SHARING and CARING…it’s what LIFE is all about!

Dogs, a Cat…and a Swan?

Posted by on Nov 30, 2015 in Blog, Food for Thought, Memories, Quotes | 6 comments

Me Mary SusieDuring my childhood years and beyond—before leaving home and marrying Doug—I had three dogs: two well-mannered and placid Cocker Spaniels, Susie and Susie II, and Rex, a determined, high-spirited Cockapoo who defied gravity and continually jumped our fence for the grass that was always greener on the other side.

Fortunately I married a dog-lover (I knew that the day Doug won me a stuffed poodle at the CNE when I was sixteen!). So it was no surprise that just a few weeks after purchasing our first home, we purchased Lady, a seven-month old Shepherd/Collie mix from a dog pound in Toronto for $7.00.

Over the following years we owned two Poodles, Mandy, and eventually her daughter Marcy, both living long into old age. They shared their lives with Brandy, an Australian Shepherd and Ginger, a Red Setter, both struck with the same wanderlust that kept Rex on the hunt for greener pastures. Time passed and HoneyToby our Wirehaired Fox Terrier joined our family, living up to his name of being very wired. Sadly, he met an early demise on the road in front of our house. Maybe because she was our last dog, or maybe it was because I just needed another dog after Toby died, either way Honey, another Cocker Spaniel stole my heart and lived until old age and illness ended her fourteen years with us. She was committed, faithful, obedient and gentle.

In the midst of our canine world lived our one and only cat, Jay, a six-year-old Blue Point Siamese stray. Having left the city for a quieter life, we received Jay from a very dear farmer/friend who had more than enough cats and informed us that, “If you’re going to live in the country, you’re going to need a cat.” It took me a while to understand what exactly he meant until a curled up sock in the corner of the kitchen floor—that I came within inches of picking up—turned out to be our first mouse! And Jay proved his worth; he was a great mouser! He Jay and Bradwas also a constant target as Brandy and Ginger consistently challenged his place in our home; but in his own defence, his meow kept them at bay, as did his front claws!

Whether canine or feline, our family pets had one thing in common: they never hesitated to express seemingly unending affection each time we returned home. Our dogs wagged their tails, and if given the opportunity, would kiss our faces. Jay purred so loudly his body seemed to vibrate as he pressed himself against our legs.

So where am I going with this little trip down memory lane? Admittedly, the following email I received from a friend took me there. But before reading further, you need to be cautioned that you might find yourself going in the same direction, especially if your life has included a pet of some kind. But that’s okay. Life is all about memories.

Usually swans are very territorial and don’t like human company, but Richard Wiese experienced a moving and wonderful moment during a rescue operation executed with several of his friends from a Foundation aiding and rescuing injured birds in England. This is how he describes this moment: “I lifted him, gently pressed on his chest so that he felt swan and rescuerconfident and safe. After a few moments the swan stopped resisting and literally wrapped himself around my neck. I could feel his heart beating beside mine. I wanted to shut my eyes in order to enjoy this moment completely. It’s really a wonderful feeling when you sense a true connection and mutual trust- when an animal realizes you mean him no harm.”

I read the story several times; it’s that kind of story. But it was Mr. Wiese’s emotional reaction to the swan’s response that had me stop and think. It really IS a  wonderful feeling when you sense a true connection and mutual trust, and it may take a simple story of an injured swan to remind us how important trust is in our lives.

It may be a stretch to say that animals can love, but obviously they can trust, express affection, and remain loyal. Perhaps we can learn something about these attributes from God’s creations—whether a dog, a cat or a swan—if we are open to it.

And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky…” And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds…” And God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:20-25, in part




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  1. Heather Joyes.

    A touching and emotional piece that brings memories of all the dear pets that touched my life. I was in tears before finishing your writing about your dogs. I remember fondly the pets we had, dogs, cats and a couple of budgies that demonstrated their trust in innocent, sweet ways giving us the privilege of loving them in return. They all brought joy and comfort.

    Now, we have a little Pug in our life, Ellie, who has her own way of doing things. To quote Genesis 1:20-25, very “good” indeed.

    • Susan Duke

      Once again dear Ruth your words and your warm heart have touched the pages and heartened or entertained many of us. It is good to know you are still hitting the keyboard and researching so that those of us not so gifted or inclined can benefit. Thank you.

      • Ruth Waring

        A late response on my part, but a BIG thank you for your support and encouraging words. Always fun to go down memory lane and take a friend with me:), especially when you are that friend! Miss you in my life but trust all is well with you as it is with Doug and I.

    • Ruth Waring

      Hi Heather… or maybe I should be saying HI from one dog lover to another! Will never have another dog to call my own, but sure gets lots of loving from Riley, our daughter’s Mal-Shi, a cross between a Maltese and a Shih Tzu. She’s adorable and loves her ‘Nana!!’

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