Monday, 31 December 2012

Hungarian Circus Pony Spirit: break-dancing Buckaroo

Spirit and Blacky have had a good few weeks, especially without the dreaded flies as the weather has cooled considerably now. Spirit has been racing up the field flipping his back legs above his back buckaroo style with Blacky in hot pursuit enjoying the new game as Jessica watches on in shock, delight and trepidation of how he will feel in the evening! Only once did he come home stiff on his legs but he was fine by morning. The little ginger monster has definitely found a new zest for life. One morning he led Jessica into the field where he used to be lead around with a bridle on; perhaps he was asking to be worked again.

Though the two boys seem to be in good form, sadly Jessica has damaged her arm and is unable to ride Blacky, two weeks of no riding upset both Jessica and Blacky; he was bored, she needed something to occupy his mind so an assault course was set up on the yard and Jessica weaved Blacky back and forth giving instruction to stand and walk through different points. This seemed to do the trick and Blacky was as proud as punch to be so clever.

When Spirit first arrived at the yard all those years ago he had some horrid habits including bucking, kicking biting bolting and what we like to call protesting: His protest came in the form of a ‘sit in’ or in his case ‘a lie in’. There were several occasions when the farm hand would come knocking at Jessica’s door to sheepishly ask if she could remove Spirit from blocking his tractor! He had escaped from his confines to lie in front of the tractor refusing to move. It took all of Jessica’s energy to persuade him to his feet and out of the way. Not content with the tractor one day there was a commotion going on in the yard with hooting and revving from a huge lorry trying to deliver materials for a build going on, on investigation it was Spirit standing face to face with the lorry, absolutely refusing to budge. The driver was furious, shouting and threatening to edge forward but Spirit did not move an inch. Jessica, apologising profusely had to run for his head collar to drag him away. Some how we feel this protest act must have been in his circus routine.

Another ghastly trick he used to do has recently reared its head…and legs!  It seems the better Spirit feels the more he reverts to his horrid old tricks; If Spirit has been in for a day or so due to the weather on his release he can play up terribly. He walks nicely with Jessica to the start of his field then stops dead at the biggest mud bath he can find, ropes, treats, muscle, polo mints…nothing  will move him until he has been let lose to do his thing. Jessica will finally give in to his demands and with the click of his lead rope removed she swiftly retreats to a safe distance as he throws himself to the floor rolling around in the mud bath, rug and all. On his side he will break-dance in circles pulling himself around with his neck until every inch of his body and rug are covered in the mud… not content with that he will jump to his feet and with his head between his knees he flies backwards towards Jessica bucking as he goes forcing Jessica to climb the fence to safety. Only then will he calm down enough for Jessica to approach him with the lead rope in order to continue to his field.

I asked Jessica if she really wants Spirit to recover any more as his naughty ways return, ‘Yes’, she said ‘It’s lovely to see him fit again but you do have to be on your toes all the time, I’m sure he is wired up wrong!’

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Sunday, 30 December 2012

Charlie cat: the bumper car

The weather was warm and kind to Puss Puss, the only worry I had was if he could find water so I supplied a deep bowl of it each day along with his food. Gradually over the next couple of weeks I managed to sit closer to him as he woofed down his food, even managing to stroke his ears on occasions. Julie’s efforts to find a place in a good animal sanctuary was proving harder than we imagined: Puss Puss was number 400 on an emergency list at one home! I told Julie not to worry as I would continue to care for him whilst we wait. 
Puss Puss started to talk to me as I came around the corner with his food, I’m not sure if he was telling me off for being late or asking what was for dessert but it was a happy chatter. There was a bounce in his step and his tail was like the pole on a bumper car at the fairground, bolt upright pointing at the clear blue sky.

I came home from work one day to see Julie with her daughter and son-in-law standing at the corner of Puss Puss’ house looking perplexed. I noticed a cat basket on the floor as I approached them and Puss Puss enjoying a bowl of food beside it. They had found him a place in a sanctuary but were having trouble catching him. My emotions were mixed; happy for him to be on the first step to a new home but sad to see him go as we had started to trust each other. Either he was smarter than they thought or he was not fond of the Tuna Fish in the basket as he avoided it like the plague. I offered to help; they stood at a distance as I approach dear Puss Puss, I bent down and to my surprise he let me pick him up, I could hear the shocked voice of Julie’s daughter amazed that I had done so. His regular diet had given him a density I did not expect, his stomach  was solid and tight as if in spasm and though awkward in my arms, not knowing how to be held, he did not struggle. I attempted to pop him in the basket; he was a big strong boy and was having none of it, flipping round in an instant, running off down the alley way out of sight. They left the basket with me and I agreed to call them as soon as I could catch him.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Charlie Cat: slowly slowly catchy monkey

I answered the front door to an unfamiliar woman in her late forties with a sad look about her, ‘Hello’ she said ‘my name is Julie, I am Paul’s sister opposite’. I invited her in but she was en-route somewhere so politely refused.  Julie started to tell me in brief, the tale of the events leading up to the day. It seems not only had they lost their mother and father over the last few years but their younger brother had been killed in a motoring accident earlier that year too. Paul’s marriage had broken down some years ago and he was caught up in drugs. It must have all got too much for Paul as he had calculated his own demise three days ago by taking an over dose.
He had planned it meticulously, there was no remorse in his note just instruction and money for his funeral. He had left fresh food and water for the cat and the back door ajar for him to come and go and for Paul’s mate to find him dead.
   The reason for Julie’s visit started to become clear: ‘The cat has been missing for three days and we are worried about him, I understand you are good with animals, have you seen him around?’ Julie asked. I had not but said I would look out for him and took her phone number to let her know. ‘What is his name?’ I asked …..’Puss Puss’ she replied! So there I am for the next couple of days wandering around the area with cat food in hand calling Puss Puss for every cat in the neighbour hood to come except the one I wanted!

   One quiet afternoon as I was doing my rounds of the area calling for the ginger and white tom I found him sleeping in his front garden. Placing a bowl of food near, I retreated to a distance where he did not feel threatened, watched him finish it off in seconds and then dash down an alley way. Puss Puss had lost a lot of weight and was obviously stressed and frightened but the only way to approach him was ‘slowly, slowly catchy monkey’ so for the next few days I visited the same spot morning and evening with food and fresh water, sometimes he was there waiting and sometimes he was nowhere to be seen. Julie brought a supply of his favourite food and set about ringing around animal shelters to re-home him. She had two dogs at home so living with her was out of the question and though it would be more traumatic for him to leave his domain, he was a well known bully and I could not see him integrating with our own dear Harry cat so a new home was the way forward once we could catch him.

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Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Spirit the Hungarian Circus Pony: Jack-in-the-box!

Spirit and Blacky have been coping surprisingly well with the loss of Banker. On several occasions, instead of Spirit walking straight home from the field with Jessica he dragged her over towards the trees and just stood and stared. ‘I know Banker is there’, Jessica remarked, ‘I ask him to walk us home as he always used to, and that is when Spirit is happy to go with me.’ Spirit has been on such good form that he and Blacky have been staying out till dusk…. Even if Jessica wanted them in.
Jessica placed Banker’s ashes at the top end of the field late one evening whilst everyone slept, yet the following morning as Spirit was led to the field, he did his usual roll around in the dust before jumping and running directly to that spot. He came to a complete standstill directly on top of it then with the jump of a Jack-in-the-box exploding from its house he sprang from it looking shocked and surprised, just as if Banker had told him to get off!
As you can imagine, Jessica has not wanted to disturb Banker’s stable since he has been gone, people have been lovely placing flowers there and little notes of sadness for them. The other evening Jessica and her cat walked to the yard as they always did, to put the boys to bed. Spirit was roaming about in his usual manner when Jessica felt strong enough for the first time to sit in Banker’s stable for a while (with cat for protection against the mice). All felt calm and peaceful in there, she noticed Spirit nosing in too, not sure if he should or even could visit the old boy’s house so Jessica spoke softly to him letting him know it was okay if he wanted to enter. He tentatively tip-toed through the door and over to the far corner when all of a sudden he sprang into the air like a Jack-in-the-box exploding from its house. In an instant he was outside looking in with shock and surprise written over his face!
Instead of Banker looking towards his mum for help as he used to do when Spirit would constantly sneak into his quarters he had told Spirit in no uncertain terms to ‘Get out!’ Jessica could almost hear Banker laughing at the little stunned boy as he kept him on his toes - in the nicest possible way of course.

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