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July 16 , 2007

Chasing Cats


Despite the many days of anxious waiting, Jasper, a nine-year-old almost Fox Terrier, is determined to be at home to greet his elderly owner when he returns from hospital. He has so far evaded capture by two Blue Shirts who he is sure would put him in a dog pound.

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Ben Jenkins is a down-to-earth cop leading a quiet life in a big, empty house. Visits to the gay bars scratch an itch, but they dont really satisfy, and though hes used to the quiet, he recognizes that the empty feeling plaguing him of late is loneliness. It takes a police cruiser and a ten-speed to bring him together with Reece Withers, a bike…

Apart from Jasper’s own plight, the dogs on his estate are not a happy lot. Three-year-old legislation has insured that all dogs are kept on a lead when in public and are held secured in their home at all other times. As a result, the dogs have been prevented from meeting up and playing together.

Loneliness has not been the only consequence of this isolation. The younger dogs are unaware of the ways of the past. For instance, no longer do they know the skill of burying a bone, or the delight in chasing a cat.

In this repressed backdrop Jasper decides to set out to find his owner in the city hospital, and his old friend Rufus persuades him that enough is enough and that on his return they should celebrate Blacky’s birthday, the oldest dog on the estate, by inviting all the dogs on the estate to daringly break out for one evening and recapture some of the old ways.

Jasper’s journey to the hospital, accompanied by a robin, who apparently knows the way, is fraught with risk, but all pales against the possible outcome of not finding his owner, or indeed of learning the worst news of all.

The stolen night to celebrate Blacky’s birthday allows new experience and self-discovery for all of the odd collection of dogs from the estate. However, it is only when the arranged events have been gone through do the dogs fully unlock their nature.

What could be seen as an allegory for the ever more regulated, self-contained nature of modern life, Chasing Cats is about spirits seeking flight, about friendship, about communication between species, but ultimately it is about coping with the loss of a loved one.

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