Bella’s devoted to her silky little puppies, but they’re already taking a toll on her. The black one with the wide white collar – rather like a nun’s wimple – is particularly demanding, and sets up a noisy protest as soon as ma’s not doing his or her bidding. Does this mean it’s the leader of the pack? Maybe it’s just convinced of its own importance. Whatever, it’s certainly not going unnoticed, and its strong character’s sure to make it a lovely pet one day. A red collar’s going to set off that white neck fur very nicely.
We placed Sophia’s dog bed just outside the kennel, and Bella took to it right away. She’s spending a fair bit of time in it, escaping the fatly fed pups when they fall into a contented cuddle as they drop off her into puppy dreamland. Can’t say I blame her. They’re a great deal of work, and I cannot even begin to imagine how she’d have coped alone in the wilds. How do these unfortunate animals find food? I’m not going to go there because I get overwhelmed at the thought of the endless misery in the world.
To happier thoughts then. Bella’s one lucky dog, and one whose pups will surely have good lives. I’m certainly going to do my best for them all. They will be strong and fit, completely used to people, not terrified – a very good start for them indeed. Bella’s got a very sweet personality, and given her happy circumstances I’m sure her babies will be delightful dogs too.
PAWS is very supportive of our efforts. You can see Bella and her cuties here on PAWS Facebook page. PAWS does the most amazing work here on the Pelion Peninsula, under very difficult circumstances, and with very limited means.
We put the puppies into the dog bed for a little while yesterday; gave us a chance to freshen the bedding.
Bella took advantage of the opportunity to wander off through the grounds for a bit. It’s quite humbling how much she trusts us with her babies. She sat calmly watching us as we put them back into the kennel, then followed them inside.
Bella’s relaxing in her sunlounger as I write this morning. It’s quite funny really, rather like a mum’s day out for her, or perhaps spa time.
Her ear looks a lot worse than it is, and is responding well to treatment.
I’ll keep you updated as the pups grow. It’s certainly getting even more hectic around here!
At last count the number of cats on the property, including our longtime pets Retsina, Ouzo, Mythos and Raki, is now 10. The Cappuccino Twins
and poor little Bud
were here when we arrived back. The twins are permanent residents, as is Brandy, initially called Mama/Papa for we weren’t sure at first what relation he is to the now teenagers.
Some of the original homeless ones have vanished – presumably gone back into Kalamos village as people arrive to take up residence in holiday homes. At least I hope so and it’s not because they have met a grisly end.
We have fortunately managed to trap and neuter two of those remaining, but they are very wary and hardly ever venture out of the forest. They will always be feral as it’s long past the time they could be socialized but at least they won’t reproduce, and are fed.
There’s a third cat, though, who has been coming and going, and had been absent for quite a while. But she, and yes quite obviously it’s a she, bulging with kittens, started showing up again a few weeks ago.
I’d catch glimpses of her at the food bowls, or hear Raki protesting loudly – he is not at all fond of trespassers on his property. The cat’s very nervous and it’s taken me quite a while to even approach her, but hunger clearly reduces her inhibitions, and she’ll eat rapidly while gazing warily about her.
She disappeared again for several days, during which time I became convinced she must have had her kittens, for she had been so heavily pregnant that her belly would drag on the ground while she ate. She has returned, no longer pregnant and absolutely ravenous.
Wouldn’t surprise me if she’s had a large litter, and maybe it’s not her first. Freddie maintains she’s the sister of Bud, the twins and one of the teenagers which has vanished. Could well be the case for the twins aren’t bothered by her and she’s pretty much the same size as them. Same coffee color also, but could she actually be their mother?
She’s come each morning in the last three days. I have to keep a close eye out for her as Mythos is determined that she must leave – he’s rather ugly to her in fact – and so I have to grab and lock him up while she eats, much to his irritation.
What I’m hoping is that she’ll bring the kittens over from wherever she’s hiding them. Then they can be handled and get used to humans, and that means I can get them homes through PAWS.
I’ve warned Ron that should there be a tortoiseshell in the litter, it’s mine. I fervently hope so for I’m a devoted fan of the tortie. In fact, I cannot remember a time without a tortie in the household – my Mother adored them also.
Should this cat stay we’ll neuter her as soon as the kittens are weaned, and I suppose she’ll inevitably be named Shandy.
I’ve mentioned PAWS before; this tiny little charity does good work here on the Pelion finding homes for the innumerable homeless cats and dogs, in addition to conducting sterilisation programmes as often as funds and volunteers allow. In the words of the song: “Money! Money! Money!” and PAWS does all it can to raise some.
In April last year PAWS took a table at a bazaar being held in Lafkos in order to sell donated goods such as books, plants, cakes.
My husband and I had been in Texas for several months; I flew back alone ahead of him and made the journey up to Volos from Athens by bus. Friends very kindly picked me up and filled me in about the goings-on during our absence. We discussed the fundraiser being held in less than two weeks, and the need for items. “I’ll make a doll to raffle,” my tired, jetlagged self announced.
Ah, what Dolly folly.
I started that very night, for my sleep patterns had of course taken a direction of their own. I managed to dig out a doll pattern from my collection, noticing dimly that the pattern pieces seemed rather large. A suitable piece of muslin for the body came to hand, and I began cutting out legs, arms, a gusseted body, as well as some involved shapes for the face and head.
Hmm, it did seem a little more sophisticated than the stick figure ragdolls I’d sewn up for bazaars and fairs in the past. The animals had missed us, so much help was forthcoming from various cats who found the rustling tissue paper pattern irresistible. Such fun!
Finally the cutting was done and so was I, heading off to bed with the rising sun.
By mid-morning a few doubts set in. What on earth had I taken on? I briefly debated making a much smaller doll, tossed out that idea and set to work at the sewing machine. Fortunately interruptions were few and I could make my own hours, but Dolly was a most demanding piece of work. She was unwieldy to sew; her head and face were well designed, but finicky, and her body seemed alarmingly huge.
Parts of her had to be stuffed before being joined to other segments and it soon became clear that I had nowhere near enough fiberfill to complete the task. Not only was I in no position to zap to Volos, I seriously doubt that I could have found what I needed there anyway. That problem was solved by gutting the pillows of the guest beds, but the question of her outfit began to raise its head.
My fabric and yarn stashes are well stocked, so materials wouldn’t be a problem, but time would. I pressed on.
Her face was done fairly quickly – I opted for a very basic look. Ah, my button jars, how do I love thee, but hair! And no, not the musical. How was I going to do hair? That turned out to be the most difficult part of getting Dolly together.
I should, in retrospect, have dealt with her hair before attaching the head to the body as Dolly became very unwieldy and every attempt to get her well coiffed only succeeded in a look that would have fitted in well for Halloween.
I resorted to three different knitting yarns, but the end result, after a ridiculous amount of work, can only be described as a great disappointment, and that’s putting it kindly.
A skirt was easily made; her sweater took more time. The Saturday morning market in the village provided knickers – a child’s age four – for Dolly is slim of hip, and cheerful socks in a woman’s size.
I finished her that afternoon, ready to send her out into the world with a few necessities in a cute little reticule (a repurposed confetti sachet) and a touch of adornment in the form of a bead bracelet.
Early the next day, good friends came to fetch us, Dolly and me, and we drove up to Lafkos. Dolly sure did attract attention for she had not been seen in public before then, but she was quietly gracious, allowing herself to be photographed with admirers, smiling all the while, performing her duties without complaint, while we sold raffle tickets on her behalf.
By late afternoon the bazaar was coming to an end and we got ready to draw the winning ticket. The box was shaken, we stirred the slips of paper around, and then, to great excitement, a ticket was pulled out. The number was read, the lists consulted, and we had a winner!
Hooray! We were thrilled to discover that our lucky ticket holder was the most enchanting little girl; a local child, she’s fluent in English and Greek and has the sweetest disposition. The family had already left, but we called and before long she arrived with her father to claim Dolly.
I think our winner was almost in shock, but she thanked us beautifully – her manners are impeccable – and stood patiently while we oohed and aahed and took pictures. As you can see, she and Dolly are about the same size. Dolly lucked out too, for she’s much loved; I was delighted.
The day had been a great success, raising some much needed funds for PAWS, but as with all charities, there’s never enough money and we continue our efforts. This year we held a barbecue at which we sold tickets for various raffles, and guessed the weight of a cake. I donated a doll, but one which I picked out at a store.
This is Mythos, who was named after the award winning Greek beer, Mythos. A very popular brew, Mythos has a good head of foam topping its rich golden colour, so it’s easy to see how Mythos cat got his name, but feline Mythos also has a good head on his shoulders for he was sharp-witted enough to make his home here.
Mythos has a long sad story of his own, which I will tell you in some future post, but today I’ll introduce what is likely to become the latest addition to the furry and hairy household.
For want of a better name at present, I give you Mythos Minor.
This feisty little chap showed up here just over a week ago, in the rain, out of the forest. Skin and bone, skin and bone but with the typical hugely swollen bellyfull of worms.
When Costa saw him a couple of days later he assured me that the intrepid infant had made his way to us from the furthest end of the village, a distance of at least a mile, across rocky headlands and through dense undergrowth. If Costa says so, then it is so.
Costa is familiar with all that happens here, and it would seem that Mythos Minor was one of several cats and kittens that scrounged around at a particular taverna, now closed since September. This is an annual saga.
Well-meaning holiday makers feed many of these feral cats, but when they leave the cats (and dogs) have to fend for themselves. Anyway, Costa is quite convinced of Minor’s origins. How on earth did this spunky soul make it to us, and how long did it take him? Fortunately, unlike Raki, he’s fully weaned.
What to do? Like all kittens, he’s very cute and curious.
We’d love to keep him, even though he’s already caused much upset among the other cats, all of whom are rescues. We’ve brought him to the attention of Sharon at PAWS and our fingers are tightly crossed that he might be adopted, but…..
Right now Junior has a warm bed in the shed with a heat lamp and all comforts.
He’s taken out several times a day to play about, climb trees and be socialised. He’s very friendly and affectionate and absolutely hates being put back into the shed after we’ve tired him out.
He’s a spunky soul, and does his best to stand his ground, but two of our big toms are determined to hurt him. Funny how they’ve forgotten the dreadful circumstances each was in when they were rescued!
He deems everything worthy of his attention, and zooms about as long as I am there to protect him.
Mythos Major was advancing on Minor earlier this morning.
Anxious to avoid an upset, I tried to distract him with a cat treat which he is very partial to. Minor had no intention of being left out though, figuring that anything Major got he should get too.
Minor’s more than just courageous though; he’s one smart kitty and pretty soon decided not to push his luck,
… contenting himself with the leftovers.
Mt Pelion, home to many of the Greek myths, stares down upon me as I write as though it knows that Mythos Minor is unlikely to be going anywhere anytime soon.