Tonawanda News

Features

April 22, 2013

HAYNES: What empty nest?

It’s a little surprising how often my parents find a menagerie of animals hanging out at their home.

And I’m not just talking about the ordinary, run-of-the-mill pet kind.

I once received a text message from my mother with an attached photo of a baby goat she found chill-ing on their front porch. (The neighbors behind them didn’t tie up the kid because they foolishly believed it wouldn’t stray too far from its tethered mama.)

Their old neighbors to the left had a couple of usually pretty quiet chickens. We always knew one of our more adventurous cats was up to no good when we heard the ruffling of feathers and clucking of some upset hens. (Don’t worry, he was always too chicken to get close enough to hurt them.)

There was once a turtle one of our other cats diligently followed — slowly — throughout the yard one day. He just wanted to be friends.

We’ve come across lizards, snakes and birds near the front and back doors, though most of them were of the dead variety. Cats again.

My stepdad, James, has a soft spot for animals, especially the babies, or ones in need of his help. He feeds a handful of neighborhood cats out in his barn, which has resulted in more than one litter of kittens being born out there.

It was another litter of kittens they thought they had on their hands about 6 weeks ago when they heard some soft crying coming from under the floor in the barn.

After two days of non-stop crying, mom crawled under the floor to see what was up.

These were no kittens. They were puppies. Four of them, so young their eyes were still closed.

They were hungry, dehydrated and alone.

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