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The word critters truly covers a multitude of the animal world in my book!

In 1967 my family began with horses to add to the dogs that graced our life. Two farm geese also resided on the half acre. A couple of cats that lounged on the arms of the couch were peaceful and calming to us.

The children were toddlers then and we had Walker Hounds, actually it sounded like more but two was our limit at that time. As a family we attended events with other hound people. We packed lunches and set up scent trails for them to compete. That’s a story in itself.

As kids grow and life and times change, they tend to want “critters.” I must admit as parents we found great joy in the learning as well.

We had hamsters, gerbils and then came the ferrets. We had couple of house cats that never went outside. The ferrets and cats got along great and ran races as we enjoyed the antics when we let the two ferrets have the run of the living room for a bit.

As years went along, our five acres became home to cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, dogs, cats, and many other “critters”.

The all had their turn as they often became projects for the Gem County Fair and 4H as well as Brownies and Cub Scouts. Memories of being a Den Mother and the meetings and watching my pack grow — critters and all!

With time marching right along we needed more room. Then came ten acres. Life moved forward at an alarming rate blurring days, months and years. We leased sixty acres behind our property.

True joy with happy bubbling over most times. I walked miles with a shovel over my shoulder. Learning irrigation rules and regulations and being neighborly all blended into more meetings.

I found an opportunity to rehabilitate for Idaho Fish and Game. It was mostly short term until they could be moved to a specific area. It would take a book to name all the creatures that passed thru.

Five deer fawns were raised to go on and be released back into the wild. A porcupine or three stayed a week. We had a raccoon or two with one living his life out in the zoo. I remember a pet skunk that lived short term in the house — he had been de-scented and was actually very easy to handle.

I went to classes anytime they were offered at the zoo. Learning a subject you enjoy is easy to learn. I could go on and on with experiences and the joy of life. Raising 22 puppies for service organizations was a family event.

This many years of living with enjoying and learning about “critters” led me to two Police Departments as Animal Control. A total of 16 years of doing a job I loved. My children too have memories and laughter to share.

“Critters” I am blessed to say were a gift I believe was given in life!

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