Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)
TITLE: PAWPRINTS ON MY HEART
By Norma-Anne Hough
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“Yes I have and Lynda has a kitten.”
“That’s great” replied Mandy excitedly.
Her beloved Sammy had died a few months before and the time was ready for her to get another cat. I have always loved animals, but dogs were my thing. We always had cats around but I found them aloof and preferred the inaction I had with my dogs.
Saturday finally arrived and off we went to get the kitten. Mandy fell in love with her instantly. The drive home was a nightmare as she protested the whole way. We named her Chloe. When we arrived home, I was a bit wary of the dog’s reaction. We needed to be careful.
Captain, the German shepherd, was the alpha dog in the house. He ruled supreme. Sheba, the collie, was his obedient slave. I knew she would be fine. He ran up to greet us, stopping short when he saw Chloe in Mandy’s arms. She took one look, hissed and put out her claws and scratched him in the face.
Chloe ruled the house from day one. She loved Mandy with a passion but when Mandy went off to work she would seek me out.
Captain and Sheba were always at my side so the three of them became firm friends.
She loved being with Captain, who became like putty in her paws. It was amazing to watch this huge dog with this tiny kitten. She imitated the way he slept, and would lie alongside him stretched out in full. He could lick her, swat her with his paw and she would come back for more.
One morning I heard a terrible commotion outside. Captain and Sheba were barking like crazy. I ran downstairs and into our garden. There was Chloe stuck at the top of a tree. There was a strong westerly wind blowing. The tree was swaying with her clinging on for dear life, meowing pitifully.
I grabbed the swimming pool net to try to catch her. Captain and Sheba stood by barking encouragement.
‘Come on jump. You can do it’ they barked in unison.
‘Help me’ she screeched back at them.
‘Jump, mother will get you’ they barked back.
“Chloe” I pleaded jump.
Finally she did and all was well.
When we moved homes Chloe loved her new surroundings. The bush and riverfront were her domain. She would go and hunt in the bushes, then come in through our window leaving muddy paw prints all over my cream duvet! Same thing at night, I considered getting a black duvet. When the dogs and I went for a walk she would sneak along, hiding in the bushes. All I could see was the tip of her tail sticking out.
Their best time of the day was late afternoon when I played ball with the three of them. Chloe would hear us with the ball and race to join in. To watch them play was awesome. She always got the better of the dogs. What cat doesn’t?
Slowly this little lady crept into my heart. Her zest for life and her love for the dogs had to be seen to be believed. I often think she thought of herself as a dog. She was totally fearless, even surviving an electric shock from a neighbour’s fence.
Sadly when she was two and a half she died. We were aware that she had the leukemia virus but thought she had longer than she did. Our vet tried everything possible to save her, yet this was one fight she couldn’t win. Mandy was devastated, yet I was unprepared for how it would affect the dogs and me. They refused to play ball for a week looking under all the bushes in our garden for her. On walks they looked in the bushes expecting her to run out. Watching their searching saddened me more.
Chloe, you were special. I loved you deeply, not only did you leave paw prints on my duvet, but also all over my heart.
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