By MATT CRANE
For Faye and Clyde Drewry, an animal's love is one of God's greatest gifts.
With 13 cats and 12 dogs, the Drewrys have taken in and adopted quite the menagerie at their country home.
Coming from a variety of backgrounds and situations, Faye Drewry said she feels like she has no other choice but to love, protect and comfort the canine and feline companions she comes across.
"It's like the Lord gives them to me," Faye Drewry said. "So why should I give something like that away?"
Faye Drewry, manager of Starkville's The Purple Elephant, said she began taking in stray and abandoned animals during the early 1990s while living in Carthage.
"Some of the animals have been with us for over 15 years," she said. "As soon as anyone dropped one of them, they would come to us."
Faye Drewry said once they moved into their home east of Highway 45 South in Lowndes County, her family built large pens for their dogs.
"The pens are fenced in, 20 by 20 and we keep two dogs to a pen," she said. "Clyde cleans to pens, feeds them and makes sure everything is picked up."
Drewry said one dog, the aptly named Lucky, came from a precarious situation and represents many of the animals the couples adopts.
"Lucky had been abandoned in a swamp and had contracted a disease and had gone blind, but we took her in," she said. "We knew she would learn to get around and bounce back."
Lucky did bounce back, just like many of the rescued animals in their care. The dogs present Friday included: Lucky, Beauty, Ginger, Spice, Rosie Posie, Macy, Tootsie, Sugar Two, Buckshot and Junebug.
Clyde Drewry said he acknowledge the emotional attachment he and his wife have toward every animal they keep.
"We try to treat them all the same," Clyde Drewry said. "But of course, we do have our favorites."
Dogs, however, are not the only animals entrusted to the Drewrys care.
Faye Drewry said recent efforts were made to make sure the felines were satisfied with their onsite accommodations.
"We built them a big cat house, but they didn't seem to like that, so we got them their own porch which they've really taken to," she said. "We try to constantly make it fun for all of them."
Faye Drewry said she cherishes the times when her granddaughter, Waverly, who was born with spina bifida, comes to the house and shares a special connection with one of the cats.
"He and Waverly are best friends," she said. "He has never raised a claw at her and he actually knows when we are pulling into the driveway that she's in the car."
Faye Drewry said all the animals at the house have been spayed or neutered, but the couple is not actively looking to take on more animals.
"We're not really adopting anymore because it's getting hard to afford, and we want to focus our attention on the ones we already have," Faye Drewry said.
While the couple admits that caring for so many animals can be tricky, Faye Drewry said she looks at her four-legged family as a blessed burden she wouldn't trade for the world.
"The ability to love animals is something God gives us, and you're animals will always love you even when no one else does," she said."As long as Clyde and I are alive and have the ability, we will take care of the animals that come into our lives."