuzha on the road a year ago – she had been hit by a car. I did not think she would survive, but I managed to nurse her back to health. I spent some time trying to find her a home, but then I got used to her and did not even realize that Zhuzha became my close friend. We always hang out together now: in country cottages, during morning and evening jogs, and during walks before bed. True, Zhuzha has gnawed several pairs of my bedroom slippers, but is that really a big price to pay for true love?
STORY 9. ABOUT KOSTIA, YANA, ATLIKA, DELTA AND KIMMIE
Atlika’s owners had left her in the woods. The dog dug a hole under a tree and lived
in it. An old forester occasionally gave her food. At first, she was afraid of people. She wouldn’t take food from our hands, we had to throw food to her from far away. She was ill, and we couldn’t examine her or take her out for a walk.
We spent six months giving her medical treatment, and, at last, she started to recover. She is now a sweet and friendly pet who loves her owners and her owners’ guests.
Our second pet came via a friend: She told me how someone had found a box with puppies in it and was looking for homes for them. When I saw Kimmie, my heart went pit-a-pat. I knew that this dog had to be ours.
Construction workers found Delta. They said the dog had been abandoned. I looked for a shelter for her, but there were no good options: She would have had to live in a cage. So we kept her temporarily. Now we are looking for a home for her, butIamnotatallsurewewillbeableto say goodbye. We have become used to her. It’s true what people say: There is nothing more permanent than the temporary…
By Darya Buryakina