“It’s a chew toy I tell you. Granted, it’s a fancy one, but still a chew toy.”
I saw my Aunty Kate peering eagerly through the clouds and went to see what she was so excited about. Gave her the nose, “Hullo, what’s up?”
“Oh, Fudgie my girl!” she exclaimed giving me a pat on the
head, “Just look at the lovely stuff my Paul is making.”
I was busy trying to see when the rest of the heavenly gang
rudely shoved me out of the way.
“Grnuffff,” Zed Boy shook his head excitedly, “I see your
son is making chew toys.”
Zed misses those—there isn’t a single chew toy in heaven, or put it this way—we haven’t found one yet. He flapped his long ears again, strings of slobber zinged and whizzed around the place.
We all ducked.
Aunty Kate looked at him reproachfully, “Mr Zed, that is rather disgusting and not very polite you know.”
That wicked basset hound gazed balefully at my old wrinkly and then deliberately did it again. He was obviously off doing something naughty when manners were handed out. Being in heaven hasn’t improved him one bit.
Skunk was leaping around like a demented grasshopper. “Those aren’t chew toys—they’re hats.”
Aunty Kate rolled her eyes and chortled, “I don’t somehow think so Skunkie.”
I waited until a cloud drifted past and squinted some more, “It’s a ball, that’s what it is… a pawesome ball.”
“Rubbish,” yowled Ralph, rudely smacking my head with one of
his claw paws. “He’s making a special bowl for cat’s pellets. It’s not a ruddy
Looseyfur purred, “I’m with Ralphie—it’s not a ball, although it is round. Not everything in life is a ball Fudgie,” his whiskers twitched sarcastically.
“Um… looks rather like he’s making biltong to me” Harry piped up.
Grey Cat flicked her tail, luminous green eyes staring intently, clearly, she had no clue what it was.
“I still think it’s a
hat, sort of like a helmet,” Skunk had stopped leaping and was lying next to
Auntie Kate, his paws elegantly crossed, looking as though butter wouldn’t melt
in his little freckled snout.
Zed Boy sank into a folded heap of fur, “It’s a chew toy I tell you. Granted, it’s a fancy one, but still a chew toy.”
Aunty Kate snorted and clapped her hands together, “Don’t be ridiculous you crazy critters! It’s a piece of art. A gorgeous wooden bowl and I don’t for one moment think it’s for cat’s food either. It’s more like a beautiful ornament, or maybe one could put some sweets into it.”
“Annnndddd… yup, that would make it a chew toy!” Zed ambled off contentedly.
Note from mom: Paul Kristafor is my lovely cousin and makes many of these fabulous wooden creations – follow him on Facebook or Instagram to see more and feel free to contact him if you’d like to buy one.
“Oh don’t be so melodramatic Fudge” spat Ralph. You are not seeing double, there are two of us. This is my friend Harry. You can only see his back, but he’s also got white bits on him.
Harry turned around, his face was all black but the rest of
him looked pretty similar to Ralph.
“Hi Harry,” I offered him a paw. We high-fived.
I squidged in-between the two cats, “What are you guys
“Mom’s garden,” replied Ralph. “Check out that huge lizard sunning its self in her garden. I would have liked to have a go at that.”
“Yeah,” remarked Harry “We didn’t even have lizards that big in Limpopo.”
I waved some clouds away to get a clearer view, still a bit
traumatised from the idea that my eyes had gone wonky. There was, indeed, a
huge fat lizard lying smack dab in mom’s front garden.
“Oooh,” I squealed like a girl “It is ginormous. It’s going to eat that saucy sausage dog for sure.”
I felt a cold nose slink in from the side. Skunk had joined
“Whatcha all lookin’ at?” Skunk’s little freckly nose
wrinkled up as he smiled at us all.
“Come and see Skunkie, there’s a beastie in mom’s garden.”
“Where?” Skunk’s sharp eyes scanned around the place.
Harry raised a white-tipped paw and pointed “Right there.”
“Where? I can’t see anything but rocks and stuff.”
“Next to the honeysuckle bush,” Ralph tipped his head in the
Skunk barked out loud, making Harry leap up, wide-eyed in alarm.
Ralph flicked his tail from side to side, a sure sign that he was a little annoyed.
“Sillies!” grinned Skunk with his tongue hanging out, “Silly Billies! That’s not a beastie. It’s mom’s garden art. I watched her make that lizard out of rocks a few days ago. Her friend Lynne sent her a picture, and you know mom, the next minute she’d dashed off to the stone shop with Alpha and stocked up.”
another one – a huge flying thing.” Harry pointed to something under the tree.
“It’s a dragonfly,” Skunk explained patiently. “I saw her
make that one too. Carolynn sent her that one, except mom jazzed it up a bit
and now she’s not sure if she likes it or not.”
Ralph licked his whiskers. “What’s next? Another insect or
“Erm… no. But Andrea sent her a nice picture of a spiral
thingy. She just has to convince Alpha to go on a rock gathering mission in the
bush. Rudi gathered some stones for her too, but I don’t somehow think that
they are going to be enough. You see
those blommies,” Skunk waved a long skinny black and white leg widely over the
garden, “over there and there… plus the ones next to the lizard. You see them?”
We all nodded.
“Well that was a group effort. About six people sent mom pictures of those—Lisa and Marlene and Earlene and…”
“Okay Skunk, we get the picture.” I interrupted. Skunkie can be a bit garrulous at times. “So
this isn’t actually mom’s garden. It’s got a bit of everybody in it.”
“Yup, that’s about right.” Skunk bounced off.
Harry nudged Ralph. “Come on, I’ll show you my cutie girls, but they are getting so big now.”
I gazed at the garden, hoping for a glimpse of mom, but all I saw was that Mr Edge lurking under the daisy bush.
Every now and then I amble around the heavenly palace and check out what my humans are up to. My favourite old wrinkly is Aunty Kate of course. I found her chortling and wiping her eyes with mirth.
“Oh Fudgie!” she exclaimed. “It was so funny. I wish you
could have seen it?”
I wiggled my eyebrows at her… “Seen what Aunty Kate?”
“Why, Walter the Dog of course.”
I sighed, she was losing me here. I had no clue who Walter
the Dog was. Sometimes these old dudes get a bit mixed up with things. Just because
they are up in heaven does not make them perfect you know. Like Zed is still a
hoodlum. Nothing has changed.
Aunty Kate patted a nice ploofy bit of cloud next to her and said “Come on Fudgie-girl. I’ll explain.”
I settled myself down next to her.
“My youngest daughter, Lisa and her family live in Auz and
he’s their dog,” she began.
I held up a paw, “Whoa! Aunty Kate, I thought Oz was a place
in a book, where the wizard lived, y’know?”
She roared out laughing, “Silly Fudgie. No! Auz is short for
Austrailia. It’s got nothing to do with The Wizard of Oz.”
Aaah, of course. Lucky I’m furry and nobody could see that I was blushing. I gave her the nose—carry on then.
“It was Walter’s third birthday and Lisa handed him a nice dish of polony with three cheesy candles. He gobbled it down in the wink of an eye.”
My mind wandered for a moment. Why had I never had cheesy candles? I liked cheese. The only time I can remember getting cheese was when I was sick and mom tried to hide pills in a smooshed up block of the stuff. I snarfed the cheese and spat out the pills. Come to think of it, I never really had that polony stuff either.
Shook my ears and tried to concentrate on what the aged aunt was babbling about.
She was laughing so much all I could see were her teeth, prattling
on about a gerbera. Obviously I’d missed
a bit. Gently put my paw on her leg to indicate that she should back up.
She tapped my paw. “And I’m supposed to be the deaf one. Hah! Well… after giving him his ‘birthday cake’” yet another snorty giggle “Lisa went out into her garden to check on her plants. She adores her gerberas and so does Walter.”
I was so confuzzled, why would she go into her garden to check on the gerbils. Aren’t those foofie little rat-like things? Probably Walter likes to chase them or sit on them or something.
“Gerbera’s Fudgie, gerbera’s! Not gerbils, you ridiculous
hound. Gerbera’s are like big huge daisies and they come in all different
colours. Here, I’ll show you.”
She fiddled around and spoke into her heavenly tablet, smiling beatifically. “Thank God I don’t have to deal with ‘The Beast’ anymore. Being able to talk to this thing is so much easier. Pity Saint Peter hasn’t sorted out the email though, everything seems to just get stuck on the cloud and never actually gets down to earth.”
She showed me a picture of Lisa’s deep pink flower.
A dim light flickered on. Mom used to have a lighter pink one like that. Aunty Estelle had brought it as a pressie from Grandma for helping her move house. Once it had two flowers coming up at the same time and they looked like eyes on stalks, after that she called it the spy plant. She was quite holy about it and kept it up on the table outside.
“So,” Aunty Kate continued, “Lisa didn’t realise that Walter had snuck outside with her and after she’d chatted to her flower and given it some love, she went back inside and closed the fly-screen door. That naughty Walter was skulking around behind the bushes and did not go inside with her like he should have done. Lisa would have never left him outside on purpose, he could go walkabout in the neighbourhood because their house doesn’t have any fences or gates.”
I gasped! “What? No fences? No gates? How do they deal with
the baddies then? Doesn’t all their stuff get filched? What happens if their
doglet wanders off and gets hit by a car or pinched or something?”
“They don’t have many baddies where they live, Fudgie my love. It’s quite safe. And I was keeping an eye on Walter, to check that he didn’t get himself into trouble. In fact, he did the pinching!”
Gave her the nose, good Aunty—carry on with the story then.
“So about an hour later, Lisa heard a plaintive little woof
by the front door and realised that Walter was outside. He was standing there
waiting patiently to come inside, with some petal crumbs hanging from his chops.
My poor Lisa was mortified on two different levels. The first was that she’d left him outside, and the second was that he’d demolished her precious gerbera —the last one standing.”
Aunty Kate chortled some more. “He’s such a naughty dog. He seems to think those flowers are the tastiest treats. I never actually met him, you know, but I did chat to him on Skype sometimes.”
She looked pensive for a moment, then picked up her tablet and clicked on her heavenly crossword… “Do you know who Saint Lucy was Fudges? I do miss my Sudoku’s, some of these crosswords are ridiculously hard. I’m not allowed to go up to the next level until I get this one right.”
Nope. I didn’t know who Saint Lucy was either. The only Loosey I knew was Looseyfur – our little red devil of a cat—there was nothing vaguely saintly about him; but said I’d go and find out for her.
Hah! No wonder mom kept her spy plant on the table, the sneaky weasel! Clearly, the stuff was scrumptious. I wandered off to find Loosey, he’d been around when we got that plant—perhaps he’d had a taste of it.
You know, one of the coolest things about being heavenly
hounds is that we can see everything. Anywhere. Any time!
We were watching Luan riding around the farm on a horse. I
nudged Skunk, “Check out my boy Luan—he’s all grown up!”
Skunk frowned, “Erm… he’s actually MY boy Luan.”
“Remember when he was a little kid?” Zed Boy chortled, “I
used to sit on him and make him go ooef!”
“You used to sit on everybody,” Skunk glared at him
balefully, “Even me.”
“You were such a narfy mutt, always falling over your own
I rolled my eyes back down to earth—you can’t exactly roll
your eyes to the heavens when you’re already there now, can you? “Stop you squabbling
you wretched creatures. We’re talking about whose boy he is.”
“I remember when I got him,” Skunk’s whiskers twitched.
“YOU didn’t get him! HE got you. In fact… WE found you in
that pet shop. I wanted the rabbit but noooo… “ Zed flapped his ears in
I listened with interest, this was before my time. “So what actually happened?”
Slayer sauntered up. “I was around, I know what went down. Luan was visiting from Cape Town. Zed had sharp
scraggly toenails and mom took him to have them snipped at the pet shop.”
Slayer flicked his tail and sneered at Zed. “You squealed like a pig!”
Zed glowered menacingly at the black cat and narrowed his
eyes. “Did not.”
“Yup, you did. Mom told me. Anyhowl, there was a wooden box
with puppies in it. Luan dashed over and started smooching one of them.”
“Me,” said Skunk. “He started smooching me! He looked at mom
with big eyes and said can we have it, pleeaaasse can we, can we? Meanie mom
said No! You’re going home in a few days and
I’ll have to look after it.”
“Yah,” said Zed, “I wanted the rabbit but didn’t get that
either. After they finished messing with my body bits, we all went home.
Without your own skanky Skunky self!”
Slayer hissed “Who’s telling this story?”
“You are,” replied Skunk lying down, crossing his long black
and white paws in front of him. “Carry on.”
“So when mom went to fetch Alpha from work that evening,
Luan launched into beggy mode, and Alpha agreed to go and take a look. Mom was
not pleased. She’d already told him on her tik-tikky thing that we did not want
you. Luan dashed over to the box and out of all the wriggling blobs of fur, he
picked up the same one he’d been smooching earlier.”
“Me!” beamed Skunk. “He picked me! Alpha took one look and said
okay. Mom whispered in capital
letters WHAT do you mean OKAY? But Alpha just looked at her and said we can have that dog!
And that, my fellow furballs, was the beginning of Skunk the Flying Punk!”
Zed drooled a bit, “You were such a naffy little thing, the size of a rodent. Such a push over. I used to steal your camo baskie—remember?”
“Then I’d go lie in your baskie and you didn’t like that either!”
Zed and Skunk were always bickering.
I stood up. “I’m off to play some ball – I’ve got a match against the SPCA team.” I shook my furry bod, then took one last peek and smiled with all my famous Fudgie fangs.
My woggledy whiskers. Our boy Luan is going to be a vet. How
I’d been supervising the latest batch of SPCA doglets that
had just arrived. They’re always a bit rumbustious when they first get here,
having been kept in small spaces, they tend to charge around heaven like
Heard some raucous laughter wafting from the corner where my fellow furballs usually hang out, spying on mom. I sidled over to take a look.
Zed Boy was literally rolling around on his back, snorting with
mirth. Skunk was giggling like a girl and Ralphie looked a tad miffed. I barged
through the heaving mass of fur to see for myself what was going on downstairs.
Nothing. There was absolutely nothing to see. Mom was busy
shutting the gate and getting into her Tucson.
“You missed it,” howled Zed Boy. “That mom is such a sucker!”
I glared at him. How rude. “What do you mean?”
“That lil’ brown sausage dog thing has her wrapped around its
My whiskers prickled, I did not like to think of Mom having
another precious doglet, but I suppose sharing is caring and all that crud.
Skunk sniggered and shook his ears. “It was hilarious. Gemma
gets all needy and hates it when mom
goes out, so she hops and jumps around the place like a demented flea, trying
to get into the car. But it is waaaay too high for her—as you well know Fudgie.”
I glared at that black and white long-legged beastie, remembering all too well when they first got that Tucson. I had to hop onto a crate to get into the car. I considered saying that at least I had never hooched in a car, but then decided not to be mean.
“Well” continued Skunk the Punk, “She picks her up and puts her on the back seat. That saucy sausage immediately hops into the front, looking all excited, like she’s going for a drive or something. Mom tells her to get into the back but she doesn’t listen.”
I still failed to see what was so funny. Obviously mom was
taking Gemma for a drive or something. She often used to take me out with her.
Skunk started sniggering and chortling so much that Zed Boy
picked up the story line. “So that stupid mom drives out of the gate, turns off
the car and walks around to the passenger side. Quick as a wink, Gemma hops
over onto the driver’s seat. Mom goes back to her side and Gem jumps into the
back. Mom goes to open the back door and that mutt scrambles into the front
“It’s too ridiculous for words,” retorted Ralphie, flicking
his tail. “Pathetic in fact, mom should know better.”
I still didn’t see what was funny and wiggled my eyebrows at
the long dog. “Explain.”
“Oh Fudge! You are so
dense sometimes,” cackled Zed Boy shaking his head. Basset slobber zinged all
over the place.
“Erghhh!” yowled Ralph, back-peddling. “That’s gross. You
Zed Boy smirked and continued. “Mom was only taking that
foolish little creature for a teensy trip out of the driveway. When she finally
managed to get hold of her, she plonked her back inside and closed the gate.
That silly mutt looked so depressed.”
I sniffed and trotted off to check up on the new recruits. My woggledy whiskers! I never liked it when mom went off and left me either, but I wouldn’t have dreamed of behaving in such a way.
It was a fine feathery day in heaven and I was flitting around, after just having spent some time helping my Aunty Kate finish a crossword. She used to do Sudoku’s on earth but up here we have heavenly word puzzles that involve the Saints. Some of them are a bit elusive, and even though she’s a good Catholic auntie and knows a lot – I’ve been here longer than she has, so was able to make a few suggestions.
Came across Ralphie rolling around on a cloud, howling with laughter. That will teach them to replace me with such a ragamuffin, he spluttered with mirth.
A tad unseemly behaviour for heaven, but then Ralph is a bit of a gangster at heart.
I peered over his shaking shoulder to see what was so incredibly amusing.
They were in the bedroom…
Alpha was having his usual breakfast in bed. Jack was sitting on Alpha’s chest, attempting to lick the porridge off his face. Alpha’s infinite patience was being somewhat tried.
Hey! I exclaimed. That’s my porridge bowl!
Don’t be stupid, replied Ralph, that’s my porridge bowl! Except I used to sit elegantly at the end of the bed and watch him eat. If he took too long I would loudly voice my disdain by turning around and facing the cupboard. When he’d finished he would ting-ting on the edge of the bowl with his spoon. I’d ignore him for a bit, then casually saunter up and do him the favour of licking up the last few morsels of porridge.
I glared at Ralph. I’m telling you – that was MY porridge bowl!
I would sit on the floor next to Alpha’s side of the bed and drool, waiting for him to finish. Sometimes I’d have to hurry him along with a little whinge or two. He’d give me THE look and tell me it was HIS breakfast. I should be patient. He also used to do the ting-ting on the side of his bowl thing with a spoon. Was quite funny actually… every now and then Alpha would get out of bed and almost slip on a puddle of drool. He’d make hysterical eeergh gross disgusting noises.
By now Zed and Skunk had joined our group and were also peering down from the skies.
Oi! I remember that bowl, yipped Skunkie. Alpha always had his brekkers out of it. When I grew into my legs I could easily reach the bowl next to his bed and scarf a lick when mom was not watching. Not that Alpha ever left very much in it. Wasn’t very exciting really, preferred to steal Looseyfur’s food.
Zed scowled. His legs were too short to reach anything on a table and he didn’t like to hear Skunk the Punk boasting.
We all watched as Jack tried again and again to stick his face into Alpha’s porridge bowl. He was very persistent. Each time Alpha would flick his nose gently. Jack would sit back and purr loudly, wait until Alpha was distracted by lifting the spoon to his mouth and try sticking his head in the bowl again.
Flick sniff flick sniff purr flick dodge flick purr… so it went.
Mom piped up… You are wasting your time you know. Cats cannot be trained. You’ve been doing this for three weeks now and nothing has changed. Jack still tries to lick the Weetabix off your chops.
Alpha made a face at mom. He spooned up the last bit of porridge and put the bowl down on the bed. Jack dived into it. Literally!
Hey! Alpha exclaimed, waving the spoon around. I had not even ting-tinged yet.
Jack did not flicker a whisker, merely continued to ravish the bowl like he had not eaten in days – which I know was a lie because I’d seen mom play the choosey game with him in the kitchen earlier.
Then Ralph sauntered off… Show’s over for today furry folks – let’s go do some angel stuff.
I was just floating around in heaven the other day. Flitting around from colour to colour on the Rainbow Ridge – supervising the new additions that tend to take advantage of the space.
Even I, Miss Fudgie-wena, took advantage when I first arrived. I mean it is ginormous fun to leap through the rainbow and become rainbow coloured – especially when you have a long bod like I do – but let’s furry face it – doing that a gazillion times becomes old very quickly.
We don’t want to wear out the rainbow now, do we?
So like I said, I was supervising things, sniffing around. Generally making my own self useful where ever possible, when I heard that there was a commotion going on at the Pearly Gates.
Curiosity won and I decided to go take a peek.
Sometimes I can calm things down a smidgeon – me being Head Angel Doglet and all.
There was a big crowd. Everybody was pushing and shoving and trying to see what the problem was. Such unbecoming behaviour in heaven.
Heard some whispering… a cat had arrived at the Pearly Gates that was so big they were having a hard time finding angel wings to fit.
Now there are rules in heaven about wings. People get people wings. Dogs get dogs wings. Cats get cats wings. Pigs would love to have wings but everybody knows they can’t fly. They have to snuffle around the place.
Nosed my way closer to the front of the crowd to see what was going on.
A large black and white cat was sitting looking extremely disgruntled. Various pairs of wings were being fitted on his back and just as quickly discarded. Every now and then the cat would twitch his whiskers and raise its yellow eyes to heaven – which is pretty hard to do when you are already in heaven. Clearly he had been in a spot of trouble because his nose was a total mess.
“Gerroffme!” He yowled – as the 37th pair of too-small wings was tried on his back. “I’m not a freaking fairy!”
Saint Peter looked on – a bit disapprovingly. Getting to Heaven’s Gate is quite an achievement – so you do not want to jeopardize actual entry into heaven once you are so close.
Had a feeling of déjà vu. Thought something looked a bit familiar.
Suddenly it hit me. Ralphie!
But what was my Ralphie doing in heaven? He wasn’t due for a good couple of years.
Sidled up closer to check that I was not getting short sighted. I WAS NOT. It was indeed my old furry bud, Ralph.
Gave him the nose.
Oi! Hullo Ralph.
His cat eyes opened wide and his whiskers quivered bravely. He smiled with all his sharp pointy fangs. Even his eyebrows wiggled and jiggled with joy.
Fudges! Ralphie murmured and slinked his furry body against mine. We nuzzled for a bit. It felt like home.
What is the problem Ralph? I breathed in his ear.
He hissed…. Get these silly wallies off me. I. Am. Not. A. Fairy Cat!
I looked at him with big brown eyes. Ralphie! Do not jeopardise your spot in heaven. Just take the wings and shhhhh… You are going to be an angel – not a fairy!
Ralphie, however, was having none of it.
He shook and shivered and refused to even vaguely entertain the thought of having any sort of wings on his back.
Saint Peter’s face got blacker and blacker.
Eventually he intervened… “Ralph…” he murmured in a silky smooth voice… “would you like to go downstairs and catch rats for Old Nic?”
Ralph looked at me – not really understanding the question properly. For a smarty-pants cat he’s quite doff sometimes.
I shook my head vehemently. Then I suddenly had a brain wave. I whispered to one of the flighty angels who were responsible for fitting the new additions with wings.
She reappeared with a nice selection of mouse wings that could be worn on Ralph’s legs – like manly spurs.
Clearly Ralphie thought that this whole idea was not too shabby because he gave in and let them attach the wings. He fluttered those wings and flew like an angel.
Saint Peter breathed a sigh of relief. So did I.
Zoomed up next to Ralph and gave him the nose.
Hey… it’s not so bad up here… come on – I’ll introduce you to Zed, Skunk and Looseyfur. Then let’s go see what mom is doing downstairs.
Ten years ago, I was the editor of a well-read community newspaper. The Springs Advertiser was fondly called the Addie by the community of this Gauteng mining town. As do all local papers, the Addie carried a mix of news – serious political and crime articles, light-hearted community events, sport and entertainment. What really pushed our readers’ buttons; however, were stories about animals. This was a town that loved its four-legged inhabitants.
Enter Ginny Stone, a new transplant to the town. In November 2007, she pitched a weekly column to us, ‘written’ by her Basset Hound Zed, with some co-authoring by Skunk the flying punk dog. Within the shortest space of time, the Dog’s Blog was as entrenched in the town as are its famous art deco buildings.
I loved it when the column landed on my desk. Quirky, funny, stubborn, opinionated Zed’s take on living in the Stone/Theron household, and his observations of the two-legged creatures who shared his space, was a wonderful reprieve from complaints about potholes and reports of hijackings.
Tragedy struck, however, with the family losing both Zed and Skunk within a short space of time. We raged, mourned and commiserated but it was clear the show had to go on, and so the Dog’s Blog continued. Zed’s successor was a well-fed, sweet mutt aptly called Fudges, and her co-conspirator was Looseyfur, the little red devil of a cat.
I trust you will enjoy as much as I did this wonderful compilation of stories that capture a bit of the magic pets bring to our lives.
Note from mom: Cathy is no longer a newspaper editor – but she has not stopped writing or editing. She and her partner have their own business Allycats Public Relations – a specialist writing and editing agency. They write, edit and proofread all content… from annual reports to website copy! For more information visit their website.