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lilacs and cats and friday afternoons…

June 13, 2015

_DSC8936Even on the third floor deck off the back of our top floor apartment – the scent of lilacs licks my nose. That most magnificent of late spring blooming trees.

Nothing, for me, heralds the arrival of late spring / early summer like the smell of fresh lilacs hanging heavy and open from the trees, with a warm breeze filling the air with that lush spring smell.

Sadly, I have yet to see a single person stop and smell the lilacs. I know some people still do. It’s just that I have not seen any – that’s how rare they are.

But for right now – it’s a Friday afternoon in Halifax – on the warmest day of the year so far – work is done for another week – I have a beer and a book – and the air is thick with lilacs.

I watch our cat Wally as he greets all the passer-bys going through our backyard. He is such a therapy cat. And, I have to say, a happy glorious slut about all the attention he receives.

_DSC4465Our drive and backyard are used as a walk-through from South Park to Tower Road, as we are about 1/2 way between street corner blocks here in the south end. Our parking area backs on to a parking lot for an apartment building behind us and so every day about 200 people take the short-cut of walking along the south edge of our backyard – either going-or-coming from work, or to school, or to the Sobey’s just down the street from us.

And Wally has no problem sucking up to as many people as he can get to in a day.

He sits in the grass alongside the path, lays down as a person gets closer, and almost always rolls on his back for any woman who will stop and rub his belly.

I have discovered – to my delight – that a number of these people have come to rely on Wally as part of their daily routine. Some nurses told me one afternoon that they always look forward to seeing Wally at the end of their day. That after the tension of a 12hr shift (we are a block from the IWK Hospital) ten minutes with Wally is extremely therapeutic.

Now, if you know cats, you know that not every cat can be a therapy cat. Most cats do not have the inclination, or the interest.

_DSC7512Miss Price, our other cat, would be revolted at the thought of strangers happily mauling her all day. It’s just not something a Dowager Empress would ever want to do!

We have a new therapy cat at the youth shelter where I work. He just wondered in off the street one day a few weeks ago – half starved – and made himself at home.

Anyone can pet him while he’s sprawled out on one of the couches, and, if the kids decide to leave the door to their rooms open at night, he will go about the house sleeping on a half dozen beds. As you might imagine in a youth homeless shelter, it’s the first unconditional love most of these kids have ever had.

I’m a big fan of the therapy cat.

They may not be moody and mysterious like most other cats, but they bring so much joy to those who love them. And to those that need them.

So I smile at Wally’s routine as I watch another young woman stop and stroke and coo over him…a lilac breeze on the air…

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