By Freda Rumford from the September 2013 Edition
I have always been an animal lover. Generally I veered towards dogs rather than cats because I could take them out, although kittens were always very appealing when they played with dangling string and skeins of knotting wool. It really wasn’t practical for us to have pets as my father was constantly being moved to different cities in S.E. England during my childhood,. The rabbits, chickens, and ducks penned in the garden did not count as pets because they were being raised to augment our meagre meat rations during the war. My mother also traded these animals with neighbours for other commodities such as butter, sugar, cheese or even surplus ration books.
So it was not until I was a young teenager that I was finally able to persuade my parents to allow me a dog. I found the sweetest little male Cairn terrier. The lady readily agreed for me to pay a much lesser and more affordable price than she had originally been asking because he had a slightly deformed mouth. So “Binky” became my first canine friend. We were inseparable when I came home from school. When I went out for a walk or riding my bicycle he came too, sitting in the basket attached to the handlebars. That was if I was not taking my little brother with me in the same manner.
From then on our family included “Sheila” another cairn terrier and her son “Wagger.” Then there were English cocker spaniels Cindy and Gus, assorted cats. Sam, a cheeky poodle, walked in on us from out of the blue. Ming, a Siamese cat, boldly made it known to the family that he was mine. He strongly objected to Trudy who grew from a 6 pound terrier to a full sized Labrador at about 110lbs. Trudy, in turn, adopted “Cat” who actually belonged to Ian’s girlfriend, at the time so was not allowed to be named by us although “Cat” lived with us for over ten years.
Then came our first Springer Spaniel “Oscar.” Both Trudy and Cat eventually passed on but Oscar, who was also Trudy-trained, became the pet and the dog that set the standard for all future dogs within the family. From him we went to more Springer’s.
There was Max, then Henry, the problem child, and a complete character. He was supposed to be Beagle and Springer mix but that is still under discussion. But he certainly looked the image of Oscar as a puppy which is why I fell in love with him. He had us completely fooled!
All of our pets were lovely animals and we have many stories to tell of our life with them as do most people who love their varying pets who become family. They came and went over the years, living either with us or even more with our now grown children to become “grand dogs or grand cats.” But always Oscar was held as the pinnacle.
Eventually in Mexico, son Ian, who was actually responsible for most of our pets, brought home a very small and extremely loveable golden retriever puppy who is now a giant 100lb dog. He is known to us and all of our friends in Manzanillo as well as the local Starbucks as “Jasper” and has the most beautiful nature of all our pets. He is “mum” (under sufferance) to a rose-point Siamese male cat called Mingtu after the original Ming.
With the entirety of animals we have had throughout the many years, absolutely nothing prepared me for when into my life walked “Blossom.” Now Blossom is a Tuxedo cat who really feels that she is a dog and also our keeper.
She initially “chose the main person in her life and through him I have also been accepted.
Without Blossom reminding us, we would not know where we were supposed to be during the day. She is quick to tell us when it is time to watch the movie on TV and following that, when it is bedtime. We are advised when water or kitty nibbles are low in her dishes and she insists on smelling everything we eat ourselves.
Meowing until we realise what it is she wants. Nothing is ever sampled as the kitty nose is turned up in distaste but she has to know what it is. She promises not to touch our food if we in turn leave hers alone.
For her it is a huge problem when one of us is outside and the other in our motor home. Who does she look after now? She is quite convinced that the motor home is hers, especially her favourite room, the bedroom and she is graciously allowing us to join her. Once in bed, she chooses the softest pillow on which to curl up, usually my prone lap where she will lay for hours until I gently turn on my side and slide her off into the crevice between us.
At night I have various medications to take and we were amused to see her trying to drink the water I took to bed with me. She finally succeeded and as we had same situation repeated each night. I eventually resorted to having a bottle of water and she took over my glass. It was a little difficult for her initially as the top of the glass turned in a little, so we made a special purchase from a Thrift Store, of a glass candle holder which was splayed out enough for her to drink at ease. Now each evening we are reminded it is not only “rub a kitty time” but time for the “special water.” Needless to say she also prefers bottled water!
She was brought up in a home with two large dogs, several cats, a goat and a boa constrictor, so mixing with other animals is no problem for her. Previous owners had her front paws declawed and it is not possible for her to fight but she makes good use of the growling, yowling, and hissing to deter any would be combatant.
She also uses those dainty little front paws to indicate that it is now time to touch her. One time she allowed me to hold her paw for a good fifteen minutes or so while she sat upon my lap during movie time. That was quite an honour. Only once though, have I had the really special “Blossom award” of being licked on the nose. Her other human gets those all of the time as a “thank you” or “hello, I have missed you.”
Although she does not have language, she has a very definite way of communicating, which I never saw in any other cat that we had living with us over the years. Every day it seems, we are noticing another little Blossom directive.
We’re doing some extensive work on Blossom’s Class A motor home. Queen Blossom loses it every time we start it up and take it down for a LPG refill. She disappears from sight and we are blessed with a loud, panicked, yowl coming from under the futon “safe hiding place.” We intend to take her with us when we start rolling to discover America. We hope that her fear will eventually seem unwarranted and she will become a happy camper.
When she arrives in Mexico, she will have Jasper and Mingtu to greet her and to make her welcome and I am quite sure that she will be the Queen Bee in very short order as she is the only female and a natural sovereign.