Puppy (and kit­ten and ham­ster and guinea pig) love

Friday - - Editor’s Letter - Karen Pasquali Jones, Edi­tor kpasqual­i­jones@gulfnews.com

Af­ter the usual ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’, my first word was ‘cat’ – or some­thing that re­sem­bled it. My mother un­der­stood what I meant, pre­sum­ably be­cause I’d point to the neigh­bour’s tabby and try to crawl af­ter it. I’d cry if the cat wouldn’t come and play with me, and I’d beg to see it so much that in the end my mum, who’s not overly fond of pets, boughtme a kit­ten to keep me happy. So be­gan my love af­fair with cats, dogs, tor­toises, guinea pigs, bud­gies – any­thing with fur, feathers or four feet. I be­came the school mon­i­tor and would vol­un­teer to have the ger­bils and cock­atiel ev­ery hol­i­day. I’d also hap­pily dog-sit formy neigh­bours and bring in ev­ery waif and stray I found.

My puppy love wasn’t just for dogs though. I had a friendly squir­rel I’d feed in the gar­den, plus a bird ta­ble, and I’d hand-rear any lambs or kids that were or­phaned on my grand­dad’s farm. I’d try to mend birds’ bro­ken wings, pi­geons’ bad legs, I’d even save worms from be­com­ing break­fast to some spar­row, and pretty soon my mum was de­spair­ing of my menagerie. She thought I’d grow up want­ing to be a vet or run my own farm, but I al­ways in­sisted I’d be a jour­nal­ist. That doesn’t mean I don’t adore an­i­mals still, and I have a ham­ster (Pep­per) and shih-tzu (Rex), who are part of my fam­ily. I could never turn my back on an an­i­mal that needed help and nei­ther can some of the big­gest stars in Bol­ly­wood.

Sal­man and Aamir Khan, Kalki Koech­lin and Raveena Tan­don all help an­i­mals in their own coun­try – be­tween them cre­at­ing shel­ters com­plete with med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties and fronting cam­paigns to adopt strays. It’s great to re­alise how down to earth they all are – and how much they care for an­i­mals who have no one to look af­ter them. Find out how you can get in­volved on page 23 and let me know what you think. See you next week!

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