Saturday, July 19, 2014

Keep Calm and Have Faith

SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers for Miss Edna. She has been admitted to the hospital and is relatively comfortable in a private room. 

When the doctor came by to examine her, he said, "So, tell me what happened?" 

To which she replied, "Let me start from the beginning. You see, I'm a Gemini..."

You can't make this up.

(She is suffering from edema, so her thought is that because Gemini is an air sign, and it's been humid lately — she, like the air, has been taking on water.)

OK, back to fun Jungle Reds stuff! 

I recently learned from the wonderful blog World War II in Color about Faith, the Church Cat of St. Augustine's in London, who was awarded a medal for bravery during the Battle of Britain, for shielding her kitten during the Blitz. 

JR at World War II in Color says it better than I ever could:

"This is Faith, church cat at Church of England (Episcopalean) Church of St Augustine's and St Faith's, Watling Street, London. 

She was awarded the Dicken Medal in Silver, and a silver medal from the Greenwich Village Humane Society of New York, for her her courage in sheltering her kitten (Panda - he was black and white) in a hidey-hole in the rectory basement, to which she had retreated from her more comfortable position upstairs, in the course of a severe bombing raid on the night of 9 September, 1940. 

The church and rectory were, basically, battered and burned to destruction by the Luftwaffe, but Faith continued to shield her kitten, under a heap of smouldering rubble, until rescued by her human friends the following day. Shortly afterwards, the remainder of the church fell down, destroying her position of refuge. 

Faith resumed her life as church cat, dying peacefully some years later on her mat in front of an ecclesiastical fireplace. The kitten, Panda, went on to a successful career as resident cat in a care home. 

Yes, I know - this will seem silly to many In Here. 

But consider. 

Apart from the fact that it is true, Faith's story became widely known in London at the time, and must have contributed to the morale of many hard-pressed Londoners. Her courage and endurance reflected something that Londoners hoped to find in themselves - and generally did. 

I am a cat person, by the way ... 

Best regards, JR."

SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Reds and lovely readers, how many of you have pets? Have you ever witnessed them doing something extraordinary? What do you think of the story of Faith and Panda? 

P.S. Post first published on my personal blog a while ago. Yes, I give myself permission to reprint it here....


  1. I'm praying for a speedy recovery for Miss Edna . . . .

    The story of Faith is a lovely one, and I'm certain many in London took comfort and hope from her during those dark days . . . .

    We are currently pet-less, although we've had both dogs and cats for many years. When the children were babies, the dogs [golden retrievers] would always be near them, watching. [They would also climb the back fence to get out of the yard and go running around the neighborhood. Since John was working the overnight shift at the police department, I was always the one who had to go chase them down. They thought it was great fun; me, not so much . . . .]

  2. I'm allergic to dogs and cats, so I don't have pets. Still, stories like that are pretty amazing.

  3. Miss Edna sounds like a corker! Hope she is okay.

    Pets are a large part of my life (currently I have a dog and a bird, but I have had many other dogs and one cat. Turns out I am allergic to cats, but I kept that one until he died a natural and expensive-en-route death; I took allergy pills for the duration.) Pet rescue is kind of an obsession with me.

    My favorite pet interaction story occurred shortly after the cat came to live with us (I think there is an invisible sign on my house). My dog at the time, a Yorkie, adored him (and I think it was mutual, but who knows with cats?) The dog-- who used to sit up and beg, and then show me what he was begging for-- came to get me and insisted I come downstairs to the basement, which at the time had a dropped ceiling.

    The cat had apparently become trapped in the ceiling. I climbed up on a chair, removed a panel, and eventually was able to coax the cat over to me and get him out. All that time, the dog was barking anxiously, in a panicky tone that I could only translate as "Get him down! Get him down."

    As soon as the cat was safely on the ground, the dog turned to him, and his tone changed completely, to berating the cat. I swear, his barks sounded like, "You idiot, what did you think you were doing?" (The cat never went up there again.)

  4. Thank you so much for the good wishes. Joan and Ellen, both stories are HYSTERICAL! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Aww...
    We had Irish Setters, and they were really, as Irish Setters often are, doofusses. (Is that the plural of doofus?) Beautiful, but goofy and not very smart. We thought.

    My sister LIz is a big equestrian, and she rode her pony (and later horse) every day. One of our setters, Penny, often went with her and her pony, whose name I cannot remember. Sigh. Anyway, we lived way out in the country. LIz had been ordered by my parents NEVER to ride after sundown. NEVER EVER.

    But one night when my sister Nina and I were babysitting --I am maybe 6 years older than LIz, so say I was 16 and she was 10, maybe. Liz went out riding, and we told her to be home before sunset. She wasn't.

    Eventually, she came to the door, sobbing. COME! She said. Longer story short, we arrived a block away to see Penny, dead on the street. Liz had almost ridden out in front of a car, and Penny had leaped ahead in the twilight, yapping to warn the driver that Liz was coming. And the car hit Penny instead.

    We wrapped her in a blanket--we we so young!-- and buried her--before our parents got home--in the back pasture.

    Very sad. Really really sad. Good old goofy Penny.

    We also had fun pet stories, like when Mrs. Purdy gave birth to her kittens in my closet on the first day of school.

  6. Aw, I love starting my virtual day with the reds and this is lovely. I am so happy to hear Miss Edna is now finally in a room at the hospital and keeping the doctors on their toes! As Ellen said, she is a corker!

    I am a great big ball of mush when it comes to animals and their stories. I think, really, that they're magical and wise and if we don't notice them doing something totally brave and amazing every once in a while it's because we're just not paying attention.

    Harley is a barker, but just like Ellen pointed out, the tones of barking can differ. And the tone of Harley's barking one time let me know there was something crazy wrong with a what I thought was a black garbage bag, and it was. Really crazy wrong as the bag was in the house. And in that bag was a snake. Long story for another day - but Harley was definitely a hero that day.

  7. I love the story of Faith and Panda, and can easily see how even stiff-upper-lip British would have clung to it during the terrible trauma of war-time bombing.

    Too many wonderful pet stories -- they are all flooding back. I remember fondly Siwash the cat wiping a tear from my face and Whitey the Border collie resting her head on my knee during a tough time.

    Hank, I'm visiting a friend with Irish setters today -- doofi indeed -- but I will tell her the story of Liz and Penny, and she'll tear up, too.

    Glad Miss Edna is being taken care of. You can't stop a Gemini from telling her story!

  8. So happy to hear that Miss Edna is up to her usual tricks! Wishing her a quick recovery. XO

  9. Susan, so glad to hear Miss Edna is doing better. Being a Gemini myself, I am quite sure her theory is correct!

    Love the cat and dog stories. Most of you know we have both; at the moment, two German shepherds, two indoor cats (rescues), and an outdoor cat that a neighbor moved away and left behind. (We also have our daughter and son-in-law's two big dogs in residence at the moment, so it's a bit wild!)

    But before the German shepherds, we had a cocker spanial named Taffy. At the time I was suffering from very severe and disabling rotational vertigo. There was seldom any warning for the worst episodes--you can be standing up doing something ordinary one minute and the next you're flat on the floor with the room spinning around you. First, I noticed that whenever I had an episode, Taffy would lie down and press himself against me, not moving until I could get up. Then, I began to notice a correlation between his watching me anxiously and pacing around my feet, and the onset of the severe vertigo.

    He learned to predict the episodes. How, I don't know. I have Meniere's Disease, and the vertigo is caused by a tiny rupture of the membrane in the inner ear.

    Amazing what dogs--and cats--can do!

    And if you've ever wondered why Gemma has a cocker spaniel, now you know.

  10. Susan, you can't keep a good Gemini down! Go, Miss Edna!

    Pets are wonderful and wacky and loving! We've had many--Punkin--a rescue chow mix was especially memorable. We tell my oldest nephew that he was raised by a dog. Punkin would sleep on the bed during naptimes, and some part of her had to be touching the baby (he was a premature with health issues). At the slightest stir from him, she would go immediately to find his mom/grandmom and escort them back to him. A furry baby monitor!

  11. Aw, thanks, guys. Our Xander is a true "nurse cat." He may be grumpy most of the time, but if anyone's not feeling well, he's right there, snuggling and purring up a storm....

  12. I've always had a dog or two. When our son Adrian was about 2 or 3 we went camping in the mountains in New Mexico. We were living in El Paso at the time and occasionally needed a massive dose of green. Anyway we had Maurice the Airedale at the time. Adrian somehow got himself in a gully and was holding his arms up for one of us to come lift him out. In one hand was an apple he'd been chomping on. Along comes Maurice to the rescue. He walked by, reached his head down, and plucked the apple to go off and eat it. So much for our rescue dog!

  13. My daughter and her family had a Bernese Mountain dog named Hank. My younger granddaughter was three and was a bit of a wanderer. My daughter was outside with her and turned around to take care of something in the yard. They live in the country and have a lake. Well, little Izzy disappeared in a heartbeat. My daughter was frantically searching for her, and told Hank to find Izzy. As my daughter searched, Hank barked to get her attention. He was standing a little ways from the lake with Izzy's dress in his mouth to hold her in place. That dog was amazing. Unfortunately, s speeding motorcycle hit Hank and killed him.

  14. Susan, your Miss Edna sounds like what I hope to be as an elderly lady.

  15. Hope Miss Edna continues to recover.

    I enjoyed the story about Faith Cat and her Panda kitten.

    On another note, I loved Nelson, Mr. K and Riska in the new Maggie Hope novel. I wonder if you are going to write a children;'s book about Nelson, Mr. K and Riska?

    I laughed and laughed when reading about them.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

    #1 Fan