A pet is for life

As some readers will know, the pets in our family life rank as the most important priority we have. Management has often told me that the happiness of Billy, our grey and white shih-tzu, is such that he is number one - when I suggested that his position on my pillow at night was becoming uncomfortable and causing me neck ache, I was told that the bed in the spare room was available for my use anytime I chose.

We adopted Billy when he was two years old, some five years ago now. He seems to bark at most men, loves the ladies, and follows Management wherever she goes. His favourite games are quite noisy. He likes to squeak his toys until the squeaker drops out, whereupon the toy undergoes miraculous surgery and the game begins again. These episodes coincide with us trying to relax on the sofa to watch a movie or some TV programme, meaning that we mostly lose the plot and need to rewind.

Frodo, our grey princess tabby cat, was rescued when just about an inch long, fed and loved, and now also spends her night either on or in our bed. Mr Frog, our extremely naughty ginger cat, does need to be locked away in our other spare bedroom at night, due to the fact that he is unable to meow. He croaks loudly, hence his name - drowning out our AC units to the extent that no one in our bed (Management, Billy, Frodo or me - notice the order of priority) could possibly sleep.

We have got to know the wonderful vets and support personnel at the Qurm clinic very well over the years now, and they have recently helped us to transport all three of our animals to the UK. Flight BA072 on Saturday night had three extra passengers in cargo, with their mummy riding above, concerned for their safety. The process at Muscat airport went very smoothly with some caring people helping the three small travellers on their way; armed with all the medical papers they needed to get into the UK.

Billy, Frodo and Mr Frog are now settling into their home in Sussex, getting used to their different surroundings and hopefully making some new friends. I woke up on Sunday morning with my pillow all to myself, and a very quiet house, here in Muscat. I asked Mali, our maid, to clear up all the animal debris left by their departure, but afterwards the house felt empty.

Our special pets are of course for life, and this is how it should be. They each depend on our love and attention and in return they provide us with unique memories and an insight into their lives as animals sharing our space on Earth with us. However, I realised that I could help to provide a home for a would-be pet, one still looking for a forever home. I took a trip on Sunday evening to the Qurum clinic and brought home with me a lovely tabby cat called Nellie, who I will foster until she can find some permanent parents. I don’t even mind if she shares my pillow, providing of course she is nice and quiet.

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