View Full Version : Who taught you to dig animals?

Feb. 21, 2013, 05:08 PM
Do you think you were born that way, or did someone teach you to appreciate the animal types?

Give credit to the folks who opened up the great world of loving animals to you!

Feb. 21, 2013, 05:13 PM
They tell me I was born like that.:)
Courtesy of my grandfather's genes, who also was a confirmed horse nut.:yes:

Once, he came home with a shiny new horse, yelled for Grandma to come look at the wonderful new addition and when she was slow coming out, he walked the horse right into the farm kitchen and paraded it proudly for her all around the kitchen table.:lol:

Feb. 21, 2013, 05:13 PM
Maybe a bit of both, for me! I'm more comfortable around animals and appreciate their company more than I do the company of most people (don't get me wrong, I do like people!).

I've always had dogs growing up, and I think my interest in horses sparked when I was somewhere in the 3 - 5 year old region. Probably when I got a horse stuffy for my birthday and got to go on a lead line ride. My parents only have themselves to blame. :lol:

Feb. 21, 2013, 05:18 PM
I think I've always loved animals, but my Dad did, too, and I don't doubt that I learned a great deal about how to appreciate and care for them from him.

Feb. 21, 2013, 05:19 PM

I come from a long line of city dwellers and I'm the only one who's ever showed an interest in horses much less actually having the privilege and thrill of owning one.

Has to be in my DNA because my parents were scared silly of the beasts and my sisters think I'm nuts. Ex-husband wasn't thrilled either, but I took care of that problem:D

Feb. 21, 2013, 05:22 PM
I think I was born with the capacity to relate to 'em. My mom says that I could always do non-verbal communication.

Also, I never saw either of my parents mistreat an animal. My father was fond of them and I think seeing the man in my life be kind to animals made a special impression.

Feb. 21, 2013, 05:23 PM
Born this way! My mother says I started talking about horses as soon as I could talk.

Feb. 21, 2013, 05:25 PM
I don't think I was ever taught...we didn't have pets when we were tiny kids, but I WANTED one and got one as soon as possible (and built up from there--fish to birds to dogs and ponies and all.)

stolen virtue
Feb. 21, 2013, 05:25 PM
I was born this way. My first dream that I remember was that I had a horse living in our backyard. I remember waking up and realizing that it was not real...I felt really sad.I also read pony stories over and over when I was little and begged my mother for a horse. I got my first cat when I was 7 after a school visit to the shelter that is also a very clear memory for me.

My family was not animal friendly but I was. I got my first horse at 31 and I will likely always have a horse in my life. However, no person helped me with animals.

Bluey-I love your story.

Feb. 21, 2013, 05:37 PM
My Grandfather was a horseman, and he bought a pony for my sisters and I. I don't know how happy my parents were about that! We always seemed to have dogs and cats growing up...my middle sister seemed to attract stray dogs and we always had a succession of them. She still loves the dogs and has two labs...me I'm a cat lover (and horses of course)

Feb. 21, 2013, 05:42 PM
From my parents. My mom had a horse when I was young and it seemed only natural that I'd get into horses, too. We always had a dog and some kind of furry, pocket-pet type animal when I was a child. I couldn't imagine not having pets. I've always thought that a home isn't right without a furry friend to talk to :)

Feb. 21, 2013, 05:49 PM
I was definitely born this way...my mom said my first word was "horse". Although no one in my immediate family was a horse person, I did have two aunts that later became horsewomen.

A study of our family tree indicates that we came from a long line of French and British horse thieves, so I guess that explains a lot.

Feb. 21, 2013, 05:53 PM
I was definitely born that way, but mom was as much an animal lover as I am. My mom rode as a kid but gave it up for college and kids. My aunt bought me a stuffed horse when I was 6 months old and that was the beginning of then end. I begged my parents for lessons everyday starting at about 2yo. They finally caved in when I was 3. ;)

Feb. 21, 2013, 06:01 PM
Another one born this way. Parents grew up poor on a farm and animals were just something that lived in the yard and/or provided you food. We had pets when I was growing up but they didn't live long due to lack of proper care until I was old enough to realize there was a better way to do it. For the most part, my siblings have continued that abysmal cycle. :(

As for horses, my mother, to her dying day, was convinced it was something I'd eventually outgrow. She was mortified by my "cantering" around the yard, holding imaginary reins, for all the neighbors to see.

Feb. 21, 2013, 06:02 PM
I was born this way! There is not a single person in my whole family that likes horses. They have no idea where it came from. My parents say that I had always loved them and wanted to be with them. They finally gave up and got me lessons starting at 5 yr old. Of course with the thought that I would fall off, get bit, stepped on , run away with or discover boys and non horsey friends then I would be cured of this horse thing. haha I showed them!!!!

My dad loves dogs and cats so I got that part from him.

Feb. 21, 2013, 06:04 PM
Funny to see so many (just like me!) that were born this way!

I think I was born this way. My dad likes dogs (and always has one faithful companion), but otherwise I come from a “non-animal” family.

Yet – I have been told, from a VERY early age I have been animal obsessed. My first “word” (well a made up non word!) was for horse – I would point at horses and say it over and over. I always had pets, dog, cats, rodents, fish – and once I turned 8, a horse. I have been drawn to animals for as long as remember, and have a good rapport with them.

My Dad says its genetic! (but skipped him, he is into mechanical things). My uncle who I hardly knew (lived across the country) was into horses, his daughter is into horses….. and the weird thing, my dad had a daughter which he gave up for adoption many decades ago – he caught up with her as an adult, and she too, is into horses and dogs (actually is an eventer, just like me!)

So, my father, the brother of a horsemen, had two daughters, raised in opposite ends of the country, by different families, who both grew up to event horses.

Feb. 21, 2013, 06:19 PM
Born this way. Grown ups just thought I was weird and treated me as such.


Feb. 21, 2013, 06:23 PM
My Mom. She is amazing with animals. She had me on a horse as soon as I was speaking sentences. She quite often tells me her biggest regret was becoming a Nurse instead of a veterinarian. She would have been a good vet, too...

Feb. 21, 2013, 07:46 PM
My mother. She loves them all, and they all love her right back. She has a real way with them, even my DH's nasty, aggressive, formerly abused, ACD took to my mother on first meeting (waaay back when we were dating). The only person that dog ever accepted on sight and smell alone.

But, my Mom never had an opportunity to have animals in her life as a child, as she was an Army brat and constantly moving. Plus, her parents did not really like animals.

Once she was married, with kids and in the suburbs, it was animal central (she blamed it on me to my father ;)). At one point, we had two horses, three dogs, four cats, 12 gerbils, several tanks full of fish, a bunch of bunnies, a couple of birds, some lizards, some bugs...this for a woman who had never had an animal before in her life. She used to volunteer at the elementary schools and she'd go pick up a bunch of snakes from a conservation organization and drive them around to all the schools to show the kids. I remember having bags of snakes in the car while running errands ;).

And, she and I ran a pet sitting service out of the house (to pay for the horses, my father wasn't impressed with the expense)...sometimes there were as many as a dozen dogs living with us while their owners were on vacation.

My Mom is awesome and she's responsible for my love of animals, but the one who REALLY inherited the "animal gene" is my 10 year old son. He's got 10 millipedes in his room that he is caring for, intensely. He worries about them like we worry about horses, dogs and cats. I have a hard time loving the invertebrates, but he is totally into it. My Mom had the capacity to love the ugly, weird, don't really have a brain or personality type "animals" and DS10 got it from her.

Feb. 21, 2013, 08:01 PM
Dad was a dog guy, but my Mom always says I must have gotten a horse gene from my Irish & British heritage. No relatives in recent history were horse people.

I saw the born to it this summer when I had a mare at a celtic festival. She was 6-7 months and everytime dad brought her around she grinned and reached to pet the mare and cry when turned away from the mare. He said since 3 months anytime she sees a horse or dog she grins and wants to touch it. Parents have no exp. with horse. I told him to start a pony fund now, it will only get worse :lol:

Feb. 21, 2013, 08:09 PM
I was raised in a home that always had pets, and taught from a young age that they were not disposable. As for the horses, no one in the family ever rode, so I was on my own in that regard. I do thank my Dad for enabling me to have an enriching childhood with my beloved pets.

Pony Fixer
Feb. 21, 2013, 08:37 PM
Another "birther" here.

We had no animals in the house until I brought home a kitten when I was about 7. My mother said I was always drawn to dogs in yards as a child, and that the dogs always seemed to be drawn to me, too.

Despite being an addict and a single mother, after Girl Scout camp where I saw and touched my first horse (also around 7), my mother figured out a way to get me into a lesson program. I wound up riding there for over a decade. I grew to love horses so much (and other animals, of course) that it then shaped my career path.

No one in my family is animal-oriented. A few pets here and there, but they are not considered "family", just animals. I swear I was switched at birth...

Feb. 21, 2013, 08:43 PM
My baby book (do people still buy those hardcover books for keeping records of their kids?) entry for my first birthday says:
"Loves dogs. Loves all animals." Mother was right. I got it from both sides of the family. My father had big setters. My maternal uncle had horses and put me on my grandparents' plow horse when I was six months old. I added cats and bantam chickens to the dogs and horses and never changed.

I have had horse crazy friends whose daughters do not share their love of horses. My friends want to isolate the "animal loving gene" and have children who love horses.

Feb. 21, 2013, 09:04 PM
My parents are animal lovers, but my baby book also said that I loved books having to do with animals, stuffed animals, etc., and that I showed no interest in baby dolls/barbies. I never had any desire to have kids....seems as if I was born that way!

Feb. 21, 2013, 09:17 PM
My mom is a vet & my dad is an animal science teacher. We lived on a hobby farm & everyone who my parents hung out with either livestock farmers, vets, or other ag teachers.

There are no pix of me as a baby without my dog. My first word was "Dee" (short for Woody, his name)

I got a locket for my 3rd birthday & requested that a photo of our steer, Jim, be inserted.

Feb. 21, 2013, 09:25 PM
Born this way. Every.single.person. on the paternal side of my family rides, or did ride! My step grandmother used to breed ponies, my "father" selected one for me when I was 3, but my mom (single parent) just didn't want that expense yet. My maternal grandfather loved horses and used to watch RFDTV with me every day during the summer!

I grew up with 10 cats, I brought home every stray animal, I still do! My mom and grandfather were huge animal lovers, so this was acceptable.

Feb. 21, 2013, 09:54 PM
My mother is a horse person. Dad had a horse when he was younger, too, but the horse gene definitely came from Mom. Both parents love and loved dogs and put up with cats. Never fewer than 2 dogs in the house growing up- usually 3 or 4- and one or two cats in the house and more outdoor cats.

I never had a chance not to like the four-leggers, but parents both instilled respect for animals.

Feb. 21, 2013, 09:57 PM
Runs in the family. There was only a very brief time in my life in which I had no animals, and all my family loves them. So, genetic for me - no one person gets the blame!

Feb. 22, 2013, 01:00 AM
Animals. They were, and are, my teachers. And the Lord who made us all ...

Natalie A
Feb. 22, 2013, 01:05 AM
No idea where the horse thing came from. My grandmother and aunt briefly had a horse after my mom went to college, but it definitely wasn't a family tradition or anything to ride.

I was, however, raised with cats. Finally got my first dog this week after years of wanting one!

Feb. 22, 2013, 09:50 AM
I think mine is mostly "nature" with a little bit of "nurture" sprinkled in. My Mom was the resident dog-lover of the house and had dogs since before she even met Dad. And Dad was a farm boy, who had a certain amount of affection for his animals despite the business-like attitude that most farmers have. So, I was fated to be born an animal-lover.

Mom says one of my first few words was "hor-chee" (my attempt at horsey). And from the day I was born, she said I was always kind and gentle to the dogs we had around the house. I'm really pretty good at non-verbal communication with animals (more so than people, I'm pretty sure) and have a knack at training them.

But, growing up surrounded by dogs and a few cats, having parents that love animals and treat them kindly - it all did nothing but make my love for animals that much stronger. I'm 31 and to this day, my Mom still pretends that my dog and horses "buy" me gifts for Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Christmas, my birthday... She signs a card from them and they always give me a gift. Hahaha! Yeah... I was born with the same kind of insanity. :lol:

Feb. 22, 2013, 10:06 AM
My great uncle on my father's side was a jockey at Suffolk Downs. Only one besides me that loved horses.

My niece now loves animals/is a rider. We are not related by blood on my father's side (her mother is my half sister through my mom) so she got it from me.

My mother has 5 brothers and sisters, same with my father. There are only 2 of us that love horses, but the family (my dad aside) is very animal loving. Everyone has multiple dogs, cats, rabbits etc.

Feb. 22, 2013, 11:31 AM
Definitely born to love animals. My mom's cousin had horses, and she put me on the back of a horse at 18 months old (don't remember but my mom swears that's when the horse obsession started). I begged for years to learn how to ride and finally got that wish at 10 years old. I joined 4-H at the same time (mom said I had to learn how to take care of them as well as ride them).

There's always been animals in my life. My grandparents had 2 dogs when I was little. One of their dogs was a stray that followed my mom home from work (before I was born). Not the first stray to take up residence with my grandparents.

I got my first dog when I was 7 (a Newfy). We had 2 Newfies for a while. After our first one passed away, my sister found a stray dog at college. She brought it home while I was away at college. I came home on break to nobody home but our second Newfy, the cat, and the new dog. I unlocked the front door to go in and had both dogs welcoming me home! Later that day, the new dog was sitting in my lap on the couch. He was my heart dog. :sadsmile:

I now have an orange kitty who acts like he's a dog trapped in a cat's body. :)

Feb. 22, 2013, 12:11 PM
I always had animals in my life. I learned to walk by hanging on to the fur of my parents' Samoyed, Wolf.

My paternal grandmother bred Samoyeds, and later Pekes. My second cousin on the same side, and her mother, also breed/bred Samoyeds. My father, who was a good 10 years younger than his cousin remembers visiting his aunt and cousins. He was (about 5) being a bit of a nuisance, so he was sent off to "see Irralee in the kennels" He emerged hours later, completely contented. When they asked Irralee what she did to keep him under control, she said "I just treated him like one of the dogs". My faterh took riding lessons as a child, but never had the interst to stick with it. But he always had a dog or cat, or both.

My maternal grandmother grew up on a farm (at Burghley) and I have a picture of her in her early 20s, with the farm's horse and goats and chickens, labelled " Home Sweet Home, My Friends".

My maternal grandfather was scared of horses (HIS father was a coachman) but fond of dogs- he always had an Airedale.

When I was about 5, I went on my first pony ride, and immediately started begging for lessons. my father saus it was "the most expensive 25 cents i ever spent."

Will come back and add pictures later.

Feb. 22, 2013, 12:46 PM
I blame my parents. They are animal lovers, but not horse people. However -every- person I have met with my first name rides, so clearly my parents fault for naming me, right? :lol:

Feb. 22, 2013, 12:52 PM
Born with it, but it came from both sides of my family. Dad's family always had a few farm animals around (and at one point both my dad and his dad took riding lessons together when I was in my mid teens) My dad was an AI tec for cattle for years when I was growing up. (try explaining that on career day) My Mom's family had a fairly large farm and my grandfather on her side was a vet, my mom doesn't really like animals but she puts up with it for us. My Brother and his SO have 4+ cats currently and look after 2 horses that live on the farm they are renting.

Our first 'animal care' lesson when we were kids hanging out at our grandfathers vet office was that sometimes the best decision is to put the animal down, (saw a kitten born with only part of a brain) and how to read x-rays! (We used to play 'count the puppies' on x-rays of pregnant dogs! ) When I got my horse, (given to me by my grandfather) my mom and dad set me down and discussed 'options' of what we could and could not afford for vet care, I was 12, but it really sunk in.

Hunter Princess
Feb. 22, 2013, 12:55 PM
I give credit to my grandfather. He grew up on a farm, and all his close family members were farmers. He eventually left the farm, but he was the one that introduced my parents to the Farm Show in PA, and I guess I got the animal/farm loving dream from him. I always tagged along to the PNHS with him when he worked there with the Zembo, and that really got me into riding.

I also had a great English teacher in HS who rides in the "A's" and she would always talk to me about it and show me pictures. Loved it, and still keep in touch with her on FB.

Feb. 22, 2013, 12:55 PM
Anyone else laugh whenever they see the thread title? I keep envisioning burying graves for pets :P

I have no idea where my love of horses came from but I was definitely obsessed with them by the time I was 3 y/o. I wouldn't consider anyone else in my family a real animal-lover either.

Feb. 22, 2013, 01:27 PM
I don't think my parents are necessarily animal people, but they did have two cats when I arrived so I always grew up with some kind of animal around. I do love most animals but cats hold a special place in my heart. Love my dog but I am a cat person first and foremost when it comes to housepets!

No idea where the love of horses came from because my family is decidedly UN-horsey and I think my love of them always baffled a bit since I was a "city" girl and never really had much exposure to them outside of occasional trail rides and a couple week long summer camps.

Feb. 22, 2013, 01:34 PM
Definitely born that way. Neither of my parents are animal people, nor is my extended family. My sister and I seem to make up for the lack of animal-people in the rest of the family, though! :D

Feb. 22, 2013, 02:17 PM
Apparently my first word as "Da" for dog. I saw and pointed. I'm not particularly pro-dog now, but I was all about animals then.

Also, my first remembered intellectual act had to do with rationalizing our cat's claws in a way that made sure they didn't hurt her. One of my favorite first pictures of me that feels like "me" was taken with that cat.

Feb. 22, 2013, 02:34 PM
No one. My parents are not animal people AT ALL. I can't remember a time in my life where I was not much more interested in animals than people, though. Most of my childhood was spent begging for pets, and then, as I got older, I actually started putting together what one could really only call "pitch books" for purchasing animals.

That's how I got the following animals over a period of time: goldfish, rabbits, two separate dogs that my parents then had second thoughts about and gave away (:(), a cat, multiple leased horses over different periods of time, my first horse.

The pitch book for the first horse was an absolute masterpiece and actually involved a statement to the following effect: "I keep losing all of the leased horses that I love, and I can't stand to have my heart broken again. I never got to say goodbye to my last lease horse, as he got sold out from under me on the same day you returned my last puppy to the breeder."

Yeah. I ended up getting the mare I was leasing at the time.

I've got all kinds of weird issues about animals now, and would never, ever give one up. Ever.

When I adopted my cat from the Humane Society while I was in law school and found out he had feline herpesvirus, my mom's first suggestion was to return the cat to the shelter so that I could get one that wasn't sick. Because, why would I want a sick cat? When that same cat swallowed a long piece of elastic several years later and I had to miss a baseball game with my dad and my grandfather to take him to the vet to determine whether or not the elastic would have to be surgically removed, my mother called to scold me about not having my priorities straight because I was valuing "some cat" over my relationship with my family.

So, I've got some baggage.

Feb. 22, 2013, 02:55 PM
I think you would give up any animal, if it was the best for that animal or an absolute necessity for you.
That is part of love too, if a hard part.

My friend the border collie very successful trial handler gave me this wonderful border collie puppy, that I was extremely allergic to and had to give it back, choosing being able to breathe.:cry:

When I got my last dog 7 years ago, she was to be my next agility dog.
Right after I got her at 11 weeks, it was obvious something was wrong with her left hock.
My friend the small animal vet, that is an orthopedic surgeon specialist for performance dogs, determined what it was and that it was not going to be fixed by surgery, so she would always be limping.

The breeder offered to trade puppies.
Really? Give a puppy you just got up and just trade it for a better model?:eek:

We did lots of crate time with restricted exercise and therapy on hills and all we could and at 7 now she still limps some, but is no worse.
Of course we trained a bit in agility, but never enough to compete, with that bum leg, mostly just for fun and games and no real obstacle work that amounted to any effort.

Feb. 22, 2013, 02:57 PM
I have always been drawn to animals and they to me as well :-)

Feb. 22, 2013, 03:00 PM
Everytime I see this title I have visions of Pet Cemetery!!!

Feb. 22, 2013, 03:07 PM
I think you would give up any animal, if it was the best for that animal or an absolute necessity for you.
That is part of love too, if a hard part.

Well, sure. But I wouldn't give an animal up simply because it was inconvenient or had a physical defect.

Feb. 22, 2013, 03:29 PM
Everytime I see this title I have visions of Pet Cemetery!!!

That was the first thing that crossed my mind as well. I guess I've dug to many graves for my animal friends.

I think I was born with an affinity for animals but it was also encouraged and I enabled by my parents. I was given opportunities as a child but there was also a steady hand there to guide me and keep me from getting into to much trouble. I honestly can not imagine a life without animals of some sort in it. I know people who do and I don't know what they do with their money, time and affection. It would be a very sterile and empty life for me.

Feb. 22, 2013, 04:15 PM
No one at all. My parents are both very anti-animal- my mom thinks they are "dirty" and calls them "it" and clearly believes they have no feelings or ability to think, and my dad is just utterly uninterested in them. Despite their opposition, I managed to keep a menagerie of animals while growing up.

Feb. 22, 2013, 06:08 PM
Bred into me. Totally.

Dad was raised on a dairy farm with (obviously) lots of cows, dogs (lots, and lots of dogs), and the requisite barn cats. Mom also had lots of dogs growing up, along with various and a sundry other odd pets like groundhogs and chickens.

So, animals are in my blood. My mom says I came from the womb asking for a pony (no one in my immediate family is a horse person, but I'm another one who's family blames a French horse thief on the horse gene). We've had dogs as long as I've been around (well, my parents had dogs pretty much the moment they were married). We got our first cat when I was 4 (because my dad, a supposed cat hater, was a sucker), and we had every type of creepy, crawly, feathered, scaled, furry critter you could imagine while I was growing up.

Very thankful for those genes....life is better with critters. :yes:

Feb. 22, 2013, 09:36 PM
I am from a long line of animal people on both sides, so I was born this way. The horse nuttiness appears to have skipped from my grandmother's uncle to me, but everyone in between has had dogs and cats. I married an animal person so our house is quite the menagerie.

Feb. 22, 2013, 11:34 PM
Everytime I see this title I have visions of Pet Cemetery!!!

You are welcome to take this thread from the hippie version of my language to the equally valid Zombie Direction. Zombies are fine for OT Day.

Feb. 23, 2013, 12:22 AM
For me, it's definitely in my genes :) My dad always had dogs and cats growing up and his dad and grandfather showed saddlebreds so he rode them when he was older and had a pony when he was little. And my mom also always had dogs growing up, and her uncle or something hauled horses for a living. Also, my parents and sister had cats when I was born. My first word was Ru and I pointed to the cat whose name was Rudi (we called her Ru). When I was little, I had really bad asthma and eczema and the dr told my parents we had to get rid of our pets. We quickly found a new dr. ;)

Feb. 23, 2013, 12:42 AM
I'm a farm kid and have never known anything different. :)

Feb. 23, 2013, 08:59 AM
Born this way, for sure. But my parents did foster my love of animals. My grandmother used to say it skipped a generation. She had horses (by necessity) and liked to ride. My mother didn't. And I was born horse-crazy.