I grew up in the country, rural Northeastern Pennsylvania to be exact. Raised on a beautiful 30 acre farmette, my family always had animals from cats and dogs to poultry, llamas, sheep, horses, and lots of others. It was hobby farming, no production other than new babies in the spring and hayfields to harvest for winter feeding. Over the years our little farm became the home to many pets tossed out along the roadside and left to their fate by others far less compassionate towards them. While from origins unknown, more than one of these unfortunate animals found a place in our hearts and home.
More Than the Average Quarter Pounder
For some reason, some people love to toss their trash out of windows on rural roads. I’m not sure why it’s such a hassle to carry the trash to their destination to have it disposed of properly, but it isn’t uncommon to see fast food trash in the ditch or on the roadside on back roads.
I’m not sure what was any different about the burger box and McDonald’s bag my sister and I found one fall day. Back in the day, Mickey D’s packaging wasn’t so compact and burgers came neatly encased in a styrofoam container – maybe it was the pristine condition of that little carton or the fact that it wasn’t blowing away in the wind, but something made my sister look at that box and realize it contained something more than a Quarter Pounder. Tucked neatly inside was a tiny tabby! A single striped kitten, left on the roadside with the trash.
QP (short for Quarter-pounder, as he was affectionately known as from that day on) was between 4 and 6 weeks old the day we brought him home and presented him to our mother. After a visit to the vet and a few days of TLC, he settled in nicely and comfortably to his new life on the farm. He wasn’t the first, nor was he the last.
Sometimes animals in need find you. That’s what we ultimately concluded when we found a pudgy little black lab puppy behind our barn one evening. Again, much too young to be on his own, it was hard to believe our eyes! How could that little pup have found his way through woods and fields, over streams and roads and into our lives?
“We can’t keep him, he has to belong to someone around us,” my Dad said. I can remember driving from neighbor to neighbor to ask if anyone around was missing a lab puppy, but no one near us had any clue. No takers on posted fliers at the local groceries or convenience stores either. After a couple of weeks, Luke became a permanent fixture to my father’s four pawed entourage. He was a loyal and comedic dog. He was only with us for five short years before passing away due to cancer.
I’ll share more of these many tales from my youth in future posts. Until then, please share if you have a story of your own!