alan skeoch
Nov. 2021

Look closely….centre of the wintry scene is (was) our cat Taranga.  She was more like a dog than a cat because she loved
to follow us whenever she could … even in deep snow.  Why should you care about our pet cat? Many of you who read these episodes
probably do care because you have a cat or a dog…or a duck or kangaroo….or a guppy;  Most people have pets that they love.  Names?
Naming pets makes them very personal.  We named Taranga after a mountain in New Zealand where Marjorie, Andrew and I nearly got
swept out to sea on a fast incoming tide.  She was named after an adventure.

WE  have always had pets around our house.  As close as the breath we breathed. So it is with a lot
of people.  When the Mississauga Train disaster happened and the prospect of chlorine gas flowing
down upon us happened we loaded the car.  First in went  the pets, then the kids and I suppose later
the spare underwear.

Now here is a closeup picture of Taranga.  Like pin-up movie stars, Taranga knew she was pretty.   She also could climb trees….roll over…purr…and get attention
from people passing  by.   W do not know how or why she died. Andrew found her body down by Mary Fix Creek.

My brother and I had lots of cats as pets.  Marjorie had rabbits and dogs.
When we got married we were given a cat by Faye Nichols.  She named her “Presque Neige” because she was white with just
a dusting of gray on her head.   We kept the name even though we had re=naming rights.   “Presque Neige” was a rather loose
lady and got herself knocked up if I might use that crude but clear term.  When she reached term she knew things were not going
right and one night she got into bed with us…between us….and began the birthing process.  But the kittens
were  not coming out like water mellons in the summertime (poor image).  So “pressure” asked Marjorie to 
pull the first one out as it seemed to be stuck.  Marjorie became a midwife that night.

Years later, when we bought our home, we got our first dog.  “Tara” was name chosen… after the southern estate in Gone With the Wind. 
She was a great dong. A hunting dog who never got the chance to hunt.  She did not resent the fact that we do not worship
guns and settled right in.  There were times when the wind blew in sudden gusts that she picked up the smell of raccoons
and looped down the back field.  But she always came back almost immediately.  We got Tara when  Marjorie got pregnant by some strange process and as her stomach
expanded she got the notion that if we were going to have children we damn well better get a dog.  Did I say dog!  Slip of the tongue.
Marjorie located a coonhound stud..a couple of them really.  In one year Tara had a load of puppies..  I tried to feince in  the first litter by
building a wall around their corner of our lot.  It was a failure.  Coonhound pups climbed walls just like TAranga climbed apple trees.
Our pups were loved by our two boys.  There were so many little creatures on our lot that year that the Mississauga News sent out
a reporter and photographer.   Tara became famous for her 15 minutes…just like all of us.  

Next problem was finding homes for all these pups.   Marjorie put up a sign. “Coonhound pups need good homes”
The term ‘good home’ had a special meaning to Marjorie. A lot of men came around lured by the coonhounds.
Marjorie asked them a simple question …

”Do you hunt?”
“Yes…just love hunting season…would be even better with a coonhound”  
“Sorrry, no pups to hunters.”
“Why not?  Coonhounds are hunting dogs….hounds!”
“Never sure dogs will be cared for…we had an abandoned hound
arrive at the farm once…alone..no owner.    And another hound was
chained up most of the year near our farm.”

So all of Tara’s pups went to what Marjorie thought were good homes.
All except for one which we named Shadow.   We kept him.  Lovely dog who
was just too obedient and also prone to wander.  One day he wandered away 
following a scent.  Not far.  When called he turned and began to run back to us.
A car hit him…killed him. We were devastated as was his mother, Tara.

This is Tara.  She is taking a moment to think about something.  Perhaps to worry about her pups.

Tara is up the hill with her nose picking up information that none of us can detect.  Pete, mom and dad’s dog, is watching me
while everyone else if tinkering with my 1953 model of a W6 Internaionals.  Note the fine plowing job.

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