*written July 1st, 2008
Not only is the Yahoska living space wild and crazy because of adolecent girls, it is buzzing because of their frantic pets. Living on the Yahoska property are a large pig, several goats tied to trees, and various ducks. A few weeks before I came, the girls were given a two month old kitten and a young puppy. Both were starved and full of parasites the first time I saw them. As I have mentioned in previous entries, many of these young ladies have been abused and pushed around, so in turn they treat their animals in an abusive manner. My family is rather passionate about humane treatment of animals and animal education, so I was immediately shaken up over the conditions of their pets. After my first day with the girls I walked home in tears, wondering what I could say or do to influence the fair care of these pets.
As I was falling asleep that night, I realized I merely needed to treat their pets as I do mine. Immediately the next morning I walked into the local pet store (which wasn’t what we would call a pet store in the States) and bought two weeks worth of kitten and dog food, food bowls, and anti-parasitic pills (to try to eliminate the gross amounts of parasites that are in their intestinal tracts).
Before lunch on the day of my big purchase, I whipped out the food, medicine, and bowls. I immediately had ten girls surrounding me, questioning what I was up to. I explained that the kitten and puppy need special food to eat, and they need specific types of medicine when they are sick, just as people do. I also emphasized that their bellies hurt when they are hungy and pointed out the kitten’s protruding bones. Rice and beans are not sufficient foods for any cat or dog to consume. It was clear the girls had never heard such things. They all listened eagerly, nodding their heads, and occasionally asking questions. We mashed up the parasite medicine and mixed it up into each pets food. The kitten was purring the entire time it ate. They all took note of its happy mood.
Every day I have tried to reinforce appropriate care of the pets by giving them extra attention, talking to them, and discussing animal rights issues with the girls. It seems that the girls are starting to treat the animals in a more peaceful manner. Today we casually discussed how one can go to jail in the United States for abusing an animal. We also talked about how great animals can be for your mental health and how it has been scientifically proven that pets reduce anxiety levels for their owners. I threw out the points that many jails give their inmates animals to take care of to become better people, and they all seemed a bit shocked. I merely smiled. These pets could turn out being very therapeutic for the girls.