After last week’s technological shutdown, I’m glad to say, things are back to normal, so now I can introduce you to some furry friends I’ve met in my recent travels.
The animal hospital’s oral history project has taken Ms and I from one end of the state and across the border to another, around the bay and everywhere between.
Many cups of tea and 17 hours worth of interview footage later, my ears are ringing with a wealth of tantalising gossip.
But, it’s the patient bystanders who are the real heroes of this story.
On one side of the bay, in the cosy seaside town of Portsea, we met Coco and Utah. Coco, intent on giving away some home truths, and Utah, bored silly and a little sulky after being locked away in a room for more than an hour.
The challenge of recording interviews with animal lovers is, of course, convincing their pets to be quiet and still while the camera rolls.
I felt more than a little sorry for this galah, who was intent on dancing to what was clearly the memory of a tinkling bell.
On the other side of the bay, overlooking the stunningly wild Airey’s Inlet, we met Sally – a beautiful ten year old, who did her best to feign ignorance of her misdemeanours.
She had the sadness, and the knowingness, of a dog surrendered by an overstretched single mum family to the home of a doting older couple. And that is the most touching part of our journey.
Almost all the animals we’ve met are rescue cats and dogs.
In the middle of surburban Melbourne, we met a couple who spent thirty years rescuing strays cats. Their home and yard is a cat paradise – as Bob’s leisurely pose seemed to suggest.
There’s a separate dwelling for newly acquired trauma victims, and the yard is fully enclosed to prevent escape.
I was impressed with the ingenuity – empty cans hanging on curtain rods around the fence, designed to spook the cat that dares to jump. Simple, but very effective.
By far, my favourite visit was the small town of Barooga – just over the Victorian border in New South Wales.
When we arrived, we were welcomed by the exuberant Misty and Paddy. The minute the car door opened, Paddy was in my lap, landing a giant wet kiss on my nose.
Later, I learned he had been dumped out the front of the property, and spent three days running in a circle, refusing to leave the spot in the hope his owner would return.
He had the demeanour of a well loved dog, who milked his hard luck story in a constant quest for petting.
But the best part was watching him play with his new friend.
There’s nothing quite like the love or the gratitude of a rescued animal. And as my new friend, Margaret, so eloquently put it…
“The thing about dogs is -
they wag their tails, not their tongues.”
What makes your tail wag?
My apologies to anyone who might have been feeling a little neglected of late. My haphazard schedule has been getting the better of me. And in other news…
I’ve also been busy making preparations for a little trip to Bali. As of today, I will be away for two weeks, making the most of an extended summer, ignoring the fact that I’m turning 36 and, hopefully, hugging an elephant or two for comfort.
Look forward to catching up with you all when I get back… Until then, love, peace and tail wags