Day 11 —What was your first childhood pet?  Describe it in detail.

I am not sure I can remember what my first pet was.  It was a few decades ago after all.  But I do remember my beloved cat Dragon (I didn’t name him).  Dragon was a short haired black cat, best described as sleek.  He was lean like a Siamese cat and had that awful noise they call a meow.  But man he could purr when he was happy.

Dragon was my second boyfriend’s cat.  When my boyfriend moved from a rural property to town Dragon was not pleased and walked back to the rural property to show his displeasure.  This was a walk of 7.3 km along the state highway or even longer over the farm land risking dogs and other farm animals.  The pads of his feet were a little sore but the vet was impressed with his stamina.  He was a determined cat.

Map from Palmerston North to Longburn

When I split acrimoniously with the boyfriend, we let Dragon choose his owner.  He wanted me so the ex left without him.  For a while my hubby and I rented an old divided house that had a creek in the back section.  It was not a very deep creek.  In Summer, standing in it would have the water just cover the top of your toes.  For some reason, Dragon loved it and we would often see him standing in the creek.  Silly me, I never thought about why until I found half an eel on the front stoop when we returned home one evening.  My husband thought my scream hysterical, even when he had to move the slimy thing before we could unlock the door.

I did not consider what was absent from that half until we opened the door and switched on the light.  My scream was even louder as I encountered the head and second half of the poor eel with the toe of my sandal.  I refuse to believe the slippery thing touched my toes. Hubby was less amused this time as it was on the carpet.  He also spent considerable time trying to work out where Dragon terror had got in.  The only entrance was a small window above the front door.  Dragon was nothing if not resourceful.

  Photographer   Tony Eldon  © Tony Eldon

Source:  NZ eel

We bought our first home in Havill Street and I had a part time job at the Odeon Theatre in George Street, near the middle of Palmerston North.  When I walked to work, Dragon would escort me all the way to the front door.  This was despite my attempts to deter, outrun or ignore him.  Nothing worked, Dragon walked me to work.  When the movies were over I would walk back and along the way Dragon would join me and return home.  I have no idea what he did in the time between walks and in the busy traffic areas but he always waited for me.

Map from Havill St, Palmerston North 4410 to George St, Palmerston North, 4410

Dragon moved with us to our second home in Feilding and still managed walks around the neighbourhood with us, but we gradually slowed down to make it easier on him as he aged. One evening he didn’t come for his meal and despite endless searching for him. we never saw him again.  I liked to think that he didn’t want me to have to bury him so he took himself away to die.  I would have liked to be able to say goodbye but I know that he knew how much I loved him and miss him still.




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