Monday, April 15, 2013



When one considers the fraternity of Saints, it is rather astonishing to realize the roles that have been played by animals.  I turn your attention to Saint Jerome.  It took many, many exalted accomplishments for him to achieve his august status.  His voluminous writings included a translation of the Bible and earned him recognition as the patron saint of librarians, a notable distinction indeed.  Still, in paintings, he most often shares the canvas with a lion, for famously, Saint Jerome was said to have helped an injured lion by removing a thorn from its paw.  From then on, perhaps understandably, the lion refused to leave his side.   Paintings and sculptures of Saint Francis invariably include an animal or two, and rightfully so.  He is said to have convinced a wolf not to eat some villagers by successfully negotiating a deal under which the imperiled villagers would feed the starving fellow on a regular basis.  He even preached to the birds.  And they listened.
Dear Saint Brigid was followed everywhere by an adoring cow, 
and Saint Francis of Paola resurrected his pet trout, 
a feat which raises quite a few unrelated questions.

Now, as we were best friends for seven years before we married and have been married long enough to make lying about my age a tricky thing, I can truthfully tell you The Songwriter, though the best person I know, is no saint.  However, after the experiences of the past few weeks, I fear the animals may be conspiring to nominate him.

There was the incident with the wren’s nest which I related here.  (There is also a rather infamous story involving an opossum which I included in From The House of Edward here.)  Then there was the morning last week when, taking a break from a busy afternoon, he ventured down to the mailbox only to be met by an obviously lost, obviously scared, white chihuahua.  Back in he came, for a piece of chicken and Edward’s lead, hoping to entice and capture the little fellow.  No such luck, but he continued to follow the tiny dog up street and down for quite a long time until he managed to locate the much-relieved owner for a very happy ending.

All these incidents pale in comparison, however, to yesterday’s event.
  See if you don’t agree....

The day dawned sunny and crisp, the very definition of Spring.  The Songwriter opened the back door for Edward to venture out on his first morning foray into the garden and had barely closed it behind him before a commotion of theatrical sonorousness reached his ears.  Edward was sounding the alarm from far back under the trees, at vociferous decibels that threatened to waken the dead.  Hurriedly finding his shoes, The Songwriter ran out to investigate.  He found Edward staring up into a walnut tree, a look on his furry face of triumph and horror combined.  Following his gaze, up, up, The Songwriter easily located the problem.  The neighbour’s black cat. In the crook of a limb, impossibly high.  Satisfied that he’d done all he was supposed to, Edward trotted back into the house at my call, leaving The Songwriter to deal with the problem.

It didn’t take long to see that no amount of coaxing was going to convince the cat to budge.
It was obviously glued to the spot by the sheer terror of the altitude.
  Leaving it alone for an hour or two did not work.  He found it just as he’d left it. 
 It was clear other measures were needed.  But what?

Busy with my own chores, I glanced out to see him standing at the base of the walnut tree, clearly befuddled.  Next thing I knew, thumps and rumbles were coming from the hall closet and he soon emerged carrying a voluminous tote bag and a rope.  I didn’t dare ask. A few moments later I peered out a window to see the thirty foot ladder resting against the walnut tree, but again, I simply couldn’t bear to investigate further.

A while later, when The Songwriter was serenely eating his lunch,
 I peeked out once more to see a rope dangling from the limb just below the cat’s perch.
Attached to the rope was the open tote bag.
  The idea was ridiculously clear, ridiculous being the operative word.
Or, so I thought.
An hour later, I passed the window again and peeked out.  
The cat was gone.
I went to tell The Songwriter who calmly strolled outside.  
He made his way back to the base of the tree,
 took hold of the dangling rope
 and proceeded to slowly lower the tote bag. 
 Surely not, I thought.
  But about nine feet from the ground, up out of the bag popped the sleek black head of the cat.  It looked around in an amazement that matched my own.  The bag sat down gently on the ground.  The cat jumped out.  With a tip of its hat to The Songwriter, it sailed over the fence to safety.

Sainthood?  Probably not.
But prize-worthy, one must admit.


Thanks so much for all the sweet inquiries about Apple and her knee.
I am happy to report she is doing very well.  The pain from the surgery has subsided, she’s moving much easier now and is back to her usual happy, optimistic self.  She will be wearing her injury collar for one more week when the stitches are scheduled to be removed, but she doesn’t mind that so much.  We chose to use an inflatable collar instead of the dreaded plastic one.  I highly recommend it if you have an injured dog.  You can find one here.  All in all, the surgery could not have gone better and we can clearly see she will be her old self in a few months.  But, NO jumping till then!

Painting above:
Saint Jerome and the Lion by P.J. Crook


  1. Oh, this was a wonderful story~ I say, "Sainthood!" (I am a cat-lover :)

  2. Pamela, I do so love visiting your magical world and your writing. Indeed I think the Songwriter could be a candidate for sainthood or at least the pied piper of animals in your area. Whatever the case all of these creatures are lucky to have encountered his kind and gentle soul.

    Happy to hear about Apple.

    Enjoy your weekend, Elizabeth

  3. I had that collar on my dog and he hated it. Very nice story. That was amazing about the bag, and so clever.
    Maybe he could figure how to keep the squirrel off my roof..
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. Lovely tale, a vivid rescue indeed!

  5. Without a doubt, the Songwriter shall be bestowed with Sainthood status. I admire the patience and care he has for God's creatures...maybe with the exception of the squirrels...:) Happy to hear Apple is doing well. Thanks for the info on the plastic collar. I have two dogs, may need it one day, hope not. And not to bypass a real Saint, how about Saint Pamela? I'll go for that.

  6. I'll take credit for the above anonymous comment.

    Forgot the kudo for Edward on raising the alarm, on the cat.

    Have a wonderful weekend.


  7. We could have used the Songwriter here in the last few days as first a pug and then what looked like a rat terrier seemed to have escaped their homes and were wandering around the neighborhood, perhaps not even aware yet that they were lost. After scooting my own two inside, I went out with an extra leash, hoping to find a collar to attach it to, but they had moved on.

    Lovely tales. Except for the 30-foot ladder.

    Joan and the Barkalots

  8. What a clever solution! Really brilliant, and a great way to ease the cats fears. Perhaps a bit of kibble was added to the bottom of the bag as well?

  9. the clever Songwriter has my vote!

  10. What a wonderful story. I, too, am married to a "saint" that does anything he can to keep any living creature safe. Once saving someone's pet ferret, who had unknowingly wandered into our back yard that was policed by our then Scotty dog! The songwriter would get my vote.

  11. Without question..that man of yours is a saint. What a great story, I loved his creative thinking. Churchill would have been proud of his never say never attitude. Just goes to show you, if there is a will there is a way. Not many would have persevered..just loved this story Pamela... xx

  12. We'd never seen an inflatable dog collar until California. Now we know they work. Thank you Apple !

  13. A round of applause for the Songwriter. Well done! Perhaps this could be a side job? :)

  14. i'm in love with the songwriter.
    sending major hugs to little apple.
    they can bounce back so fast!
    well... 'bounnce' not an operative word here. but you know.

  15. Clearly The Song Writer has a kind and compassionate nature. I really understand what Apple has been going through since I once had a dog named Boris who had the same injury twice. First one knee and then the other a year later. Best wishes to Apple for a speedy recovery.

  16. What a clever idea Pamela. I don't know about sainthood but I think at the very least he deserves an honorary degree from a top university in Creative Thinking. One of my Siamese cats once went onto the apex of a neighbours roof and sat there howling. We rang the fire brigade and they advised to leave him until feed time and see what happened. They were right - he came down all by himself at 5pm.

  17. I can't believe that worked! What a great idea! Yay for the Songwriter!

  18. Santo Subito (as they say in Roma)!! This is a wonderful story, I can't believe how ingenious! Glad to hear Apple is mending; love the idea of an inflatable collar.

  19. What a husband you have Pamela ........ such a clever idea that saved the day. I wonder if that means you will be getting a lot of visits from that cat in the future because The Songwriter saved him ? ..... just like St Jerome and his lion. XXXX

  20. It’s exactly what I was looking nice job for posting this.Thanks lot for this useful article, nice post

  21. Oh, I've missed coming by here! Glad that Apple and the rescue cat are okay - love the tote bag idea!
    And happy belated birthday :-)

  22. If we are going to stretch our humanness, showing respect and compassion for animals is a wonderful addition to human evolution. The Songwriter is one of these who is helping us all get there.


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