I think I thought today was Friday and it was time to write a post, but apparently, yesterday was Friday and the dog went to the vet. Remember?
Oh, yes. Which means today must be Saturday and I don’t need to write a post. Or, it means I’m a day late, and two dollars short, and nothing in the head to discuss. Except the dog. Have you met Pepsi, the Tenterfield Terrier?
She’s an old dog now, not sure exactly how old she is, but when she adopted us they said she was about 3. The vet we go to said about 6. So, she’s somewhere between the two. And that was a long time ago. I had to go back to the original papers to see how long.
12 years ago, Pepsi came into our life. After the old cat (his name was Slim, after his singing voice, which was a perfect rendition of the sounds that came from Slim Dusty, famous Australian country singer), who was boss of the house, passed onto the rainbow bridge — and didn’t look back, I might add — Pepsi tried to become an authority in the house.
She failed. There was another cat. Mini — also named for her voice, or lack of. Should’ve called her squeak. Now, Mini was a strange cat. She had no understanding of body language and often got into trouble for not understanding the signals the other animals gave her. She found friends, though. A moth would do. She’d follow it around, purr at it, squeak, bat it until it flew, run around like it was a great game to chase the moth … and then Slim would come in and eat the moth, switch his tail in Mini’s face, and stalk off to sit in the sunny window position. The boss position.
Mini would sulk, and then she’d chase the dog. Pepsi didn’t like Mini, and Slim barely tolerated her. She didn’t know how to ‘speak’ animal language and often barged in where she wasn’t wanted. She didn’t understand.
Slim and Pepsi had a moment of tension, Pepsi bowed to Slim’s rule, and they got on well.
Mini destroyed all relationships. We had to lock her in the laundry when we had visitors. Some people would occasionally sneak in there to give her a pat. I’d hear them talking, saying things like, ‘she’s such a beautiful cat’ and similar. But then one day, the person who snuck in there didn’t close the door properly and Mini walked out into the crowd. A little girl grabbed Mini’s crooked tail, and Mini lashed out. She missed the face, but blood welled on the ear and scalp.
Who got into trouble? Was it the person who disobeyed the house rules of not going into the laundry, not bothering the cat; the person who didn’t check the door was properly closed? No, it wasn’t their fault, apparently. It was mine, and I shouldn’t keep dangerous animals. They complained to the authorities who requested I do the final deed. I didn’t.
What did I do?
[this is the edited version] I told them not to come back. All of them. If they don’t understand why the cat was in the laundry, if they don’t understand [deleted], they can go elsewhere to do and say whatever it is they feel is their right.
The cat stayed. Pepsi and Mini learned to mostly keep their distance. Neither of them took over the boss roosts on the window seat or the big chair. Slim’s presence was evident in the grey hairs and indentations.
Mini wasn’t a healthy cat, and she eventually succumbed to the illnesses that came from her desperate early days. She was found as a week-old kitten in a plastic bag in a bin. She was kept alive in a cage with no contact with other animals. She never learned self-control or language skills. She never learned how to use her tail to speak. But she lived a reasonable life, with moths for friends (and the occasional lizard, but that’s another story).
Pepsi remains, but she’s getting old, and my heart is trying to prepare me for another end to a story.
The visits to the vet get more regular, the problems less treatable. She’s allergic to lots of stuff, and is very good at pill disposal when no one’s looking. I don’t blame her. Some of those drugs have horrendous side-effects.
She’s fading now, the grey almost hiding the tan-coloured heart shape on her side (she has two, but one needs to have her curled up to be visible).
She has both our hearts, and though we try not to think of that bridge coming ever closer … it does, and our hearts break a little bit more, day by day, knowing what’s to come.
However, no one told the dog. She goes outside and climbs up the rocks to the top level of the garden, and then leaps down. It’s not a low wall. She leaps across about a metre of rock, and from a height of two metres. Onces, the front legs collapsed under her and she skidded along on her right side. She didn’t move, didn’t struggle, but her eyes were wild.
My panic had to stay hidden, and I calmed her down, checked her over, held her stable until she regained some confidence. She was battered and bruised, but okay. No limps or lumps or breaks.
The biggest problem with her never-say-die attitude is that I think she blames me for the pain, and when I try to touch her now, she shrinks away.
And, yes, I’ve put up a barrier to the high part of the garden, but this morning … where do you think she was?
Terriers seem to like to tempt death. Or to give their owners a heart attack. Now I have to think of a way to ensure a sneaky little rat-dog can’t climb the mountain again.