Sandy Claws: dogs, cats, rats, oh my!

What happens when you have four cats, three dogs, a rabbit, a tortoise and a rat living in the same house? Harmony, if you are at Lilly Young’s home.

Young, a senior, has loved animals her whole life and has had anywhere from five to ten animals in her house at any time since she was born. Growing up around so many pets, Young says being around animals is natural for her.

“I have always loved how animals, domestic ones at least, want nothing more than to give you love and to be loved by you,” Young says. “I mean, there’s nothing that makes me smile more than having my three dogs lick the tears off my face when I’ve had a rough day.”

Young certainly has enough pets to keep her company. Tyber, Raja, Sophie and Bagheera are Young’s cats. Bagheera and Cosmo, one of Young’s dogs, are the best of friends. Cosmo is a Border Collie and loves having “jobs” to do when his people are out of town, so Young got Bagheera for Cosmo to take care of. Usually the typical cat and dog relationship isn’t amicable, but Young says they play together every day, and Cosmo even cleans the fleas out of Bagheera’s fur. Talk about an anomaly!

Young’s most recent addition is an animal people usually try to exterminate, not domesticate: a rat. Despite the stigmas carried around by the rat species, Young praises Jane the rat for her spunkiness and cuteness. One of Jane’s hobbies includes sleeping in Lilly’s jacket hoodie while she is doing homework.

“To me animals are like a kind, funny, entertaining, and loving kid that always wants to please you,” Young explains. “What’s better than that?

-Edie Ellison