Like father, like daughter: Adopting animals on the job

WTOP\'s Kate Ryan took home Minky after reporting a story at an animal shelter more than 20 years ago. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)

Call it a family tradition.

Call it bringing work home.

But in my family, adopting animals that were found on the job isn’t anything new.

It started with my dad, then a reporter for New York’s NBC 4 TV. He did a story on a local animal shelter and the need to get the animals adopted. He did the “stand-up,” that part at the end of a TV segment when you see the reporter standing, summing up the story and signing off. Well, my Dad did his stand-up with a puppy cradled in his arms.

I never saw the story, but I heard about it. I was in school at the time, and everyone commented on how cute that puppy was, and wondered, “Did your dad bring that puppy home?” I laughed and said, “No way, my mom would kill him!” We already had an aging Labrador Retriever and a Siamese cat who liked things as they were.

But weeks later, my dad said, “Kate, let’s go for a ride.” This wasn’t anything new — my dad liked to take us on spontaneous “field trips.” But I knew something was up when he brought along our Lab’s leash.

We pulled into the animal shelter where he’d done the story, and there was his colleague, Liz Trotta, with a camera crew: We were adopting the pup he’d done the stand-up with. The thing was, that “puppy” was not some little ball of fluff — he was a big-boned, half-grown, goofy, German Shepherd dog.

Years later, I was at a local animal shelter doing a story on “kitten season” when I saw her: a 3 month old kitten with crystal blue eyes and pretty silver tips. Surely, someone was going to take her home, right? Wrong. All her littermates had been adopted. Sigh. I knew I’d be taking her home. Minky, her shelter name I kept because it fit, had the softest coat ever and was with me for 19 years.

Fast forward to “Black Friday 2011.” I was back at the same shelter, reporting a story on efforts to get the cats and dogs adopted, when a little paw came shooting out from a crate and grasped at the handle of my bag: once, twice, three times. That determined little kitten wasn’t letting go.

A year later, Meisje (Dutch for “little girl”) is now calling the shots in my home.

If the boss ever sends me to a horse rescue, I’m going to have to check the zoning laws in D.C.

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(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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