There is a Turtle in Us

 

There is a turtle in all of us. Well, at least that’s how it now appears to be in our case.  More than a week ago my wife and I watched on Umagang Kay Ganda a segment wherein they featured turtles for pets and when we told Marcus about it, the next days that followed was filled with questions “Where do I get a turtle?”, “When can I have a turtle?”, and similar other questions with the word turtle in it.  So yesterday was the day we found and bought one and achieved peace. How happy was Marcus? We got a couple of goodnight hugs from him which rarely happens.

Rafael meets Raphael.

Somewhere in Bacolod, however, one was obviously not a big fan of turtles. Over the phone this morning, I told my mother the good news that we finally got a pet for Marcus. A pet that doesn’t have a fur that could trigger allergic reactions. But to confirm the suspicion I had since I was in high school, she immediately advised that the turtle shouldn’t be kept inside the house as people say it makes the life of anyone who has it slow. That flashed me back in time when I found one crawling in our backyard that I kept in our toilet while I try to find the right box for it. That turtle which was about the size of a saucer disappeared without a trace when I returned to check it. My mother said it must have escaped but our toilet had walls of slippery white tiles and a small window above five feet plus I knew I closed the door just before I left. I wasn’t given the chance to name the turtle Houdini.

To entertain my mother’s opinion on this innocent reptile and just to make that mother-knows-best notion true, my career path has been indeed a drag. Could be the effect of keeping, while briefly, a turtle or could be due to me being contented of what I have or could be due to the workplace environment where I am currently at. The safest to blame would be the turtle. Anyway, after years of trying to move on and positioning myself on the next step of the career ladder, I landed the job I least expected to get. It was turtle-pace movement but I’d take it. I learned about the good news just a day before our account celebrated its fifth year this weekend.

Oh, yes, Marcus named the turtle of course. It’s now called Raphael. It costs us 450 pesos to get it so we need to save before we get another of his cowabunga friends.

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Among yesterday’s mall itinerary was to watch a movie and the perfect film on the day we get a new pet is no other than Secret Life of Pets.  It is about the story of what pets do the moment their busy owners step out of the door to resume their busy life in New York. As an adult I would say that this is among those many films with its trailer far more entertaining that the full movie itself but looking at how Marcus decided to stay put in his wheelchair—he gets an unimpeded view of the screen from the isle—instead of on my lap during the entirety of the movie tells me that he enjoyed it. And as usually the case, an animated film for kids is meant to be just that. For kids.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Expecting a long day with the turtle.)

Goodbye Vader

It just sucks when something you cherish goes away too soon. Like when everything seems to be fine and then boom, the unexpected happens. It’s gone, never to return again. It’s when you wish it’s just a bad dream.

Reality is just that.  In real life, there is disease. In real life, there is loss, irreversible loss. Real life isn’t real if there is no death.

Wherever you are Vader, if that dog heaven does exist or not, or if you can see the gap you left in our hearts or not, and whether you can even read this blog for you or not, you will be remembered.  I will miss our trip to the pan de sal store.

Happy dog day.

 

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Mood: 8/10 Honks! (Let sleeping dogs lie.)

Black Cat

Black cat drawing using Android Paint app

Black cat drawing using Android Paint app

This is the second cat drawing by Marcus using the Paint app but I like the first one he did which was mistakenly not saved by wifey. This is also my first post, if successful, directly coming from the Paint app. (It didn’t work so I’m back to posting via Photobucket’s direct share link.)

Back in the days one the few ways to display a child’s drawing was Funny Komik’s This Is Your Page section. I think my mother got three of my drawings published. How I wish we were able to saved copies the comics we used to buy every week.

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cats love playing with bags

We now know that cats love playing with bags. She is the inspiration of Marcus’ cat drawings.

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Mood: 1/10 Honks! (Anxious to see typhoon Ruby out of the country.We are expecting it tomorrow.)

Cat’s Spay Day

King's Road Veterinary Clinic, Where to spay cat in Cavite, Cavite spay, Cheap cat spay in Cavite

Mittens still figuring out what we have done to her.

Responsible pet ownership has a price. Once a person decides to have a pet(s) he or she commits to take good care of it until its lifetime. Pets will need food, it will need grooming, and it will soon find a mate. And it could multiply which is just fine if planned such as for breeding and selling. Otherwise, the owner–as the more intellectual being–must ensure that the pet doesn’t produce young ones that it cannot properly take care of.

What we call in here in the Philippines as askal and pusakal are usually products of pet owners who do not have any idea–or some, sadly, do not care–about pet birth control. Anyone who plans to have four-legged companions must therefore take everything into consideration including neutering (male) and spaying (female) to curb the increase of stray animals. And it is what we just recently did.

Two weeks ago, our cat  was in heat. It became restless, it exhibited the signs that we have read before. It became more eager to go out of the house, it rubbed itself on walls, it rolled like crazy on the ground, and it made those weird mating calls.  Not wanting to get it pregnant by male cats who seem to all of a sudden appeared in our yard out of nowhere, we kept our feline from getting outside. We closed the windows and doors, we too got boxed in.

The experience of dealing with a cat in heat compelled us to take actions. Initially we planned to bring the cat to PAWS (The Philippine Animal Welfare Society) as their spay service is significantly cheaper (based on their website it is only P1,000) than any other clinics we know. However, after realizing that the procedure requires some prior tests and the fact that it’s a long drive from home we cancelled it. Wifey then tried to locate veterinary clinics within Cavite that charge the least and she found one.

Kings Road Veterinary clinic is just more than 10 kilometer from home. Setting an appointment was easy and the spay operation was faster than I expected. Our cat and I reached the clinic minutes before 10 am and the vet, Dr. James, immediately started the procedure. He performed the blood test and then the operation proper. Before 12 noon he is finished and few minutes later Mittens is already conscious.

Dr. James’ clinic is located along Daang Hari road. He has two units–one clinic and a grooming station–within the same building. Both facilities appear bright and well maintained. Kings Road vet has a Facebook page so do check it out for your pet needs.

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Mood: 1/10 Honks! (Got kid’s class card. Marcus still his class’ top 2.)

What’s The Plan?

What’s the plan? Spray the male cat away. (Illustration by Marcus)

Our cat I suspect is now in heat and it follows, from my little understanding of our furry friends, that male cats nearby can detect it. In the recent weeks, the three of us at home have been fending off cats who pay our pet a purposeful visit and Marcus has been the most active in this duty of preventing any of those visitors from hooking up with our calico. Today our son comes up with a plan and it’s the first time I heard him refer to something he has drawn.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (I hope that this is Marcus’ day 2 of playing with our neighbor’s kid. He badly needs outdoor activities–other than spraying cats.)

The Real Oggy And The Cockcroaches

Photo from the Web.

Cat and mouse. This I’m sure that anyone will recognize the famous rivalry. It’s been like that. For example, when I say Tom, someone will highly likely say Jerry. When I start with ‘when the cat is away…’ it will be easily continued by anybody with ‘…the mouse will play.’ Yes, everyone just knows the relationship between the two.

But how many are aware of cats and cockcroaches. For one, I don’t, I never did. I was so clueless that I scratched my head when I first saw the cartoons Oggy and the Cockroaches. Who would have thought that it’s a good idea to create an animation about the misadventures of a blue cat named Oggy and his archnemeses Dee Dee, Marky, and Joey. Well, Jean-Yves Raimbaud seems to know what he was doing.

Marcus started watching Oggy and Cockroaches when he was a lot younger. He loves the show so much that now at age six and with our cable TV subscription gone, for a year and half already, he would mention that it is still one of his favorite cartoon shows. He now hates the others he once watched almost regularly–like Ben 10, Dibo, and, thankfully, Barney–yet his fascination of Oggy and the Cockroaches stays. But do cats and these horrendous smelly creepers meet in real life? Yes, just not as amusing.

We have seen our cat, Mittens, so many times bring inside our house– of course, to our utter disgust–cockroaches to play with and eventually kill. I would often wonder if the poor cockroach would have preferred being sprayed with pesticide rather than the torturous demise due to being tossed around from the cat’s fangs and to be pummeled by its soft paw with sharp claws. Sometimes out of compassion, I deliver the quick death with the classic slipper whack.

The latest encounter happened this early morning while I drag my sleepy self from bed to the toilet. As I was about to open the faucet to wash my face I came eye to eye with the shiny brown pest and by instinct I had my hand ready with a slipper. I saw also that Mittens was right behind me, its iris opened, fully focused, and ready to pounce. The poor cockroach was almost trapped, it hesitated, and decided to avoid the cat. It seems that our cat’s notoriety has spread around the filthy roach community. Oh by the way, its name should’ve been Oggy but we later learned it’s female.

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Here’s a trivia I read from Wikipedia. Did you know that Dee Dee, Joey, and Marky were among the members of the American punk rock band The Ramones? Now what are the chances that their song I Wanna Be Sedated is about a cockroach begging to escape slow death from a cat.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Holiday today. Another day off for Marcus.)

We Need 36-hour Sundays

Don’t we all wish that Sundays have 36 hours?

Mittens passing time away on her back. One of her lazy days.

No Humpy Dumpy

It’s exactly a month ago when we picked up our cat from the gas station and contrary to popular belief—which is by the way one of the greatest fears that I know my wife and I have kept from one another when we rescued the kitten from being a potential road kill—the house doesn’t not stink. There’s no dreaded Humpy Dumpy smell.

Humpy Dumpy was once a popular snack here in the country. It is one of those snacks that taste good but smell funny or weird. Almost everyone before would agree that the best description to it is that it smells like cat poo. I don’t know if it was the reason it eventually got pulled out of the market or if it is because–I just realized–its name brings a lot of pun. Humpy. Dumpy. How can the manufacturers make such oversight.

Here by the way is the TVC of Humpy Dumpy. See if you can also identify the commercial models.

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There is one reason the house didn’t stink. Or at least that’s what the three of us believe. The litter box. Truth to be told, the only idea I have back then on how to toilet train the cat is to spread a newspaper in one corner of the house and expect him to identify it as to where he should dump. It worked before for our bully guest so I had high expectations it would work for the kitten. I was wrong.

It’s a good thing that even the kitten held on. The first day was uneventful–he didn’t dump which made us wonder when and where it is going to happen. Luckily, my in-law who has cats living with them inside their house told me to get a litter box. I’ve heard of it but never knew what it was and what it does.

So I went around, asked a pet store about it, and I was told that a litter is just actually sand. I rushed back to our place and I just knew where to get one–our neighbor was renovating their house and they have a pile of extra sand outside.

Lo and behold, the kitten used the litter box. It was like a miracle happening right it front of me when I saw him dug in and sit as if he had the litter box since birth!

***

We made a mistake. Few days after our son proudly named the kitten Oggy, we learned from the internet that we got a female. Thus the change of name to Mittens which is a namesake of the Stampy’s cat. Stampy by the way is Marcus’ favorite source of Minecraft tips on YouTube.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (This cat talk makes me hungry. I can smell lunch from the kitchen.)

 

Oggy is Now at Home

Not ordinary, the stars have aligned, we finally got Marcus his cat. Yes, what appears to be SSDD–Same Saturday Different Date–ended with us taking home a stray kitten from an unlikely source.

Stopping at a gas station to fill up, I gave in to wifey’s long standing request to avail of the NBA car sun shield promo. She wants one to show support to her favorite team. So I requested to look at the samples and while waiting for the gas attendant to get the items, a kitten under a Rubbermaid mop bucket appeared from my side mirror. It was the size I’ve been looking for Marcus for more than a month already. Eure-Cat!

“Is it okay to take the cat?” Hiding my excitement I asked the gas attendant as he returns with the promo item samples.”Ano ‘yun sir (What do you mean)?” he asked back, confused. “There’s one that just went under our car, we want to take it home,” I replied. Bending over to look under the car the man confirmed, “Ah, opo sir, para maalagaan nang maayos (yes you can, so that it can be taken care of properly).”

And so after paying for the gas and a Miami Heat sun shield, we drove away from the Phoenix gas station with a black-and-orange patched kitten stowed right under the dashboard. Gas filled, wifey happy, Marcus ecstatic. By the way, he named the cat Oggy from his ever favorite cartoon show Oggy and the Cockcroaches.

Oggy. (Cockroaches not in picture.)

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Before it happened we came from the church and dropped by SM Dasmarinas. Everything was almost routine but what happened in each place seem to add up.

At the church, being seated right in the front row, I was approached by the ushers and asked if I can bring the wine to the priest to be used during the offertory portion of the mass. I didn’t decline. Of course, as I expected, Marcus tagged along and was also given the ceremonial blessing by the priest.

Then at SM, he led us to the Pet Express store to tour me around at the recently opened shop. He was there once with wifey and it appears that he already memorized the items on the racks. On our way out was a PAWS ‘Catvocacy’ poster. It promotes saving cats.

And these probably were signs that somewhere on our way home could be an answer to Marcus’ prayers that sooner or later he would own a pet cat.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (So far the cat hasn’t pooped inside the house.)

Missing a Bully Named Styro

One night, after an intense badminton game, I arrived at home expecting another routine I follow when home alone—park car, open door, dump sweat-soaked clothes, watch the late news, and then hit the sack. I was so surprised though when I noticed our Handycam on top of our center table with a sticky note. It says, “…Watch the video! Bulldogs are beautiful! Miss Styro!…” It was from my wife (she’s on graveyard shift that night) who recorded a 30-minute excerpt from a Martha Stewart show on TV which I presume is most likely a rerun. The episode featured English and French bullies. Among them was Tyson the skating bulldog which we have seen first through a forwarded email.

Watching the show brought back memories of a bully named Styro who stayed briefly with us after we adopted him from my aunt. I remember my wife being reserved on the idea of having a dog at home but the moment she finally gets to meet the white bully I knew that the 20-lbs dog did win her heart.

Prior to Styro’s arrival, I diligently researched on how to handle dogs specifically English bulldogs. Unfortunately, on the very first night, the preparation didn’t quite work. What I must have missed was that this wrinkled, snub-nose, big-head creature does already have his own idea of a good night sleep. This is because before sleeping that night, we tried placing him in a cozy corner inside our house to sleep on (barricaded by a makeshift fence of washing machine, cardboard boxes and shoe racks) and what we got instead was total resistance and minutes of hide-and-seek game with him.

Eventually, we gave up the chase. But while re-thinking our strategies, we got another surprise when he just went straight to our bedroom, dropped his stout body on the floor right below our bed, and almost immediately went to sleep and snore. He wants to sleep with us.

So there goes the cozy corner outside the toilet and the start of us having an instant baby who will be between us, on top, on our feet, on our face or whatever its sleeping mood dictates every night for the next months to come.

I cannot exactly remember how long before we adapted to this new company of ours and a new nightly routine introduced to us by this cuddly dog. For the most part of his stay it seems like our subconscious got programmed to get used to his daily activities, one of which was his “peepoo” time which I still think he scheduled himself to happen between 12:00 midnight and 1:00 am daily.

Every time I think about it, I cannot comprehend how I was able to wake up every night during that time. It seems like he has managed to control my mind the moment he sits beside me while waiting for me to get over with my REM and to finally accompany him outside the house while he does his “peepoo.” Well, the saying may be right, “You don’t adopt a dog, the dog adopts you.”

Styro also has his own favorite meals. This dog was a voracious spaghetti eater other than his regular canned or dry foods. And not only that, he knew which spaghetti sauces were cooked well by my wife and which one weren’t. He sips the pasta just like any person does. And although we knew from books that chocolates are bad for them, we occasionally gave him a taste of choco-flavored ice creams, which he likes a lot especially during the summer season.

Having a breed like Styro is a feat almost similar to having a baby. Regular trips to the vet is a must and what’s funny is that during that time we don’t have a car yet, so going to the clinic means taking him through a local transport — tricycle. In the sidecar, a mixture of awe, fear and adoration is what we’d usually get from the drivers to the people we’d pass by with most faces hinting of wondering if it’s a cartoon character they’ve just seen. Even in the clinic, while waiting for our turn, other dog owners would also spend time patting and playing with him which is usually the reason why their own dogs would whine or bark to take back their attention.

Sigh.

Well we can’t actually claim that Styro was the greatest dog among others, but we can be sure that he did left a mark in our hearts when he left us just more than a year of staying with us. He was never just a pet but a family member whom we dearly miss.