Fourteen years ago my wife and I rescued a cat that had cigarette burns all over her body and a broken jaw where she had been kicked in the face.
In those 14 years we have watched a timid, terrified cat grow into a mature confident creature that, after several years, started to trust humans.
She did, I am happy to say, start to trust us very quickly.
When I first met her, she was hiding at the back of a cage, shaking.
I sat there for ages talking softly to her and gradually put my hand close to her and started to stroke her.
I could see immediately that she wasn’t going to be a violent cat; despite the awful start she had to life.
So my wife and I agreed to take her in via the Cats Protection society.
As soon as we brought her home we signed her up to the Coastway Vets in Shoreham.
Every year for 14 years they gave her annual check up and vaccination, they looked after her when ever she was ill, which wasn’t very often, and they tended her wounds when she was grabbed by a fox and bitten on her back.
In those years I have never met such a group of kind caring people from the receptionists to the vets.
Sadly just before Christmas, at the ripe old age of almost 20, she became quite ill.
We had to make several trips to Coastway for treatments and the vet who looked after her, Alistair, was so caring.
Last week we had to make the terrible decision to have her put to sleep in order to stop her suffering any further.
Once again Coastway were there to the very end, refusing to take payment for her treatment until we were feeling better in ourselves.
They took care of everything for us and a few days later we received a lovely hand-written card of condolence from the surgery.
We were really taken aback by the service and care our cat received and take this opportunity to thank them all.
It’s not until you lose your pet that you realise just how much of your life is taken up by them.
In the 14 years we had Smartie – we named her after a car that I was testing for a magazine at the time – it was very rare for us to be away from her for more than a few days at a time.
When we did go away, she was always put into a top cattery to be looked after and pampered.
She very rarely left the house and was always close by us, more like a dog than a normal cat.
She is already greatly missed and in our minds she could never be replaced, despite many people telling us to get another one, but at the moment we really could not go through the entire trauma again.
For those of you who have never had a pet, may I urge you to look at taking in either a cat or dog from one of the accepted societies who have animals for rehoming.
All these pets have in the world is you, they will be totally reliant on you for everything and it does give you a lot of satisfaction.
What is all the fuss about? Big deal, Adur councillors have voted themselves a bit of a ‘pay rise’.
I wonder how many people realise that Adur has been one of the lowest paid councils in the country for many years?
I wonder how many people realise that it is an independent outside body that recommends the money payable to councillors?
I wonder how many realise that several times over the past few years, Adur councillors have rejected suggestions put forward by the independent body that they take an increase in allowances?
Surely it is time that councillors were paid their worth, and if they are not worth it then changes can be made at the ballot box.
Flooding is a major issue in so many areas.
We have so far been very lucky in our area, but all that is needed is a massive deluge from the A27 and much of Shoreham could well be underwater.
Just when is anyone going to do anything about the constant flooding under the bridge in Southdown Road? It’s certainly not a new problem.
Only last week I was down there and the road was almost impassable.
Now it is so close to the new civic presence, maybe, just maybe, someone will actually notice and do something about it.
The flooding we used to have along Beach Green appears to have disappeared over the past few years – how did they manage that?
I was disgusted to discover that our council does not supply sandbags in the case of flooding.
Surely they have a duty of care to supply the bags, or at least make sure that flood defences are adequate?
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage at www.shorehamherald.co.uk/
2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ShorehamHerald
3) Follow us on Twitter @Shoreham_Herald
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
The Shoreham Herald - always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.