Gail loved animals, which is why she had so many pets. She had a cat and a dog, a canary and a cockatoo, a couple of ducks, a rabbit and a guinea pig and three mice. They would all run around together, except for the canary of course. The canary couldn’t run around but Gail often let it fly freely around the house provided the windows and doors were shut. And could it sing? My word! What a diva on a sunny day!
Then one day she couldn’t hear it singing. Had it perhaps escaped? Gail checked the windows and doors. Everything was closed, but it must have found an escape route somewhere. Gail opened the house up and left the canary’s cage door wide. Hopefully it would fly back.
It was quite a while after – Gail wasn’t exactly the best of housekeepers – when she was vacuuming under the dining room table that she noticed a few yellow tail feathers and a bird’s clawed foot.
By the end of the year the dog had got the ducks, and the cat had got the cockatoo, the rabbit, the guinea pig, and the three mice.
Gail still loved animals, and continued to pamper her cat and her dog. She replaced her deceased pets with a budgerigar and a cockatiel, a couple of chickens, a hamster and a rat and three gerbils.
These days Gail has a cat and a dog, and has taken up origami as an interest.
Florrie and Gordon Brawley had been married for just under eleven years. They both worked for a pet food company. Gordon was in charge of the meat grinder and Florrie was in charge of the packaging.
Their marriage was disintegrating. Gordon suspected that his wife had been having an affair with the pet food company groundsman. Why else was she constantly admiring his delphiniums? That was when she accidently slipped into the meat grinder. Gordon was unaware of what had happened until there was nothing of her that hadn’t been minced. In fact, to be honest, he wasn’t sure if she’d fallen in the meat grinder at all. She was there one minute and gone the next.
“If she had fallen in,” said Gordon, “there would be bits of cloth here and there in the dog rolls and cat sachets. There is not a skerrick of fabric to be seen.”
He continued to feed the animal carcasses through the grinder. “She’ll turn up somewhere before the day is through.”
At the end of the day’s work Florrie still hadn’t made an appearance.
“Perhaps she went home on a bus,” suggested Gordon. He set off for home alone. On the way he dropped Florrie’s clothes off at the St Vincent de Paul’s Used Clothing Store.
Florrie was the one who fed their three dogs each evening. Gordon would have to do it himself. And to think! Florrie’s last words that morning to Gordon were, “I’ll always make sure the dogs get fed if it’s the last thing I do.” Thank goodness he had remembered to bring home some pet food.
The annual summer plague of flies arrived at the same time as the next door neighbours went on vacation. Little Bonnie Candice from next door asked Martin if he would look after her pet goldfish, Harold. Of course he would!
Almost everyone knows that insect repellent, if sprayed near a goldfish bowl, will kill the fish. Martin didn’t know. Harold the goldfish floated upside down to the top of the glass bowl.
Martin didn’t know what to do. All goldfish look the same. Perhaps he should replace it and not tell little Bonnie Candice. She wouldn’t know the difference. Perhaps he should tell her, come out clean, and she would have to begin to face the realities of life. Decisions! Martin decided to replace the goldfish and tell no one. The mere thought of the different goldfish – that and the flies – completely ruined his summer break. He couldn’t sleep. He was totally stressed. He couldn’t relax. It was the worst summer of his life.
When little Bonnie Candice and her family returned from their vacation, the goldfish was returned with a great deal of trepidation. Little Bonnie Candice did not seem to notice the difference.
A week later Martin saw little Bonnie Candice and asked how the goldfish was doing. “Oh,” she said, “I got sick of it and flushed it down the toilet.”
God decided to call a meeting in Heaven for a semi-important announcement. God wanted to look averagely authoritative, so suggested having a pair of dogs to guard the steps on either side leading up to the throne. It would be like the stone Babylonian lions guarding the temple gates, although not so frightfully imposing.
St Michael the Archangel suggested using Afghan Hounds. They’re so majestic, what with their fine features and long hair.
Archangel Raphael suggested Bernese Mountain Dogs. They’re so big and imposing. They would lend authority and friendliness.
Archangel Gabriel had another idea. Why not a couple of Airedale Terriers? They have a wonderful playful streak that would delight everyone.
But God had other plans. The meeting was held. It turned out to be not that important. The assembly dispersed. But everyone was over the moon with excitement. Each one said the same thing: Did you notice that God chose MY dog to guard the steps to the throne?
Natalie had a precious procession. She kept it in a cupboard and rarely looked at it. In fact she saw it only when she went to that cupboard to get her silver teapot if a special visitor called for a cup of tea.
Her precious thing was a little exercise wheel for a pet mouse. The mouse had long gone, but she kept the wheel. It was plastic, and green. She’d had it since she was a little girl, when her pet mouse, Frederick, used to run around and around the wheel. He loved it!
And then a real live wild mouse came into the pantry and Frederick escape and got caught in the mouse trap Natalie’s father had set.
WHOOMPH! Natalie could still hear the sound. WHOOMPH! She knew the trap was there, but she didn’t know that Frederick had escaped his cage. Nothing would replace Frederick. The WHOOMPH! in her head stopped her from ever getting another pet.
Natalie was now ninety-four. She took out the little exercise wheel and looked at it. How different things might have been if there had been no WHOOMPH! She had never married. She had never done much with her life. The silver teapot in the cupboard hadn’t been used for years. In fact, she had become the little mouse running in circles of shyness.
(Over the years we’ve had five dogs. I know all pets are special, and the pets of others can become a little tedious. But since this month’s poetic form (for myself) is doggerel, I thought a tribute was in order!)
I found my masters on my own –
A battered dog, I found a home.
I simply ran to where they lived.
For me to stay I’d give give give.
They got me as a tiny puppy
to keep old Doggie alert and huppy.
Doggie taught me all I know
like how to find my way in snow;
how to chase squirrels; climb a tree!
even taught me where to pee.
But most of all how to eat all the wild raspberries
(that grew in the woods)
and leave not a damn thing for anyone else.
I was in a pound.
They were going to put me down.
I went to my new home and put on weight.
I was the only dog about that became bilingual,
understanding French and English.
And then a deer hunter came uninvited to my place
and shot me dead.
C’est la vie.
I was allergic to everything – even food,
which is why I had such expensive tastes.
For eleven years I looked after everyone,
all day, every day,
especially the cow, the cat, and the goat.
Every now and then, all on my own,
I would bring home a wild turkey for all to have a feast.
One day we all went for a walk
(the cow didn’t come but everyone else did).
I came home, had a drink of water,
I know men talk about my ears
And say they sprout a lot of hairs.
I really shouldn’t proudly boast:
For dogs, that’s cute; for men, that’s gross.
As Janine backed the car out of the garage to take the two children to school she knew she’d run over the children’s pet cat. There was a bump.
“What was that?” asked Pedro.
“The car needs tuning. I have to take it in to get fixed later today,” said Janine.
She dropped the children at school, came home, gathered the dead cat, and put it in a box.
She would tell the children the cat had died. They could bury it in the garden and plant flowers on its grave. Then there would be the lengthy business of finding another kitten – Which one? Which colour? Which sex? Which size?
Thanks goodness Janine was experienced in the matter. It was their fourth cat in two years.
(Although this section of my blog is called “A Poem a Month” it should really be called “A Poetic Form a Month”. The poetic form for the rest of this month of May, should any more poems appear, will simply be Ditties or Doggerels accompanied by a photograph. You’re welcome to make up your own tunes! Click on the top photo for a larger view.)
Sometimes I think it quite unfair
for the dog to sit upon my chair.
He seems to be at quite a loss
to understand that I’m the boss.