Friday, November 18, 2005

GINNY'S MEMORIAL SERVICE

Ginny with her cat friend Blondie


GINNY’S MEMORIAL SERVICE
Copyright 2005 Janice Price


“Wow,” Cotton murmurs, “I can barely believe what I’m reading.”

Crystal is also amazed. “Me either.”

“I can believe it,” Percy says.

“So can I,” echo Cyndi and Cameron.

Buddy wakes from his nap to see all the cats gathered around the computer monitor. He climbs down from Jan’s chair, stretches lazily and asks, “What’s going on? Did I miss something?”

Percy, standing on the computer chair with his front paws resting on the desk near the keyboard, points at the computer screen. “I found an interesting news story on the Internet. Remember Ginny?”

“Who’s Ginny?” Merci asks as she enters the room.

Cotton begins, “The dog –“.

“The dog who –“

“Crystal! Cotton! I found the story. I get to tell it,” Percy huffs.

“Okay, okay,” Crystal grumbles. “I don’t know why I was elected President of the Funny Farm Writing Club. Percy leads all our meetings.”

“This isn’t a meeting,” Percy reminds him. “And if you remember, you elected yourself President.”

“Well, only because you elected yourself Secretary.”

“So? Cameron elected himself Treasurer and he can’t count past his toes.”

“I can too count past my toes!” Cameron automatically protests. Then he admits sheepishly, “Or I could if I had a calculator.”

Buddy, usually the instigator of arguments, tries to break up this one between Crystal, Percy and Cameron. “Stop arguing and one of you tell me what you’re talking about before Jan gets home and breaks up this meeting that we’re not having.”

Percy closes his mouth, looks daggers at Crystal and Cameron as a silent warning not to interrupt again, and begins. “Ginny is a dog. Or was a dog - a schnauzer-Siberian husky mix, to be exact. Jan’s cat Jenny died August 23rd, just two days before Ginny the dog. They were both seventeen years old.”

“Oh, yes,” Merci says quietly, “I remember Jenny. She was an honorary member of our Club.”

Cyndi adds, “I miss her.” The others nod their heads and try to pretend they don’t notice the single tear rolling down Buddy’s face. He is the biggest, strongest, youngest and most stubborn, yet the most emotional, of the group.

Percy clears his throat, not wanting to admit he is also feeling a bit emotional over the loss of Jenny. He resumes. “Philip Gonzales adopted Ginny from the pound when she was about a year old, after someone locked her and her puppies in a closet and abandoned them to die of starvation.”

“Oh, no!” Buddy whoops, at the mention of anyone starving. Eating is his favorite activity. “I hope the barbarian who left her and her puppies to starve was caught and punished!”

“I doubt it,” Cotton says. “But she didn’t die and she had 16 good years with Philip.”

“How do you know?” Crystal asked.

“Jan has two books written about Ginny - The Dog Who Rescues Cats and The Blessing of the Animals. I read them,” Cotton, an avid reader, admits.

Percy picks up where he was interrupted. “Ginny had a knack for finding cats who needed help. Sick, starving, blind, deformed, abandoned, newborns – Ginny found them. Philip took them to a vet and although he kept many of them, he couldn’t keep them all, so he either found a home for each cat or released them back into their feral colonies.”

“But,” Buddy wails, unable to imagine any animal going hungry, “they would starve if he put them outside again.”

“No, they didn’t starve, Buddy,” Percy continues. “Philip and Ginny went around every day and fed all the feral colonies they discovered. His friend Sheilah helped. Ginny is gone but the Ginny Fund still exists to help Philip take care of rescued cats. Ginny even has her own fan club.” (Update 10/2011: The links have been removed as they are no longer related to the Ginny Fund. The Ginny Fund still exists but can only be contacted by postal mail and we don't have their address.)

Crystal can’t contain himself any longer. “But the biiiig news, Buddy, is that on Saturday, November 19th, the Westchester Cat Show will hold a memorial service for Ginny.”

Ginny, the dog,” Cameron adds for emphasis. “Isn’t that neat?”

Buddy grins. “It sure is neat. Maybe next year they’ll give Merci an award. After all, she rescued you, Percy, when you were tiny. Jan thought you were a bird. And, Cameron, you used to follow Merci around like a puppy, until you managed to move in and become part of the Funny Farm.”

“We would probably have a lot more members living here if it wasn’t for you, Buddy.”

“What are you talking about, Cyndi?” Buddy demands.

“I mean, you’re like a cat repellent, Buddy,” Cyndi explains patiently. “You get so excited to see anyone, you leap and bark and scare off the cats that used to follow Merci when she walked Jan.”

“Yes,” Percy adds. “If you were with Merci when she rescued me, I would have been afraid to cry for help. And if I had, no one would have heard me above your excited seal imitation.”

“Seal imitation?”

Merci walks around Percy’s chair and lays a dainty paw on Buddy’s chest. “Yes, Buddy, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that. I don’t want to hurt your feelings since you are my best friend, but when you get excited, you sound like a hysterical barking seal. It’s embarrassing to be on the same block with you.”

Buddy’s mouth opens and closes several times before he manages to speak. “I think I’ll go to Ginny’s memorial service at the cat show.” He stands and walks away. “And I just might not come back,” he calls over his shoulder.

“Oh, you know Buddy never misses a meal,” Percy assures Merci. “He’ll be back before the clock strikes the dinner hour.”

“Are you sure he should be allowed to go to a cat show?” Cotton asks. “Can you imagine the pandemonium when Buddy starts greeting all those cats who don’t know he’s just a harmless hulk? The cats will be climbing the mourners at the memorial service and Buddy will be bowling over the folks with the cats hanging onto their heads with their claws.”

Merci sighs. “Yes. We love Buddy, and we know he’s just a loveable calamity on four feet.” She shakes her head. “He’ll certainly never be another Ginny, but, then, Ginny was unique.”

Percy, Secretary, Funny Farm Writing Club

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