Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Feathers Fur and Fins Part 5.

Living in Willeton was a time when our family changed. Kitt Katt still chased after those nine lives.
She took a liking to crossing Collins road to roam around the park that was adjacent to our house.
Collins road was a very busy road, and no matter how many times I tied to persuade her not to, she still took the chance and crossed .
One night, I opened the glass back door as per usual at around 6 pm to call “the girls” inside for their dinner. I tapped the can, and in the darkness I could hear a tinkle of a bell, then a set of yellow eyes. Ebony came merrily up to me, smooched my leg and proceeded inside.
I tapped the tin again, but no Kitt Katt.
With Ebony around my ankles I kept peering into the darkness. But she was not there. AJ scoffed at my concern, saying she would be fine. And to try again later.
Reluctantly I did, and proceeded to feed the dog and do some other chores.
It was around 9:30 when I tried again, but still she was nowhere to be seen, I went out the front, scanned the road as the cars went past, but could not see any trace of her.
AJ again reassured me that she was fine, and that as always she would be back the next morning.  I decided he may be right, and went to bed.
In the morning, AJ was up early getting K his juice, and getting ready for work. He went out to the car to get his sunglasses and came back inside with a grey expression on his face.
I knew as soon as I saw him she was gone. I slowly walked out the front door and looked at the busy road, my heart sank. And I closed my eyes.
“Its ok, I’ll fetch her, Ill sort it” AJ said quietly. And I turned and went back inside.
I knew that one day the car would win................

It was also around this time, a stray dog joined our family, we named her Gypsy, and she was a Doberman Sheppard cross and bonded with Keltic as soon as they met.
She also bonded with K who was now around 3. They played army crawl in the grass in the garden and they chased the bad guys around the peppermint tree. She watched his every move, Keltic how ever was more content to just sit by my side and watch.
We were out walking one night, just me, AJ and K on his little red trike. And as we rounded the block near the park, a small tabby cat sprang out at us. She was wild and gangly. And had huge green eyes. She sidled up sideways to K on his trike and then took off up the street in front of us and up a verge tree.
We all laughed, and kept walking, but noticed after around 4 houses that she was still following us. “Ignore her” I said as K was playing with the little bundle of energy.
We continued to walk, and AJ chased her briefly to discourage her from following us.
We looked back again, and she was nowhere to be seen. I was Sad to see her go, but happy as she had returned home.
As we walked up to the front door, which had two huge bottle brushes in front of it. I pulled out the key, turned the lock and opened the door.
K had left his trike in the car port and stepped through the door. And as I went to follow him, I felt something push past my feet. I looked down and quickly stepped back to see that small gangly tabby cat walk through our front door after K and into the kitchen.
AJ and I looked at each other, and went inside.
We walked into the kitchen, and there she sat on the floor licking herself.
Ebony walked up to her, and sniffed, hissed and walked away.
From that day onwards she stayed with our family. AJ called her Tranzam because of her speedy race way antics in the house.
And she is still with us now, the oldest standing four legged member of the house. She’s a little slower now, and chubbier, but still has that wild side and plays with the claws out.
She’s had her fair share of run ins. She’s had her tail “de flocked” by me unfortunately shutting it in the door. she’s been in many a back yard cat scrap with the neighborhood felines and even took on the family car and gained a broken pelvis. But she’s still going. And still has the same attitude that she joined us with.
Gypsy stayed with us for a few years, but her size and her love of guarding proved too much for us. We ended up giving her to one of our dearest friends who was in need of a guard dog after his house was robbed twice in one week. Gypsy and her new owner bonded instantly and as he was a bachelor at the time, he spoilt her with T Bone steak for dinner and a loving home.
Although we missed her, we knew that she was happier doing what came so naturally for her. She was born to be a guard dog. And with P she got to be what her breed meant her to be.
Collins road also nearly claimed Keltic . He also took on the road and its traffic and fortunately he won. He lost some skin, and had a nasty wack, but after a vet stay returned home.
That accident was also the pre limb to us moving, I wasn’t happy at this stage to live on such a busy road, especially now, that my second child CH had been born. The landlord forced our hand in weeks to come, as the owners decided to sell the house. And this was the event that lead us to retuning to my childhood home, family in tow until we could regain our footing and strive out alone again. Sometimes, taking a step backwards to regroup, means a stronger step forward in the future.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Feathers Fur and Fins part 3.

We moved to Hilton, into an old vintage house, with big rooms, a fire place and a big backyard. Ebony, now older but still small in stature, had become part of the family. She had a wild look in those yellow eyes and enjoyed racing through the house chasing feet. It wasn’t long until another little fur ball joined the family too. She came into our world one stormy night, amidst thunder and heavy rain. After the storm had past, I was assessing the damage in the rear garden when I saw a very distressed cat trying desperately to squash herself down between the fence and the garage wall. She was crying, reaching in desperation for something that she knew was down there. I approached slowly, but as soon as she became aware of me, she bolted, over the fence and away. Curious as to what it was she was trying to reach I craned my neck too look into the small space between the structures and could only see leaves and spiders webs. I used a broom handle to prod the foliage a bit and then I heard it, the faintest mew. After a little more movement of the debris I managed to push the messy bundle of twigs and rubbish to within my reach. I slowly wrapped a tea towel that I had pulled from the line around my hand and gathered up the squirmy bundle, after a quick wipe down, there she was, not more than 4 weeks old eyes still tightly shut... a smokey grey, with a white tip on her nose.
It took many a day to get her healthy and there were times I though the little grey smudge would not pull through, after 4 hourly feeds, many a warm bath to remove the fleas, she slowly started to fatten up, and even though I checked regularly to see if her mum had returned, we never saw her again.
I named her Kitt Katt, she was a very odd little thing, Ebony accepted her with a turned up nose and a look of annoyance but the two ended up being best of friends.
Kitt Katt was a smoky grey, long haired blue eyes wonder, she had a fondness for ear wax, (yes, you heard right) and loved to suckle on your arm even as an adult (A throw back I think to being abandoned at such an early age.)
She was a stronger spirit then Ebony too and constantly wandered and explored the neighbourhood. She lost a few lives, taking on cars, and the odd dog. She was truely fearless. It was around the same time Keltic entered my life, he was a Border collie kelpie x with a hint of staffy.
He was given to us from a friend, as the runt of his litter of 13. AJ brought him home one day, in his arms, and as soon as I saw him my heart melted. He looked like a little bear, and that first night he slept in my arms, his head upon my chest.
Keltic was my boy, he was my first child; I doted on him, and spoilt him rotten. AJ liked him, but the bond was not as tight. As Keltic grew he bonded to me, and saw me as his matriarch, and was my protector when AJ worked the night. I realize now how much I depended on him and how much he meant to me. He looked like a black wolf, with brindle on his flanks, he was so majestic and still scary to those who didn’t know him...He used to sit by me in the lounge room and grown when someone came to the door. I remember one night I had gone to bed, and AJ was working back, when he finally came home, he came into the bedroom, got into his PJs and went to pull the blanket back. Keltic was asleep on the bottom of the bed at my feet. As AJ started to get into the bed, Keltic started to growl, a low growl at first. But it was audible. AJ growled at him, and Keltics defences kicked in.  He bailed him up and I had to put my hand on his head and hush him. That was the first time I noticed how much he was my dog. And from that day, the relationship between him and AJ was strained.
Keltic was with me for 18 years, he saw many a pet come and go, he also was my children’s protector, and slept under the cot and walked next to the pram for both my son and daughter. He also had a fondness for playing ball and would fetch until exhaustion. He did have a game that was reserved for him and AJ only. It was called Pastey; AJ would pick up a tennis ball and aim it at Keltic, instantly he would be up, in full flight and screaming around the yard. Watching AJ and where he was, and dodging and weaving waiting for the ball to come his way. The object of this game was for AJ to hit Keltic with the ball. (Which I might add never happened because out of the two of them, Keltic was the more agile and swift). But Keltic loved the game; he had a wild look in his eyes when he saw AJ set up to play.
We moved to Willetton not long before the birth of my son, Keltic, Kitt katt and Ebony in tow, this house was bigger, and the yard was more dog friendly. As our last real estate agent had a thing about dogs.
This also was when the animal members of the family changed yet again, one left with tragedy, one joined when we needed her. And others well, they just kept on showing us their love.
But Ill share those stories next time.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Feathers fur and fins part 2.

When I moved out of home, to move in with the man of my dreams, (well so I thought at the time).
I moved into a great little apartment in East Fremantle, it was on the 6th floor, right in the corner of the block of units, so our front door was not near any ones walk ways.
This was our first home away from home. With river views, a great balcony and rent that was so low it was practically free.
But the one thing that disturbed our little perfect life was small, black and adorable, with big yellow eyes and an attitude to match.
And how we met this little fire cracker was sad, sad that people could be that cruel, but also joyous as this little darling joined our family.
We were taking out the garbage, down to the car park to dump it into the big cromlin bin when my then boyfriend heard a strange noise upon opening the lid. We threw in the rubbish bag and heard the feint noise again. Intrigued, AJ decided it was worth further inspection, so he jumped in, and started to rummage around in the refuse.
I watched intently, and slowly he stood up back into my line of sight, holding a brown cardboard box. it was taped securely shut with duck tape.
I looked at him, curious as to why he seemed intent in opening some ones rubbish.
AJ handed the  box to me and I reluctantly took it, it was heavy, and seemed to be unevenly weighted.
AJ climbed back out of the bin and stood and watched me slowly rip at the tape and open the box,
I pulled the flap open and saw the biggest pair of yellow scared eyes looking up at me.
She squeaked at me, her little voice nearly gone from overuse and fear. My heart broke; she was so small and looked so helpless. Slowly I pulled the flaps of the box open further to see that some cruel individual had bound her legs together with that same duck tape. So tight she couldn’t stand. She struggled feebly in an attempt to seek freedom, but just fell around in the bottom of the box.
AJ took the box as I held her little body in my hands, her black fur all sticky and wet with her sweat from her struggles. Slowly I wrapped her under my coat and took her up to our apartment, hoping no one in the building saw me, as there were strict rules at our new home with the river views. “No pets”
After a wash in warm water and a session with the scissors to remove the duck tape bindings, I toweled her off in the lounge room.
She was a beautiful little kitten, no more than 10 weeks of age. Pitch black with a pushed in little nose and the biggest yellow eyes Id ever seen. Im sure she was part chinchilla and part Persian, she was a longhair and seemed slightly on the small side for her age.
She sat there on the lounge room floor, grooming herself, and looking at me warily. Her trust in us humans had been shaken, and it took two days for her to voluntarily jump into my lap and purr at me. I named her Ebony, for the blackness of her coat and the darkness that had brought her to us.
I was sitting on the balcony one afternoon, watching her chase a piece of string when AJ came to me and said “we can’t keep her, you know that”
I looked up at him, and didn’t answer, for I knew he was right.
“What are we going to do?” he said tickling her belly and smiling at her response as she kicked and bit at his hand.
I sighed, and then as if all of a sudden it just all seemed to make sense it came to me.
“We are going to have to move!”
And we did.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Feathers Fur and Fins Part 1.

Throughout my childhood, I remember many pets and animals that joined our family. We were raised to appreciate the animal word and I grew up around a variety of different animals. We were fortunate enough to have a father and mother who appreciated the more basic kind of life, so even though we lived in suburbia we still had a chook pen, and ducks. Cats and dogs.
I recall spending a lot of time in my younger years down in the far back garden watching the chickens rummage around in the dirt, I loved sitting under the mulberry tree throwing grains of wheat their way.
I’ve always had an affinity with animals, and felt closeness to them.  Dad used to say I spent way too much time talking to them and not enough time feeding them or cleaning up after them.  My mum used to set the chooks, and we would be blessed with little chickens, with their yellow fuzzy coats running everywhere.
Mum went to great pains to keep them secure; tacking together fully covered chicken coops, with nesting boxes to keep these little yellow bundles safe from the likes of cats and chicken hawks.
I was always amazed at how she could pull a MacGyver and create these contraptions. From what seemed like nothing more than piles of wood and wire.
I’ve so many memories of the animal friends that graced my life, so I thought, in this entry, I’d name a few that had the most profound impression and effect on me.
So here goes:
Brandy, a part Persian torteshell cat is the first cat I remember, there was one before her, Lucky being his name, but I hold no real memories of him.
Brandy was a long time family pet, she used to play happily with me and my toys, was not shy of being dressed in the odd bonnet and nightie and didn’t seem to mind too much being pushed around the garden in a little pink pram.
But she was closest to my mum, for they were bonded and although an outdoor cat, due to Nan not permitting cats in the house, I still remember the odd morning wakeup call from Brandy licking my face, while mum smiled at the bedroom door.
She was with us for many years, and it was a very sad day the day she finally passed. I remember that being one of those rare times I saw my mum cry.
During Brandy’s time we also had a rooster called midnight, He was raised from a chicken, and even though he used to savage me when I went into the chook pen, (I still have the scar on my knee to this day) I was fascinated by him, he was a black pullet, young and very aggressive, but for some odd reason I loved him. Unfortunately though, my mum did not see my attraction and after yet another attack upon my shins. He somehow disappeared from the chicken coop. Funnily enough; we had chicken for dinner that night.
In my teen years, I took up the ownership of Casper, much to my Nan’s annoyance. Casper was a white rabbit; I purchased him whilst my family was away on holidays.
My Nan was appalled that I would want to keep “vermin” as a pet, but Cass weaved his magic on her too, and I still smile when I look at the photos of her sitting on the front veranda with Cass draped lovingly across her lap.
He was no more than the size of a tennis ball when I brought him home, and after many months of spending every waking moment training him, he became part of the family. He was an exceptional pet; I am convinced he thought he was human. He had a fondness for bounding into my room in the morning, jumping on my bed and thumping me with his back legs. He also loved to lay in front of the heater on cold nights, snuggle up with mum’s two cats Kasha and Cricket (Brandy’s predecessors) and was also partial to choc biscuits and liquored chocolates. He used to steal my pencils, chew up my erasers and tear up my notebooks. But all was done with love.
I still had Casper in my early 20’s, I was already driving, and always took him with me on outings. He would sit in the back window of mum’s datsun, and watch the world go by, amazing drivers behind me who would think he was just a plush toy in the window until he’d move.
He loved the beach and adored digging holes in the soft sand. He would baffle beach goers and dogs alike with his tunnels and  incessant hole digging, his white tail bopping up and down in the dunes.
Casper was the first true pet that was mine, and even after I left home as an adult I still made provisions for him. He stayed at mums, enjoying her garden. Until the day he decided to jump off of the laundry table in an attempt to get out the open window. Breaking his back and subsequently forcing me to make the hardest decision I Have ever had to make in my young life. I remember that call so clearly, I sat on my bed in my unit, listening to the vet tell me that my precious Cass had lost the use of his back legs and was losing organ function. My mind raced, I couldn’t do it, but knew I had to, and after one last visit, cuddle and liquored choc, he was gone.
Mum and I decided to bury him in the back garden, as that was where he spent his days. I’d had pet rabbits after him, but none ever where a patch on Cass. He was truely  one special bunny.