…..'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'…..

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Monday is Menosukhi Day

This is the one in which I go all sentimental.  For a few weeks this means you are sharing my memories of two darling creatures, Jade Dog MacWoof and Jasper Cat MacMeow.

It is worth mentioning there have always been animals in and around this life.  We're of rural stock so it goes with the territory.  Despite parents' best attempts to dissuade, over the years there have been a variety of cats, fishes, hamster, tortoise, lizards, insects…

When I finally settled in Australia, it felt right that a pet had to complete the picture.  So along came Jet, the monster agouti guinea-pig. Coming in at nearly 12 inches he was indeed a fine specimen.  Three years old when he came to me, a reject from the show circuit due to five brown hairs marring his otherwise all-black perfection.  He knew he was a star, too, coming when called by name, especially if it involved food or grooming.  Yes he loved a wash and brush up.

It is a regret at this point that I did not get all my old print photos scanned into the files, so have no picture to offer you of this wonderful little man.  There is a particularly great one of Jet in the garden with Jasper and Jade.  One happy family.  Maybe you'll get to see it one day, but for now you'll have to trust me that this was a regular occurrence.  A guinea-pig, cat and dog co-existing without strife.  A lesson for life.

That was a digression; but, an important scene setter for the arrival of Jasper Cat MacMeow.  A year into Jet and I being together, we moved into a large home with a fantastic garden and it begged for other animals.  I never actively go looking.  But once such a thought occurs, it generally creates! 

Within the month I heard of a litter of kittens needing homes.  They were part of a controlled breeding programme (which eventually produced the now established 'Australian Mist').  I find such things disturbing.  (Ah! there's my prompt for tomorrow's posting!)  Mother was full Silver Tabby, father was Burmese x Australian Silver Spot.  The 9 kittens for the most part were all throwbacks to standard tabby.  Three were silver.  One of them took a running jump at my shoulder and showed all intent of remaining there.

Which he did for 17+ years.  That's him at 18 months (and me at considerable reduction on current years).

A stunningly handsome fellow he had mainly the stripes of the tabby, a few spots from grandmother and a wee patch of buff under the chin in honour of the Burmese connection.  His build was of that Burmese sturdiness - as I suppose was the shoulder sitting tendency also.  His temperament was total Burmese - calm, meditative, mature, forbearing, affectionate - and a roar like a mountain lion.  He didn't use it often, but man! When he did, the entire suburb knew it.

Now, to say that I was tentative about mixing cat with rodent is putting it mildly.  I am, though, a great believer in giving nature its freedom to balance itself out.  As much as possible I am a hands-off carer, wishing rather to empower inherent positivities whether in animal vegetable or mineral.  At no time do I anthropomorphise.  What happens as a result, I have found, is that animals will 'raise' themselves.  Their basic instinct is to please the hand that feeds.  If that means taking on sociable habits for the human, then so be it.

Thus, unlike many of my associates, I was not at all surprised to find Jasper taking on the role of protector for Jet when they were out on the grass.  If the blue tongue lizard came too close, he was shown back to the compost heap with a quiet 'rumble'.  Birds too were given due warning - for some reason Jasper never was inclined to hunt them.

He did, however, prove to be an efficient and worthwhile 'ratter'.  Some of his quarry were nearly his own size with teeth a yard long (YAM exaggeration but you have to understand these were rats of the lean mean variety).

So, there we were happily ensconced.  When along came the event none of us had expected...


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