Digglum Bestiaruim ~ The Digglers' Crest

The Digglers

The Beginning

In 1983, my beloved father died. My mother reacted quite badly and animosity developed between us. My father had provided all the financial support for the family and now 'it was my duty'. My mother was also very demanding of my time and when I wasn't at work or with Whisky, I had to entertain her. This I did by taking her out for pub lunches. One day, during my May holidays, we decided to have a trip to Hebden Bridge to a craft centre. On the way there, we stopped at a pub, The New Inn at Baitings Reservoir at Riponden. Whilst we were looking at the lunch menu, a young cat walked all over us. She was a cute little thing. The landlady explained that her daughter seemed to collect cats! This little scrap, according to the landlady was a stray that appeared one night in the car park. She informed us that the cat spent most of the time on the beds and used the plant pots as a litter tray! She said we could have her as she eyed both me and my mother. We both looked at each other and I could see that my mother was wilting and so to did the landlady and before we could respond, the cat was in a cardboard box ready for us to take home! We quickly ate our lunch and needless to say we didn't get to Hebden Bridge! It was the most expensive lunch I had ever had!! The rest of the day was spent in introducing the cat to her new house and purchasing cat bowls, basket, litter tray, litter and cat food. Our previous cat was called Twinky, this we thought was a lovely name for a cat so Twinky mark 2 was christened!

Her New Home

Twinky settled into her new environment very well. She became a great companion for my mother who was now getting quite elderly and had slowed considerably. The afternoon routine was to have a nap in the lounge. Although, Twinks (short for Twinky) was far from elderly, she thought this was highly civilised behaviour and she too went to sleep on her knee as I struggled out to work. Very unfair!

Twinks Falls Ill

On one occasion, Twinks became seriously ill. She had been 'off' for about a week. The vet could not make a specific diagnosis but fortunately gave her antibiotics. However, after repeated doses she did not improve. One lunch time as I came home from work, I noticed that her nose and ears were yellow. I knew straight away that this was serious, jaundice. Unfortunately, I was unable to take her to the vet as I had to get back to work and it was Open Night at school. My mother volunteered to take her. The vet was quite some distance. When I arrived home at tae−time, there was no sign of my mother and Twinks. I had convinced myself that Twinks would not be returning home. I had not been in long before I had a phone call from the vet. He had diagnosed Leptospyrosis, a notifiable disease which could be transmitted to humans and was dangerous to children. The vet knew I was a teacher and told me not to return to school until I had been cleared by the local medical officer. He also explained that he could do nothing else for Twinks and that basic nursing was the only remedy if she was to recover. He advised me to wear gloves when handling her litter tray and to stay away from her as much as possible. Twinks slept with me and that I would have caught it by now so extra precautions would be useless. I had to have a blood test which was sent to London to be analysed. It proved negative and I was allowed to return to school. Fortunately, Twinks made a full recovery. The vet thought she must have contracted the Leptospyrosis from a mouse whose fleas apparently transmit the disease.

Twinks Tragic End

Twinks lived well into her late teens. The way she died was tragic.. Due to her age and the fact she was deaf, I kept her in the garden which was enclosed as we lived near a busy road. Unfortunately, she managed to get out whilst the gate was open and went into the garden at the back of the house were they had a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. When I found Twinks had wandered in I asked them to keep their dog inside but they didn't. Twinks wandered underneath some garden furniture when she was spotted by the dog. She started spitting and trying to scratch him. Just before I got to the dog, he got hold of her. I smashed a plant pot on his head and he let go. I grabbed hold of him and threw him in the house through the French windows. Twinks was obviously very distressed as I went to get the cat basket. I quickly got her to the vet who managed to calm her down but on having an xray, her front leg had been crushed by the dog's teeth. There was also some damage to her back. The vet said the only solution for the leg was an amputation. I decided with the advice from the vet not to put her through the trauma and the kindest option was euthanasia. Another devoted companion leaves. However, I am a firm believer that their spirits live on and surround us everyday. It has been a privilege to share my life with her.