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Peter Mallory's Blog

By pmallory - Posted on 26 August 2013

20 August 2013

Today deserves a short, heartfelt blog. Those of you who have been to Old Oar Cottage up in the BelAir hills know it is nearly full of old oars, myself included . . . and just as nearly full of adopted dogs and cats. Susan has been rescuing homeless animals all her life, a passion passed on from her mother. Eleven years ago she rescued me and my son, Philip, and since then I have added my own lifelong passion for animals to hers.

By now we’ve developed quite a reputation. We only take older animals that others pass by at a kennel. Every few months we get a phone call. Our vet took me aside last December and told me another of his clients had died suddenly leaving several animals, including two 17-year-old male cats, Geno and Patches. Would we take them? Of course we would!

They arrived just after New Year’s, and they settled right in . . . but Geno was already wasting away. He left us exactly three weeks later, breathing his last as I held him in my arms, tears on my face, and with my own hands I laid him to rest on the hill behind our house. He became the fifth member of our furry family up there since we moved to L.A. six years ago. We feel them watching over us as we go about our lives.

We began today with three dogs and five cats in the house. We end it with three and four. They are all my favorites, but Patches was extra special, as sweet a creature as ever walked the Earth. He slept on our bed from the first day. He slept on my stomach, that is when he wasn’t snuggling up to Susan.

As of one hour ago, Patches lies beside his brother. You’d think I’d get used to this. Every one still hurts me so very much . . . but every one confirms to Susan and me both that we do real good in life by giving these helpless creatures a loving home in their declining months and years . . . and they repay us a hundred-fold each and every day.

I have always desperately needed to belong . . . to a club, a fraternity, a team, a marriage, a family! Now that our kids are grown, my Loyola Marymount Rowing Team is my family during the day, and I pour my heart into them. My animals are my family at home, especially when Susan is on one of her business trips like she is today.

I was just telling a recruit earlier this afternoon that the most precious thing a person can earn in life is the complete trust of another human being. The most precious gift you can give another person is your complete trust. In the end, that’s precisely what we strive for in rowing.

Animals trust us with a trust so pure it humbles us mere humans. If I value trust at all, and Heaven knows I do, how could I not return their trust in full measure?

R.I.P. Patches, my very good friend. Another will replace you on our bed in good time, I suppose, but we will always climb the rough stairs cut in our slope to visit your grave next to Geno . . . and Oliver, and Twist, and Sam I Am, and Chelle Belle. As the years go by, others will surely follow you up those stairs. When my time finally comes, there is a family plot in Mystic, Connecticut waiting for me, but there will be ashes enough so that a part of me can join you forever on our hill behind Old Oar Cottage.