Tag Archives: pets

Rusty, Misty, and Raven…

Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes.
Because for those who love with heart and soul,
there is no such thing as separation – Rumi.

Rusty - ginger cat, Misty - grey cat, and Raven - black cat

Twenty-eight years ago, just after Vince and I got married, we rescued Rusty, a skinny five-month-old kitten, living wild under my in-laws’ garden shed. We took him home and discovered he was literally a week or so away from death. He had skinned pads on his paws, half a tail, and was severely malnourished. We loved him for twelve years. Four months after losing Rusty, we took our children to pick up Misty, a five-week-old grey kitten. At the farm, the farmer (inundated with cats and kittens) shrewdly placed the tiniest black kitten, Raven, of the same litter in my ten-year-old daughter’s hands. We went home with two cats. Last month and this month, after fifteen-and-a-half years, we said goodbye to both cats with heavy hearts.

We have been extremely blessed by all three cats, and as Charles Dickens said – What greater gift than the love of a cat. Cats love because they want to and when you have the love of a cat you truly have a gift.

I want to remember my cats and how their little paws have stamped themselves right into my heart.

four photos of Rusty ginger cat. ONe on bricks, one asleep on bed, one in a tree, one in snow.

Rusty © Lisa Shambrook

Rusty stole my heart, my little orange tiger, and my shadow. Wherever I went Rusty followed. He’d accompany me in the garden, sunning himself amongst the catmint while I gardened, he’d sit beside me as I wrote on my laptop pushing his head under my arm, and when my lap was empty he’d cuddle up on it.

Rusty was adorable, had the softest snow white and golden ginger fur, and the brightest amber and green eyes. He was the sweetest cat in the world, loving unconditionally like a puppy!

Rusty was also the clumsiest cat I’ve ever known, missing half his tail seemed to affect his balance and spacial awareness, making him a cat who’d jump up onto a table and knock everything off it in the process! He even got lost when we moved to Wales getting shut in a neighbour’s garage overnight. Then another time he disappeared and failed to come when he was called. We found him around the corner mewing piteously at a neighbour’s identical front door. He was my world when we had no other pets and a young family. He was gentle and playful and all the children adored him. He passed away at twelve-years-old after kidney failure from an infected cat bite.

It was April 2004, and I missed Rusty so bad that we decided to find another cat, and Vince knew a friend with a farm full of cats, and we went to collect Misty. The farmer was canny and when Raven was placed in Bekah’s hands there was no going back and one cat became two.

Though sisters, Misty and Raven were so different. Misty was grey and white like the early morning mist, and she purred quietly, was gentle, loved her food, and didn’t stray far from the house. Raven, as black and sleek as midnight, purred like a motorbike, was fierce, adventurous, and a true explorer. Misty loved bathing in the sun close to the house, probably so she could easily hear food being put out… and Raven would disappear for hours and hours, traipsing through the forests and coming back whenever she fancied.

four photos of Misty grey cat - one stretching on bed, one in a box, one with a daisy, one with pumpkin

Misty © Lisa Shambrook

Misty and Raven spent their whole lives ignoring each other, as siblings often do – you never found them together, they wouldn’t sleep on the same bed during the day, and up until their last year they hissed at each other whenever they met in the house! However, if one was in distress, they joined forces and fought for each other.

Raven got into trouble, a lot. She was tiny, skinny, and passionate, but she attracted trouble like a magnet, costing us hundreds in vet visits to treat the wounds she sustained from other neighbourhood cats. Misty would sit on our flat extension roof and when other cats came by with threats Raven would rock up and rescue her. As they got older though, more cats appeared in the locality and they found it harder to hold their own against the younger cats. A few years ago, a family of six cats showed up and ours found it hard. When Raven went missing for three days, and finally turned up stressed and perturbed, we decided to make them house cats. Misty accepted it easily, having never gone far from home, Raven though found it much harder, but it worked out and they became happy indoor cats.

four photos of Raven black cat - one curled up, one looking stately, one with a daisy, one with pumpkins

Raven © Lisa Shambrook

Misty slept with Cait, and Raven cuddled up to Bekah every night, enjoying the convenience of our beds and ignoring any cat beds we ever provided. When Bekah moved out Raven chose my bed, and stalked in every night after being fed. She’d sit on my pillow while Vince and I hugged, then she’d mew when she decided it was bed time, and push between us to claim the centre of the bed!

We now have our beds back to ourselves, and that’s probably when I miss them the most. It’s nice to cuddle my husband without interruption, but I used to love going to sleep with a warm furry body curled up against my shoulder.

When you needed a hug Misty and Raven would be there, snuggling close, pushing their head against you, purring and loving. After fifteen years their health mirrored each other and they slipped downhill with old age and common cat issues. Misty developed hyperthyroidism and then kidney failure, and Raven was thwarted by liver tumours, and they passed away within a month of each other.

Rusty - ginger cat, Misty - grey cat, and Raven - black cat

Rusty, Misty, Raven © Lisa Shambrook

Like I said, echoing Dickens, what greater gift than the love of a cat.
We had one of the greatest gifts, three times over.

To Rusty, Misty, and Raven…

What is the Love in Your Life?

Valentine’s Day always makes me think about the love in my life
So, here it is, everything that means Love to me… 

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What brings you LOVE in your life?

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Vince, Bekah, Dan, and Caitlin © Lisa Shambrook

My instant response to what brings me the most joy and love in my life is easy – my Family. My husband and children have brought me every emotion under the moon, but love overrides it all. My marriage and partnership with my husband is the most important relationship to me as my children came from this union. I’ve written about our love before and it’s blatantly obvious how much my children mean to me. Each one of them is a unique human being and I love how different each relationship is, how much fun and laughter and joy they bring to my life.
This is Love.

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Rusty, Roxy, Raven, and Misty © Lisa Shambrook

Soft fur, purrs (the cats, they can’t help it!), devotion, dependence, twinkling eyes, curling up on your lap (yes, even a sixty pound German Shepherd tries this!), adoration, kneading kitty paws, wagging tail (generally the dog!), wet noses, pricked up ears, padding paws. Rusty, Roxy, Misty and Raven.
This is Love.

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Nature, scriptures, freeagency, and crystals © Lisa Shambrook

I don’t often write about my religious views and my Faith. My faith is vast, ever evolving, and it embraces humanity with a Christ-like vision, but my Christianity intertwines with aspects of nature and Paganism and the peace of Buddhism. I think Spirituality is a vast subject and faith is very personal. My beliefs make sense to me, and no one can challenge what my heart reveals to me.
This is Love.

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Art, worldbuilding, sketches and notes, and dragons © Lisa Shambrook

I need a Creative outlet, without it I’d go quietly mad. I draw, plan, sketch, paint, sculpt, write, design, craft, photograph, and create. I create worlds with words, characters, plots, emotion, and dragons. I share my emotions in every piece I write or make.
This is Love.

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Acorn Cups, Trollbeads, Leather jacket, and Dr Martens Boots © Lisa Shambrook

Most of the things that bring me love are free, family, faith, nature, pets, imagination, but sometimes we have material items that mean something to us. If I wear something ‘til it’s worn out, then it’s been needed and loved. My leather jackets end up worn and torn, as do my beloved boots. I adore gems, I love pretty things, so my bracelet adorned with silver tokens and Murano glass beads means a great deal to me. Each trinket and bead means something, a moment, a place, people, something precious. And as I’m a squirrel, bushy-tailed and anxiously curious I have a thing for acorn cups and hazelnut shells.
This is Love.

What is the Love in your life?

Where is Your Happy Place?

When life is throwing shards of ice at you, your head is ready to explode,
or you are just in a dark, bottomless pit (figuratively – otherwise you’re not going anywhere…), where do you go? Where’s your happy place?

Where is your Happy Place - Lisa Shambrook - The Last Krystallos
Last week I blogged about water – it’s my happy place. Where’s yours?

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Feet in the water © Lisa Shambrook

I am happiest when I have my feet in water, down at the beach, letting waves ebb and flow as I splash through the ocean. This is where I am in my element. It revitalises me, lifts me, and energises me. It calms me, relaxes me, and soothes my spirit. Sometimes, if I can’t get to the sea, I can sit by or dabble my feet in a river, and the rush of water will still my senses. The sound, the movement, the texture of water all affect me, and without doubt it’s where I am happiest.

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© Lisa Shambrook

Woodlands and forests have a similar effect. The magic of trees, bluebells, wild anemones, winding tracks and pathways offer me another place of happiness and retreat. Listening to the wind whisper, fae glancing through flowers, and even trickling streams take me away from the troubles outside and stresses decrease.

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High on a Mountain Top © Lisa Shambrook

My oldest daughter loves mountain tops, the rugged landscape and the freedom of the wind and the air. I, too, feel alive when I stand upon mountains and hillsides!

Where are my other happy places? How do I cope when I can’t get out and throw myself headlong into nature?

My dog and my cats are another safe zone. They have the added bonus of interacting with you too. I’d never known complete unconditional love, until I owned a dog. Her dependence on me is total and she gives me everything. Deep chocolate brown eyes and loyalty that’s unheard of in most creatures, including humans. If things are bad, she knows and she’ll sit beside me with her head on my knees.  She also gets me out, dog walking, and into nature every day! She is my happy place.

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Misty, Raven and Roxy © Lisa Shambrook

My cats, though more conditional with their love, are also there for me. Run your fingers through soft fur and listen to a cat’s purr, and you can’t fail to feel better. One reason why it’s proven that the older generation live longer and happier when they own a pet, is that they give you love and a reason to go on.

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Writing and Art © Lisa Shambrook

My other releases are writingnothing takes me away from stress and trouble than losing myself in another world, in words and places that don’t exist outside my head – and creativity. Making things, stories, or art, or craft, take me to happy places.

All these things, all these happy places can be solitary, or with my family. My family are always welcome in all my happy places – they make my happy places even better!

Where are you happy places?

Where do you go when it’s all too much?

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Chocolate © Lisa Shambrook

PS. We probably shouldn’t forget chocolate…that’s always a happy place!

Tell me about your Happy Place…

For the love of our Furry Friends…

A post by Laura Zera this morning, along with a status posted by Jo Cannon: “In psychiatry, whenever we see a depressed patient, we always do a ‘risk assessment’, to determine the likelihood of that person committing suicide. As part of that assessment, we ask the patient what stops them from taking their own life. And do you know what they answer? Do you know what I hear, again and again and again? MY DOG. When I ask people what stops them from committing suicide, they always say: I COULD NEVER LEAVE MY DOG. Oh my GOODNESS how people under-estimate the power of that relationship! Dogs protect property and gardens and buildings, but they also protect people. And so often they are literally the difference between being here and not being here. So God help the next person who tells me it’s “just a dog”. Dogs save lives. We just don’t appreciate quite how many.”  reminded me how important our pets are…so I thought I’d tell you about mine.
Rusty (please do not use)
We rescued Rusty from beneath a garden shed, when he was five months old. He was skinny and scrawny and full of fleas and worms, and his pads were scraped and raw. The vet said he wouldn’t have made it past another week or so. 
Rusty became my shadow, followed me everywhere, sat beside me and loved me unconditionally. 
He only had half a tail, and was the clumsiest creature I’ve ever known, but I adored him. We lost him when he was twelve years old due to kidney failure, but he was my constant companion for those years! 
Misty and Raven (please do not use)
We only meant to pick up one cat from the farm – but the owner (who was over-run with felines) placed a tiny black kitten in my daughter’s hand, after I’d chosen the sole grey kitten, and there was no question we’d be going home with two! 
These two are sisters, but live in tolerance – eating from separate bowls, sleeping on separate beds and hissing every time they pass each other…don’t know why! Misty is cute, cuddly and chatty, she loves eating and sleeping (all day), while Raven prefers stalking, hunting and adventure out in the wilds. opposites in every way!
Raven and Misty (please do not use)
Roxy (and Dan) (please do not use)
Hubby was brought up with a dog, and asked for a dog (and a motorbike) constantly – he now has both! Roxy became ours at eight weeks, and was my first experience of owning a dog. I was not a fan of canines, always referring to myself as a cat person, but after a couple of weeks reservation I became a fully-fledged dog person and fell head-over-heels for Roxy!
Roxy (please do not use)
She became my companion and I experienced the devotion and complete love of a puppy as she grew up. We laughed at her enormous ears and neurosis, enjoyed playful tussles and wondered at her beauty!
Roxy (and Caitlin) and bubbles (please do not use)
So full of life and love. I can’t imagine life without her, my gorgeous, playful five-year-old!
Roxy (please do not use)
Sometimes we under-estimate the value of our furry friends…they offer us love, companionship, adoration, fun, friendship, education and reason. There is nothing more welcoming than a dog’s wagging tail and leap of happiness when you come home from a hard day! They contribute more to our lives than we realise!