Thursday, August 11, 2016

Tips from Chloe!

Hello, it's Chloe here . . .  Mum's out, so I've a moment to get my paws on the keyboard!

Now, there's something I need to sort out.  I don't know how many Mums and Dads are reading this, and how many cats and dogs.  But could I ask, very politely, that, before we go any further, you Mums and Dads switch off your computers ?

Why?  Well, although the cats and dogs might find my thoughts helpful, they wouldn't be of the slightest interest to humans . . .  in fact you humans would find them terribly, terribly dull . . . a positive waste of time.

All right  . .  have the Mums and Dads gone?
Good!  Now, cats and dogs, let's share a few tips on how to handle those humans we live with.

We'll start with the irritating matter of cutting short visits.
All too often, when I'm out visiting and everyone's enjoying my company, my Mum will suddenly stand up and announce that we should be leaving. 
Why?  I'm being the perfect guest and no-one wants me to go.

So, what do I do?  I close my eyes very tight and pretend I'm asleep.
Believe you me, it works like a charm . . . !  Humans never like to disturb you when you're sound asleep.
A word of warning, if you try this ploy when you're out visiting, just make sure that the tip of your tail doesn't twitch.  It can be a bit of a give-away.

There's another annoying thing that humans do . . . you may well have experienced it yourself. 
But, once again, we can be smarter than they are.

When my Mum and I are out enjoying a walk, she has a very bad habit of looking at her watch and, without even asking my opinion, declaring that it's time to go home.

I first pretend I haven't heard.  Then I quickly look around for a handy seat . . .  and very firmly sit down.

If you follow this strategy, look as though you intend to stay on that seat for a long time.  Give the impression that you need to ponder on Higher Thoughts. Humans have great respect for Higher Thoughts.

Perhaps Higher Thoughts aren't your saucer of milk?   Don't worry, there's an alternative, more active ploy that would suit you perfectly.  Pretend you've spotted something in the flowerbed . . . something very exciting that demands your immediate attention.
Lean forward with an excited expression and quivering whiskers . . .  give every indication that you need to concentrate, and can't possibly be disturbed.

That, too, works like a charm . . . humans are surprisingly cautious of unexpected things appearing in the flowerbed.

And if all those ploys have been used up, and you're nearly back home, then, take heart, you still hold the trump card!

Go to that last bit of bare earth and give it a serious sniff.  Turn it over a little with your paws . .  even dig a small hole.  Act slowly and thoughtfully, as though your mind is on important matters . . . and you can drag out this performance just as long as you like.

No human will take you back indoors if they think you need to make a puddle!

Well, that's all for now.  These delaying tactics have all been tried and tested . . . I do hope you find them helpful.

Just one word of warning . . .   please delete this letter.
Our Mums and Dads mean well, they like to think they're running the show . . . we wouldn't want to spoil it for them, would we!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

An invitation to Rio

May I share some good news?
It's a heart-warming story, one that we can celebrate together.

Did you know that, amongst the national teams at this year's Olympic Games, the IOC has chosen to include a ten-member team of refugees?

"These refugees have no home, no team, no flag, no national anthem," said the IOC President, Thomas Bach, "they will show the world that, despite the unimaginable tragedies that they've faced, anyone can  contribute to society through their talent, skills and the strength of the human spirit."

This is not a token team, one that has little hope of achieving medals.  Instead, it comprises skilled athletes who have been training hard in the countries that have offered them a home.

Refugees from Syria, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Refugees who now reside in Germany, Brazil, Kenya, Belgium, Luxembourg and Kenya.

Yusra Mardini, who comes from war-torn Syria, now lives and trains in Berlin.
Four years ago, as she was trying to cross the Mediterranean in an overcrowded boat, the flimsy vessel started taking on water.  Yusra slipped down into the water and helped to push it towards the safety of Lesbos.

As she struggled in the sea, could she, I wonder, have dared to dream just where these swimming skills would lead her?

Only her own courage, coupled with the generosity of the people of Berlin, made this possible.  "I want to show everyone," she says, "that after the pain, after the storm, comes calm days."

And what of Anjelina Nadal Lohalith, who hasn't seen or spoken to her parents since fleeing Southern Sudan at the age of six?

Helping her parents is her chief motivation in the build-up to the 1,500 metre event . . . whilst coverage of the Games will, she hopes, enable them to discover her whereabouts.

This Friday will see the realisation of their dreams . . .  the moment they've been focussing on will finally arrive.
The refugee team will walk into the Olympic Stadium ahead of the host country, Brazil.
The Olympic flag will precede them, and the Olympic anthem will be played in their honour.

Against all odds, they will be participating in the Games.  It's the outcome of the IOC's wisdom, coupled with their own courage and abilities.

However, as I'm sure you'd agree, there are two other factors that mustn't be overlooked.  Firstly,  the generosity of those countries who not only offered sanctuary to the refugees, but also provided the all-important training that's transported them to Rio.
And, secondly, the families of the refugee athletes, many of whom are still trapped in areas of heavy fighting.  May this be an opportunity for them to rediscover their offspring, and rejoice in their abilities.

Would you like to meet the team?
Then click here . . . and join me in wishing them every possible success!