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Tom wants to rehome himself

Would you please let me IN already? Don’t you understand I want to live here?

Usually what happens is you go to a breeder or the Pound or an animal rescue organization and there is your dog. But another way you can end up with a dog is when you get adopted by a stray.

Before animal rescue groups were formed to help stray, lost dogs and cats find food and shelter and forever homes I guess this was the way homeless dogs and people who could give them a home found one another.

But it does still happen. Suddenly one day, a dog standing at the perimeter of your yard, wary, next day another visit, you notice dog is nervous/thin/starving, you put food out, poor dog, dog comes closer, dog now at back door, you put the food there, worry about him in the cold, cougars/foxes whatever getting him/her, dog then inside just for a visit you know and look how the dog is hugging the fire/heater and before you know it you have yourself a very grateful dog that will follow you to the ends of the earth and back.

10 february 2013

This is Tom saying he wants to live with us, 10 February 2013, less than 2 days after our Bubba dog passed away.

I just yesterday read the story of Cheoha on The Thundering Herd who was found tied to a tree behind a foreclosed house so people do still move away and leave the dog behind.

We’re going through this freaky being-adopted-by-a stray scenario with a gigantic ginger boy cat right now. I first mentioned him in this post. When I was thinking of writing a post here about this magnificent ginger cat and his valiant, intelligent attempts to come live with us, I realized that dogs, of course, do the very same thing.

And then I remembered that this is what my story, Bone Dog, is about! I had totally forgotten, well, in my defence, I wrote it a long time ago and my memory is terrible. In Bone Dog a little stray dog appears in the backyard of a family dog.

Being adopted by a stray is a very soulful experience. Being chosen by a dog or cat is really something special. It’s quite pathetic really how flattered I feel!

Here’s what happened:

Bubba found a humungous ginger cat sleeping squashed and curled up in the window box of our living room window at 7am one freezing cold morning a few days before he died.

The day after Bubba passed away there was this ginger cat at the back door saying, ‘yeah, look, starving – also wanting to live here’. This was weird because I’d seen this cat about the place for about 4 years, skirting our territory but have never ‘met’ him. The closest we got was when he and my, now deceased, black cat had a fight and I tried to shoo him away and he just stared at me, defiant.

this is how much i want to live with you

Tom showing us just how much he wants to live with us.

Had his people moved away and left him? Had he come like an animal angel giving me purring solace in the wild backyard knowing I grieved for my 3 cats? Was he just wanting some food? A little company?

He was 2 weeks outside staring in. I thought the most likely scenario was that he must be an intact Tom cat stalking our {indoors} girl kitten who might be having her first season, prepared to wait and wait – what other reason could there be?

He should really be allowed in, it’s cold outside, he’s hungry, the foxes come right up to him. Not wanting to traumatize our kitten, but not willing to let this magnificent dude cat stay out in the cold, I took the big fella to my vet {the wonderful Queens Crescent Vets} to check if he was neutered, and if not, have him done.

{Yeah, carrying in both arms a giant 9 kg cat in a too-small-really cat carrier in my arms on the bus and walking to the vets. Next day it took a while for it to dawn on me why my underarms ached so bad!}

After the vet simultaneously expressing his anal glands while checking out his privates for possibly undescended testicles {ow!} and picking up his microchip details – born 2001, neutered by Cats Protection League at 12 weeks but still massive – about 9kgs or something, all muscle, very Tom-catish in his behavior we discovered that “Tom” ‘lived’ about 1 minute away – with a very lovely family!

Yes, according to his microchip, he wasn’t called ‘Mr Magnificent’ or ‘Rum Tum Tugger’ or anything so grand but ……….. “Tom”. Like John Wayne was just …. “John” before he got The Duke.

Tom's determined camping out at back door, 3 weeks and still going

Tom’s determined camping-out on his wool blankie at our back door, 4 weeks and still going

He wasn’t 5 or 6 years like I’d thought but 12 years old! {I’m so hideous sentimental these days I teared up when the vet nurse told me. Aw, too old for out in the cold with the foxes!}

Technically Tom isn’t a stray, even while he likes to give everyone the impression he is. His owner told me he has done this same thing with at least three other people and has even come home on two separate occasions with a new collar on!

Now, with our kitten speyed a week ago {thanks to Tom hurrying me up with that task} and snow on the ground, he is still here, sleeping on the ex-Army wool blankie-on-newspaper little nest he has behind bush branches at our back door and coming in now and again for a mooch about. {OK, yes, yes, he has slept on the beds.}

What with all my recent, intense animal nursing experiences, I had also wondered was he terminally ill and coming to me, the local go-to-gal for pet euthanasia?

You probably know sick and dying cats and dogs will go to a person they know will help them or put them out of their misery; help them over the Rainbow Bridge.

I guess those of us who have experience with that give out a certain vibe that animals pick up on. Or maybe it’s just kindness or even just that we notice them when others don’t.

We all know how many sick queens carry their kittens miles to safety and human aid, making it just before they die but with their kittens safe. {See James Herriot’s beautiful, The Christmas Day Kitten as an example story.}

look at me! I even co-ordinate with your soft furnishings people!

Tom on our sofa – ‘Look at me! I even co-ordinate with your soft furnishings people!’

Dog people notice dogs, we notice them everywhere we go so we see the lost ones. We see the lost, abandoned, the ones that have just an hour before gotten free from tether and garden. We are their guardians because not only do we care but we see them.

Have you ever been adopted by a stray animal? How did it happen? Were you as flattered as me? Did they stay with you, warm and well-fed and safe? Or did they come to you for healing, help passing or to be taken to a rescue center?

Oh Jeez – I’ve just finished writing this and he’s staring at me through the window! I tell you, if more of us showed Tom’s level of determination and focus the world would be a much better place!

This may be an on-going saga. Tom’s owner – who has loved and cared for him since he was 12 weeks old – and I are in contact via email and text so he’s well-supported and loved.

Update 25 March 2014: Yes, Tom does now officially live with us! Sweet boy. We’ve also had another stray cat move in with us too! 

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