Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Why I am a member of PAWS

When I moved to Saipan, I struggled to find a sense of purpose other than my job. I struggled with wondering why I was here. And then I found PAWS. PAWS, Pet Assistance and Welfare Services of Saipan, is an organization that strives to make Saipan a better place for animals. PAWS works to find lost, abandoned, and boonie dogs and cats appropriate homes, and works to educate the public on the benefits of responsible pet ownership. And I was drawn to PAWS because I shared a common interest with its members... a love of animals.

My love of animals goes way back. The first time I remember understanding a human's love of an animal was at age 3. I was just a little pixie of a thing, with long golden blond hair, and I remember standing at the kitchen sink looking up at my mother, who was crying. It's the first time I ever remember her crying. Her big fluffy white cat, Puff, had just died. Now, the story of Puff is one that my mother will have to tell, regarding how special this cat was. But, I looked up at her, and knew something wasn't right. I looked up at her and said, "Mommys don't cry." My mother looked down at me, and said, "Yes, they do." I remember 'getting it' then at the age of 3.

Since then, I have had an ongoing love affair with animals, thanks to my parents. I have had the following dogs in my life up to this point: Goldie, Hildie, Phoebe, Phoenix, Daisy, Brutus, Fred, Baxter, and my dearest of all, Ellie... who I miss every day. And Scarlett, who has more fight in her than any dog I've ever seen. I don't think I'm forgetting anyone, but I'm sure Mom will correct me if I am, just as she will supplement the list of cats, which is even longer. In my life, I have had the following cats: Puff, Brandy, Buttons, G.E., T.C., George (arguably the best cat ever), Adam, Eve (yes, brother and sister, and both still alive), Emmy, Charlotte (2nd in line for best cat ever), Scout, and Bubble and Squeak. Of my list, still currently in the Simms family are my dearest Ellie, Adam and Eve (albeit in delicate health at 15 years or so), Emmy, Scout, and of course, Scarlett, Bubble and Squeak, my foil Saipan animal family.

Now this list doesn't take into account the number of animals that we took in and found homes for, the number of baby birds we fed with a dropper, or the pet flying squirrel we adopted because it flew down the chimney. We named the squirrel Squeaky. There is a picture floating around somewhere of my dad wearing a super sexy brown velour 70s top with Squeaky sitting on his shoulder. Blackmail material, perhaps. And it doesn't take into account my mother's current flock of non-migratory Canadian geese and random ducks who have decided to make my parent's backyard home. They've been around for just about as long as we've lived there. And these birds are fat, corn-fed, and spoiled rotten. (While I was in Atlanta on my recent vacation, my dad and I were shocked to find goose droppings in the garage... apparently one bird was bold enough to come to the front of the house, and browse around my parent's garage... go figure.) My nieces love to feed them with the quality cracked corn my mother buys in bulk. And my father just about has the 'wild' squirrels trained well enough to take whole peanuts (It IS Georgia, after all) out of his hands.

My point is this: I was taught a love and respect for animals since birth. If children aren't taught how to treat animals, they will not grow up understanding animals, and will miss out on the amazing relationship that humans and animals can have. I've often said that I get along better with animals than I do with people, although that can change depending on the day. But animals don't judge... they love you simply because you are you, no matter what mood you happen to be in. What person do you know who can do that?

PAWS needs people who are passionate about animals. PAWS needs people who understand the amazing relationships that can prosper between people and their pets. PAWS needs people who want to change their community for the better. If you are one of those people, let me know. PAWS has some amazing things in store, and I know we have a place for you.

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