Call me Tossu. Two and a half years ago I embarked upon a watery voyage that brought me to an Island in the Atlantic. After some land travel I arrived at a small dwelling in the woods wherein resided a giant beast. Although it outweighed me 20 times I leapt upon it; at eight weeks old I had the courage of eight mountain lions. The leviathan finally succumbed and it now knew I would rule the roost — not just her but my new brother, Cat Trap (Cho), and our critter sitter, T. After releasing the beast, she told me her name was (Alice) Von Wolftrap, a German shepherd-Portuguese rabbit hound cross hailing from the MSPCA’s Foote Memorial Animal Shelter. We became an immediate and inseparable team.
One of my main duties is to purr our critter sitter to sleep, then I go to the living room to snuggle with my dog on her couch. Often times Alice has nightmares. Alice will be five next month and assures me the horror of her puppyhood diminishes with time. She finally told me how “My mother and I were taken to this place with large cages by the people who had treated us so dreadfully ... They had to put mom to sleep because she was vicious and couldn’t be rehabilitated. The man didn’t understand we were not mean, we were terrified. He could have shipped Mum off to the wilds of Montana. She’d have made friends with the wolves because my Dad was a German shepherd. At least she would have had a chance, but it would have cost money, which seems to be some human’s driving force.
“Oh how my heart breaks at times, Tossu. Thank heaven for Jen (Jennifer Morgan), who also worked at the place of cages. She telephoned T. and told her to get there immediately; there was a four-month-old terrified pup that needed adopting. Jen knows how to fit us critters with just the right human, and she knew that T. was also terrified at what some of her race can do in the name of civility.
“On her way to the shelter, T. was so sure of our partnership she had me named upon her arrival — Alice Von Wolftrap. Pretty cool, huh Tossu? My ear that stands up straight is a perfect ‘A’.
“Something was in the wind. For the first time in my life, I had decent people contact; I let Jen put a collar on me. Just then this scraggly big thing appeared, took the leash, led me outside onto the sunny warm grass and asked me to have a seat. I did as she did and sat opposite her. She locked me into a gaze — my brown eyes with her blue ones — until we fell in love. Maybe fell in trust is more like it, for all my fear had vanished with Jen and T.
“For the next few weeks T. came down every afternoon after work and we joined the other pound dogs and volunteers walking the long dirt road behind the shelter until I got used to all sorts of socializing, discipline and silliness. Oh, I was a happy puppy. Then one day T. took me away to these neat places where she introduced me to all sorts of good people who would exclaim, ‘Oh, what a good puppy.’ Me? Just a few weeks ago my mother was killed because she was a bad dog. Thank goodness that Jen knew what my problem was and who to call. We eventually arrived here where we’ll live forever but I’ll tell you, Tossu, you’re the best cat a dog ever had.”
Yup, call me Tossu. I’m an 18-pound Maine coon cat with two-and-a-half more years of growth to go. My full name is Star Pikku Tossu 2nd. That’s Finnish for Little Slipper. T.’s mother, Turk, was a Finn. Just like your mother, Alice, we’ll meet them in heaven but right now we got it pretty good ’ol pal.
Oh boy, here comes the nut job. She doesn’t know I can type and use the fax. I guess we’ll be heading down Island. Before I arrived, she and Alice went everywhere together, but not anymore. T.’s not allowed to take my dog without me.
Trina Kingsbury lives in Chilmark, with her pound cats and dog.