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.
"My doctrine is this, that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt.”
― Anna Sewell
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...
From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.
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.
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!
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.
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.
"I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep."
- Harry Dresden
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.
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.
I now have an orange kitty who acts like he's a dog trapped in a cat's body.
Last edited by LadyNeon01; Feb. 22, 2013 at 12:33 PM.
Reason: forgot something
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.
Last edited by Janet; Feb. 22, 2013 at 02:33 PM.
chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).
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.
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.
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.