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Pets Large & Small

Trading places

Jennifer Vanderau
Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter

(11/2015) I think Iíd like to be a dog. Or a cat. Their lives can be pretty sweet.

I realized this the other day when I took a few minutes just to sit with some of my cats. The whole day Iíd been running around like a crazy person, barely having time to grab anything for lunch and constantly running through everything I had to do in my head.

Pay this bill. Check on that thing with the car. Try not to let what that person said upset you.

All of it. Iím sure you know the drill.

At one point, I just stopped. I lay down on the floor, eyes on the ceiling and Dee Dee walks up to me. She sits down in her neat little cat way she has (with her tail wrapped around her front legs) and watched out the window for a bit.

As I noticed how her eyes moved with every change in scenery outside, how her whiskers would twitch from time to time, I thought, now thereís a creature thatís got it made.

The biggest thing sheís really got to fret about is whether the mailman can get in the house to get her. Seriously. She runs like a monster is after her every time she hears the mailbox lid creak up. Sheís a nut.

But she gets fresh food, a clean litterbox (she doesnít even have to use it if itís too dirty for her liking because she knows the messes she leaves on the floor will disappear because the humans will take care of it) and lots of love.

Now thatís the life. No worries about bills or car repair or hurt feelings.

I find Iím particularly jealous of the animals who have been adopted from CVAS. We get some of the neatest pictures for follow-ups from our adoptions, Iím telling you.

Our happy endings are truly what keep us all going. Itís so rewarding to see how the lives of the babies we care for turn out. Some of them are living quite the life.

Thereís a photo of a pup completely surrounded by toys and blankets and a bed I wouldnít mind sleeping on every night.

There are cats looking at the camera Ė rather like the proverbial feline who caught the canary Ė reposing on a soft spot that looks as though it was made just for them.

One picture is of a little Shih Tzu lying on the floor next to a girl and theyíre both watching television. The girl has her legs stretched out behind her and so does the pup! Itís a calendar worthy moment, thatís for sure.

One cat is lying on a bed watching "Friends." It truly looks like the cat is watching the television. Talk about the Life of Riley!

And in yet another, a cat is lying flat on his back, paws up in the air, sound asleep.

Weíve got these photos lining the walls in the shelter and by the fridge in the lunchroom. During those hectic days (like the one I described above) it sure is nice to take just a few seconds and breathe and smile and realize the good that we do and the good thatís out in the world.

Weíre so grateful for everyone who takes a chance on one of our four-legged babies and the folks that save and rescue the ones we donít see.

There certainly are animals out there who have an amazing life and some days, I wouldnít mind trading places with them at all.


Jennifer Vanderau is the Director of Communications for the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter in Chambersburg, Pa., and can be reached at The shelter accepts both monetary and pet supply donations. For more information, call the shelter at (717) 263-5791 or visit the website

Read other articles by Jennifer Vanderau