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.

So far I have been relaying the tales of early life with the J's at no 36.  When they were both 6 years old, though, we had to move home.  This was traumatic for all concerned!

It took a few months for 'mother' to get herself into shape with regards to finding the new place.  This was now post-Olympic Sydney and housing costs had inflated  beyond most pockets.  Thus it was we had to shift to a suburb even further out and a plot which was one third the size to which we had become accustomed.  The house on said plot was half the size of No 36.

However, 21a had a lot of other things going for it.  We were off the main drag and onto a quiet, tree-lined street with friendly neighbours.  There were three  parks within our walking range for lots of off-leash fun.  There was a direct bus route to the shopping mall.  All-in-all, it was a good thing.

It took some time to adjust though.  Animals which have had the run of a quarter acre are inclined to get a bit feisty and fed-up when confined to 300 sq mtr.  For the first time there was competition between Jade and Jasper - whereas Jasper had been the sole proprietor of no. 36 prior to Jade's arrival and therefore dominated the territory, at 21a they had to sort out who was in charge of which bit and Jade of course wanted the lot!  This meant Jasper had to take ownership of everything above one metre height.  So the fenceline, the trees, the tops of bins and clay pots, tables, chairs, balustrades and under the bushes became his domain.  Everything else was Jade's. 

Of course, once they had sorted this out, they began sharing again.  It took about 9 months though and a couple of times they fought.  This was a new thing for me and rather disturbing.  The time Jade had Jassie's neck in her jaws was not a pretty thing - only because she, naturally, came off worse.  Her nose was bleeding for ages after Jasper took several chunks out of it with his claws.

Once that all settled down, the next phase was the boundary barking.  This having been proved to not be a problem at no. 36, it very much did become so now.  Remember, her understanding of the range to be protected around me was up to 1000 metres.  Now we were down to 300.  The fence turned out to be the only thing that saved us from certain impoundment as I got rather a shock at how apparently aggressive she would become to other dogs passing by. 

Outside on our walks, she was the same as always and we could meet those very same dogs without any hassle. (Thank goodness the owners could see she was actually rather lovable!).  Try to stick your nose through my palings, though…… wooof   WOOOOOOOOOF.

Over time this too did moderate, but never stopped completely, no matter what I tried.  I could not every time go out and stand with her to stem the flow of noise, so had to do the rounds of neighbours to apologise.    At this point I got a surprise.  Apparently, when I was not there, this didn't happen!  It wasn't the property, but myself that she was  protecting.  It was jealousy and not actual aggression- which explained why we were fine out walking.

I was not happy that this trait had arisen, but apart from one or two dogs who did have to alter their walking route in order to maintain peace, overall it did not present a major problem.

It did demonstrate to me yet again, however, how animals relate to environment every bit as much as we 2-legs do and that they attach themselves to it, respond to it, adapt to it just like us.  There was no back yard at 21a.  There was no back anything!  Just the metre to the fenceline.  At the sides there was 2.5 metres on the entry side and 4 metres at the kitchen courtyard.  The bulk of the garden was to the front and was laid mainly to grass.

I was in the habit of leaving the back door open for the J's to come and go as they pleased at all times.  I never closed it unless we were all absent.  So when, that first summer at 21a, I arrived home from work following a major storm to find the tree on pavement side had split in half and dropped entirely into the front yard, missing the house by inches and demolishing the small picket fence, my immediate angst was not for the property, but for where the animals were!  Jasper's incident with storms had left him leery of any rainy weather and I was fairly confident he'd be under the house.  But would Jade have stayed or taken off down the road?  She absolutely HATED storms.  Thunder terror. 

She was not in the building.  She was not in the laundry shed.  No one had seen her.  I ducked down under the house to look for Jasper and heard him crying for me after calling out.  As he crept forward, who should be crawling behind him?
A garden nest...

Yup.  Come to think of it, that was about the 9 month mark I mentioned above.  Oh I just realised now in telling you all about it, that this would have been the rebonding moment!!  They were huddled together and I had to go in there (yuk) to cuddle and "moo" over them in order to entice them out.  It had been a doozy of a storm.  The other thing that may have kept them cowering there, despite its being over, was that the neighbour three doors up had brought down his buzz-saw and began clearing away the tree for me.

No asking.  Just done.  Other neighbours arrived and brought their green bins to put the small stuff and leaves into.  The logs I said Jim could have for his efforts. 

There is something about the human creature that when disaster arrives so does their very best of nature (or the worst, but not in this case!)  …. Hmmm it makes me all menosukhi just thinking about it.


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3 comments:

  1. First—the puppies that were rescued? Did they belong to one of the ashram dogs? Are they old enough to become ashram dogs themselves?
    I worry about puppies.
    I love the story about Jade and Jasper huddling under the house together for protection from the storm. Friends forever.
    I had two cats when my parents decided their Dreaded Ninja Puppy should live with me. She and the cats had known one another for years, and whenever we came home she would greet each cat with a chew of the neck. One cat would let her "chew" on his neck until he couldn't stand the wet, but the other allowed only two or three chews before she'd had enough, and would swat the dog with a paw.
    As for protecting the territory, our dog Lindy has no inclination to protect us. Anyone can come into the house. But she'll bark if anyone with a dog walks past her back yard. The garden guys can come into the yard, because she knows them, and I only call her into the house to get her out of their way.
    When Bonnie comes here to clean, Lindy won't get out of the way of the vacuum cleaner at all. I have to bribe her to move her out of the way.
    Animals are fun. And sometimes funny. I love them.
    K

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  2. Loved reading and reminiscing again with you. And the photo of jasper under the trees,. He was always first to greet me when I arrived, and tried his luck at getting on my shoulder. Even though jade was a tad jealous, that Aunty Mah was hers. Miss them as we still miss our Kraemer boy.

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  3. Hari Om
    Kay - puppies are back with mum - for better or worse. Keep reading the Canine Chronicles over at My Take Too for how the INDog life is.

    YAAAY Lindy - life without animals would be lesser indeed.

    Mahal - ....sigh....

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