Ark Animal Sanctuary – Week April 12, 2021
All too often we at the Ark Animal Sanctuary receive phone calls looking for kittens or specific types of cats like Siamese, rag dolls or Persians. Some people actually are very specific like it has to be a female, orange, long hair and not over one-year old.
We try to be very polite and explain that we have nothing that fits that exact description and suggest maybe an older cat or a different color and most times we are unsuccessful in changing their minds.
I know kittens are cute and cuddly but they grow up to be full grown cats. I believe that every animal deserves a loving home and it makes me sad to think about the older cats, the not so friendly cats or the differently-abled cats.
These are the cats who have waited a lifetime to be loved and rescued; the ones who hide in the corner because they are not sure if they can trust you; the ones who have never experienced kindness, or a safe clean place to live with an owner who genuinely cares about them. Or they are the ones that require time and patience before they are willing to let down their guard and open their hearts.
I have to admit I was one of the ones that always wanted the kittens, or the friendliest one or the certain type until I met a little dog named Hobo. I think he was 14 or 15 and when he was found he was so matted he couldn’t even open his eyes, he was found lying in the middle of the road and a kind lady brought him in.
He growled and tried to bite and everyone was afraid of him. I began the process of shaving him and he was so matted his body came off in one piece. It took about an hour just to get his eyes open because they were full of infection and dried closed. Once his eyes were open it was very clear that he was blind. He tried to growl and bite but when I opened his mouth he had very few teeth left and the ones he had were not in good shape.
After hours of work we finally saw a dog underneath that weighed about 8 pounds. This was a dog that was terrified he couldn’t hear and he couldn’t see and yet he was outside sleeping in the middle of the road. It was a Saturday so I took him home for the weekend, I held him and cuddled him and told him he was a good boy.
I set up an area with baby gates and put him there for the night. At around midnight I heard scratching on the door, when I opened it there he was. He had found his way to me, I picked him up and put him in bed and he settled in and didn’t move. The next morning I knew that he wasn’t going anywhere, that he was home and that he was a part of our family.
Hobo didn’t come without challenges — he was not a friendly dog but for some reason he loved me. I could do anything to him. If I walked into a room, he knew I was there and would start crying and try to get to me. He became my shadow. Vet visits were never easy, and the vet would always say it was a good thing he had an attitude because that is what keeps him alive.
Eventually he had to have an eye removed, but he couldn’t see out of it anyway. Hobo lived to be 16, and although I only had him for two years, it seemed like a lifetime. He was not the pretty one or the social one. He came into my life for a reason. He accepted me and I accepted him and our bond was unbreakable. He made me a better person and he taught me to look beyond the image and see into the soul.
Our appearance doesn’t define who we are; it is our inner heart and soul that defines who we are. It has been years since he passed away, but to this day I found myself adopting the senior animals that come with challenges, perhaps that is why Hobo came into my life, to show me that sometimes when you open your heart to a senior animal you can fall in love very easily and develop a bond so strong it can’t be broken.
So I encourage everyone, the next time you are looking to adopt, look at the shy ones, the ones that aren’t so pretty, the ones who are seniors, the ones who are perfectly imperfect who are not sure they can trust you. The ones that the world has passed by and then take them home, love them and care for them, be patient with them and watch them blossom into the animal that they were meant to be.
Thank you for your continued support and as always thank you for reading our column.
The Ark Animal Sanctuary is located on 101 Old Woodstock Road. To contact Lorraine Monfils call 532-7387 or check out their Facebook page.