Taking a Look Back

A Godsend of Pets to Care For
-from my life in the Arab Gulf

My life is sometimes crazy  with my menagerie of cats, dogs and my bird. But God uses these swaggering,  humorous, interesting creatures to teach me things I need to know.

After a long day at work, I get out of the taxi and grope for the key to open the gate. I just want to sit down and relax.

Buddy is tied up  and I go to release him. Today the gardener’s bathed him and he leaves him to dry. The look on Buddy’s face would soften the hardest human’s heart. He looks chastised though I know the gardener means no harm. “Go, run,” I whisper after unleashing him.  Buddy, who’s not used to being tied up, runs around like crazy for a couple of minutes until the fresh taste of freedom wears off.

At the same time, the puppies are barking frantically trying to get my attention.

A few of the cats waiting to eat
A few of the cats waiting to eat

The outdoor cats–most of them semi-tamed feral–close in on me in a gang-like stance. They are hungry. Billy the Bully yowls as he always does to be number 1, driving off any competition by sheer volume of his cry.

It’s at that moment I see a tiny black, scared, white-bellied kitten glance at me through enormous eyes that seem to fill its entire face.

It tried to find shelter and acceptance with any one of the bigger cats. It walks right up to Billy the Bully, who hisses at it. It then goes over to Mustard, who sniffs it and hisses, halfheartedly. Mustard doesn’t seem to want to be enemies but he doesn’t seem as if he’s ready to accept the newcomer yet. My Halloween cat, Spooky, spits and begins to chase the poor thing.

Then I chase Spooky!

The puppies remind me they are there by barking their heads off, wondering why I don’t come and give them some attention.  Buddy is running back and forth excitedly, jumping over the tiny kitten, who doesn’t know where to run. Somehow the little creature makes it up the wall and I pour it some nice milk.

It’s just a tiny scruff of a kitty, after ll. Who knows how long it will live on the busy street, unless i bring it into my house. All my rooms are full–the latest two boarders being the two remaining pups of the five my taxi driver dropped off in front of my house before dashing away again eight weeks earlier.

Well, we’ll see what happens…

I feed the kitten some chicken and it backs away in initial fear. But it’s too hungry, and dives into it right away.

I walk to the puppy pen  ( a wide, circular gated area in the front yard) and release them.

They bark at Buddy, who pees near the entrance to the back door. Buddy, thus relieved, hurries to dig up some precious treasure. What is it now? Something he’s brought in from our morning walk?

I look back to the wall and the kitten is gone. I wish it luck, somehow knowing I’ll see it again soon. I run the soup kitchen for feral cats on my wall. There’s about eighteen when they all show up. I never turn any away.

The puppies and cats relaxing together
The puppies and cats relaxing together

When I go back into the house, the two indoor cats scream for food and water. I see the bird pacing in its cage. I try to get them all fed and settled, I look out the dining room window and discover that Buddy’s dug up what looks like a skull of a sheep or a young goat.  It’ an old dried out skull, tossed out by someone who’s had a barbecue, no doubt.

It’s moments like these that I realize that I truly am living in the Middle East.

Buddy’s tail is wagging and he’s lying in front of it, smiling, and finally relaxed.

I close the curtains and think to myself, Just a typical day with my brood. 

I think God understands my need to raise a family and with his humor, has given me exactly what I’ve asked for

May 3, 2003

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You have just read “A Godsend of Pets to Care For” by Amy L. Bovaird, November 2014. If you would like to read more of Amy’s writing, check out her memoir Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith

A Godsend of Pets to Care for
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