Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The Cat that Growled

“Grrr” “Grrr” I stopped abruptly as I entered the kitchen. Standing still I looked cautiously around me. None of my dogs around. No strange dogs. “Grrr”…”Grrr”. The sound was coming from the washing machine.

The machine stood in a narrow recess with just a slight gap on either side but the nook itself was deeper than the machine, so there was about a ruler length of space behind it. The deep, menacing growl was coming from in there.

The only way to see behind was to lean over the machine and look down from above. Whatever was down there could jump up, teeth bared, claws flying into my face. I hesitated, took a deep breath and peered over cautiously.

A small black face with narrow green eyes glared up at me, and growled again. I retreated quickly. It was Pukka, my black cat, that on a normal day loved nothing better that to drape herself around my neck like one of those fox furs that high fashion people used to wear.
Now what was she so angry about? I ran through possibilities in my mind – she had hurt herself badly and was scared out of her wits or, ‘oh no” could she have rabies?

I gingerly took another look. She was crouched down, staring up at me. There was no frothing at her mouth but her hair was sticking up like the bristles on a brush.

I’d have to get her to a vet but how? I certainly didn’t want to get attacked. Instead of calling our usual small animal vet I called the equine vet because she always came out to see our horses. After listening to my account of what was happening she instructed me to bring the cat into the surgery immediately. It seems that tiny cats don’t qualify for house calls!

I fetched the metal travelling cage and a bath towel. Fortunately the maid was in the house. We eased the washing machine forward so it was only just keeping the recess blocked. Whilst Aletta swung the machine sharply out I threw the towel over Pukka and pounced on the squirming body. Between us we wrestled the bundle through the small opening of the cage, pushed the lid closed and quickly slid the locking bar across. By the time it was locked the cat had wriggled out of the towel and stood bristling on top of it, growling from deep down in her chest.

The vet’s surgery was close by so we were soon in her rooms with the cage stood on the metal examination table. Dr Higgerty keeping a respectful distance from the tiny, angry, black fur ball observed Pukka and interrogated me. What had she eaten? Had we seen any other animals behaving strangely? Had anything unusual happened today or yesterday? “No, everything has been as usual. She was perfectly well yesterday. I put flea muti on her in the afternoon and she ate her usual supper.”

“What did you say about muti?” asked the vet. I explained that a veterinary nurse friend had given us a bottle of anti flea and tick muti to use for the dogs and cats. Yesterday I’d dosed all the animals on the back of their necks. “How many drops did you use? she asked. “Well, it’s supposed to be 3 for a cat but she wriggled so much that I couldn’t see exactly.”

“I think you’ve poisoned her. Cats are extremely sensitive to medicines and they have highly absorbent skins. If she got more drops than she was meant to she maybe terribly ill.

I felt dreadful. I love animals and I never want to see them suffer. And certainly not to cause it.

The vet said she’d give Pukka an injection of atropine and keep her in for observation. If she improved then we’d know it was an accidental poisoning. If she died her brain would have to go to Ondestepoort for autopsy to see if she had rabies.

As she lifted Pukka out of the cage, Pukka, quick as lightening, grabbed her finger and bit, drawing blood. The vet turned white but bravely hung on and the injection was given. A tense couple of days followed whilst we waited to see if the cat and the vet would be alright!

Fortunately a few days later I was able to fetch a perfectly healthy cat from a deeply relieved vet. Pukka purred like a little engine all the way home whilst I promised myself I’d never overdose a cat again.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Searching for purpose, happiness, meaning ...

Exclusive Books has just published their list of the 110 best selling books for 2008.

The top four are all books about searching - searching for happiness, purpose, meaning, self fulfillment, abundance. They are all books in some way related to self development and to either finding what you want within the life you already have or turning that life upside down to create a new one that has more meaning or fulfillment.

Then The Shack, Kite Runner and Shantaram are in the next five - all books that call the reader to think, reflect on their lives and on the human race.

Ten years ago this list would have looked very different. It is not just that these books are being written. It's that there is a need for them. An audience just waiting to buy and embrace them. Wanting to be challenged to think beyond the basics of getting up, going to work, eating supper and going to sleep.

Not one of the top ten in the list is a true novel. Those that are labelled fiction, are all in fact based on true experiences.

What is it about the new millenium that has awakened so many more people? Is it the age of aquarius - the searching for knowledge? A universal consciousness?

I don't know, but I am so pleased. My purpose is to be a facilitator for people wanting to be the best they can be. And to help people understand themselves and others so as to work together in productive harmony. There are now so many more opportunities for me to walk alongside those whose journey touches mine.

Here is the top 10 list

1. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Elizabeth Gilbert
2. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose Eckhart Tolle
3. The Secret Rhonda Byrne
4. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari Robin S. Sharma
5. Spud John van de Ruit
6. The Shack William P. Young
7. The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini
8. In Black and White: The Jake White Story Jake White & Craig Ray
9. Shantaram Gregory David Roberts
10. After the Party Andrew Feinstein

To view the rest of the list go to http://www.exclusivebooks.com/features/2008top100.php

The Violinist

Welcome back to Insights from the Hive. I hope you found tons of enjoyment over the festive season.

When I received the following true story, from a friend yesterday, I found it very thought provoking; a good way to start off this new year. (I have added a little more info that I found on the internet.)

My theme for this year is doing something differently. For all of us some things worked well for us in 2008 and some didn’t. To move forward in our personal lives as well as our businesses or jobs we need to do at least one thing differently. What are you going to do differently in 2009?

A Violinist in the Metro

It was a cold January morning in 2007. A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and began to play a violin. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, over a thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.
A minute later the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money down and without stopping continued to walk.

A few minutes later, a man leaned against the wall to listen but then looked at his watch and started to walk on again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tried to hurry him along but the child stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time.
This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 7 people stopped to listen to him and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32.
When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded. There was no recognition.

The incognito violinist in the baseball cap was in fact Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played some of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a 300 year old Stradivarius violin.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theatre in Boston and the seats averaged $100. During the nearly 45 minutes he played in the subway only one person had recognised him. That person gave a $20 tip.

This was an experiment organized by columnist Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people.
The question was: In a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour
Do we perceive beauty?
Do we stop to appreciate it?
Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?
Does the value change if we place a higher price on accessing it? (Business owners think about perceived value of your product or service).

Wishing you all a very special 2009. One in which you make time for self, for special moments with loved ones, for gratitude for living and for the world around you.