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My Fathers Daughter My dad was an avid animal lover. We grew up with all kinds of animals but especially dogs. That is one of the main things I got from my dad. He taught me a lot about the care and consideration it takes in owning an animal and the responsibility involved in doing it right. He never looked at them as simply pets but an extension of family that needed to be treated as such. So needless to say I had tons of animals. I always felt this remarkable bond with them and see my own son following the steps that his mom and his grandpa took in regards to that. I could see my son being a Veterinarian which is what I wanted to be at his age, maybe a K9 handler which we have discussed. He seems to follow what road I take and is so much like me it is scary. He could and would be a great defender of animal rights simply because he chooses to be that now. He will stand up to a grown man and stand his ground if he thinks that person is abusing an animal. He is, to a point, fanatical about it and he is only 7 yrs old. I think back to my own childhood and how I reacted to such things in my day, and I was exactly the same, and I came from a long line of relatives who believed that an animal had its place and it wasn't a family member in the least and I could go on about the abusive situations I have seen in my lifetime. That animals be put in and my reactions and responses to such, but it would take 10 pages or more to do so. When Dakota comes to me and states an act he took as repulsive to animals, he becomes agitated and I allow him to vent. I also allow him to stand his ground and a know most people accept what he says with shame in their eyes and carry on. He has the tenacity of a pitbull when it comer to the animal rights issues and I will never deter him in any way. It has been awhile since I have personally allowed myself to become close to anyone, individual, animal since the loss of Natasha my Mini Schnauzer, See, 'Man's Best Friend', good article. Anyways making the decision to have her put to sleep was terribly troubling to my soul and to this day I still struggle with that decision, it also takes me back to years ago as a child and having to decide, by the hands of an abusive uncle, which out of a litter of puppies and kittens should live and die, the agony of having to do this as an adult brought back to many terrifying and hurtful memories that it has caused me to become somewhat numb in regards to having something depend on and trust me totally for their lives, comfort, and health. I am just not up to that responsibility as of yet, and I am smart enough to realize that in me. I have tried but when I become to attached I send the adopted animal to a friend's and I have done that at least twice now, and feel the need to heal before I do it again. My son still has his animals and I am so thankful for that. Yes, I do have a cat which seems to have permanently established a role in this family, why and how I am not 100 % sure on that, but I do know I don't see me without her and I guess maybe that is a start. I was always very close in heart to dogs though. I preferred them and always saw myself with one, but not at this time. I love horses too and nothing seems to free me more than riding atop a horse with no control over where it goes. I love that feeling, there is nothing like it and it sets me free. My dad always brought us home different pets, rabbits, chicks, we even had two horses


and he loved them dearly, and he taught me so much about their care and what they give you in return. I can look into the eyes of animals and tell you almost what it is they are thinking and feeling and I know Dakota does the same. My little Kokopelli. It is remarkable to see the light in the eyes, if different, animals both tame and wild and it teaches you to know the trust that they can give. Do animals have souls, I believe so. I do believe that. I think to kill an animal for food may be a necessity for some, but I could never, ever do it but I grew up around it, people that torture and kill animals for pleasure are sick and sadistic and as close to evil as you can get without hurting a human and that is where I stand on that. Just ask people who have nothing but animals as friends, a teenager who feels so isolated and alone that the only one thing that knows their secrets and hurts is that of their dog or cat, maybe even a horse or bird. Or an elderly person whom has lost a spouse and has only the affections of a pet to keep them company. Or a couple whom has lost a baby and has that new puppy to kind of take away a moment of emptiness. They give so much unselfishly and with nothing in return. It amazes me the loyalty and devotion so many animals give to those that love them and even those who don't. If I were an animal I would be a wolf. I would be a wolf because of the family life it leads with friends and family surrounding it daily, hunting for food together, to live a long life with one single mate. To have that social network and that support. I will have to ask Dakota what he would be. I am almost positive he would say a bear, but I really am not sure as to the reasons , it may have some thing to do with strength and honor. Yes, he knows those words. Being a tough guy is his thing! Having honor in what you do, is his thing. He knows those words and he uses them. He also knows what responsibility means and how to have compassion for all things of this world. We live in a close community with all types of animals, the earth sustains us all, and we were meant to live freely amongst each other and we need to care for all things on the earth as we were meant to be guardians over all. Just remember that, and take care of nature and all that inhabits the world, how lonely we would be without it, thanks! Vaughn Pascal To Dakota: I love you! To God and Jesus: Thank you for everything we have..


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