Thoughts to Paws over…

The ‘Bucket List’ as we age we start to contemplate our mortality, ideas like ‘perhaps we may only have 35 more summers left’ cross our minds.  The concept that those things we have talked about doing, those places we have said we would like to visit, the musician that we absolutely have to see in concert, the recognition hits us that time is of the essence.  You come to the realization that the Trestle  bridge trail you wanted to hike, experienced a huge forest fire and was decimated, that the lead singer to your favourite group has taken his life, it becomes evident that we shouldn’t put off until tomorrow, what we should do today.  That Carpe Diem is really how we should be living our lives.   According to the Urban Dictionary, a “bucket list”  is a list of things you’d like to do before you die, like visiting the Grand Canyon, falling in love or falling in love at the Grand Canyon.   Is this a concept exclusive to humans or do our animal friends also experience a yen for adventure and experiences before they approach the pearly gates?  Recently  one of my senior feline friends, who I’ve developed an affection for was M.I.A.  Barney has a reputation in the neighbourhood of being a wanderer.   When I moved here approximately six years ago, I used to see him all over the subdivision, he was the tough guy, as is visible from one of his ears that flops over, giving him a a look of character.    Barney is 18 years young, and his years are starting to become evident when you see him.  He has a bit of a wobble when he walks, he moves slower and his cat like reflexes aren’t what they used to be.  For example, Barney ventured into my back yard awhile back (something he hadn’t done since we moved onto the block and changed the height of the fence and filled the yard with various dogs visitors).   I had a four legged friend residing with us that discovered Barney had decided to throw caution to the wind and was traipsing through the back yard.  A chase ensued and thankfully luck was on the cat’s side, he made a huge leap and narrowly made it to safety.   As of late, Barney’s adventures have been limited, he is on pain medication and is not allowed to roam like he once was.   Barney has so many stories, so many lives he has touched…many of the folk around here tell ‘tails’ of how Barney used to curl up at night at the end of their bed or wander around their house like he was part of the family.   In his twilight years he has settled on two homes that he goes between, with two women that adore him.   His daily excursion these days is to meander from point A to point B, often getting a drive home at the end of the day, even though it is technically around the corner.  This past Sunday when Barney left home he never showed up to his intended destination, what a worry.  I think we all assumed the worse, that he had gone off and curled up under a shrub to have his final sleep.  The search was on to find the old guy in whatever state he was in.   Much to all of our relief, Monday evening the cat came back…with a little assistance!  Turns out, Barney was just working on his bucket list, he had meandered through a hole in the fence to a cul de sac he used to frequent, to visit some of his old haunts.   He enjoyed a meal or two with friends, who affectionately know him as Felix….as an aside, it turns out many people have their own handle for the ‘stray’ cat, who has duped many in our area to opening their hearts and doors for him.  I think Barney, like many of us, as we get on in years, wanted to cross a couple things off of his bucket list, he wanted to revisit a few places he used to enjoy hanging out and see some faces he missed.  The only trouble, when he went to return home he couldn’t, someone had replaced the fence panel, his entry route he had used to gain access to this other neighbourhood was no longer viable and the days of jumping up and over were no longer an option.  So close to home and yet he wasn’t able to get back to ladies in his life.   Thankfully, persistence prevailed amongst the women in his life and after a door to door canvas of the area, pieces of the puzzle were put together and Barney was found!  As he pulled up to the curb in his chariot, a flock of women stood on the front lawn joyously hooting and clapping at the sight of him!  Barney’s expression was comical, he couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about!  Just because he is a senior doesn’t mean he is done being an adventurer!   He gave us a look like “relax ladies, I was just crossing another item off of my Bucket list!”

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