Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)
TITLE: PJ Finds a Home
By Kay McElroy
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After a youthful life of abuse and battery on a nearby construction site, PJ Garfield decided one day that being a cat was not for him. To put it in the familiar word of Pinocchio, he set out to become “a real boy.” At the ripe old age of four months, he made the decisive move toward the transformation. Rising early one morning before the construction crew arrived at work, PJ thought to himself, “I’ll show them—I won’t be here when they come today. From this day forward, they’ll have to use each other for the butt of their jokes and their punching bag.”
Hobbling away at the dawn of the day, minus lots of fur and one side of his whiskers, PJ mused, “Just think, no more whiskey breath and cigarette burns, no more cursing and loud hammering.” He walked down street after street, checking out the houses, wondering which one he would claim for his own. A certain neighborhood caught his eye, a neighborhood that had fancy cars and big houses with expansive porches. “This will do just fine,” he thought. “I might as well start at the top.”
“Hello, there! Where did you come from? My, but you need a bath---and a doctor,” he heard from the nice lady who came out to pick up the paper a few moments later.
Long story short, PJ was fed, washed, doctored, and loved by this family, but something was still missing. Maybe it was the fact that they had children and other cats, including a French one named after a lemon that became a good friend. These other cats were nice, but two problems persisted for PJ. One, he wasn’t getting the attention he craved, being just one of the crowd, and two, he remained a cat, which he had decided he was not cut out to be.
Eventually, a few doors down, he met a small lady and a large man that occasionally let him in the kitchen and fed him. This gave him a retreat from the chaos at the other house. For a while he went back and forth between the two homes trying to decide which one best suited him.
Knowing he must make a decision soon (for he was growing fatter by the day eating twice the meals he should) he stayed a few nights at the second couple’s home.
One night, his head resting on the pillow between them, he decided he had become a real boy. Leaping up, he darted across the sleeping lady and lapped up a quick drink of water from the glass on the bedside table. It was tasty. Never again would he drink from a puddle. He had found a home. He would have some rules to make and some training to do, but these kind folks seemed like fast learners.
First and foremost, the couple learned that breakfast time falls between four and five a.m. at which time PJ would tread over the face of the man until he got up and went to the kitchen to feed him and let him out for his morning stroll. His people caught on to this routine and most mornings their quick response met with PJ’s approval.
They would later learn of PJ’s temporary diabetes and that going to the vet in a cat carrier (in a car!) was not an option PJ was willing to give them. So his lady went to the veterinarian herself and was trained on how to mix, refrigerate and administer PJ’s insulin shots daily and the vet’s lab technician made house calls to draw PJ’s blood and check his insulin levels.
PJ has his own room with his own bed, nightstand and toys, but has decided that it suits him best to sleep with his lady and his man, although he must remain alert in case his lady decides she wants to read in bed. She knows this is against the rules, but sometimes she tries it anyway and PJ has to place himself between her the book as he is to have her undivided attention at all times. She puts down the book and turns off the lamp. She hugs him close and says a small prayer. He lets her do this uninterrupted because he hears her mention his name.
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