Pet Tips 'n' Tales

Kitten + Dog + Tiger + Bee = Family

Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
Manuel and Karen proudly show off their: Granddaughter Oceana, (bee); their adopted children Arlette (kitten) and Pablo (tiger); and their dog, Pachia. The children donned costumes for the All Species Parade.

The family featured in this week's Pet Tips 'n' Tales will leave you with a warm feeling from the top of your head to the tip of your tail.

Manuel and Karen raised three children, and breathed a sigh of relief after the last one moved out. Finally, it was time to relax! However, they both developed "empty nest" syndrome.

"We looked at each other and thought 'What will we do with the rest of our lives?' So, I suggested we become foster parents", said Karen. "After completing the required classes, we had no idea about the 'adventure' that was about to unfold!

The agency decided to 'break us in' with a set of siblings: Arlette, age nine months old; Pablo, age two, and Matthew, age six. After fostering them for two years, the agency phoned to say that the children were being put up for adoption," said Karen. "So, we promptly adopted them, and they are a joy!", says Karen, smiling. "Manuel is so happy and he is such a good father."

Last year, Karen retired after 27 years of teaching and is now a stay-at-home mom, a luxury she never enjoyed with her biological children. And it's a good thing, too, as she and Manuel will be 70 by the time Arlette graduates from high school.

Manuel grew up in Las Zarquillas Michoacan, a small village in Mexico so he, Karen, and the children make frequent trips there to visit his family and to work on their winter/retirement home. The long drive is a challenge as the trip is over 5000 miles round trip!

In Mexico, the children play with their cousins while the adults work on the home. An older cousin arrived one day to help with painting and brought a puppy along with him. While the elders worked, the children "volunteered" to care for the puppy. After a few days, the cousin realized that the children had grown attached to the pup, so he offered it as a present to them. "How could any parent say no?", admits Karen. The dog's name was Pachirilla, but we call her Pachia. She is a 'Mexican-mystery' breed with dominant Rat Terrier characteristics and markings."

Traveling between countries for humans is one thing, but a "foreign" canine traveler presents new challenges. The pup needed "papers", so they obtained the required inoculations and an Animal Passport. Then, they held their breath at the border crossing. Would Pachia be allowed entrance into the U.S.?

The family held their breath at the border crossing. Would Pachia be allowed entrance into the U.S.?

"At the border, Pachia was sound asleep under the front seat," said Karen, and never even realized that she was entering another country. Once over the border we breathed sighs of relief and were thrilled that she would be completing the journey home with us. We began chanting, 'You made it! You made it!' She woke up, and came out from under the seat, wagging her tail and leaping from one person to the next as if she understood."

"Pachia grew into an active, well mannered, lovely-dispositioned dog," said Karen. "She is exceptionally healthy on her diet of human food, including leftovers. She eats almost everything we eat including fruits and vegetables. Her favorite staples are Frijoles (beans), corn tortillas, and rice, all with some salsa. She eats meat, chicken or fish out of her human 'siblings'' hands. No worries about contaminated commercial food for Pachia because she never eats it! 

Pachia's favorite game is stealing whatever toys the children are playing with from them, then running outside with the toys. No matter what anyone does, she will not release the toy for ANYTHING! Then, she buries it in the back yard. She is so smart, she remembers where each toy is buried. She loves to tease, grabbing the toys again and again, and running away with them. 

When Pachia wants something, she stands on her hind legs and 'dances', which makes us all laugh. She thinks she is "our baby" and wants to be held like one. She even makes sweet "baby" puppy noises while being cuddled.

Pachia takes turns sleeping with each family member. She burrows under the blanket, wiggles her way to the end of the bed, and sleeps in her 'tunnel' by their toes.

Recently, our children participated in the All Species Parade, while Pachia sat at the curb with Karen and Manuel to watch. Pachia was confused, wondering why she could not walk with them because, after all, she is a 'species' too!"
"I like it when Pachia can't find her ball," said Arlette, "She howls for us to find it for her."
Pablo said, "I love when Pachia hugs your arm with her front paws and shows her crooked, 'Bulldog teeth'."
Love + laughter + pets + people = FAMILY.


"Years ago, my mother discovered a flea infestation underneath her house," said Janetta, "So she threw salt under her house, which killed them. A 'safe' and natural solution for her pets!
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