Saturday, 23 April 2016

Dogs and cats

Springtime has brought back the discussion about roaming cats and dogs. Rescuing centres for helping cats are telling us that cats are being brought to them in alarming numbers. People still leave cats out in the wild to fend for themselves, even though we live in a society that should know better. We also read in the newspapers about healthy dogs being put down because they are too expensive to keep. Farmers in England have to shoot dogs that get in amongst their gracing herds, as the option is too horrid to contemplate. This is people who make their living looking after animals, so to be forced to shoot someone else's pet can't be easy.

Mr. Chip's friend got bitten by a bigger dog last year and felt poorly for months. The bigger dog was allowed to run loose in the forest. We have come across loose dogs on our walks too, but as Mr. Chip is so small, at least I can pick him up and meet any jumping dog that come too close with a bended knee. It's not a nice situation and I know you are not supposed to lift up your dog as you might end up in the middle of something, but what do you do? Well you give the other dog owner a piece of your mind and see that their dog is put back on its lead. Then you head home because your walk is completely ruined.

And this is the thing. Letting dogs loose in the forest is not only irresponsible, it's also such an act of selfishness. There are birds nesting on the ground, animals have tiny babies that do not need a visit from a runaround domestic animal and some people are just afraid of dogs. This "Me first!" society we live in makes keeping animals difficult, at times. Take our dear sheep for example. Mindy, Mandy, Molly and My spend their days wandering around their own place, minding their own business. All it takes is one loose dog and all hell would break loose. If our sheep were kept in their paddock, they would be better protected from outside danger. The problem is that they would be so bored that the whole village would know about it. So we take a huge risk by being a happy go lightly gang, but they only wander about when we are at home.

I find it fascinating, when people tell me how well behaved dogs they have, always obeying orders and never having to be on a lead. Mr. Chip takes one look at something fun and he's off. No amount of calling or begging would get him to stop if he's mid-chase. This is because he is an animal and acts on instinct. This is also why he stays on a lead when we are out walking. At home he can meander along in the yard all on his own as that is his right to do. We keep him on a lead if we have children visiting, though, as you never know how those types of meetings will work out. By keeping Mr. Chip on a lead we can help him with the meeting as much as it is out of politeness towards our little visitors. Even a fox terrier can seem big if you are two years old and our sheep must look like bison.... At least our bison know to keep a distance.

Credit: Dasha Dimitrova

I know that I'm entering really dangerous grounds here, talking about people's cats. Cat owners seem to have their own set of claws, when cornered about their pets. As I feel foolhardy, I will still ask "Why do some people insist on keeping cats that they have no time for?" Cats living outside are no pets, they are bird-killing machines that also like other baby animals if they can catch them.  Cats need to eat fat in order to survive; it's a known fact. Why some people still believe that a roaming cat is a happy one, is beyond me. I'm sure they would love a warm home like everyone else. I know of cats that are supervising a garden center successfully. I also know cats that are running a very popular B&B, with the help of a dog, I might add. This is the way cats should live, not left to their own devices, left completely without a safety net. (I mean that cats should have homes, not that they need their own business, although that would be fun). Our cat, Hobie came to us straight from the forest, feeling ill and thin as a rake. When he felt better he went in and out as he pleased, but not once did he run away back to the forest. Hobie loved his house, his minions and his own dog to tease. Not to mention his own food bowl.... And he loved to sit and watch TV, in the evenings. So I do believe cats to be as important family members as dogs, deserving the same loving homes. Cats are just a bit scary....

I just read in the news that dog kindergartens are popping up here and there. It's a funny old world we live in, to say the least.

They tell us that cats have better memories than dogs. Apparently a dog's memory lasts no more than 5 minutes as cat's can remember things for up to 16 hours. And a Goldfish can live up to 40 years. The last bit of information was thrown in just to confuse us all, a bit. 

Text by Nina

Next blog post on the 1st May. 

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