Colleen Anne Longhurst, pets
(Click on most images to enlarge.)
The earliest pet in the family I can remember was a white and grey cat named Caesar. I don't know where Caesar came from, but with household finance as it was when we were children, it is kind of surprising that we had a pet at all. We all liked animals, but we just didn't have any. It may have been that this was a cat that Colleen found (as remembered by Cathy), and this would not be surprising.
Colleen had taken a literary interest in horses as a child and this developed into taking an interest in riding the real thing. Riding developed into a desire to own and Colleen would go on to own two horses in her lifetime.
Along the way, Colleen graduated from Centralia College as a veterinary assistant. Her earliest jobs were animal-related. Over the years she took on a number of cats and two dogs, sometimes as strays, sometimes from shelters. Not all of her animals lived long lives, but all lived well with her.
With any pet, Colleen knew that there was a guaranteed amount of heartache to go along with the reciprocal pleasure derived from owning pets. To paraphrase her: pets don't often outlive their human owners. It is both very sad and ironic that Colleen was outlived by three cats and a horse at the time of her death.
Having pets can be as expensive as it is rewarding. Colleen looked after her animals very well, spending a good deal of time and money on them all. The most care was required for the horses she owned and the boarding costs would have been over and above that (house pets usually don't need boarding). Medical expenses would have been very difficult to manage with so many animals over the years and there was always something to look after. But, I think it would have been impossible for Colleen to live happily without animals so this really became a cost of living for her.
The ones I can remember, in rough chronological order, were...
Caesar, primarily white with brown markings, male. The name started with a "C" as did the names of all of the children in the family.
Caesar went missing and died in an unusual way. Let out on a winter day, Caesar found its way up into the motor area of a nearby warm car and got injured when the car was re-started. It somehow crawled away and wound up in the window well of a neighbour's house across the street and died there, undiscovered until the spring. (In thinking back about this story, it makes little sense, and while this is what is remembered, I don't know how we figured out that this was what had happened. Why would a cat crawl up into the motor area of a car, why was the cat not wanting back into the house, why was the motor warm, how would we know that this had even happened, were there injuries consistent with being hit by a motor fan, why couldn't any of us find it afterwards? The only thing that would make sense now is that the neighbour must have started their car and saw the cat run off, then left without thinking any more of it until the cat was being looked for. Caesar must have gone into shock, or was unable to find its way home, and died from the injuries or the cold. The name tag never helped.)
A lot of tears, and a while later, a roughly identical cat came to replace Caesar.
Caesar II, primarily white with grey markings, male. Caesar I's facial colour surrounds the eyes while Caesar II's facial colour ends above the brow.
Both Caesars were inquisitive outdoor cats. With eight of us in the household, there was always someone to let them out or back in again all through the day. Both cats were hunters of mice and bugs. Neither cat was owned specifically by any of us, but we likely wouldn't have had either one if it wasn't for Colleen.
The rear entrance to the house on Corby had a covered porch with three windows. When the cats wanted in, both figured out that, if they stood in the porch window closest to the actual kitchen window and looked into the kitchen, they would get noticed and let in.
In what might have been 1978, Caesar II died after likely being hit by a car one poor-weather night near the Fletcher's Creek bridge on Harold Street. After searching, I found him there, off to the side, wet and stiff with either the cold or rigor. He had been there for perhaps a day, maybe two. This was further away than I had even seen the cat to wander. I brought him home in a green bag and buried him the next day at the southwest end of the property on Corby, near the hedge and neighbour's fence.
In 1977, while driving from Waltham to West Concord in Massachusetts one night after work, in the rain, I hit a cat in what must have been a very similar situation to the way Caesar II died. As a driver, there is little you can do to avoid an animal that runs under the wheels, day or night, good weather or bad. Perhaps Caesar's death this way was payback.
While I am not sure of the chronology of the early- and mid-seventies, Colleen had worked for the veterinarian Dr. Campbell when his offices were at the southeast corner of Rutherford and Queen. She also graduated from Centralia College with a degree in Animal Health Technology. She lived in an apartment on Kennedy Road North then moved to an apartment on Leslie Street in Northwood Park. During this time she acquired two cats - Willie and Finnegan.
Willie was a giant of a cat, almost the size of a short-haired lynx.
...was an orange-coloured cat of normal size.
Lauralee Squire Knox
This is a link to some business cards of providers of supplies and services for Colleen's animals.
Contact: email address sounds like cam at longhurst dot ca.
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