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The next morning I woke up in a tizzy. I was excited wondering about the day. I walked around and ran into Friendly.


“Hi, Friendly. Do you know where Ingo is?”

“Hiss-s” was her reply.

‘Boy they sure gave her the wrong name,’ I thought miffed. Keeping my eyes on her as I walked past I ended up bumping into Ringo.

“Me-yo there!” Having coordination problems this morning!” he meowed.

“Hey, Ingo, I was just looking for you. Friendly wasn’t being very helpful. She’s always in a bad mood.”

“Give it six months and just maybe she’ll cut you some slack. Why were you looking for me?”

“Do you know what Miss M’lu meant yesterday when she said I was going to be doing something different today?”

“No clue.”

At that she walked into the kitchen. “How about some breakfast?” she asked. “Anybody hungry for food?”

We all recognized that important word food and sat down next to her by the kitchen counter as she got our dishes ready.

“Okay, Nina, you’re first.”

She headed to the garage and I cantered behind her. She placed the dish down on my mat and returned to the kitchen, closing the door behind her. She had me eat alone because she knew as soon as Ringo finished his own dish he would run to mine and scarf all my food up. She fed Friendly in a separate room too for the same reason. I once heard her tell M’ster Doc that Ringo was a garbage disposal, whatever that meant.

After we had all finished I heard her say another familiar word out. I knew what that meant. Friendly and Ringo went to the back patio door and I followed them too. She picked us up one at a time and took us out to the Kitty Cabana.

What fun I had! Ringo and Friendly were both chomping on the longer blades of grass, but I was way too busy chasing the bugs that were scurrying around. I chased a gecko, but it got away. I even climbed up the huge scratching pole.

Friendly’s inside!

When I finally got tired I saw Friendly had gone into the kitty house to take a nap. Ringo was on the top tier of the cinderblock platform trying to doze and watch me at the same time. I decided to join him and hopped up to the first tier. Before I knew it I was sound asleep.

It was late afternoon when I heard the gate door click. I opened my sleepy eyes.

“Hey, Nina, time to try something new,” Miss M’lu said as she walked in.

I jumped up quickly, wide awake and hopped down towards her. She had the harness and leash which meant we were going somewhere. I got all excited as she started to put the harness on.

“Stop wiggling around, Nina. How am I supposed to get this on you if you’re bouncing all around!” Once inside I saw the Pet Carriage in the living room. It had been in the garage. I knew what it was because Ringo had told me about it. Sometimes he jumped in and took a nap. She had bought it for him when he was my age to push him all around Meadow Lake. He was supposed to have been a therapy cat too, but never got past being overly shy with people. So he flunked training. Now it was my turn to carry on. I wonder if I’ll make it. I know I’m going to try hard.

She picked me up, put me inside and started pushing me around the house. It was fun! I liked going around from room to room and even into the garage around the car. There was a window in the front and I could see where we were going.

“Well that was easy,” she smiled at me. “I didn’t know how you would react, but you’re just sitting there cool as a cucumber enjoying the ride.”

“Mew-up! Yup!” I agreed.

Later on she went out and brought Ringo and Friendly back in.

“Ingo!” I yelled as I ran to him. “I rode in your carriage today!”

“Meow-ha-ha” he laughed. “I think it’s going to be yours from now on. It’s for the Therapy Cat which isn’t going to be me. I just wasn’t cut out for it, but maybe you are.”

“I hope I make it!”

The next day in the late morning Miss M’lu had the harness again in her hands and called to me.

“Nina, I’m going to take you outside today in the pet carriage and see how you do,” she said as I walked over to her.

Once I was inside she put the top down on the carriage and zipped it up. Then we went out the front door. This was great. We went to the mailbox and got the mail which she put in the carry compartment under me. We went up and down the street on both sides as I lay down enjoying the ride. Then she started going down around the parking lot. I had never been down there before and tried to look around but couldn’t see anything because I was too small.

“Mew-hey, Mew-hey,” I said to get Miss M’lu’s attention. I stood up on my legs and tried to look out of the netting but couldn’t see much as I couldn’t get a grip. There was a peek-through area on top so she could see me struggling.

“What’s wrong Nina, can’t you see? Let’s see if we can fix that. I’m going to unzip the top and put it down, but you can’t jump out if I do, do you understand?”

“Mew-yes, yes!” I said eagerly as I sat there waiting. She clipped the leash to my harness. I guess she figured if I did jump out I wouldn’t get far. She didn’t have to worry as I liked being pushed in the carriage with my private chauffeur.

When we started moving I stood up and leaned over the edge with my arms dangling.

“Goodness, Nina,is that comfortable?” she exclaimed.

I just continued hanging over, enjoying the soft breeze that ruffled my fur. It felt so good! There were so many things to see! My nose kept twitching at all the different scents that crossed my way. I couldn’t get enough of it. Things all took on a different perspective from this new height. I could see so much more being higher and I really liked being in the carriage.

Meadow Lake has a Lodge which Residents use for all kinds of parties and events. We were in the Lodge Parking Lot which was next to our house. We had a privacy fence on the side of the parking lot to block out the sight of the cars.   The other side was all wooded and unkempt.

A couple of years ago, Miss M’lu cleared out the side that was at the end and which adjoined their own lot. She had some extra plants that she put in there. Then she passed the word around that if anyone was changing out plants or dividing them to bring them down to add to the new garden instead of throwing them out. The garden grew and she supplemented it with flower seeds from Wildseed Farms which was right here in Texas. She called it the Second Chance Garden.

Now I knew where she went for hours when she disappeared around the fence and I couldn’t see her any more from the house. How lovely it all looked with so many colors and different plants. It was like a kaleidoscope of nature with no rhyme or reason!

It was a beautiful sunny day with low humidity and the birds and butterflies and all kinds of buzzy things were flirting around. We were heading to the end of the parking lot and there were so many flowers there! It was so pretty. I even leaned over to smell some of them and swat at the taller grasses.   We didn’t stay out long.

“That’s enough for today, Nina,” she told me as we went back into the house.

I was disappointed. I wanted to go see more and stay out longer.

It was almost as if she read my mind.

“Today was just a sample,” she said. “I wanted to see how you would do and you’re doing very well. You’re the perfect little rider. So, soon we’re going to do something real special.”

My ears perked up. I wondered what could be more special that this? I could hardly wait for ‘soon’ to come!

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