Monday, 30 April 2012

Special Saturday - Pets

Oh my goodness, over the years we have had a colourful collection of pets join our family. We consider any pet part of the family no matter how big or small and we've had some small ones and some big ones.

When Cameron was born we had a german shepherd called Bo. He was beautiful and very special - I'm sure he was a human trapped in a dog's body. I could fill pages with Bo's antics. When Cameron arrived Bo was very concerned about this new little addition to the household and would sit next to me when I fed Cameron and watch over him. He was never jealous, just concerned.

Sadly Bo aged very quickly over the next few years and passed away. I say sadly for two reasons - one I still miss  him and it's been about 14yrs since he passed but also sadly because I think he would have been the perfect dog for Cameron in later years and now. He had the intelligence that he would have fetched us if Cameron was having a seizure and he would have watched over him and kept him from danger or found us to help. He was big and strong enough that Cameron wouldn't have hurt him and he wouldn't have hurt Cameron.

When Cameron was 4yrs old we got a dog for him. We felt he would benefit from the kind of bonding a dog and boy could develop and we chose a chocolate brown labrador puppy. Unfortunately the shelter gave our puppy to somebody else so we chose a cream one instead and named her Holly because she'd been born around Christmas. She was beautiful and full of life and back then Cam had a bit more life because he hadn't started his big seizures yet.

The two of them would play in the paddling pool and Holly would jump in the bath with Cameron - she loved water. They would play together in the castle and Holly would make Cameron laugh. But Holly was a puppy and she didn't understand that she couldn't bite Cameron and Cameron didn't understand that he could say no or push Holly away, plus he lacked the strength and balance. The day I saw Holly hanging off Cameron's hand by her teeth I knew we'd done the wrong thing. Cameron didn't feel the pain but he was bleeding and unable to stop her. She would bound through in her enthusiastic way and knock him flying and he was unable to protect himself. It wasn't her fault - we had done the wrong thing getting a puppy. We hadn't realized.

I was a pathetic mess the day we took Holly back to the dog shelter, I sat on the curb and bawled my eyes out because I had bonded so strongly with this beautiful dog and we are not dog abandoning  people - in fact we are the opposite and have rescued all our pets from various situations and shelters.

The shelter were intitally upset with us but when the full story was understood they realized they had also been at fault for recommending a puppy to us and they felt bad for giving our initial puppy choice away. They could see Holly was a lovely dog and in excellent health and were confident she would find a new home very quickly.

They only had two dogs that they felt would suit our situation so we went out and met Pippa and her Mum. It didn't take long to realize Mum was a little psycho and we refused to take her but Pippa was lovely and Cameron thought she was wonderful so we took her home with us and she stayed with us till she passed away last year. In the early years Pippa would  make Cameron laugh and she would bound about him but not knock him over too often. She had the maturity to understand to calm down - sometimes. But as we lost Cameron in a fog of seizures Pippa bonded to me the strongest and she really wasn't Cameron's dog because he couldn't understand how to interact with her and for many years didn't even notice she existed.

A couple of years ago we gave Cameron a cat. Pav is the most understanding and co-operative cat we have ever had. She isn't interested in sleeping on his bed - but to be honest it is very pongy. She sits and waits for him to come to her and then she shows just how patient and kind she is. Cameron manhandles his cat like a toddler would but he has the strength of a man. He holds her tail as she tries to move away, hits her instead of patting and holds her aloft, way too close to ceiling fans, like an award being held aloft for all to see. And she hardly ever complains - she does look rather concerned when she spots the fans but she just hangs there in his hands like a limp rag waiting to be put down. Sometimes when she thinks her safety is in jeopardy you will see her scrambling to get down to safety and sometimes she needs us to save her.

She tries to tell him that she isn't happy but he just doesn't understand what a twitching tail means instead he grins widely and picks her up again. For all the roughness Pav will walk up and sit on Cameron's lap, he will put her down and she will curl up in his lap or on his feet. She seems to understand that he doesn't mean to hurt her and he does it all out of love.

Since starting at The Institute for Functional Neurology Cameron has become much more gentle with Pav and more patient which has resulted in her rewarding him with longer cuddles. It's a strange relationship but it works and has given Cameron the furry love that he so desires.

We've had lots of other pets over the years - rabbit, birds, fish, crazy crabs and other cats and dogs -  but for most of those years Cameron didn't notice the pets, he was so lost in his own world. It was fascinating to watch him slowly realize the pets existed almost as if they had just walked into the house for the first time.

I still hang on to the dream of finding Cameron a doggy companion, I think he would love to have a special furry friend that would dote on him and he could walk and play with (another Bo) Cameron enjoyed walking Pippa when he could manage it. I honestly think he is ready now but it's a scary thought.

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