Jamie learns his lesson …

Those of you who have been following my stories about my dog Jamie will know that he was a stray from the Dogs & Cats Home.  I think he had been on the road for some time before being taken to the shelter.

Shortly after I gave him a home I came to suspect how he came to be a stray – he was a born escapologist!  The smallest gaps under the fence had to be boarded up and great care had to be exercised when opening the outside doors.  Any excuse and whoooooooooooosh, he would be off.  Happy to return in his own time.  As we lived by the river (tidal) he would usually announce his return by the smell – he had been paddling in the mud and needed a bath.

I was frequently late when meeting friends as I had to try and get Jamie back before I could go out.  My friends were very tolerant.

One day he disappeared and, despite my best efforts, there was no trace of him.  He had vanished.  I walked down to the riverside, calling and whistling him the while.  No scruffy black and white object hurtled toward me with glee.  I walked the streets, knocked on doors.  By evening I was out with a torch, searching the gutters for his inert body.  No Jamie.  I had already phoned the police and the vet.  Heavy-eyed and heavy-hearted I eventually went to bed.

Early in the morning the phone rang – it was a man from Plymouth who said his young son had found Jamie and would I like to come and collect him.  Would I???????????  My car tore over the Tamar Bridge (the barrier between Cornwall where I lived and Plymouth where Jamie was) and I found my way to the address the man had given.  Jamie was pleased to see me.  The boy said he had found him wandering, obviously lost, and had taken him home.  The father said that his son had very much hoped that I wasn`t going to want Jamie back.  I then explained that I didn`t purposely turn him out to wander.  Jamie had been given  the best part of the family`s roast beef for his dinner and was feeling pleased with himself.  He curled up on the sofa with the young boy.

I thanked the family and the boy – who then asked whether he could come and visit Jamie sometimes – I was more than happy for that to be and gave him my address.

I popped Jamie in the car and drove him home.  Cuddling him I noticed the state of his paws – they were covered in congealed tar.  There were extensive roadworks taking place over the river in Plymouth and he must have wandered through the wet tarmac.  I carefully cut the longest hair away from his pads but could not, for the life of me, think how to remove the tar between his pads.  I then phoned my friend, Dick, who used to be an animal trainer and knew all there was to know about animals.  `Butter` was Dick`s cheerful reply to my query.  OK – out came the butter and Jamie sat there patiently while I worked the butter into the tar and gently eased it from his paws.

Now I`ve heard that if you want to stop a new cat from straying, you should butter his paws – but ……

As a sequel to this story – I moved house – still in Cornwall.  It was a fisherman`s cottage with a front door that opened right onto the street.  Shortly after moving in, I opened the front door to answer a caller and – yes – Jamie shot out running hell for leather across the village square.  I yelled after him (that usually had no effect) but, to my astonishment, he ground to an immediate halt and turned around to come back into the house.

Yes – at long last he had learned that there is no place like home!


5 thoughts on “Jamie learns his lesson …

  1. You must be so pleased that he has learnt his lesson! As you said, it does seem like his running off probably led to him being a stray. Many owners would have given up and returned him to the shelter as a problem dog – it’s great to hear that you stuck with it!
    One of my English cats (they had to stay in England with my mum when I moved to Finland) has had a bit of a tendency to go missing. My brother got a dog, and poor Woody (the cat in question) really doesn’t like Wispa (the dog). They have plenty of room in the house to be away from each other, but when the cats go outside it is often necessary for them to pass Wispa on their way back in, which has resulted in Woody not returning home on many occasions! At the moment Woody is having to be an indoor cat to stop him running away. Hopefully he will learn to tolerate Wispa enough to be let out again in the future!


    1. Unfortunately cats are pretty dyed in the wool. We look after a Labrador (Daisy) and two cats four times a year – for the past four years. The cats and dog all live indoors but don`t come in contact with each other. The cats use the front door and live upstairs and Daisy uses the back door and lives downstairs (other than the front of the house)! The cats never, ever venture into the back garden where Daisy is likely to be …


      1. Wispa is a Labrador too! A chocolate one, hence the name.
        Different exits for the cats and dogs is a very good idea. Unfortunately where my mum live at the moment, letting the animals out the front is not possible because of the road there. But as with yours, the cats live upstairs and the dog downstairs. They choose to segregate themselves, but we do what we can to encourage harmony between them all!


      2. From my experience, integration either works or it doesn`t (profound and useful comment that!). At one time I had five cats and two dogs (large house and grounds) and they all jogged along quite happily. Just moved up one when a new member was introduced. Then, much later on, I introduced a kitten who needed a home but senior cat would not have it. He didn`t beat it up but gave me the biggest cold shoulder ever – he would come in to eat and then sit at the front door – it seemed for ever – waiting for me to let him out again. I gave it about 4 weeks and I returned the kitten.


      3. Aw, it’s a shame things didn’t work out better with them! I know what you mean about integration working or not. There are four cats and the dog. The cats all get along, most of the time. The dog thinks the cats are fun to play with but they disagree! One of the cats we got as a kitten when Wispa was a puppy, and they get along brilliantly. Another of the cats is so laid back that he gets along with her quite well too. The girl cat can tolerate Wispa just about. Woody is the biggest problem, but after living with the dog for about 2 years he is progressing. It’s just taking it’s time! He will go in the same room as Wispa, as long as she is asleep… He’s even sniffed at her paws whilst she sleeps, but he’ll run out of the room if she even snores loudly!


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