Written by Jaci Hasemeyer, founder of Walk Your Talk Walk, a charity walk for foster care efforts. After reading a recent story by Barbara McLean with The Press-Enterprise on the increase in abandoned pets during the spring season, Hasemeyer decided to write in.:
I am a pet lover and our family has seven chickens, one cat, one bird, one turtle, a lot of fish and four dogs. We have so many pets because we have so many kids: 10 living in our house, and 13 total, including three biological kids, two living away at college and one that graduated CBU and is on his own and about to get married next month.
Our kids range from 17 to 5. They come in all sizes, all colors, with different personalities and they came all needing a forever home, so we adopted them. Our animals have been really good for our children that came from abusive situations or neglect. Their is something about animals that just choose to love kids, with no questions asked. They do not care what their family line looks like, how much money their parents make, if they wear the right kind of clothes. They don't care if they are not the smartest, fastest, most athletic, have the right look or are the most popular.
They just love people, especially kids and kids love them, especially kids that have had a hard time finding someone to love them correctly. Some kids that have been abused have to be watched with animals and taught the right way to treat them. But once they understand what is the right way to treat people, children and animals, they have the kids heal but just loving them.
One of our daughters that came from an abusive background was so angry that it was not safe for her to be around animals at first. But through lots of work and therapy (some with the animals) she now loves and cares for our animals more then any of the other kids. We have a little dog that she loves so much that this dog now hers and follows our daughter everywhere she goes. In fact when we are gone and come home, both the dog and our daughter run to each other and actually hug. (She hugs the dog and the dog hugs her with her paws.)
Our two littlest boys love our chickens. They have held them and raised them from chicks. They love to get them out of their pen and hold them pet them and carry them around. The chickens like the kids and when they are out and the boys go to play in the front yard the chickens come running to them. One of our boys was born with severe facial deformities. He started school this years and some kids make fun of him. He did not know what they were talking about because he has been adopted into a family of loving caring parents and brothers and sisters and pets that never saw anything different in him. Pets are like that, I wish all people could also be.
I was recently at a meeting with CPS where they said, for whatever reason, (they do not know why) March is a time of the year when more kids end up in abusive or neglectful situations, and end up in the foster system. Many of these kids end up needing forever families also. In fact we are praying for 30 days right now for 30 of our Riverside foster children to find those families in this next year.Thank God we do not euthanize them if they do not go back home or get adopted. But what happens is almost as bad. At 18, they are released from the system. Emancipated.They are not prepared or able to make it on their own, so within a year and a half, 93 percent of the 26,000 foster youth that age out each year end up eith homeless, in prison or dead. Not very good odds if you ask me.
My kids are some of the lucky ones. They found a forever family and they will make it. Someday they will probably have kids and pets of their own. Maybe your readers could consider a foster child too, to bring into their home for their pets to love and help them heal. Our community has enough loving people to help the kids and the pets. It's good for all of us!
For more information on the Walk Your Talk Walk, visit www.walkyourtalkwalk.info.