Sunday, April 20, 2014

Loving animals.....not every one's cup of tea.

I grew up in the 1930's and 1940's , we lived by a canal and I would have to add in Belgium.
Times were difficult and there was a lot of poverty.
We had several cats and one dog.
All outdoors. They were not pets to my parents they were working animals.
The Canal gave life to hundreds of water rats. They were the size of the cats and extremely vicious.
We had the cats to hunt them down.
My mother would feed them kitchen scraps and milk. She did not get attached to them.
If they had babies she would drown them as soon as they were born.
I remember being hysterical when I saw this.
Life was hard, 3 cats was enough to feed.

This was not a time when cat food came in bags or cans.
This was not a time that we thought of having them fixed. I do not remember ever hearing about a vet.
I think they had that on big farms for cows and horses.
Eutenasia was more used for whatever hailed the animals.

My father, a policeman, was watching the docks for smuggling at one time and found a Russian ship with aa sailor trying to sneak past him. Apprehended by my father he showed what he was going to sell in town: a young all white Russian Husky. My father quickly told him it was against the law and the sailor quickly gave the dog to the policeman. That was my first dog. We named him Jacquis. I adored that dog and he was the best hunter anyone had ever seen. He would throw the rats up in the air and catch them only to continue the game till the rat was dead and then bring it to the kitchen door for admiration of my mother.
He was a prince of a pet for me , the cats too I loved but they were not always friendly.
When war broke out the cats became wild. We hardly saw them. They were frighten by the noises of sirens and planes. One stuck by us and she learned quickly how to climb over the ladders to get to the shelter from the factory. My father said that she could hear the planes leaving England.

My Jacquis eventually lost his life when a truck killed him. We hardly had traffic on the cobblestone road which separated my house from the canal but somehow someone got him. I looked and called him for days until my mother had to tell me     and I went into a melt down.

This was my childhood with animals. When my father left us my mother did not want any animals around anymore, she said we just did not have the food for animals and that I am sure was for real.
She never did get to love the four footed variety. She said they mess up, they have hair everywhere, they were a lot of work. I now think that in her last decades when she was so lonely she would have had so much pleasure in her life. My Bijou is the biggest part of my life now.He follows me everywhere, he sleeps with me. He watches me. Bob's dog, the corgie is with me when he is gone, she too will follow me.
I walk around like an old lady just talking to them about the food I am preparing about the TV show and if I swear rather loudly the two have their ears perked and bark. They know I am not happy at that moment.

When Carwen became sick the other day, I just lost it, I cried buckets sitting by her and stroking her. I was sure she was dying , I thought that life was being very difficult right now. I have two very good friends fighting for their life and I am not handling that very well and the thought of Carwen going too was just too much to bear. I actually did not function, did not cook, did not clean, did not know what I was doing in one room and why I had turned the TV on the wrestling channel. I hate wrestling.

My Mom used to say when we lost a dog :"It is only a dog, it is not like it is a human you lost"
I could have smacked her when she said that because for me my dogs and cats have been better friends , always forgiving me if I stepped on them, always come running at me no matter how long I had been gone. Always a welcome. Always unconditional love. How often do we find that in humans?

Carwen ate something she should not have out there in the bushes, no doubt. The vet has great hopes for her recovery. She is my friend.

PS. When my father turned about 70 he suddenly adopted all the stray cats in his environment.
I visited him and he had purchased the best cat food and was feeding about 6 cats.
The old man had softened.

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