Do animals experience emotion? Can their hearts be broken?
In mid-summer our youngest daughter’s cat, Honey, disappeared. We did the usual, called for him, tried to lure him home with food and hunted for him, but alas no sign of the cat. We live rural and have many wild guests on and near the property.
There are at least 2 predator species that we share our grounds with; a hawk and a family of fox plus Coyote just across the road past County Hwy G in Calamus. We’ve had Honey since 2002 and his health appeared to be failing. So we assumed the worst that he tangled with a fox or some other predator and lost the battle.
My daughter Riane’s passion is in the field of animal medicine so she volunteers at the local Humane Society. On a Saturday a few weeks ago she sent her mother a text picture of a tabby cat looking exactly like Honey and asked for her mother’s opinion. Sure enough it was her cat. The cat was picked up about 10 miles from our home and turned in to the Humane Society.
He was housed in an area that she had not worked until that day. Riane became overwhelmed with emotion. After spending some time alone to get herself back together she asked to ‘adopt’ her pet that day. She is only 17 and as a minor needed our consent to do so. Sherisse immediately sprung to action and started the process.
During the process of adopting our cat, the director of the Humane Society explained to Sherisse that Honey had stopped eating 2 weeks before Riane discovered him. Staff had been going above and beyond the call of duty to force feed him and keep Honey alive until he could be rescued. Riane was lucky she found him still alive, but not doing well.
So we took Honey home assuming that he would die at home near his favorite person, Riane. He didn’t eat at all the first 24 hours, but started to eat a little the second day. Food didn’t stay down long for the first week, but that changed as time went on.
Slowly he has become healthier and now looks great and is tormenting the dogs like the good old days. When he was homeless, he was willing to stop eating and just die, when he was home with his people he regained the will to live.
I learned something about domestic animals. Pets can love as deeply as their human masters.
The big surprise, however, was the actions of staff at the humane society. It would’ve been easy to let our cat die peacefully on his own or even assist in the process by putting him down, but they didn’t. We are grateful. This experience reaffirmed the volunteer time my daughters have given on Saturday mornings and summer vacations and the financial support we’ve given them during their fund raising drives.
If you want to learn more about the Dodge County Humane Society, or make a financial or time donation; here is how to reach them; Dodge County Humane Society :: N6839 State Road 26 Juneau, WI 53039 :: 920.386.0000 :: Fax: 920.386.9770
501(C)(3) Not For Profit Organization