Peter – Our Little Furry Friends: Pet or Putz?

This week, Loyal Reader, I am going to write about some of my past adventures with members of the animal kingdom, some domestic and others feral. I will begin by relating a run in with a feral beast in a most domestic situation.

But first, some background. I was living in Brampton and was in a deteriorating domestic situation at the time. I was trying to avoid contact with my “wife” as much as possible and had begun getting up at 5:00 A.M. to ensure that I was far away from the house before she began to stir.

Living in Brampton, I had frequent encounters with various members of the animal kingdom during my walk to the bus stop, including skunks, possums and raccoons. The fact that many of these encounters took place in chilly pre dawn wintry darkness gave them an added frisson of surprise.

Now I have seen a number of posts on Facebook about the benevolent nature of possums and their positive impact on our ecosystems. These posts always include a “cute” picture of the possum and an “Ain’t it pretty” caption. Well, “lovers of possums”, try this one on for size.

It was 5:10 in the morning. Sleepily, I made my way to the washroom with the intent of showering and girding my loins for the day ahead. I reached out to turn on the light, which revealed a fairly large opossum……in the middle of my bathroom floor. Although I am usually pretty quick with a bon mot, I must confess to being at a loss for words at that moment.

There was silence in the room as I surveyed the scene and considered my options. Frankly, while my lodgings had been visited in the past by wild animals, I had never before had to deal with one in my washroom. For his part, the possum froze in place. Quite obviously, he was considering his options too. (For the sake of argument, I am assuming that my visitor was male.) I decided to get him to turn around, facing the (open) door. Flapping one of the hems of my housecoat and providing verbal encouragement, I attempted to “shoo” the beast towards the embrace of Mother Nature. Slowly he turned, and started to sally forth. 

I was beginning to fret, as his progress was slow, and I was hoping that the possum would exit the washroom, move straight ahead for a bit, then turn left and leave the building. If he turned right instead of continuing straight ahead, he would wind up ensnared in the “rat’s nest” of my bedroom, and my situation could deteriorate in a hurry. I could envision the resultant fuss attracting unwelcome attention from the woman living upstairs.

Fortunately I was able to get the possum on the move, and in the right direction. He waddled past Reg the Cat, my little buddy, who himself was looking at me with a look of disbelief as the bizarre scene unfolded. 

The possum turned left and left the room. I shut the sliding door, never to open it again except for entry to or exit from my abode. ( While it had been my routine to leave the door ajar during warm evenings for air circulation purposes, the fact was that two nights prior to this, two raccoons had entered my rooms as Reg and I slept. I had been able to remove them without harm, but clearly my luck in that regard couldn’t last. ) After a morning like that, of course, the rest of the day was anticlimactic.

Thankfully, my experiences with my pets have been more enjoyable, if sometimes not as exciting. ( As an aside, I have found that excitement can be highly overrated as a life experience.) 

After my Dear Lois passed away, I had to make an effort to settle her affairs. Having cleared out her apartment, I was faced with finding a home for her cat, CoCo. So it was that she wound up at my place, staying in my bedroom, because she didn’t get along with other domestic animals. After a week of this arrangement, and almost exactly two years ago,

RIP Little Buddy

Reg suffered a severe deterioration of his health and I had no choice but to have my little buddy put to sleep. This was the third personal loss I suffered that year. My dear friend Peter Mossman had passed away in March and of course Lois had passed in September. I have to confess, Loyal Reader, that I was in a very deep depression for quite some time afterwards, although I never lost hope. Thankfully, my hopes were not misplaced, as Betty came into my life and helped me “pick up the pieces”.

For her part, CoCo has developed quite a personality over the last two years and become a very important part of the family. She has taken to watching television with us, and will sometimes stretch up and stare at objects on the screen, such as other animals or drones. For my part, I enjoy teasing her. For example, if we are watching a pet food commercial, I will opine that any cats being shown eating or sleeping, while ones who are depicted being active are obviously CGI. As CoCo has limited comprehension of English, she generally sits there and cleans herself, although Betty is probably tempted to roll her eyes! In any case, not only does she like eating, but she has apparently figured out how cat treats work. She is doubtless pleased that recent purchases of her “Temptations” treats have generated bonus Air Miles, which we will put towards our Christmas Food Bank donation.

I am finishing off this week with yet another animal who has had an impact on my life. Walking back from the mall, I picked up a piece of bread and tossed it towards a tree beside the path. A little black squirrel grabbed it and began to eat it. Conversationally, I mentioned it to Betty when I got home. She spontaneously hugged me, and I thought that that was simply grand! 


So it came to pass that every couple of weeks we came to purchase a jar of peanuts for distribution to some of the local fauna. While we mainly focus on looking after “Squirrely”, our new, if necessarily remote, household member, I also drop peanuts in front of another tree on the apartment building campus, because squirrels live there too. We will intensify our supply efforts as Winter approaches.

There’s rarely a dull moment around here, let me tell you.

See you soon 


A confirmed Cat person, Peter dabbled with being a water boy, a paper boy and an altar boy before finally settling on a career with the Canadian federal government.  Once, in his youth, he ate a Dutch  oven full of mashed potatoes to win a 5 cent bet with his beloved sister Mary’s boyfriend. (Of course he was much younger and a nickel went a lot farther!))

He has retired to palatial “Chez Montreuil”, which he shares with his little buddy CoCo the Fashionable. He is blessed to have the beautiful Betty in his life. He is not only a plastic aircraft modeller, but a proud “rivet counter”. Military aviation and live music are among other interests of his, and he tries to get out to as many shows as he can. He will be here for your enlightenment whenever the stars align. Profile photo courtesy of Pat Blythe, caricature courtesy of Peter Mossman.

2 Responses to “Peter – Our Little Furry Friends: Pet or Putz?”

  1. Sean Strife Says:

    Awesome article Peter!

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