Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Animal Parade

Rico and I have been going for walks every evening. We walk down the gravel road beside our place. It's a pretty quiet road and more often than not, we won't have any traffic on the road while on our walk. Last Tuesday I decided to double our distance and we kept on going. We got to the tree line and I noticed something laying on the road ahead. I figured it was a dead squirrel. When we got up to the animal, it was an orange and white tiger striped kitten. I picked up Rico so he wouldn't mess with it and kicked it off into the ditch. "Poor little thing" I said. I set Rico down and we kept walking.

Rico is doing great off leash. He heels like a pro. I'll speed up, slow down, zig-zag and turn while he keeps near perfect pace. If I stop, he stops, sits down and looks up at me. I know this won't last forever but am trying to reinforce the good behavior now so he knows the right way before he becomes the defiant teenage dog. I walk half with leash and half off leash just so he gets used to the leash. He's a quick learner.

We were past the curve in the road when all of the sudden this little gray kitten jumped onto the road. I swear if it could talk it would've yelled "Hello! I'm so damn happy to see you!" Huddled on the edge of the road were two more kittens, apparently siblings. They immediately were begging for some petting, very lovey kittens. Rico didn't know what to do so he decided to bark at them. It didn't phase the kittens at all. I figured momma cat had taken them out hunting so I waited around and called and called for her. Then I remembered what I had seen on Sunday afternoon.

I was in Rico's pen Sunday afternoon and had noticed a car going down the gravel road. It stopped, a woman got out and opened the trunk, closed it and took off again. I didn't think much of it at the time but it was now clearly obvious I had seen a monster at work. These kittens were not old enough to fend for themselves. One was killed on the road and the others would have starved if I hadn't decided to walk the extra distance that night.

I decided to walk home and come back with the car to pick up the kittens. Rico and I headed for home. I looked behind us and lo and behold, the three kittens decided to follow along. It was an animal parade and I was the pied piper! Poor Rico was torn - do I follow Mom or do I go herd up the kittens? Luckily he decided to follow me. We walked a slower pace on the way back but it must have been quite a sight! I did have my cell phone along and took a photo. It's lousy quality but you get the idea...

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We got almost to the driveway and I decided to pick up the littlest of the three kittens. They had been on quite a hike so far. I picked it up and the kitten immediately jumped out of my arms into the ditch. I tried coaxing it back up to the road but it huddled into the grass. I decided to get Rico and the other two kittens up to John and I'd come back for the third one. As I was coming back a car went by on the road. The kitten must have got scared and disappearred further into the grass. I looked and looked but could not find it. John and I looked for two days but could not find the third kitten.

I took the two kittens to the vet on Friday. They had a myriad of problems but are on the mend now and have taken up residence in our pole barn. Their names are "Crash" and "Burn". We found out Burn is actually Burnadette. They are great entertainment for Rico and are teaching him that cats are OK. I still feel bad about the third kitten but at least we saved the two. I still can't imagine how someone could just drop them off like she did. There are some truely cruel people out there.

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Crash on the left, Burnadette on the right. They are a joy and John, I and Rico are head over heels!

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