I was going to write this earlier, but MasterB demanded my participation in a game. I have distracted him by filling the treats ball, and he is engaged in rolling it around the floor and eating the biscuits that fall out as a result. He knows full well that there is a bowl of the same biscuits in the kitchen that he could get to without any effort, but this is much more fun.
Anyone who tells you that a cat or dog has no imagination has never lived with a cat or dog. getting a glimpse of the world through their eyes is one of the many joys of living with a pet. As the Guardian leader said yesterday, we learn a lot about ourselves by studying animals. Seeing my cat’s enjoyment of my company, of racing around the garden, seeing his feline friends, climbing trees and fox watching, among other interests, brings me immense pleasure. I am not alone. He is the only cat in this block of flats, and he is everyone else’s cat by proxy. Neighbours tell me they like to hear his bell in the morning and know that he is out and about. I hear one neighbour in particular talking to him. There is an eleven-year-old who calls round to play with him, and her little, rougher brother has learned to be calm and confident around him. I knew someone who worked at Number 10. Her ‘phone was full of photos of Larry the Cat. She reckoned having a cat in the office made people happier and made them behave better. No one wanted to upset Larry. PAT dogs do tremendous work in hospitals, hospices and care homes. Sophie the German Shepherd is not a PAT dog, but you only have to look at my mother’s face to see how she brightened the day.
That photo was two and a half years ago. I think it explains why I battle to ensure that Mother is visited by dogs in the care home where she now lives. Her love of animals has been a constant, something that dementia has not altered. She loved Freddy and was so proud that I could let him out of the car when I visited and he would walk straight up her garden path and through the catflap to greet her. I have some great memories of him and Mother together. Then there are older memories of our dachshund Beccie Brown Boots who skipped into the garden with Mother when she got home from work, dug holes beside her diligently as she weeded. Emily, the little Yorkie who lived near Mother’s bungalow. An open door was an invitation to Emily who must have been the friendliest Yorkshire Terrier ever. She was tiny, a pocket Venus of a dog, and Mother, and most other residents, adored her.
I could go on. Everyone who has loved a pet has stories. Hopefully some of these will be shared today on the web and aroumd the world for Pet Remembrance Day which started two years ago, a week after my lovely Freddy (the original Cat of IsobelandCat) died suddenly from heart failure. Light a candle, tell a story, toast the memories; whatever seems fitting and right, and let us celebrate the animals we have loved, who have loved us, and the animals we share our homes with now.
Spread the word if you will. Put up a post and link it back here.
I suddenly remembered this piece from the Guardian a few weeks ago. Enjoy, but get your hankies ready.