The First Time, Ever I Saw Your Face

woman dog face to face black white

The First Time, Ever I Saw Your Face…….Ah, the tune Roberta Flack used to sing. For some reason that song was going through my head today and I started remembering the first time I saw members of my 4 legged family. Below are just a few….

Pookie was the first animal pal who came into my life when I was almost 40 years old, as I didn’t have any pets growing up. I agreed to watch her over a weekend while friends moved, and 8 years later I took her in for her final vet visit. Pookie was my first teacher about animals, and cats in particular.

I was volunteering at an animal shelter where Raven happened to be. I took him into a room to play with him and the rest is history. I left the room to talk to the staff about adopting Rave, and I remember him sitting by the window, watching me, waiting and knowing I was coming back for him.

What I didn’t learn about cats from Pookie, I learned from Scheisters. When I saw him at the humane society, he was just the sweetest little thing, loved to cuddle and play games. I named him Gus and took him home. Within 24 hours of being at home his true personality came out, and he became Scheisters until his dying day.

Teddy started life out as Tundra, a very overweight, dirty yet happy-go-lucky sweet boy. My first memory of Teddy was walking into the shelter and seeing this little rotund scruffball of a dog, wearing the biggest smile on his face, dragging a little puppy around who had attached himself to Teddy’s tail. Teddy is the one who led me into animal communication.

IamMaxRoper came into our life shortly after Teddy had transitioned. I saw Max’s bio online, and I would sit at the computer, stroking the posted pic with the mouse. When the rescue and I *finally* connected, Max’s days were numbered. We moved heaven and earth to get Max home with us. The first thing I remember about Max is not his handsome face, but how he got his butt stuck in the air over the car seat, tail wagging vehemently, as he tried to follow his new sister, Emmie, into the back end of the car. A definite portent of things to come with Max!

Shiloh is my buddy, the love of my life, my teacher, my soul mate. When I was looking for a horse, I wanted at least a 15 year old, 14 hands, palomino babysitter. What I got instead was a 5 year old, 15+ hand terrified quarter horse/thoroughbred. He was the 13th horse I looked at and I was tired at looking at horses. When I led him into the barn, people told me they hoped that wasn’t the horse I was buying – he had a reputation for rearing and bucking. You can read our complete story in the book Angel Horses. Put simply, Shiloh and I were meant to be together, until death do us part.

What about you? Leave a comment and share your story of “The First Time, Ever I Saw Your Face” about your animal pal!


Janet Roper


  1. Keith July 12, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

    I was looking for a dog for my son. I went to the pound, to a number of breeders, then found myself in a mall in the boonies of mid-state NY. I didn’t have a breed in mind, I had a sense of quality. In a cage against the wall was a Golden Retriever puppy. He was on sale because he was getting old (I think 9 weeks).
    They brought him to a small room where you can meet each other. I looked down at his face, beaming up to me and I was shocked at the beauty. I looked closer, like a camera focusing in, and he was more beautiful, beaming beaming up at me. I focused even more closely and he was like a diamond. He beamed love and beauty and perfection. I took him home. In all my life I have never known a finer being, of any species. A better dog never walked this earth and few people could equal his quality. I do not. He’s gone now. My love and respect for him is endless.


    • Janet July 12, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

      Old at 9 weeks??? What a beautiful story, thanks for sharing Keith. That first look stays with us forever and a half, doesn’t it?


  2. Deb Barnes - Zee and Zoey September 8, 2013 at 7:19 am #

    This is an excerpt taken from a blog post I did about meeting our newest feline family member for the first time. I have included the link if you would like to read the whole story:

    Kismet. Fate. Destiny. Call it what you will, but I no longer question my life when it brings me down a path that I don’t quite understand at the moment. Irrational and crazy immediately come to mind, but I had no control of my actions as my hand reached to open the cage door to pick up this little being that had captured my heart. I held him in my arms and he instantly cradled himself against my chest and began to purr his message of complete love and devotion to me. Trust me kitty, you had me at hello.

    He looked up at me and our eyes locked again, forming a bond and promise of lifelong intent….


    • Janet September 10, 2013 at 10:45 am #

      Thanks for sharing Kizmet’s story!


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