“Let me out! Please let me out! I don’t like it in here!”
Not too long ago, I was in a happy place. Three square meals a day, plenty of attention, and they even threw in a few toys to alleviate the boredom of being alone for lengthy periods. However, I was quickly discarded when my youthful cuteness made way to young adulthood – after I started to display an aversion to the newest four-legged member of the family. Prior to that time, I would be left abandoned to my own devices for most of each day, so I used to entertain myself with games of fantasy, chasing imaginary mice and birds to while away the time until my adopted mother came home from wherever she had been hunting and gathering food.
My favourite game – as I waited for company - was kick and chase the ball. When I was younger, my adopted family would laugh and giggle at my juvenile antics, slipping and sliding on their shiny wooden floor – bumping into the furniture as the ball bounced beyond my control. I liked making them laugh. It brought a sense of purpose to my existence. Then, the mood changed one day when I accidentally knocked over that big black thing, they used to endlessly stare at each evening. I used to like watching the big bright moving images on it, too. But after my accident, it stopped glowing. It was my first offence, but my angry stepdad threw me into a box and abandoned me outside what I can only describe as a prison for homeless offenders. Hungry and exhausted from crying, someone finally came along to incarcerate me in a place where there were other orphans like me dreaming of a furever home.
I don’t think my angry stepdad ever cared for me. Don’t get me wrong. He would feed me and allow me out into the garden, and throw the ball for me to chase, but when I was outside, there were other things that screamed out for my attention, so I usually ignored him until he rang the dinner bell. He spoke a different language than me, anyway, and I didn’t have the time to train him up on mine. Not when there was so much outdoor movement to investigate.
We never bonded. He just didn’t understand my ways and always seemed to sneeze and push me away - whenever I jumped up on his lap. I may have been kicked out of his precious home, but that’s his loss. I’ve always said, why stay where you’re not wanted.
My stepmother didn’t protest much. That surprised and hurt me because she liked a cuddle every now and then. It was when they brought that slobbering Pitbull home, that things began to sour. His arrival most assuredly signalled the beginning of the end to my long-standing welcome.
If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s slobber. I would spend most of my waking moments in the afternoon, grooming and preparing myself to look good for when the family returned home, only to be over-slobbered by an over-excited and oversexed hound, who couldn’t contain his emotions, and had to kiss everyone and everything in sight when the front door opened. Let me tell you, dog drool smells and mattes your fur. It was no wonder that I would run scampering for the nearest hiding spot to catch my breath and wait until he calmed down enough for me to re-emerge. Usually, by the time I decided it was safe to come out, everyone had gone to bed or were too busy to pay me any attention. What would be worse, was that in my absence, the hungry hound with his voracious appetite would have helped himself to my dinner, so there would be nothing in my bowl left to eat. He’d even gobble up the dry stuff they forced me to eat. And worse, the water bowl would be full of dog drool. Yuck!
“I want to get out of this box. I have a cardboard allergy, people! Can anyone hear me?”
It was of no surprise then, that I took an impatient dislike to the drooler’s thievery. So, I would let him know of my distaste for his rudeness, with a few swats around his face - whenever he came close to me. Unfortunately for me, this was interpreted by the household as anti-social behaviour, so very quickly, my nights in front of a warm fireplace on a plush and soft bed became a huddle on the back porch on a rough doormat in the cold and dark. Thank goodness for fur. I’d hate to be one of those ugly coatless things they admire in Egypt – wherever or whatever Egypt is. They would have frozen to death during our last winter.
Feeling guilty, my ignorant stepdad put some blankets in a box and left it on the porch with dry food in a bowl, so I was forced to spend all winter sleeping in it. If it hadn’t been for my furry outside, I’m not sure if I would have survived those bitter cold nights.
I categorically don’t like boxes – unless there’s an easy way in and an equally easy way out. Then, it’s fun to dive in and roll around, pretending there’s invisible critters trying to escape my sharp clutches. However, this box I’m currently in, is confining, claustrophobic, and void of any stimulation whatsoever. So, I’ve decided that I’m going to use the bulk of my body to leap at the small opening in the top of the box - in the attempt at gaining my freedom. Here goes…
Success! I’ve managed to get my head out. Now, I have the visual advantage to see what the heck is going on. What’s this? Another box? Have I been put into a Russian Doll? No, there are windows and daylight and opportunities to watch things outside.
Freedom! Where the head leads, the body will surely follow. I’ve managed to wriggle free. Ha!
“There ain’t a box big enough to hold me.”
Ooh, what have we here on this bench-like padded seat? Let me see. New toys, some of that pouch food I like and that gourmet dry food for when there’s nothing else to eat. Who is that sitting just ahead of me? Oh, that’s the nice lady – my new mother - who saved me from a life in a penitentiary - forced to listen to all those sad others crying for their mothers. But I was in a box, so who put me there? Think back. I’m happy in the realisation that it wasn’t my new mother that put me in it. That was the warden back at the other place. It wasn’t all bad, there. They were very nice to me but kept their emotional distance. I could sense their reluctance to bond. Perhaps, they all had relationship issues. Not like my new mum sitting in the seat in front of me - who needs to know that I’m out of the box.
“Hi Mum! What’s to eat?”
Hmm, I don’t think she can hear me with all that noise coming from outside this vibrating box. Maybe if I jump up on her shoulders. WHOA! The room suddenly moved sideways. Was that an earthquake? No, things are steady again. She’s laughing, so I must have done something funny. Lookie there, a nice lap to cuddle on.
It’s okay, Mum. Continue what you were doing. I’ll snuggle in here for a few moments and drift off to sleep for a while. What’s that? Yeah, I’m happy to make your acquaintance, but I’m getting a little hungry. Can you pet me, please? It will relax and prevent you from gripping that wheelie thing so tightly. Here! My paw will guide your hand to my belly. No, don’t stop! That was nice. Can’t you hear me purring? That means, keep going. Okay, let’s get one thing clear. I need lots of attention. Hey, are you listening to me?
Right, I’m getting up and moving to where I have your undivided attention. Whoa! Is the world moving past us at high speed, or are we flying? This is a nice scratch pad on your window shelf. I might just have a stretch across it. What’s that? No, I’m not getting down. You need to be looking at me and not what’s out there. I am yours now, so consider this part of our bonding time.
What’s that? We’re where? No, I don’t want to get back into that box. I refuse to be confined any longer. I don’t need no stinking box. There! Box shredded. Please don’t punish me. It’s for my own good. Yes, pick me up. That’s acceptable. In fact, I like being picked up. It gives me the opportunity to scent your face. There! You’re mine, now. Inseparable.
Oh, wow! Fresh air! You’re out of your box, too! What lovely flowers for me to play amongst. Yours or the neighbours? If it’s yours, I promise not to poop in them.
I must say that my new home is much nicer than the last one. That’s a snuggly bed for me to curl up on. Oh, and you have carpet, too. What luxury. I’m sure it will need grooming – along with that big, long soft bench you sit on at night. So, whenever I require your attention to let me outside, I’ll signal it by scratching my own version of morse code onto it, okay?
As far as homes go, this is what I would call, the cat’s pyjamas. But let’s get one thing straight. I don’t do clothing, so no stupid costumes at pumpkin time. With those conditions for staying cleared up, I’m just going to check out the rest of the place. You know - pick out my best sleeping places, check for slobbering pooches. I don’t smell any other stepchildren, but I do smell that delicious food you’ve just prepared for me. Oh, this is heaven reincarnate. I think I’m going to settle in here just fine – but no more boxes, okay? If you want to take me anywhere, I require some thing light and airy where I can see where we’re going. Oh, and I need a collar. Preferably without a bell, so the birds can’t hear me approaching.
I believe this is the start of a beautiful friendship. Yes, you sit down right there while I lay on your lap, because you’re going nowhere for a while…