ANIMAL CRACKERS – our first concert for the season and A Concert For A Cause in partnership with HART (Homeless Animals Rescue Team) and The Freedom Hill Singers – was inspired by several things, not the least of which is the fact that our artistic director, and several of our singers are animal lovers with wonderful stories about their pets – some rescued, some not, all apparently in charge. So we decided to talk to some choir members about their pets.
We start first, with two former VCS Board Chairs – Melissa Hindley, Soprano One and Karen Akers, Alto Two.
VCS: What is your pet’s name and why did you get her?
Melissa Hindley: Tatyana is a Siberian Seal Colour Point Tree Cat!!! 3 years old. Got her because children should have a pet whilst growing up and we wanted our kids to know what it’s like to look after something they love.
(Liss is from the UK and does not use American spelling. Can you tell?)
VCS: Fill in the blank: My life is better with the pet because ……
MH: She’s always happy to see me!
VCS: The goofiest thing my pet does is……
MH: She will only drink running water. We spend a lot of time standing by the sink waiting for her to finish drinking!
VCS: Fill in the blank: I know my pet knows my mood because…..
MH: She runs away very quickly when I’m cross because she’s done something naughty!
VCS: Who’s in charge? You? Or the pet?
MH: She is, of course! What pet owner would say differently?!!!
Meanwhile back at Karen Akers’ home, the land of Betty and Ruthie….
VCS: What are your pet’s name and why did you get them?
Karen Akers: Betty and Ruthie, sisters, mackerel tabby cats, 11 years old. Even though my husband is allergic to cats, he really doesn’t like dogs, and since I profoundly believe that children who want pets should have them, he graciously said OK when the time came (and he’s been gracious about it ever since).
VCS: Who rescued whom?
KA: If we waited for those two to rescue us, we’d be waiting a long, long, time. Betty and Ruthie have added immeasurable pleasure to our lives, and I’m convinced they love us, but if we were all passed out on the floor, they’d use their energy to open the Fancy Feast themselves.
VCS: Was it an impulse or had you planned to rescue/get your pet?
KA: We planned it, and then surprised our daughters with pet supplies under the Christmas tree. We browsed the HART website, visited with a couple of lovely cats, found Betty & Ruthie, and by New Year’s Day 2005, we had our cats home!
VCS: How did you find them?
KA: A friend recommended HART and we were so smitten with each and every cat on their website, there was no option to go anywhere else.
VCS: Fill in the blank: My life is better with the pet because ….
KA: It is an amazing privilege to have animals trust you enough to prefer napping on you to anything else. Plus, soft fur to nuzzle!
VCS: Fill in the blank: The goofiest thing my pets do is …..
KA: Tag team at dinner time. They take turns coming to wherever I am and trying various facial expressions – ranging from mild concern to sincere concern to true grumpiness – to get me to feed them. Dinner is at 6:00, so by 6:10, Betty is lolling on the floor, waiting for sweet, sweet death to claim her and Ruthie is attempting to write her Congressperson.
VCS: I know my pet knows my mood because …..
KA: I’ll come home to find the cats lounging on the dining room table and they’ll give me a flick of recognition and continue their lounge. When my husband comes home and finds them on the dining room table, you can practically hear the Fred Flintstone coconut noises as they scramble to get down. . . and far away.
VCS: Who’s in charge? You? Or the pet?
KA: I say I am, but everyone else in the family thinks that’s hilarious.
Clearly, we have a trend – we get them “for the kids,” and they’re totally in charge.
We sing ANIMAL CRACKERS: A Concert For A Cause at 4:30 pm, Saturday, October 24, 2016 at Vienna Baptist Church (541 Marshall Road SW, Vienna, VA 22180).
Tickets to ANIMAL CRACKERS – and 2015-16 season tickets – are available online. Adults/$25, Seniors(65+) and Students (15-18)/$20, Youth/Free – with a paying audience member. We’ll have tickets at the door too. Box office opens at 3:45 pm, doors will open at 4:20 pm.