I love animals – all creatures great and small (except for bugs, most reptiles and anything considered vermin). When I was younger I was determined that I was going to be a veterinarian, but then I realised that there was no way I would be able to put down an animal if that time came – I simply wouldn’t have it in me.
The current love of my life is this beautiful little budgie named Jeffrey. He was given to me as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago and I just adore him. He always does the funniest things and is a constant source of happiness and entertainment.
Prior to Jeffrey, I had this lovely little lady in my life for nearly ten years. She was given the ever so original name of Chicky. One of the most vivid memories I have of her, is the day a dog got into our yard and killed one of our other chickens. We thought the dog had got Chicky as well and after searching high and low for her with little success, we discovered she had managed to get into the house and was hiding under my bed – where she knew she would be safe. She was very beautiful and also very smart. It was one of the saddest days of my life when she died.
So, seeing as how I love animals so much, it would stand to reason that I love reading stories about animals. Especially when they are true stories about animals that have made a real difference in someone’s life. Cleo by Helen Brown is one such book.
Cleo was a beautiful, black, Abyssinian cross, who came into the life of Helen’s family, just when she was needed most. Helen and her family were recovering from a tragedy that no family should have to experience and one which I think they will never really recover from. It was truly a cruel reminder that brought Cleo into Helen’s home and at first she didn’t want to keep the kitten. She swore black and blue that she wasn’t a cat person – adamant that she was a dog person and that she would probably inadvertently kill the kitten.
Fortunately, Helen’s fears were proven to be wrong and Cleo showed herself to be a guardian angel and healer for Helen. Cleo did, in fact, live well past her use by date (about thirteen years over actually). She was a constant source of friendship and love during her long time with the family and at one stage, just after she moved in, saved Helen’s life. Things were rarely done without Cleo’s stamp of approval beforehand, including the allowing of new people into the home and even the selection of a new lover. If Cleo didn’t like you, there had to be a very good reason for it.
I really believe that humans take for granted the impact that pets and animals in general have on our lives. I can think of plenty of times when I was growing up (and sometimes even now), that I was having some kind of crisis and the only creature that I wanted to speak to was my pet. They listen to you (or at least seem to), they don’t interrupt and even though they can’t give you advice, sometimes it’s just nice to get things off your chest.
You don’t need to be a cat person to read this book. If you have ever had a pet in your life that you had an extra special connection with then I can guarantee that you will not only love this book, but you will really understand it.
RATING – 9 out of 10. One point deducted for the creation of tears.
WHO SHOULD READ IT – If you like animals, you definitely have to read this.
WHO YOU’LL LOVE – It would be completely remiss of me to choose anyone but Cleo.
FAVOURITE QUOTE – “Cleo was changing my attitude to indulgence. Guilt isn’t in cat vocabulary. They never suffer remorse for eating too much, sleeping too long or hogging the warmest cushion in the house. They welcome every pleasurable moment as it unravels, and savour it to the full until a butterfly or falling leaf diverts their attention. They don’t waste energy counting the number of calories they’ve consumed or the hours they’ve frittered away sunbathing”.