A year ago today, Ellie found an abandoned kitten in a ditch near the highway. She came home crying and begging mom to let her keep it.
“No way are you keeping that creature inside this house, young lady.” (Exact words too. No way would I ever forget something like that. I mean, calling a kitten a “creature”?)
But I couldn’t bear to see the little thing get kicked out on the streets again. So I told Ellie that I would make the kitten a wooden box so she’d be safe sleeping in the garage that night. The look on her face was thanks enough.
So I made the box for Ellie’s kitten, now named “Creature”, and she was placed in the garage for that first night. But I should have known that Ellie wouldn’t let it go after that. The next day she was following mom around the house, constantly asking if she was allowed to keep Creature.
Eventually, I figured I couldn’t stand another “why can’t Creature stay mom”. So I told mom that I could make a shelter in the backyard for the kitten. She gave me one of her looks, so I just thought it was okay to go ahead and do it.
Pretty soon, though, Ellie started bringing all kinds of animals to our house and asking if we could keep them until we found their owners—if they had any. (Most of them didn’t.)
Three months later, I had a full-blown 20x15 foot shack. Ellie paid for three-fourths of the wood and shingles, while I got a few donations from mom and saved up for weeks to make up the difference. But it was worth it. (And we live on the very edge of town, so we don’t have to worry about disturbing the neighbors with all the noise.)
Now, we have three dogs (a Dachshund, German shepherd, and a Yorkshire terrier), two cats (Creature and a little tabby named Percy), four rabbits (just space-eaters, all of them!), two parakeets without names, and five adopted hamsters all in the same shack.
Ellie works (unofficially) at a donut shop in town to help pay for the supplies to take care of them all and I tutor first-eighth graders during the school year for a price of five dollars per every half hour. (I just can’t stand the thought of working at a fast food place somewhere and it pays better too!)
And to add to my busy schedule, I volunteer at the yearly “Kiddie Kollege” during the summer as much as I can. Whenever mom mentions it, she tells me that I could be doing something much more useful with my time. It doesn’t seem right though; for me to not go and be with the kids there would feel like I was abandoning them in someway. Almost like if we’d have kicked Creature out of the house.
So to keep her off my back long enough for me to not worry about it, I tell her that it’s my way of getting out of the house. But, really, it’s all for the kids. Somehow, she just doesn’t understand how important it is for me to work and talk with little kids. They say the coolest things sometimes. (I’ll have to remember to add some quotes later.)
I’m also really involved in my church. I sing in the choir and help with getting the pastor’s sermon on the radio. And my youth pastor says that I can help him with Youth Group when I want to, but only when I’m not too busy with everything else.
He’s told me before that someday I’m going to fall asleep in the middle of the special song during church, which the choir sings. It honestly scared me into getting more sleep at night because I was bound and determined not to “drop dead” in front of the whole congregation.