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My relationship with animals started as a child. My Dad owned a pet shop. ("How Much is that Doggie in the Window?" was written about my Dad's store.) On weekends I thought I was working at the store, but actually was just playing with the animals. Whenever my Dad got an interesting animal at the store, he brought it home for a few days and we learned about the care and feeding of that animal. It could be anything from different breeds of small monkeys to snakes and lizards. Our family pet was a toy poodle that we would add purple food coloring to his shampoo and he became "purple" Pooky.

Top: Lauren's father's pet store Tri-State Pet Land in Pittsburgh PA
As an adult, it all became weirder. I got into music and my band adopted a stray B&W shorthair mix cat that we named "Goldie" As you were opening a can of cat food, she would start to meow in very long and varying tones that sounded like she was singing a song. (I stole a few tunes) She had a litter of kitties (it was before I knew anything about spaying and neutering) One of her babies became very attached to me, and I to her. I was the first thing she saw when she opened her eyes. Maybe this explains some of our attachment. I adopted her, and named her "The Bunny".

The Bunny
The Bunny changed my life. She had a special talent for being extremely loving, trusting, and especially extremely relaxed. I found that I could dress her up in literally anything, anytime, anywhere. I could put her into any position and she would stay. A photographer friend of mine, Sherry Barnett and I got together and took some VERY funny pictures of her and I used them as a slide show opening act for my music show. People fell off their seats laughing. Sherry and I looked at each other in amazement and exclaimed, "I smell money!" Cat Tricks Greeting Cards was born.

The Bunny was made for show business. Her favorite times were in front of the camera, and she was incredible. I got to be a stage mother ( "smile, Louise!" ) and was SO proud of my child. She was on greeting cards, calendars, posters and magnets, as well as album covers (mine and others), music videos, and even a Billboard on Sunset Strip. She was my little purring cuddlebug, and the light of my life. The Bunny and I had 17 wonderful years together. Then The Bunny got cancer. I took time off from music, did some research and was sure I was going to discover the cure for cancer and save my Bunny. I rented a sound wave machine that had successfully cured some animals of cancer, tried acupuncture, homeopathics, organic Germanium, (a powder that I read had helped some people) as well as doing the traditional chemotherapy. But it was not to be, and The Bunny passed away. There was a huge hole in my heart, and there still is to this day.

About a month after Bunny passed on, one of the doctors who was treating her called me and said "there's a baby kitty here who needs adoption and she looks very much like The Bunny. I said thank-you but I was too devastated to adopt and go through the inevitable loss again. Then a few weeks later a friend of mine named "The Worm" called and said a friend of hers was moving to an apartment and couldn't take her recently adopted kitty with her. The Worm, who told me she was thinking of adopting a cat (but who secretly wanted me to fall in love with it) said she wanted me to check out the kitty because I was the "Cat Expert". So, I went and immediately fell head over heels for this kitty and gave Worm the thumbs up. She adopted the kitty. Then, a few days later we found out this was the SAME kitty the doctor tried to get me to adopt. ( How weird was THAT???) Karma prevailed.... and I adopted the cat I was meant to have, and I named him "Ducky". He is now the current star of Cat Tricks. (Click here to read the article about Cat Tricks in Animal Fair).

I used to think I was a 1-cat or 1-dog-at-a- time person, but I have since found that I have room in my heart for more. I also have a gray shorthair tabby named Schpoogie. He is a hunter by nature (unlike Ducky who is a humanitarian cat) and one day, I pulled a gopher out of his mouth I nursed it back to health and was going to release it, but realizing he was on the lowest end of the food chain and seeing how happy and healthy he was in his tank, decided to keep him. His name is Buckminster Fuller, or Bucky for short. I also have 2 Jerboas, Franklin and Eleanor D. ROOsevelt (which are kind of like kangaroo rats, but much cuter) They have a body kind of like a large mouse and their fur is taupe and white. They have large ears almost like a bunny, a flat nose kinda like a pig, long back legs and very short front legs like a kangaroo or even, dare I say, like a dinosaur. They smell sweet like baby powder and I have often been known to ask people who enter my house to "sniff my rat".

I have always interweaved my love for animals with my music. ( ie: The Bunny showing up somewhere on all my albums/ Fievel, a handsome and highly intelligent Houdini-like field mouse is on the back cover of my current CD/ I have written some songs which speak of the plight of animals/ I collect dog and cat food at my live shows to donate to local animal rescue foundations, etc) The latest thing I have started is at my website:https://laurenwood.com. It's called the Pet Adoption Cyberquilt. I go to animal shelters and pet rescue foundations, take pictures and get a profile of some of the animals and post them on the Cyberquilt. (It kinda looks like a quilt) I got so into it, that the next thing I knew, I had adopted a dog. This was the last thing I would have dreamt of doing. I was already inundated with too much "pet care". (Did you ever try to keep a kangaroo rat amused??) But there he was... so spirited... and so needy... and SO graphically correct!! (He looked like a dog version of Bunny and Ducky) So now I also have a dog, "Norman". Suffice to say, EVERYBODY loves Norman. He is a popular dog. And I can make him do this funny pose with his teeth.....

They say it is not scientific to say that animals have emotions. That is insane. Having lived my life surrounded by such an assortment of animals, and always finding out what complete individuals they are (even inter-species, and INCLUDING all my rodents) and through MUCH observation, I must protest. Animals have deeply touched my emotions, and animals themselves DO have emotions. I would bet my life on it.

CatTricks GreetingsLauren Wood Recording Artist, "Fallen" from the Pretty Woman Soundtrack
and co-owner of Cat Tricks Greeting Cards

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