Some say that being a carer means that you never get to have fun anymore because you’re always hanging around the person you’re caring for. But that is not the case.

Timmy stops Garfield falling!Garfield has always been a great companion and he is the wisest cat that I have ever met. It truly is not an exaggeration when I tell you what Ollie told you in his diaries – Garfield really does know SHEDLOADS of stuff! Of course Mum taught him a ton of things and she knows SHEDLOADS of stuff but Garfield, being wise and sensible, learned a lot of things just by listening and watching. Humans could do the same if only they took the time. Most of them just want to do the talking and have others listen to them – but if only they stopped now and then to just listen and watch – they’d learn a whole lot more.

As Garfield has always been my friend and companion, when I noticed that he was started to have a few problems it just seemed the natural thing to help him. I asked his permission first though, as it’s a very private thing when you start to get older – and you have your pride to consider. But Garfield – being wise and sensible – seemed happy to let me help him. Mum helps him a lot as well, and we’re a team on that – Mum and me because our common aim is to make Garfield’s life the best it can be.

My day begins around breakfast time. As Mum gets up early to see if Garfield is all right, I can usually catch some extra z’s until breakfast is ready. Once Garfield has had his breakfast and had several drinks of water, he’s ready to go upstairs to the office where he has his special bed by the airing cupboard.

It’s a good choice of position because the door gets warm and we lay up against it! You see, how sensible and knowledgeable he is! I wouldn’t have picked there – I would have suggested we go on the sofa bed. Garfield used to sleep on the sofa bed all day but he can’t get down and back up again now, so it makes sense to all concerned that he stays at low level and you can’t get much lower level than the floor!

cosy Garfield with Flump and TeddyMum has made it very cosy with a single duvet folded in half and then half again so it’s a really nice squishy bed and there are two cushions at the back and two at the side of the sofa bed – so we’re almost completely self-contained. It’s very cosy. Garfield has his daytime teddies with him, Flump and Teddy, and he cuddles them all day long.

When he sleeps downstairs at night, he has his night time teddies with him, BananaMan and Moo, and he cuddles them all night long.

I always lay alongside him in this cosy little area and I kiss him to let him know that I love him and that I’m there for him. He always kisses me back and smiles that special Garfie smile that he has and we sleep for a couple of hours until Mum brings him downstairs for his lunch. She takes him out in the garden to see if he’ll go to the toilet and then, after another visit to his bowl and a drink, he comes back upstairs again for more sleeping.

Timmy and GarfieldSometimes I have a walk after Garfield has had his lunch. I need to stretch my legs and get some fresh air. During these times, Billy or Ricky will sometimes sleep alongside Garfield, just keeping an eye on him for me. Sometimes, if Mum is working on her computer, I know that she’ll watch him for me while I take a break. I’m not gone for long because I know that at times, Garfield won’t settle if I’m not there with him. 

One of the things Garfield does now and then is to fall down the stairs. The first time he did it, I tried to stop him but I was too late. It frightened him a lot and he wouldn’t try and come up the stairs after that. But Mum encouraged him and I stand a few stairs up from him making little noises to motivate him. When he finally gets to the top of our stairs – and there are 14 very steep ones to get up! – Mum and I go ‘YAYYYYYY’ and Garfield smiles proudly because he’s achieved something good.

He now manages to climb up the stairs by himself although Mum is always just behind him in case he wobbles, and I’m just in front of him. But so that he doesn’t fall down the stairs, if I know that he wants to go down, I lie across the top of them so that he can’t get past me. I have to do my special thought links with Mum so that she’ll come out to the bottom of the stairs and look up and see us there. Then she’ll realise that Garfield needs to come down and she’ll come up to get him. I usually wait until he’s ready to come back again so that I can be there to encourage his journey back again. 

When he went into hospital, it was the longest day of my life and I was soYou'll be all right! I'm here with you now. pleased to see him when he finally came home. Although, he was acting pretty weird to begin with until Mum explained that he’d had a lot of drugs throughout the day and they had messed with his brain. A good reason if ever there was one not to take drugs, if you ask me, if they’re going to mess with your brain and make you do weird things.

But the next day, he was back to normal again and purring like a tractor as he licked my face. As he had some teeth out, his breath is a lot nicer. I didn’t want to tell him about it before, but being kissed by someone with dog breath is a not a pleasant experience!

Being a carer is the best job I’ve ever had. Well, to be absolutely honest, it’s the ONLY job I’ve ever had. At the end of my day, I have job satisfaction because I know I’ve done the best that I can do. When I lie down next to Garfield at night making sure that he has BananaMan and Moo under his paws, and that he’s all right, I can sleep better knowing that my best friend in all the world is right next to me – safe, and purring like a tractor!

© Timmy March 2005

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