The Things They Do For Us

All my life has involved one, two, three and sometimes many more animals, either as pets, or working animals, or farm animals, or friends. And one or two (many) were the healers.

The dog who showed a young boy how it was safe to be touched (just a little, and with rules!), the cat who slept by the head of the young girl and purred and comforted until the restless and terrified mind could drift into sleep, the old horse who protected chickens because her friend in the wheelchair wanted it – it goes on and on and on.

The things they do for us, and only because it’s what we want or need.

At the same time I was a foster carer for humans, I was also a foster carer for non-humans: dogs, cats, pups, kittens, rabbits, horses, chickens, goats, sheep, snakes, birds (got the scars to prove the sulphur-crested – and so has the white cat), even some non-approved animals who decided to live in a burrow under our house [as an aside, when I got the builder in to strengthen the foundations without disturbing the wombats – he did it for cost only]. It’s possible I’ve missed some out. There were lots.

And there were times when we couldn’t save them – too much pain and harm and damage – but we did what we could to make their life feel as safe as possible. We didn’t give up on them – the foster humans saw the need in these abused animals and connected. Sometimes, this is what saved the human; sometimes, it was enough to also save the animal (I’m speaking mind here; we didn’t ever put an animal down or get rid of it for the sole reason of being difficult or afraid or unsocial).

Because if an animal has been through that and can learn to love again, learn to trust and hope – we all can, can’t we? And if it takes a long time, that’s what it takes, isn’t it?

And the issue of fostering – well, I didn’t get to give them back, did I? If one of the kids bonded with that animal – well, that’s pack, and pack doesn’t get booted out. Packs stays. Do you think there was ever a foster (animal) that didn’t bond to one of the fosters (there were a LOT of fosters)?

The fosters learned through contact with others who’d been through the same terror. They learned that the life they left behind wasn’t normal, even if it had become normalised while they were in it.

With the love of an animal who’d suffered, they learned how to heal, not only in themselves, but in the giving of healing to others.

They learned about pack, about family; that blood is only blood, and pack (family) is loyalty, protection, safety, and love without obligation. So they made their own pack family, and they made the rules of pack (some safe zone discussion involved in creating those rules).

That’s all it took to heal. Connection.

As an aside [another one] the short stories in dogs n cats n us is NOT from the foster times – I promised to never reveal any of their stories unless they approved, or the owner of the story was [  ], or I did it for myself only. The short stories I put into it are all from other areas, and semi-fictitious.


The Ceramic Jars


That contain the remains of my animals sit on the shelf, carefully wrapped in tissue paper, never moved or touched until the next jar comes to join them.

A life without one, two, or more of the furry, feathery, leathery or otherwise bedecked, creatures would be a life with something missing. A dog teaches about pack,  a cat teaches about confidence, a bird teaches about freedom, a horse teaches about respect, a snake teaches about truth (after all, they are not slimy, don’t attack without cause, and You scare the bleep out of ’em).

And the biggest lesson of all: life ends. We mourn, wallow for a while for what we’ve lost. But to learn the lesson well, we have another thing to learn: to remember how they shared our life, how that being enhanced our moments, brought joy (and other emotions) and boof-ebbiewarmth and connection – love and pack.


The little jars are there because we have been gypsies, moved from place to place, state to state, posting to posting. They come with us, the living and the remembered, because I can’t bear to leave them to the care of someone else. I hold onto them as if they were still in my care and will remain in my care until I take the long-sleep. My will provides for the jars to be sent with me into the flames of renewal. I don’t want to leave them alone, and I don’t want to be without them.Mini packing to move

Is this an emotional crux? Do I need to put them in the ground, let them pass on? No. They are already dead, and it’s only me who wants to keep the memory close by. Yes, I remember them, hear the noises they made when they moved in reality through my life, I speak to them (and use them as examples when speaking to the living representatives) and I love them. Always.

It was a lesson to the kids I fostered. Pack is life. Pack is forever. Pack is commitment and continuance. For a dog without pack, life is dangerous and short, and even the lowest ranking pack member expects to be cared for during his life, and mourned when he dies. I do this, I demonstrated this.

There are rules, pack rules, boundary rules, society rules, hunting rules. Everywhere there are rules, but pack is the most important rule of all. No pack means no connection, no love, and no purpose.

Animals teach us many things, and we are still learning – the world is not the same today as it was yesterday. The pack helps us deal with this, and move on, together, in the manner that best befits our purpose.Slim on office chair

Thank you for listening to my ramble. I love my pack, in all its forms.


Today is Cat Day!


You better believe it! There is a cat day (every day, if you’re a cat) and there is no dog day (unless you’re a dog – and then, the cat says it’s because you deserve it!).

Today is Cat Day. Pat the cat, massage the cat, adore the cat. Look into the eyes of the cat. You know you want to; you know you have to – if you don’t do this, it will haunt you forever.

And I mean – forever! A cat has a long memory. Elephant! Pffffftttt! Nothing compared to Cat. Cat has memory of all cats; knows of all accoutrements necessary for the comfort of cat. So you better provide these things, or you will (surely) suffer the consequences.

The first thing – pat the cat, and massage the right places, just firm enough, and nose to tail please. Do not stop until the cat advises that it is time to sleep.

Second, allow the cat to massage you with the claws – this is good for both the claws and you. Nothing good comes without a little pain. You need to know this.

Third, massage the cat several times a day, for at least 20 minutes each time. That should be sufficient, but if not, the cat will advise. Do not reduce this schedule, or you will – for your own good – suffer the consequences. You need to know your place.

Four – feed the cat only the foods advised. Preferably very fresh (but not cold – you have microwave for the sole purpose of warming food for cat), and still a bit wobbly and bloody. Do not place food at floor level. Only dogs belong at that level. Cat is fed on the table or the bench, preferably close to the preparation area to ensure satisfactory standards are maintained.

Five – Do not disturb cat when napping, feeding, or sunning. Undertake the allocated tasks only when cat advises – please do not try to think for yourself; it can only end badly. Heed the advice of one who knows, please.

Six – ensure sun comes into at least two different sleep locations at all times (daylight hours – cat knows you cannot influence day length). Also ensure the appropriate bedding and pillows are in these locations, and moved as the sun moves.

Seven – Sit perfectly still if the cat needs the warmth of your lap. Stroke as advised, and do not move. Do not wriggle. Do not cough or fart or complain of discomfort. These things are distressing to cat and may cause claw responses.

Remember all of these things, and your life should be adequately happy. Forget even one of these things, and cat will [you know what cat will do, don’t you?].

Live long and pat properly!


To be or not To be

To be or not to be . . . A Writer!

To be a writer is not just a matter of writing words on a page.

The words must have meaning to someone; they must show how a story unfolds. This is true of both fiction and non-fiction because what is the point if there is no flow of meaning?

To be a writer is not just a matter of writing words on a page.

The writer must be in the business of writing. They must put aside time in each day to write their words; they must give these words to someone for a purpose. This is true of both fiction and non-fiction because what is the point if only the writer sees their words?

To be a writer is not just a matter of writing words on a page.

To be called an author, the writer must put their work up to the market to be judged; they must submit their work for ‘worth’ to the appropriate market. This is true of both fiction and non-fiction because what is the point of spending all that time, effort and research on something that has no value to anyone but the writer?

To be a writer is not just a matter of writing words on a page.

The writer must research deeply into the subject matter of the writing; they must know their readers will not stop and say ‘But this makes no sense,’ or, worse, ‘This is not factual/true.’ This applies to both fiction and non-fiction because what is the point of words that annoy the intended reader – or do not impart the facts/truth/perception of such?

To be a writer is not just a matter of writing words on a page.

The creator must plan each stage and plot of the unfolding story. Sometimes they must decide if the story is best told back to front, or at a skew from a standard timeline, or maybe even chronological. There must be a structure: a beginning somewhere, a middle and an end; a point of entering the ‘building’ and knowing how to find the way around; to know there is a way in and out. This is true of both fiction and non-fiction because what is the point if a reader cannot understand how or why or where things are happen?

To be a writer is not just a matter of writing words on a page.

The creator must lay aside the work, re-read and replay the scene, restructure and repair, until the structure and the presentation and the journey are exactly as the story means it to be.

That is what it is to be a writer.

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Do not forget Rule No. 1

I think it may be time for dinner – or would you prefer I eat your toes while you tap away on that thing?

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Rule No. 1: The cat rules

Rule No. 2: See Rule No. 1

Rule No. 3: Read mind of cat, he’s too busy to try to put ideas into your head as well.

Rule No. 4: See Rule No. 2 and Rule No. 1

Rule No. 5: Do not wake a sleeping cat

. . . to be continued, if and when Cat feels like it.


How we come to be . . .

When I was eight, I went to a country school. It was scary, because I was used to radio school (they call it school of the air now). In radio school, you only did school stuff in the mornings, and the afternoons were for exploring, working, walking, and doing kid things, like making up new worlds, meeting strangers as friends, making canoes from tin and barbed wire to row down a dry creek, stealing honey from bees – you know, the good stuff. But it all ended when we went to a town. In the town, there was rubbish on the streets, in the creeks, on the beach. If you went to the main shopping area, there was a smell of rot – rotting food, rotting people, rancid beer, rancid dogs. I didn’t like the smells, or the rubbish, so I did a project for school. I don’t remember what the title was, but the subject was rubbish, litter, human filth and carelessness for the world they lived in. It got an excellent mark, and my teacher submitted it for consideration at the state science fair. It won, and was published in a serious science journal.

I wish I still had a copy of my first non-fiction written work. And I think it’s still as relevant today as it was then. Maybe I should do another one …. Or maybe, I’ll write fiction to bring to light all the things I think we could do better. Yes, that’s it – I’ll write the stories I used to make up for my siblings, and I’ll put in them the things that make the world good. I’ll deal with the bad, the evil, the smelly things as only a writer can, and I’ll try to take it to the world of the young so they can do their best to enable their world to be beautiful, and wise, and wealthy in many things.

I need to write. My life spirals out of control if I can’t put words into their own space and story. My stories are my safe haven, and I can make my heroes and heroines do the things I can only dream of doing. But through them, I live a full and interesting life that is both well-grounded and on the very edge. What could be better?

What I write:

I will read almost anything – even the bad stuff has things we can use to learn. I will write almost anything, but I like to write fantasy because that is the world where I can do all of the things I mentioned above. I like to write romance (especially the hot stuff) because I believe we are all connected and love is the thing that makes those connections sing a beautiful song. I like to write science fiction because I believe we can learn from the potential of the sciences, and put forward a scenario of ‘what it would be like …’ using the sciences (all of them, including the ‘soft’ sciences). I like to write children’s stories because I believe children are our future, and we (adults) need to ensure we produce children who can be fully functioning members of a connected society. Am I a dreamer? Yes, of course! Do dreams come true? Yes, of course! Is it easy? No. Yes. No. Anything that becomes easy, is only easy because we have done so much work to make it to that point. So, yes it is easy, and no, the hard work is still hard work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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