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Article by Miriam  (U.S.)




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 Our house

My family and I live in Portland, Oregon. Here is a picture of our house. We lived for six years in New Orleans, where our dog Beau and our cat Alex came from. Our house there actually looked a lot like this one, and our neighborhood was pretty similar as well, made up of lovely old houses right in the city.


We have three pets, all of whom were poor unfortunates, as my Dadís late Grandmother 'Muscles' Sarah Kohn would have said.



Beau is our ten-and-a-half-year-old Black Lab mix. We think the other half is definitely a working dog, as he loves to herd us all into the kitchen whenever we enter the house, and he is a great swimmer, and he used to 'point' when we took him cross-country skiing.


In 1998 our New Orleans friend Whitney Stewart told us about a dog she knew, who had been surrendered to a sort of half-way shelter because he was considered unmanageable. He was not crate-trained by his previous family, and they didn't leave him alone inside during the day because he chewed up furniture and chased their 19-year-old cat. So they would leave him outside, but their fence was broken, and then he would escape and run wild all over Uptown New Orleans.


When we went to visit him, Ann Bell, head of the Southern Animal Foundation and owner of the half-way stop where Beau was, said she thought he would be considered unadoptable by the local animal shelter and put to sleep. He was just about a year old then.


Beau   Beau with his friend Lena


We took him home with us. We got him a nice crate. My dad took him to the 'dog levee' near our house in New Orleans every morning, where he made good dog friends. My mom took him for a long walk every night in our Uptown New Orleans neighborhood. Our really wonderful, wonderful nanny Rita, who was from the right hand of God as my mom says, walked me and him to my preschool and back every single day, rain or shine. She loved all animals. Beau settled right down with all this attention and exercise. He was not unmanageable at all.






A year before we got Beau, our same friend Whitney Stewart called my mom, very upset about her neighbor's cat. The poor neighbor was in and out of the hospital with a mood disorder, and she said her cat Alex was crazed and frantic for lack of food. Whitney was feeding him, but could not keep him because her husband Hans was so allergic to cats, and she said Alex paced and was very unhappy and stressed. We took Alex in, and he also settled right down, with lots of attention and stability.



The year before that, we got a very special cat name Anya, who was feral and living on the Tulane Campus. My mom trapped her (she heard her crying frantically in a stairwell of the parking garage, and couldn't stand it) and after six months she started to tame down. She was a wonderful, sweet, loving creature. We were all so sad when she died about a year ago.


We moved to Oregon in 1999 because my Mom and Dad were concerned about the New Orleans school system and my late grandfather Lewis Krakauer was dying in Corvallis, Oregon. While my Dad flew with me and my brother Ari from New Orleans to New York to Oregon, my Mom drove the animals out, with her college roommate for company.





Isis Ruthie



 Isis Ruthie and me

Just about a year ago, after poor sweet Anya died, which broke all of our hearts, we got another cat who we named Isis Ruthie. My brother and I wanted Isis and my mom wanted Ruthie. My Dad says the poor thing will be confused because her names are so different. Anyway, we got Isis from an animal group here in Portland that rescues dogs and cats. They were worried that no one would take Isis because she had to be trapped and was terribly shy. She had apparently belonged to an alcoholic man once, but then she was dumped in a feral cat colony in a small, poor town south of here. She is still pretty afraid of hands, so we think that maybe someone hit her.


My mom actually asked for a shy cat, because Alex had loved formerly feral Anya so much. She thought he would bond better with a shy cat. Isis was even harder to tame than any of the feral cats we have taken in, but now, one year later, she is very loving and affectionate, and she and Alex are friends. She has even gotten him to play again.



We really love all our animals. Even though my dad is allergic to cats and my mom is allergic to dogs, we feel that what they give us way outweighs anybody's allergies. We just have a few area rugs, and make sure we mop the wood floors every week, and it all works out fine.


I also wanted to say that I have really mild Tourette Syndrome, which in my case means that sometimes I have facial tics I can't control. Most kids are fine with me, and fortunately my teachers and family are really supportive, and I have some great friends who stand by me no matter what. It is also nice to know that animals never mind your tics.


My family hiking in Idaho