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Two years after moving into the house, the big dogs taking naturally to living in the garden, my poor Poochy stopped eating. I took him to the vet after trying to feed him every way possible, including giving him liquified food with a syringe, but he would not accept that.
The vet told me that he had a disease of the bone of his jaw and would not be able to eat or drink and would starve to death. It was a great shock. He recommended euthanasia. The decision was very hard, it broke my heart and I felt extremely guilty. I was sentencing him to death. But I stayed with him till he was given the shot and passed away, then broke down. I cried all the way home. It was a horrible time for me. Only someone who had to take such a decision knows about those conflicting feelings. It took me a few months to recover. But when June came around, my niece came with a surprise birthday gift. Snowy. My white, blue eyed Persian cat.
I only encountered such placidity in a cat once, in Spooky who I think might be still sleeping in a closet somewhere. Snowy was so placid, he could be mistaken for a statue. He was the only indoor pet we had for nearly a year.
The following Easter I was giving a family lunch in the garden, when in walks a little kitten off the street and kept following me all day. At the end of the day I thought she would join her family on the pavement outside the house, but no, she preferred living indoors. So that was how Bunny came to live with us.
A few weeks later a neighbor called to ask if I got another dog and when told I hadn’t, she asked if I would like to have one! The story was that a expat couple were leaving Egypt and did not want to take their Griffon dog with them, so they gave her to the owner of our compound. Him not knowing what to do with her, had her tied with a string to a pole in the nusery. My neighbor’s daughter saw that, and recognizing her for a thoroughbred, told her mother, who called the owner and took her off his hands. But my neighbor’s health was not up to keeping such a dog, so she asked me if I was interested. I said I would go and see the dog, she might not want to leave my friend, or even might not like me. I got there and the dog was very friendly, I stayed for half an hour, petting the dog, then on getting up to leave, the dog attached herself to me. Going out to the car, she came along. The moment I opened the car door she jumped in, like she knew exactly what she was doing and where she wanted to go. This was how we got our Cookie. We have had her now for eight years and she is the apple of my Mom’s eye.
A few months later my vet calls me up and say that someone had given him a Yorkshire Terrier which he could not bond with and would like me to take him as he knew how fond I was of dogs and how good the care I gave them. Next day I went and brought in Frisky.
We continued this way for five years. Bunny grew into a huge cat with the most beautiful green eyes. She ruled the household pets with an iron paw. Even the dogs were scared of her. But at the age of five she developed a urinary tract infection that kept recurring, with numerous visits and overnight stays at the vet, but finally succumbed and passed away.
The pet situation stayed even for three more years, then things changed drastically one summer.
Continued … 9

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