Billy and Teddy Tango with Taylor Swift

Prequels
https://felinesandfiction.com/2015/02/19/billy-and-teddys-excellent-adventure-2/

https://felinesandfiction.com/2018/04/08/billy-and-teddys-most-excellent-highland-adventure/

https://felinesandfiction.com/2019/10/20/a-labradors-most-excellent-adventure/

https://felinesandfiction.com/2020/03/22/billy-and-teddys-most-excellent-art-gallery-adventure/

Billy and Teddy slept in the sun as time stood still around them. It was all time, it was no time. A cat’s slumber shall not be disturbed.

Until Cat Elder Ambrose arrived. The whirr of the time capsule brushed their whiskers and played with their tails. Reluctantly, Billy and Teddy opened their eyes.

“It is time for your next adventure!” declared Ambrose, emerging from the time capsule with steel eyes. He meant business.

“Have you heard of Taylor Swift?”

“Is that a bird?” asked Billy excitedly. “Is it in the garden?”

“No!” stormed Ambrose. “She is one of the best pop stars this planet has ever known! But she is in danger! She is about to make a terrible mistake! And it will impact on her future legacy!”

“Are we going to meet a pop star?” said Teddy incredulously. “This might just be my kind of adventure!”

“Yes!” confirmed Ambrose. “Taylor is going to meet the man of her nightmares. She needs you two – and yes, Marty the Labrador too – to show her how much of a mistake this man would be!”

Marty climbed out of bed as his name was mentioned. His eyes were on fire. Was he going to meet another Labrador again?

“Your task is very simple. You need to turn up in her apartment and be your usual friendly selves. This man’s reaction to you should show Taylor exactly what he is and why she is better off without him! Of course it’s time travel too. Two years in the future to be exact!”

Billy, Teddy and Marty arrived in Taylor’s beautiful apartment, their time capsule discreetly hidden behind a large settee. A classic place to hide! Marty approved wholeheartedly.

Taylor was in a kitchen area with a large and handsome man. Marty began to bark. He sensed a non-animal lover straight away. It was like red exclamation marks in the air.

Taylor stared at the animals in surprise. “Where have these come from! But how cute!”

Marty rushed in to her arms and began to lick her.

“How sweet!” sighed Taylor.

“What is this?” roared the man. Billy and Teddy shuddered, but stood their ground. They were intrepid adventurers, after all. “Where did this mongrel come from?”

Teddy approached the man. This was his job, to cajole from this stranger his very real bright colours.

But he still did not see it coming. The man picked him up by the scruff of the neck and flung him across the room. Billy ran after him.

“How could you?” screamed Taylor. “These are just pets! They’re not hurting us!”

“I think we’ve achieved our mission,” Billy whispered to the hissing Teddy. “Marty!” he called telepathically.

As Taylor and Nightmare Man argued, the three amigos beat their escape.

Back at the house, Ambrose was very pleased. “I have looked forward in time, all is well. Taylor splits from the terrible boyfriend that same night, and continues with her record-busting career. Her future was at a crossroads: non-ending fame and fortune or ruin through a terrible partner who destroyed her life. You two have helped her pick her rightful destiny. Of course, this is all two years in the future. She hasn’t actually met you yet! But I thought you might wish to see the future that Taylor inspires. Her music echoes through the centuries, upbeat tempos that lift the spirits of the nation going forward. In the great UK depression of 2140, school children record themselves singing Taylor songs. It becomes a national trend to use her songs to get through a dark period. And then in 2270, where we are going – come on!”

They arrived at a Taylor Swift themed nightclub. Young people were dancing to the song “Trouble.” The lyrics rang out:

“Once upon a time

Billy and Teddy

Found me

And Marty

Found me

Found me me me

Cause they knew you were trouble when you walked in

They saved me

Saved me

Saved me me me”

“But … how can it be us?” asked Billy in disbelief.

“Taylor picked up some cat telepathy when she appeared in the musical Cats. After your visit, she rewrites the Trouble song to include all of you. Of course, she thinks she made up your names, but it really was cat telepathy at work.”

“So,” continued Ambrose, “her music is never forgotten. She will become the ultimate pop idol of all time, a symbol of 21st century music and a beacon of hope and joy for young people everywhere.”

Back at home, Billy and Teddy found that they could not just go back to sleep. They were in a pop song! Fame at last!

That night, as their “parents” listened to the radio, a Taylor Swift song began to play. It was “We Are Never Getting Back Together.” Billy and Teddy chased each other round the house, their version of disco dancing. Glee stroked their souls. They changed Taylor Swift’s destiny!

“What is wrong with them tonight?” asked their mum. “Perhaps they don’t like Taylor Swift. Let’s put the radio off.”

As the house became silent, Billy and Teddy finally succumbed to sleep. And they dreamt of distant days and happy music, their tails moving in time to an inner beat. For good music will last forever.

Marty

Billy and Teddy’s Most Excellent Art Gallery Adventure

Prequels
https://felinesandfiction.com/2015/02/19/billy-and-teddys-excellent-adventure-2/

https://felinesandfiction.com/2018/04/08/billy-and-teddys-most-excellent-highland-adventure/

https://felinesandfiction.com/2019/10/20/a-labradors-most-excellent-adventure/

 

The black book stood silent on the high library shelf, secrets unspoken, unnoticed between two brightly coloured tomes. If it could speak, it would instead cry. Its knowledge rusted inside like scrap metal that could have been diamonds. The book wept for a better future.

*

A new future would come. Ambrose – ginger fur on edge – stared with eyes like stone as the two cats slept beneath him. “Wake up!” Their black and grey bodies stirred, eyes opening on a day they did not wish to see. Not another adventure.

“This time, no time travel!” declared Ambrose. “No, tonight your mission is to stop two time travelling thieves! People pretending to be cats, no less. You could not make this stuff up.”

“And they’re coming here! To our house?” queried Billly in disbelief.

“Don’t be ridiculous!” stormed Ambrose. “No, they will steal a precious artefact from Aberdeen Art Gallery!”

“We’re going to an art gallery!” Teddy’s eyes were on fire, this just might be fun.

*

Jamie rubbed his eyes, but the tears would not stop. He could hear their voices in his head, the other school kids who would never be his friends. “Sissy!”

Well, maybe he was. Jamie picked up his paintbrush. There was only one escape from the pain, one way to elude his shame. Art claimed his soul as a tiny smile played with his mouth. Colour crossed the canvas, and the magic of creation lit his heart.

There would be no more tears today.

*

A chill air greeted Billy and Teddy in the darkened gallery. Their time capsule stood proudly on the black and white feature floor. “So where is this Library?” muttered Teddy. “Let’s find it and get this over with as quickly as possible!”

Darkness danced through their paws as they ran. They could feel the Library; like homing pigeons they flew up the stairs and then were there.

“Are we here at the right time?” worried Billy. “What if we have to wait for hours!”

Teddy agreed silently, but said instead, “Well if Ambrose is right about the time capsule upgrade we should be here just in time. Apparently it is programmed to the anticipated event as much as to a time! Far too sci-fi to me. Let’s hope it’s at least a bit accurate!”

But fate was in favour tonight. Less than twenty minutes had elapsed, spent rushing to each corner of the library looking for art gallery mice, probably as thin and poor as church mice. Then the door to the Library was dramatically flung open.

Two young women dressed in cat suits (ridiculous, murmured Billy soundlessly) ran in as if they were ladies of the manor, the art gallery their residence and the Library their own private corner of the world. Cat ears crowned their heads like a caricaturist’s crown.

“Why, there are two cats here!” screamed one of the girls in delirious delight. “We love cats!”

“Why, can it be, can it be Billy and Teddy?” breathed her companion. “Are we really, finally, finally going to meet them?”

“Billy and Teddy!” sang the first girl, inside their heads.

“Why, you can speak cat!” breathed Billy in awe.

“We learnt from our own felines, Heaven and Nirvana, two Egyptian Mau cats who we rescued from a thousand years ago in Egypt!”

“Cool!” said Teddy. “But why have two feline loving ladies turned to a life of time travel crime!”

“And how have two cats become intrepid time travel adventurers! So many stories echoing through the ages like a timeless song, the sound of time ticking itself. How did this happen to you two so ordinary seeming cats?”

“How indeed!” laughed Billy. “We have our own cat guardian who assigns us adventures!”

“From the moon to the deepest oceans, you turn up everywhere!”

“Moon? Oceans? I hate water!” Billy was aghast.

“Spoilers! We are Suzy and Sammy, yes we are criminals from the year 3507 but the good kind. We don’t steal, we just relocate items to a better place. Call it a kind of karma. And we believe in the magic of cats, which is why we dress as felines. We love cats, and we like to think that our own pets would approve of our antics, mischievous as they are. We love fun, and we love to ride the world’s reaction to us, its mock outcry. As if there weren’t real problems in the world. No, we are a removal company, not thieves!”

“But we are here to stop you stealing the book!” blurted out Teddy.

“Ah yes, the book!” sighed Suzy. “It is a special mission. A magic book, some would say. There is a little girl, far in the future, who needs it. As we said, we are not really criminals. Our missions are all for a better purpose, from saving extinct species to finding lost artefacts. This book is achieving nothing on these dusty library shelves. It is time for it be free!”

“You speak of it like it is a lost species of feline!”

“And perhaps it is, for this book contains feline magic. Let us find it and we will show you!”

The two girls pulled out a torch and began frantically searching though the shelves, like art gallery mice looking for that elusive cheese. “Found it!” suddenly shrieked one of the girls, like a mouse in front of an open food cupboard.

The book was black with faint lettering on its cover. It looked very old, and not at all exciting. Billy glared at it with feline contempt. What a waste of time this adventure was!

*

Jamie tried to sleep but could not. He stared at the black all around him, and imagined what lay beyond: the monsters of his mind. Perhaps he should paint them, the intruders of his imagination. He smiled. He had so many ideas for paintings. He wished he could skip school and just paint all day. The prospect of such a paradise claimed his heart, and he finally slept.

*

“Look at this!” Suzy opened the book and proudly displayed its pages like a mother showing off her baby, or like a cat with a caught mouse.

The opening page stated simply: “Every great artist has a cat.” Of course, Billy and Teddy could not read. Sammy repeated the words in cat language, in their heads.

“Perhaps this book is not so bad after all,” murmured Billy. Intrigue itched in his heart.

The book contained a series pf paintings of cats, with eyes that seemed to burst from the page, alive with colour and intelligence.

“The cats’ eyes contain the secrets of art,” explained Sammy. “Each picture contains the key to a different type of art, from painting, to music, to writing. This book is designed to create a great artist in its owner. Tonight, we intend to steal it for a little girl who needs some inspiration!”

“And we are here to stop you!” declared Teddy. “We will have failed our mission if you take the book.”

“Dilemma time!” sighed Suzy. “We are so delighted to meet you, and we don’t want you to fail your mission.”

“Why don’t we do a deal?” suggested Sammy. “We leave the book here, but you agree to join us for an adventure in the future!”

“Yes!” agreed Suzy. “An adventure to find some long lost treasure! You would love that! Can you give us the time and space coordinates of your home – these are in your travel pod. One day we will surprise you!”

They all agree on this plan, with plenty of feline closed eyes and rubbing round legs. Billy and Teddy were secretly delighted. They had new time travel friends.

*

The Art Gallery librarian tidied the shelves, thinking that the gallery elves must have been active the night before. The small black volume fell in to her hands. She surveyed it critically. No one will ever need this book, it is like a children’s story, full of bold pictures of unlikely cats. She looked at the boy sitting in the corner, an art pad open before him as he lazily scribbled. She smiled. Time for the good deed of the day. “Would you like this? It is worthless, but you may like it.”

Jamie grinned gratefully. As he turned the pages and looked deep in to the cat eyes, he was transported to another – a better – world. Slowly he began to draw once more, two cats, grey and black, lying together in the sun. He laughed. This was worth bunking school for.

artgallery_library

*

Billy and Teddy lay in the sun. Ambrose had returned, furious. Apparently the book had not reappeared in the future, it was still lost. They stretched in unison. It may be lost, but its memory was stamped on their hearts, as cat magic curled their sleeping toes.

*

Jamie continued to draw. A smile slid through his heart as art beat the bullies. He was in an art gallery, he was drawing and a peace like no other massaged his mind. This was heaven.

*

In another time, far away, a cat called Heaven rubbed round her owners’ legs. She knew they had been up to mischief, but this time, she sensed, something unexpected had occurred.

Heaven continued to purr. In a long lost decade, a little boy heard the sound of purring. Holding his pencil, he embraced peace like a pet cat. Now he had found it, it would never leave.

*

Billy and Teddy still slept, oblivious to the world. And in their dreams, cat eyes stared in to their own from a magic book. One day, they knew, they would find the book again. Until then, it was free to weave its spells. The sun stroked their fur, and they began to purr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother Emily

By Rachel H Grant

Far away in a star-studded galaxy, there lived a black cat called Emily. She had nursed many kittens over the years, earning her the title of “Super Mum.” Her offspring became intrepid explorers, travelling the universe in search of intelligent life with the help of her planet’s advanced humanoid beings. Emily was happy, she had lived a good life and did not believe it could get any better.

One day she was approached by Arnelia, one of the Planet Guardians.

“I have a special mission for you, if you choose to accept.”

Emily listened carefully, eyes alight with fire.

“There is a planet called Earth, on the other side of our universe. It is populated by humans, a strange race but with potential to be greater than they are one day. Our Oversight Mission, which seeks and learns from new races, has decided that felines should be introduced to Earth. Your unique healing powers will help Earth, and we believe you will form a special bond with humans that will help them in many ways. Will you sign up to be the first Earth cat? The one who begins a whole feline civilisation on a new planet?”

Emily’s eyes glowed deeply. “I would be honoured.”

So Emily – pregnant – travelled to Planet Earth, observing its cavemen with interest and wondering whether these primitive people would really one day be special. Her six kittens were reared to teach their own children to heal, to bond with humans and to help them in their journey.

It was time for Emily to leave her kittens and return home. Invisible tears ran from her eyes as she said goodbye. “This is your home; make it a feline paradise.”

As she boarded the space capsule, Arnelia regarded her with a smile on her face. “Shall we time travel to see what becomes of cats?”

Time travel was used only very occasionally, due to concerns of its effects.

“Are you sure?”

“You deserve to know.”

So they travelled to Earth year 2000. Cats with pink collars stared from house windows; cats were in gardens, hunting mice; cats were in paintings in art galleries. Emily stared in wonder as they drank in this insane future, from their cloak of invisibility. “They are part of human life,” she murmured.

“Yes, and all thanks to you. This is your legacy. But not your only one. There is another planet…”

Emily lived a long life, but she never forgot Planet Earth. As age drew aches through her legs, she decided that she wished to return. “I would like to see Earth, again,” she confided to Arnelia.

So Emily returned to Earth in the year 2010, where a helpful human rescued her as a stray and gave her a blissful retirement home, food on tap and a large garden to play in. Emily was happy; her legacy, her life. Cats really did heal humans, it was all true. And so together they became greater than alone. Emily purred as she slept one last time, and dreamt of all the Earth kittens born that day, and every day. A cat’s heart will live forever, and kittens rule the earth.

This story is dedicated to all mothers on Mothers Day, but especially to my own lovely mother and of course to the real cat Emily (1986 to 1998).

Billy and Teddy’s Christmas Adventure

By Rachel H Grant

Billy and Teddy lay side by side in the winter sun, central heating cheer in their bones and Christmas mirth in their purrs.

“Time to wake up!”

Billy rolled over. Not again.

“Yes, it is me, Ambrose! I have a new mission for you.” The large ginger cat scratched the floor to accentuate his words.

“But it’s Christmas!” moaned Teddy. “A time for games and fun, not for serious missions and what’s that word you love, destiny!”

“Your destiny has found you!” declared Ambrose sternly. “But not to worry, this is a fun, a Christmas mission! Not too many miles down the road is the very very special village of Mormond. It is a village of good Christian people, however with the highest rate of illness in the region! They need some good Christmas vibes. They have erected a large Christmas Tree in their award winning village park. You need to go there and rub round it, not difficult for you at all but the effects of your feline healing energy emitting from the tree will benefit all the villagers.”

“Healing energy? Us?”

“Do not underestimate the powers we have given you! It is a cat’s mission to save the earth. How many times do I have to say this before you will take me seriously? But today, I am only asking you to save the village of Mormond.”

Billy yawned dramatically. “I suppose we can fit this in before tea time.”

“No,” proclaimed Ambrose. “You must go at night, when few people are around. The last thing we want is a good citizen seeing you and catching you as a stray! It’s the kind of village where anything –or any cat – unusual is noticed.”

“Very well then. We will continue with our nap for now!”

Ambrose returned at 11pm, or – in cat speak – the time of day when owners are in bed but there is still some food in the dish.

“Get in the time capsule! Of course, this time you are not travelling in time, it is simply a flying machine today.”

Billy and Teddy arrived in the park, frosty air filling their lungs as a gentle moonlight guided their way. The Christmas tree was so large it overshadowed the grass expanse around it. “The tree is ridiculously huge!” laughed Teddy. “They must really love Christmas trees here.”

“I guess the end of year budget was healthy,” agreed Billy. “Well, let’s do our magic and get out of here!”

So they rubbed around the tree. Then again. And yet again. “This is fun!” proclaimed Teddy. “I wish all our missions were this easy!”

“Is that enough?” wondered Billy.

“We’ve done as instructed. Now let’s get out of here!”

“Wait,” said Billy. “There are other parts to this park. Let’s explore. We can be tourists now our mission is complete.”

“And what an easy mission!” sighed Teddy. “Is Ambrose really serious? Heal the village through a Christmas tree? I suppose he knows best, Cat Elder that he is.”

So Billy and Teddy began to explore, visiting first the rose garden, then the rock garden with its many gnome figures (“Do these come alive at night I wonder?” mused Billy) and finally the children’s playground, where they ran up and down the slide in glee. “I don’t know about children, but this is certainly good for cats!” cried Teddy.

Then they returned to look at the Christmas tree one last time. To their surprise, it was surrounded by human size feline like animals, furry but erect, with tails yet two human legs, and the largest green eyes they had ever seen.

But they were preparing to carry off the Christmas tree.

“No!” screamed both Billy and Teddy in horror. “They can’t do that!”

They raced over. One of the strange animals turned. “It … it is them!” it stuttered.

Another of the beasts came towards them. “It is an honour to meet you, Billy and Teddy.”

“You … you know us?”

“We have followed your stories and your missions across time. We are the Mutalians from the planet Tango. We have some very dilute feline blood in our genetics, an experiment from millennia ago which went wrong. But enough of that. Suffice it to say, we have a connection to Earth cats, and we have particularly been watching you, Billy and Teddy. Your adventures are legends on our planet. Of course, this is the first but possibly not the last time that we will interfere. A Christmas tree with your healing energy! I’m afraid we could not resist. It is coming with us!”

“But you can’t do that!” hissed Billy. “The tree is meant for this village!”

“Perhaps there is a solution,” pronounced Teddy. “Why not find another Christmas tree and we will simply rub around it too? Then you have your tree, and so does the village of Mormond!”

“Well said! Well said! I can see why you two are heroes. Will you wait here while we find a Christmas tree? Our space shuttle is also a time capsule so we will literally be one minute.”

So that is what they did. Billy and Teddy had great fun rubbing around yet another Christmas tree.

“You don’t know how very grateful we are. This tree, it is going to a children’s hospital on our planet. Until the next time, Billy and Teddy! There is a future mission of yours we are keen to witness! We will see you then!”

“What mission?”

“Spoilers! You will discover one day.”

And they were gone. “Well,” said Billy, “that did not go as smoothly as we expected!”

“It’s hard to believe creatures on another planet have heard of us,” agreed Teddy.

But it was time to return home. Christmas Day awaited, with turkey and lots of naps on their parents’ knees. Pure bliss. Time to forget, yet again, that they were heroes. Time to be normal cats.

But for how long? They asked Ambrose when they would see him again. His eyes twinkled. “Perhaps in a week or two.” Then he was gone.

Christmas morning dawned, as a wave of healing love engulfed the village of Mormond. Its citizens enjoyed a Christmas like no other, with peace and good cheer reigning high.

Billy and Teddy gazed out their window as the first snowflakes fell. It was a white Christmas. As they chased snowflakes, far away in another galaxy, children awoke in hospital to a feeling of love, aches and pains forgotten. It was time to enjoy Christmas, as they circled the grand Christmas tree and opened their presents, delight dancing in their eyes and hope stirring in their hearts.

And just for one day, all across the cosmos, Christmas peace touched every heart. It was a Christmas to remember. But for Billy and Teddy, it was just another adventure to forget. Until the next one.

christmas-3033240_640

Snow Kitten

By Rachel H Grant

Melissa turned restlessly, holding her cross tightly to her chest. It helped her to feel a connection to Chloe, her daughter who had died of cancer last month. The metal bit her skin as she clutched it, but she did not notice. She turned over again, night-time teasing her closed eyes with the prospect of sleep. But it would not come.

Then she heard it. A scratching at the back door, followed by a frantic meowing.

Slowly she rose, her legs weary, and her senses sleep deprived. Melissa opened the back door and beheld the first winter snow, gently raining down like a promise of peace from heaven. On the doorstep, a pure white kitten shivered, the colour of snow, a winter wish come true.

Melissa swept it in to her arms, all her ills forgotten. Cuteness squeezed her heart, the spell of love stroking her soul. With a bang she closed the door on the cold night. The kitten began to purr.

She steamed some milk, which the kitten drank ravenously.  Melissa smiled for the first time in weeks, but she did not notice. She was transfixed by the kitten.

Small and dainty, with deep autumn leaf eyes, it was the perfect chocolate box cat. “You are like a ballet dancer in a white tutu,” decided Melissa. “I will call you Odette, after the ballerina in Swan Lake.”

Odette became her cherished companion. Sleep returned, laughter resumed. She truly was a gift from heaven.

“You are sent by Chloe,” murmured Melissa, holding her cross.

The winter crept slowly through snow-topped days. Odette grey bigger and to Melissa she was ever more delightful. Then spring stretched its paws as the first snowdrops appeared. Melissa went to bed one night with Odette in her arms, but the next morning she was gone.

Melissa searched everywhere, painting the village white with her snow kitten posters. But Odette was never found.

Months passed. Melissa wrote a children’s novel about a magic kitten. Then another, and another. The Snow Kitten in DisneyLand, the Snow Kitten in space. The ideas came, and more ideas came. It was fun, and so surprising to find herself published. The legacy of the snow kitten would live on.

But Melissa would not. Decades had passed, and she was an old lady. One night, she retired to bed with bad indigestion. She did not feel well at all. As she drifted to sleep, the sound of purring filled her ears. She sat up. It was Odette, and still a tiny kitten. Melissa smiled. There would be a new book to write. The Snow Kitten and time travel.

She slowly succumbed to sleep, a deep slumber from which she would never awake. When her neighbours found her, they were surprised to find a white whisker on her pillow. They searched the house, but there was no sign of a cat.

In a house far away, a small girl cried. She was bullied at school, and her best friend had moved away. Then she felt it. Claws on her back. Stephanie looked over her shoulder. A snow white kitten beheld her, deep golden eyes answering all the questions she never knew she had. She smiled, and took the kitten in her arms. It was just as she had imagined the kitten in her favourite novel, The Snow Kitten at Christmas, by Melissa Thomas.

The kitten purred, pure love in its eyes. Its travels were over.

In another dimension, Melissa and Chloe played in heaven. One day, perhaps, a snow white kitten would join them. But not today. A perfect day, just over the horizon.

Meanwhile, Stephanie laughed. She had found her perfect day. Perhaps it would never end. Because a kitten’s purrs last forever.

canstockphoto4656994

(c) Can Stock Photo / pressmaster

A Labrador’s Most Excellent Adventure

By Rachel H Grant

Prequels:
Billy and Teddy’s Most Excellent Highland Adventure

Billy and Teddy’s Excellent Adventure

In their favourite corner of the room, Billy and Teddy slept in the sun chasing mice through a daisy-dotted meadow. Life was good.

They had forgotten their previous adventures, the notion of time travel a muted memory in a dream from afar. They had no time to think about it anyway. Their lives had awoken in to something new, every day an adventure, and all because of their new house companion Marty the Golden Labrador. Through his young and curious eyes they saw the world afresh. And it had become a better, a more exciting place.

Billy yawned in his sleep, then stirred, immediately alert. Teddy raised his head.

“I wondered when you two would wake up.” It was Ambrose, the large ginger cat from their previous adventures. What did he want now?

“I have never met two so reluctant heroes,” admonished Ambrose. “But it’s not just you two I need today, it’s Marty too!”

Marty ran in to the room, and barked nervously. “Tell him to stop that!” shrieked Ambrose. “My ears are so sensitive. A drawback of time travel, I fear.”

Marty sniffed Ambrose, and barked again. “It’s okay, we know this cat,” reassured Billy. “But life does get more interesting when he is around! What do you want us to do now?”

“It’s very simple. Marty is a Labrador, the classic guide dog. The instinct to help is strong in him. We need him to help America’s first guide dog! He must convince her to make the relationship work, to try her hardest to be a good assistance dog. Because she has doubts you see. But she is so important. Buddy the German Shepherd will be the first of many; the future depends on her! Your task: to take Marty to meet her, and to impart his Labrador wisdom to her. He instinctively knows how to guide: he needs to help her. If he succeeds, history proceeds as it should. If not, history, the history we know, may be rewritten.”

Teddy looked dubious. “How can you possibly know this?”

Ambrose arched his spine aggressively. “Do not doubt me! When I first recruited you two, I knew you were special, reluctant heroes as you are. So I did a bit of research, looked at articles from across time in the ancient cat library of the cosmos. But more of that on a later adventure. As A Cat Elder, I am allowed access to this library, which spans time, and all times. I have searched for traces of you two throughout history. I am happy – or is that afraid? – to say that the mentions are innumerable. You appear so many times I almost wonder whether there is another cat duo, somewhere. You achieve an unbelievable amount of success. But history is fluid, it can change course. It is my job to keep you on track! I will make sure that the important missions do indeed take place. Nurturing the first American guide dog is one of those missions.”

Teddy and Billy look at each other, resignation burning a hole through their eyes. “I guess it’s our time to shine once more,” muttered Teddy sarcastically.

“Let me tell you about Morris Frank and his guide dog Buddy, the first guide dog in the United States and one of the most memorable and acclaimed dogs in history! Marty has a major task: to teach her Labrador empathy and service.”

A half hour later, Billy and Teddy had convinced Marty to join them in the tiny time capsule. It was a squeeze, but the journey did not take long. The joys of 21st century time travel! “By the way,” asked Billy. “When are our humans going to try time travel?”

“They won’t,” said Teddy. “It’s not been invented yet.”

Then they were there, in a Swiss village in the year 1928 confronting a beautiful female German Shepherd. Marty fell slightly in love straight away.

“Hello Buddy. You are important,” he whispered. “That’s why we are here.”

“My name is Kiss,” she replied.

“But you are to become Buddy. A pioneer, fate has chosen you to leave a great legacy to be remembered forever. Seeing dogs. You will be the first in the US.”

“Me? How can I become such a pioneer? I am just an ordinary dog!”

“Let me teach you.”

Billy and Teddy stared in disbelief. How had young mischievous Marty turned in to this master teacher?

“You and Morris Frank are the pioneers at the heart of guide dog history. Blind persons all over the world will thank you, your legacy lasts forever.”

“I want to see the future! I want to see what we achieve!”

Marty looked at Billy and Teddy for help.

“Time to see Ambrose!” they cried in unison.

So it was back to their house. “What are you doing?” shrieked Ambrose. “Why is Buddy here? She has no place in the future, she is a dog of her own time!”

“She wants to see proof of her legacy.”

“Ah.” Ambrose nodded thoughtfully. “A clever dog. Let’s show her the statue of Morris Frank and Buddy in Morristown, New Jersey, USA. Billy and Teddy – you are going to the land of the free, the continent of big dreams and even bigger dreams come true.”

“Cool,” said Teddy. “When will this assignment be over?”

“Don’t be so impatient!” scolded Ambrose. “Perhaps I should show you your future statue too?”

“We have a statue!” breathed Billy.

So it was off to the US. Buddy was overjoyed. “It is me! In stone!” If dogs could cry, this is when the tears would fall. But Buddy only barked lightly, joy and disbelief forming a ribbon in her eyes and a knot in her heart that would never now be broken.

“I must get back! There is a mission to get on with!”

“And remember every day,” said Marty. “Remember these words. They will echo through canine eternity, and will sound – silently – to so many blind persons. And in your eyes, are my eyes. And in your legs, is my strength. Man’s best friend, a soldier by my side.”

“And in your eyes, are my eyes,” repeated Buddy.

“What about our statue?” whined Billy.

Back in their house, Ambrose was waiting. “Is Buddy returned to her time?”

“Yes and ready for her destiny. History will never forget her.”

“Excellent! So I suppose you want to see your statue now? I can’t tell what you do to deserve it. Spoilers! Suffice it to say, there are many adventures still ahead of you. I will programme the capsule to the year 2163, to a safe corner of the British Museum no less!”

“Museum? Us?”

“Yes! You are heroes! Please don’t let it go to your heads.”

Then they were there, overwhelmed and overjoyed in equal measure. The British Museum was alive with action, people like blood pulsing through its veins, a non-ending stream of noise and energy. Billy, Teddy and Marty hid behind a statue as they stared in astonishment. Then they cautiously approached the statue further down the hall, two cats and a dog staring down at them in brilliant bronze.

Children stopped and stared. “It’s them!” They pointed at the statue in excitement. “It’s them!”

The time travelling trio reached the statue, disbelief dimming their vision. Two small cats and a Labrador, larger than life. Could it really be them? As they could not read, they did not know what the plaque at the statue’s foot proclaimed. Perhaps it was better that way. Spoilers!

People continued to stare. “Let’s go,” muttered Billy nervously.

They raced back to their time travel pod. But when they arrived behind the large statue where it was hidden, there were two black cats and a chocolate Labrador there, staring at them in what looked like awe.

“We knew we would find you!” squealed one of the cats. “We knew there were another us!”

“Who … who are you?” muttered Teddy dumbly. A strange day had turned even stranger.

“We are time travellers, just like you! From the stories in the cosmic cat library, we suspected we weren’t the only ones. It is recorded that on this day a cat duo and dog are seen in the British Museum. We came to find out – is it us. Or you!”

“I am Leo,” said the other cat. “This is my brother, Bruno. We live in the year 2068 but have travelled all over time. There is a large Egyptian spotted cat, Ramses, who directs all our adventures. He is one of the cat elders.”

“We have a cat elder too, his name is Ambrose,” said Billy. “Hey, why don’t we do an adventure together!”

“Why not indeed!” laughed Leo. “Where and when do you live?”

They entered the time capsule and Billy showed them their home coordinates. “We will be sure to get you when we know our next adventure!”

Meanwhile Marty sniffed the new Labrador in excitement, as friendship ignited in his heart. “This is Smartie,” said Leo. “Labradors are great companions, whether at home or travelling through time, as I am sure you have found out!”

Then it was goodbyes in cat style, head butts and purrs. Soon, the intrepid trio were back home. But something had changed in their hearts, forever.

There was another time-travelling trio. Future adventures lit their eyes with inner fire. Where would these adventures end?

But for now, as the sun shone, it was time for another nap. After all, time travel was an exhausting business. They did not tell Ambrose about their encounter. Spoilers! One day he would find out.

As they slept in the sun, the future changed around them. But they did not notice. It was time to sleep.

Far away, in the US, a new statue to Morris Frank and Buddy was erected. In another dimension, in a far off heaven, Morris Frank looked down on Earth, as tears formed in his unearthly eyes. Buddy sat beside him, a friend to the end.

The words beneath the statue read:
“And in your eyes, are my eyes. And in your legs, is my strength. Man’s best friend, a soldier by my side.”  Words that would echo through eternity, and bring light to the dark of blindness. For dogs are man’s best friend forever.

marty_and_teddy

 

 

Cat Pen Memories

4 August 2013
Cat pens update: new cat Mia is the embodiment of fun, she loves to play and does not like being returned to her cabin afterwards! Hopefully she will soon have a large garden to run around in. Ali enjoying her stroll in the corridor; Trixie as adventurous as ever. Milo seems settled in, his second week here, eager for affection. New cat Bella is gracefulness and dignity in feline form. She is lovely, her foster home is on holiday and I reckon they may keep her when they return 🙂 Resident feral Aaron, who loved the Whiskas Oh So Meaty pouches I took with me, is enjoying the summer weather (and no doubt a mouse or two). Finally, I’m delighted that Alfie, who was new last week, has already been rehomed – pictured below…

alfie