Taz, “we hardly knew yer”
… to slightly paraphrase the old tune. As this is a sort of eulogy, I am allowed some latitude.
West Hollywood is a town full of single people, many of whom have loved and loving animal companions. The variety of such roommates is quite interesting. Many years ago, a neighbor had a duck living with him, and the two would make a daily walk around the block. My young boys were always fascinated with Dave and his quacking pal. He also carried a gorgeously colored parrot on his shoulder. But most people have dogs, and many have cats.
Our house has been blessed with some wonderful animals. Sadly, two of them were killed on our street. Peripatetic pussycats and curious canines can often wander into harm’s way with fatal results. “This is not Kansas anymore, Dorothy”, and it may not even be West Hollywood anymore. We are a “pass-through” community with thousands of vehicles whipping through our streets every day. By and large, the drivers seem to care only about a rapid transit of the city, caring little about their surroundings, the pedestrians and the speed of their vehicles. Coupled with the amount of construction equipment in the neighborhood, this makes for a dangerous passage for those animals that do wander.
Chequers was a tough little cat who whelped a litter of six in our bedroom closet. She lived to be seven years old before she was struck by a car. Jenny, a golden retriever was hit by a VW bug on Robertson as she slipped her leash to run across the street to greet one of my boys. The driver stopped a block away, got out and looked back where two men from the Glass Garage were picking Jenny up. She got back into her car and left. (Just passing through, thank you.) The men took Jenny up to Doc Miller, the precursor of VCA.
It is quite a shock to find a beloved animal maimed and bloody – and so close to home. That’s how Taz was found yesterday morning. I have not yet spoken to his companion but I can be assured that he is heartbroken. We were just beginning to accept him into the neighborhood mix. Our old Romeo, about 16 years old, had a brief territorial dispute with Taz, and they kept a distance from each other. Not so fortunate another time, Taz sustained severe injuries when he encountered a disagreeable dog. It certainly isn’t easy trying to establish in a new area.
He was an unusual animal, striking, a cat species only recently recognized as a separate breed. A cross between a serval (African wildcat) and a domestic cat, Taz was a long-legged beauty. His coloring was remarkable and unforgettable. I formally met him in his house, and he was calm, curious, welcoming and affectionate. A lovely animal. We’ll miss him – even before we got to know him.
This is a cautionary tale as well as a farewell. I feel that the city is not a welcoming place for companion animals any more. We’re too busy a place; our parks are too small for running, and our traffic and general bustle make it decidedly difficult to keep our animals safe and sound. However, we’ll not give up, and we’ll love with these animals we have “domesticated” and come to care for so very much. That is one of the better characteristics of our “humanity.”