Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How it all began

People are always asking how we got started working with animals.  My story is a bit boring, since I’ve always worked with them, but Vinny’s is interesting and funny, so I thought I’d share some of Vinny’s early days with animals here.

Vinny grew up in Brooklyn, NY, not an area known for their pet or wildlife populations.  His dad was going to get him a puppy when he was a child, but his mom told him that he was allergic, so he never got a pet.

Fast forward many years and he marries this weird chick from New Mexico that grew up with pets and tons of other wacky creatures and the adventures begin.  AND he found out that, not only is he not allergic to dogs, he’s not allergic to any animals.  Thank goodness or this story would get super boring right after this line.
When we were first married, our pet population was quite normal, two dogs (a male lhasa apso, named Slimers and a female Chihuahua), two cats (an indoor cat named Stripers and an outdoor cat that actually belonged more to the lhasa apso than the humans and stayed in the yard only) and a parrot.  What could go wrong, right?

Well, Slimers believed he was the “man of the house” and wasn’t all that thrilled having this new male move in to HIS territory. 

So, a month into the marriage, Vinny was coming inside from the backyard, he had to lift one leg really high to step over something and Slimers took that opportunity to jump up and bit him RIGHT between the legs, tearing his jeans and causing some bleeding to occur.  Yes, for a second we questioned whether children would ever be possible in our marriage after this, thankfully, that was all ok, but the lines were drawn.

Six months after that, we had one of those horrible hail storms that Texas is so notorious for, so we had to bring the dog and cat in from outside for their own safety.  The outside cat was sitting in the middle of the yard (not in either one of the two dog houses we provided for them), being pelted by golf ball size hail!  I was seriously afraid he was about to die, so, being the great sport that he is, Vinny ran outside and grabbed the cat, which really hated being held by humans, and rushed him into the house to safety.  Vinny knew enough to keep a tight grip on this cat or he’d get loose and not be caught.  As he went to the utility room (where the cat stayed when he was indoors), he loosened his grip ever so slightly.  As he did, the cat took advantage and ZOOMED up Vinny’s face and down his back, scaled the nearby wall and dove behind the water heater head first, where he got stuck!

There was blood everywhere!  The cat had caught Vinny’s lower lip with his back claw as he climbed over his head and torn it clean open!  And now the cat is stuck.

This all happened as Vinny was leaving for work, so we patched his lip and he headed out the door.  He got halfway down our road and realized that I was not going to be able to unstick the cat by myself since I was pregnant and not as maneuverable as normal, so he came back. 

The cat was lodged so badly between the wall and the water heater and was so far down that he couldn’t reach him and had to punch a hole in the wall from the kitchen to the utility room to get a hand on the cat!  He did this, the cat clawed his face one more time and the event was pretty much over.
To this day, that cat gave Vinny the worst injury he’s ever had from an animal.

Yes, this was Vinny’s initial introduction to living with animals.  And somehow he still works with animals!