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pet memorialsThis picture of Cole was taken a few summers ago in one of his favourite places, the front garden where he firmly believed he was the master of all he surveyed.  Cole Portly was so named as he was always inclined to have a bit of a tum, (not unlike his human!) and he was as black as the proverbial.  However, in the sunlight Cole was actually a rich brown, so I suspect a bit of Havana in his ancestry.

Cole appeared one day outside my back door in late 1994 when the building was still besieged by strays.  There was obviously a female around as there were a number of other Toms around as well.  It was all a bit too much for Cole who was a lover not a fighter and having discovered that he was expected to battle for his ladies favours decided that it was all a bit too vulgar.  Having left my back door open so that I could pop downstairs to put out the garbage I returned to find Cole stretched out on my sofa fast asleep.  I approached him to inform him that that wasn't going to be happening and that I already had three cats (The gone, but not forgotten Mr. Miles, Mr. Davis, and Hooligan).  I did at one stage poke him in his tummy with my finger and ordered him out but he only opened one eye, gave me a look of kind exasperation and rolled over and went back to sleep!  The rest is history..............

For those of you that never did meet him, he was the most affable of cats, knew in his heart that everyone and everything would have to love him, and behaved accordingly.  Cole loved dogs and would trot up to greet every dog that walked past the building.  Given how close we are to the SPCA this was a considerable amount of dogs and not all of them had the same outlook on life that Cole, ever the Ambassador of Feline Affairs, had.  The facial expression and demeanour of most dogs approached by Cole with tail held high and in full inter-species diplomacy mode ranged from shock, confusion, taken abackness (sic) in some memorable cases panic, and what he loved most, acceptance!  He was also eager to introduce himself to all people walking up and down the street, raccoons, squirrels and other assorted wildlife.  Luckily he was never skunked and as he was normally never allowed out after dark managed to avoid coyotes.  However, I suspect that if he'd seen a coyote he'd have tried to say hello anyway!  He would trot around wearing his red collar and royal blue bow tie shaped ID tag, tail held high, confidently expecting that all was right with the world and exuding bonhomie.  I shall miss him so much..................

Anyone that visited got the full Cole Portly treatment, up on the lap, purr switched to high volume and kneading would commence.  Who could resist?  Over the years he was with me I took in many waifs and strays and he always welcomed them and comforted the anxious ones. There wasn't a jealous bone in his body.  He was charming, good tempered and loving and will never be replaced in my heart.  In September 2009 I had to say goodbye when we discovered a large tumour in the roof of his mouth which had gone too far to treat.  He died in my arms and left us with the sound of me telling him how much I loved and will always love him.  I miss him so much...........

~Carol Downes