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Remembering the animals

It's a bright, sunny day at the farmette. Still winter. But I can take the cold as long as the yellow orb is not hidden by clouds.

This weekend, the Guelph Humane Society (GHS) staff is moving into brand new digs on the Hanlon. Yippee! I remember volunteering at the old facility - situated hard by the city sewage treatment plant. Summers were, ahem, quite fragrant.

The building had been around since the 1970s, and was far too small for far too long to serve the needs of the burgeoning city. Back in the day, we got along - somehow - but it's nice that they will have crisp, modern rooms purpose built for humans and animals.

We adopted most of our cats from the shelter there, and the move made me think of all the animals in our lives. So here's just a sampling:

Jane will correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is Dudley and Bess waaayyy back in the day. Our friends Jane and Dana have had a series of Cavalier King Charles spaniels (not from GHS) over the years - all of whom have been loved up fantastically and were lucky to have such caring dog parents.

To a canine, they have been sweet, attentive (and obviously patient) pets whose tails were perpetual motion machines and their company a true blessing.

All of our animals have had distinctly different personalities. Nick Charles (from GHS) had a fascination with water, and would jump up on the side of the bathroom sink every time the tap was on. He'd even try to 'catch' it with his paw.

Nick was also the one to coming running when I got ready for bed, curl up beside me and sleep soundly (purring - no snoring).

Nick and Nora Charles were an inseparable pair of kittens we adopted just as Kate (who Rob rescued from the streets of Toronto) was getting older. They were from separate litters, but grew up together, and Nick's perfect tuxedo prompted his name from the 1930s Thin Man series of movies with William Powell and Myrna Loy.

The thing with pets is that we outlive them, and we couldn't imagine not having fur balls running around in the house. After 16 years on her own, Kate was not impressed with the additions, but eventually got 'used' to them.

These two are now gone, as well - and we miss them, even though we have a whole new crop (of five!) to look after.

Maya's another one we miss - she passed about a year and a half ago.

My nieces and sister had to do some serious convincing to get Brian to agree that a dog was necessary, but once she got her little blond body and deep brown eyes into the family, there was no going back.

See how much Rachel is in love? This was shortly after her introduction.

Not all our animals have been sweetness and light. Our Lilly (Lillian Hellman) was the smallest statured but had the biggest attitude. She would hiss and growl - though never lash out - whenever another feline came into view.

Actually, when we adopted Beatrix Potter, Lilly did take against her, and we had to keep the two girls in separate rooms at the house in Guelph. That's okay.

Like humans, felines have their own quirks, and since we love them, we just had to work around them. Once we moved to the farmette, Lilly decided that a detente was in order, and the two maintained a wary, though civil, distance. Lilly, too, has since passed on.

Well, like I said, it's a beautiful day (now I'm humming the U2 song), and I need to get out in it. Hoping all the friends and family will hug - or at least pet - their respective animals today. Until next week.


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