'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 - 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.

As previously mentioned, Jasper was quite the ratter.  No. 36 backed onto the North Shore Line of the Sydney rail network and needless to say there was a healthy population of the common black rat.  The sort that comes in on ships and carries not a lot of good with it.

Thankfully, he mostly kept these darker dealings to himself.  Occasionally though, as per many a cat's inclinations to prove their worth in fish and liver, he liked to bring home a token.  Usually intestinal.  Sorry to gross you out, but facts is facts.  This was the one and only thing that ever got me mad at him.  "If you're going to bring home the bacon, at least keep it on the bone!"  There was one deeply horrifying time when Ell came to stay.  She was sufficiently frequent a visitor and attentive to him, that Jasper clearly felt the need to impress her with his prowess also.

Not good.  Should have warned Ell to keep the bedroom window at no more than an inch open.

The morning was broken.  With quite the yelp let me tell you.  In this instance, if memory serves (?!), the offering was one stomach with pancreas attached.  It is a testament to the quality of my friends that Ell, having overcome the initial shock, thanked Jassie for his offering, but would he please refrain from further gifts.  She's an animal person and, like almost all who met him, totally under Jasper's spell.

What was always amazing though, is that Jasper knew the black rats from the smaller, prettier and by far cuter, native species.  Further, given that Jet was black and a rodent, he was to be guarded.  That too from those very same black rats.

Jade had no idea.  Rats?  Okay chasing them is fun, but what then?  Once they were out through the fence, she lost interest completely. 

Not Jasper though.  He'd be up and over and after it like ball from cannon.  Rarely did he miss his target.

Neither was he interested in birds.  This was a relief.  It has to be said that the majority of Aussie birds are large and well-armed with beaks and bills designed to do damage.  So I guess there was no great incentive.  Jasper liked to hunt, but he was not going to put himself in danger over it.

When the J-dog was bout 16 months, early November and the onset of pre-summer storms, an event took place that was both entertaining, yet disturbing.

Jasper did not come home for his tea.  Very occasionally this happened and he was always back at brekky time, so at that point there was no worry.  In the dark mid-evening though, there was an enormous ruckus of rowfing.  Jade only barked liked that when there was an intruder (that tail tale is for another day), so I was cautious in my approach.  The back door was open as always and the balmy night was redolent with the first blossoms of jasmine.  None of that was Jade's concern though.

Sitting outside Jet's cage, back on its haunches, front paws punching the air like a prize-fighter and hissing and spitting back at Jade was the most enormous, yellow-fanged black rat.  Not even in my worse nightmares could I have imagined anything like it.  Squatting as such it stood a full 12 inches.  Jet had by this time joined in the chorus, squeaking his little heart out.  He had reason to be shouting, for recently the vet had called and asked me to give a home to another guinea pig.  Flint was your standard, single-brain-celled agouti with a mohawk hairstyle and coming in at half Jet's size. Dear old Jet fussed and nudged him and kept him sorted.  Now he was apparently in defence mode too - that was a first for me to see!

What became clear very quickly (once I'd got over capturing the scene on my mental camera) was that neither Jet nor Jade was going to do anything other than make noise.   Also, the rat had no intention of running.  I like to think he was after the g/p's pellets - but the monster could well have been thinking about fresh meat from Flint.

I was galvanized by that thought and dashed into the laundry, grabbing the garden rake and out I went in full Amazonian Warrior mode. 

It all happened so quickly.  The rat had no time to think, Jade fell back in shock, Jet's eyes were nearly bulged out their sockets and madam brought that rake down in a use it had never envisaged on it's 'to do' list when leaving the factory.

You'll be glad to know there are no photographs on film or digital of this particular occasion.

I am a peace-loving, live and let live kinda gal.  It was a revelation to find that I too could defend.  However, now it struck me - where was the official court executioner?  That the invader had got so close was itself an unusual occurrence.  That there had been so much signalling from Jade and he had not appeared was a worrisome thing indeed.

 ...same time, same place, next week folks!

Post Scriptum: don't forget to visit Bozo and check out the story on MT-TOO.
Also RIP Sam Schnauzer


  1. WHAT? You say Jasper was missing and then you leave your readers in suspense?
    Well, it's a good thing I'm following your blog, but still...
    Anyway, I'm impressed that your guinea pigs were hissing and spitting at the rat. Wow!
    And as for you suddenly turning into Defender With Garden Rake, that's natural. I always call it my Mother Bear Instinct.
    Even though I didn't have children of my own, I have a very strong protective instinct that runs contrary to my political beliefs. I'm a ban-the-guns kind of person and have never hunted with anything fiercer than a fishing rod, but show me a child in danger and I'm a warrior.
    Not only would I rush in to defend a child, I'm afraid of heights but I'd jump off a bridge to save one from drowning.
    I would do the same for my dog or my cat, too, even though common sense dictates otherwise. That's the downside of the Mother Bear Instinct, it replaces brain cells with adrenalin.

  2. Hari OM
    Sorry to leave you hanging Kay! It was a debate - but keeping the posts to a workable length is the balance I'm sure you're familiar with. That and the need to keep a little suspense &-@

    Yes I like your term Mother Bear. It surely was an adrenalin rush and total lack of actual thinking... which is a bit scary if you extrapolate the deeper inference. But I'll leave that for another time!
    YAM xx


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