Martha-Louise’s Rescue Family
As well as the people in Martha-Louise’s life, there is a menagerie of adopted furry and feathered members of the Mannings Funeral Home family.
Firstly there was the diminutive “Ms Molly” who came as a result of a funeral conducted at the beginning of my funeral career in Hamilton. Upon hearing that the family were going to have to take the small tabby to the SPCA if they could not find someone to have their grandmother’s cat, I said I would if they had no luck. A month passed by and suddenly I received a call to come and collect the cat. Molly is now in her 14th year, and is definitely the “Grand Dame” of the Asmus household.
Then there was Stella who was abandoned at a cemetery – where else would a funeral director get a new pet? It was after delivering a casket to the crematorium that Martha-Louise noticed a cemetery vehicle going past, with only the ears of a small puppy visible on the front seat. They had found Stella curled up on the road, and thought she was dead. Fortunately this was just an exhausted, 14 week old puppy who’d decided to bask in the November sun, rather than push herself any further. Stella has since grown from a small 10 kilo bundle into a muscular 40 kgs of defiant, protective but loving, dog with a bark reminiscent of “The Hound of the Baskervilles”. The vet thinks she is predominantly Neopolitan Mastiff, with some Staffie and perhaps a bit of Rottie – a true pedigree! Most days, Stella can be found basking in the sun out the front of the villa.
Next was Rupert, who could be mistaken for being Molly’s son – despite the fact she hates him as he makes her life hell. A friend called Martha-Louise to say a sack had been found in Blockhouse Bay with a litter of kittens and would she take one. By the time he got there, only Rupert was remaining – this should have been a sign! Rupert is now around four years old and thinks he owns the place. He loves tormenting Molly and attempts to eat Stella’s food. He loves nothing more than a cuddle and a cosy spot to sleep.
And finally came – Oscar, the cockatiel. He is the only animal Martha-Louise has paid for, having bought him from a breeder. He travels to work each day with her, along with Stella, and never ceases to delight and entertain people who visit the funeral home. The thought of him living 25 years is daunting as he is somewhat fixated on a few regular phrases, interspersed with maybe 15-20 shrieks of “Osky Posky” followed by the occasional wolf whistle and then his interpretation of the “Andy Griffith” tune. Both Molly and Rupert find him tantalizing and are often seen licking their lips, while big tough Stella is terrified of him. Needless to say, Oscar is packed full of personality, despite being the smallest member of the Asmus family by far.
At this point, Martha-Louise tries not to ask families what is happening to any animals left behind after a death, as the house is definitely full for the time being!