I lost another one yesterday...
She had special meaning as she was the cat of my mom's best friend of over 50 years. When her friend went into a nursing home, no one wanted this little girl because she was very shy, and a senior. I had just lost Henry and it was obvious she was going to end up with me.
I had the usual pangs of sadness, worry and crying spells that comes with the responsibility of ending the life of another. That never goes away, no matter how many times the process happens.
Sweet Sandi was almost 17 and I think I gave her a very happy and peaceful last year and a half. And isn't that the point, to care for them and provide them with happiness and love before they go.
So, you all can take the kittens and puppies. As cute as they are, I will continue to marvel in the meaningful time I have with each of the old and decrepit sweet ones that come my way.
Four years today - Score: Cora Four, Romy Zero.
Think she knows from the look constantly on her face:)
Humans love many things without really understanding what that means. What responsibility that entails if we are to be good stewards and do things correctly.
We love animals as our pets and think that is good enough...just to love them. But, without knowledge, that love can sometimes be a bad thing. They are no different than children, and anyone who says differently falls into the category of being clueless. They rely on us to understand what they need and why, and to do the right thing for them. They rely on us for everything.
As someone who has a natural understanding of this, along with many years of working with animals, I know it is a fine line between caring and hurting. What is best for an animal when love is just not enough? When not understanding what they need hurts them? I have learned not to scold, but to educate in a gentle manner. But, sometimes I don't feel comfortable doing even that.
Then again, there are times when I am reminded to be hopeful for the human race. To know that sometimes love can be the beginning of something that may just lead to doing the right thing. Maybe not really understanding, but love nonetheless.
This sweet girl is one of those times...and I sincerely hope that the love that she gets will be enough.
With the world in upheaval as it has been, I guess I should be happy with things that stay the same...but, then again...
Three years today and the whining continues, the stubbornness persists and the struggle to be taken seriously as the boss is a daily challenge. She has become very comfortable and now takes up the bed, snoring under the covers I place over her to keep her warm. She has bags and bags of different treats to keep her busy and happy, and she still wants more,
She now has a bed set up in the back of the car to keep her from getting car sick, and I now drive her to see her best friend every day after a long day of work so she can play. This includes getting up at 5:30am on the weekends to do the same and many times driving back again in the afternoon.
She gets to go on long hikes in fun, new places with a group of dogs that she loves. Although she must always be ahead of the pack making sure everyone knows she is independent and just doesn't care about them. She gets to go to the beach and chase the seagulls and watch the sunset with me, but chooses to ruin the experience every time by whining because she is bored.
She now has a fenced yard that she can go out and spend time in, but refuses to, preferring to stand at the back door whining.
Yep, that whining thing is still making me insane...
She is still Cora and I have given in and given up. There are some moments she acts like she may appreciate me, but more often than not it is fleeting. I'll take what I can get...
I have been disappointed with the welfare world lately, and humanity in general I guess...more than usual. I am not sure why I as I know how it works and all the nuances of the issues that are ingrained into the system and into people. But, after a year of trying to get support for something that others say are important to them and actually live "the rescue life," it really all comes down to ego and petty behavior. Once again, something that I already knew, but in this case really is sad.
Today topped off that with the realization that I am also disappointed with myself as I no longer really live the "rescue life." I do not have the personal and community resources that I used to, do not have the support I used to. Therefore I am not able to make the difference I once used to. Therefore there is an incredibly friendly, unneutered, flea-ridden, smelly cat sitting somewhere in the woods right now. I had to leave him last night when I found him because I had nowhere to take him and no place in the very tiny house I just had to move into. No big crate, and no where to put him safely to shield from the fleas and spraying until I could figure out what to do. No way to make him safe and comfortable.
I had to walk away and I was, and am, sick to my stomach about it.
Today Animal Control treated me like I was ignorant and refused to help because "maybe someone is feeding him." And, yeah, so!?? Food is nothing without medical care and health, and suffering is what we are supposed to help with, or have they forgotten that. The shelter was kind enough to say they may be able to help, but only after a lecture about what the situation "probably is" in their mind. I didn't even bother to tell either of them about my history with rescue since there was no point. I felt like a schmuck and just kept silent.
I was up all night thinking about how to help him and today went to look for him again. I will do so again tomorrow, and the next day and the next day...
My car once again has a carrier, flea medicine and food in back, and I have decided to build something outside so if this happens again I do not have to rely on others.
Doing something is better than nothing...at least some things never change...
10/16/2021 - Well, I feel a little better tonight as he is safe inside and getting care. I found out where he was sleeping last night, fed him and left more food, and knew right where to find him this morning, and he was happy to see me. He was a good boy on the car ride and only a little freak-out, but quickly relaxed. I feel a little more human, a little less like a loser. I also realized that not being able to help him the other night was adding insult to injury in my life...rescue is so ingrained in who I am that not being able to do something is beyond devastating.
Life moves and changes...and helping one may not change the world, but it changes the world for that one...Good night, Apollo.
What is it about putting a pet to sleep that is so heartbreaking.
For me, it is not always that I love them so very much that it is about losing them. I realized yet again tonight as I stood in a room with my cat, brushing him and doing what I could to make him happy and distract him, that it is also about the power and responsibility of literally killing another being.
How did it happen that humans not only use animals as pets, but that we get to decide their fate. If we are good humans we do what is right and and responsible. If we are bad humans, we never realize our responsibility. The suffering of all beings is an enormous concept which deserves enormous respect. And, even with all of my years in veterinary, animal welfare and as a pet parent to many, the respect I have for life for all never fades. In fact, it seems to have grown stronger...
Two years...24 months...how quickly time flies. Cora is still stubborn, still whines too much and still thinks she is the boss. But, luckily for her, I am still okay with being her slave:)
In these chaotic and sad days where people are divided on a new level, and the differences in beliefs and personality are highlighted in everything they do and say - one thing stands out as an unusual but important binding factor; dogs.
Dogs must be walked and walking much of the time is done with friends, neighbors and sometimes groups of strangers. Walking dogs together forces people who otherwise have nothing in common, and probably would have nothing to do with each other, to interact and socialize. The time spent walking and being together is a chance to hear stories, different opinions, to learn new things, to learn tolerance and to hopefully grow as a person.
For those people who are willing and able to take these opportunities to do just that, it can be as rewarding as it is to watch the dogs play and do their own socializing. For those who are not able or willing to, then they will just be walks. But, then again it has always been up to those who can to carry the brunt of awareness...
As long as the dogs are having fun!
Sometimes you get what you need, not what you want...
It took someone to remind me of that to fully appreciate the new four-legged friend I recently adopted. On April 12, 2019 it was four months, and to be honest, it was a rough few months adjusting to her presence. And I think she would say the same of me.
Her name is Cora, or Corabelle...
I have always taken in dogs with a bad past, most scared of people, not dog friendly and scared of their own shadow on some days. I am used to all of the issues that come along with these types of dogs. But, they were always a "type" of dog...Huskies, Great Pyrenees, Flat Coated Retrievers...big, long-haired dogs with a certain style of personality and looks. I am very much drawn to big, calm and independent. It was never a decision to adopt these type of dogs, they just happened along the way. I have always joked that I like my dogs like I like my men...big and quiet, lol.
So, when the time came to think about saving another life I spent hours on Petfinder looking for that type. A few came along that I really wanted to meet, but were adopted before I could even start the process. I knew it had to be the complete opposite looks from Evie since that would be too difficult for me. I knew I could not adopt a full Pittie, which has been my dream, because of not being able to take it to work, etc. I filled out a few applications, each time I explained what I was searching for. This was the first time I was actually able to choose a dog rather than ending up with one and it was a big decision. I wanted another companion, one that would be by my side for many years hopefully.
One photo was for a sad looking tan and white girl with big ears that stood up miles above her head and a big belly from recently giving birth. There was a little Pittie look to her, and those ears...oh, those ears. I contacted the rescue but was told she had a meet n greet the day and then told she was adopted. So, I put her out of my mind.
A few days after that the rescue contacted me and said the first home was not suitable and was I still interested? I spoke with the foster a few times after and explained again what my situation was and what I was searching for...must like cats, must be calm and quiet so I could take her to work, and must like to go on drives and do things with me, etc.
Fast forward a few weeks and I drive to pick her up, excited, but nervous.
I am not sure what the look on my face was as the little, skinny, timid dog walked across the parking lot towards me. It was probably a little bit of shock. She let me hug her and walked with me to the car. On the drive home I sat in the back seat with her and she sat on top of me, shaking and visibly confused and nervous.
Once home, she would not lay on any of the beds I had for her...she would crawl up to them and touch them with her toes. She would not take treats because they scared her, she would cower when I showed her the toys I had gotten her. She trembled and trembled and trembled a little more, with an occasional whining fit in between. I really hate whining. Her skin was a mess, her teeth were horrible and her spay incision was not healing well. She did not know words such as treat, walk or come.
Ahhh...so much for the big, calm, quiet type.
The next few weeks the whining continued, the projectile vomiting in the car was constant, the neediness was prevalent, walks were no fun. The only thing that was going well was sleeping and eating. She did both like a champ.
I could see she was trying but I was having a difficult time with my attitude and the inability to shake the annoyance and disappointment with the situation. I tried to take her to the dog park because I was told she liked other dogs and she had done well on a few walks with other dogs with me. That was a horrible experience, we never made it further than the side of the car where she began to violently shake and snarl like an alien had taken over her body.
I really did consider giving her back to the rescue after that, feeling she deserved a home different than mine, but knowing also I was the one that who to change. How was she going to become my companion like this? I had worked with this type of dog many times, but have never lived with one! So, I decided to talk with a trainer and told her my concerns. A few days later I spoke with another type of trainer and shared my concerns again. Both were very nice and told me things that I already knew, and a few that I didn't. Both gave me a reason to keep trying.
Sitting at work one day not too long after a co-worker asked me how we were doing and my response was that it was difficult, but we were getting to know each other. Her simple response changed everything...sometimes you get what you need, not what you want. It was as if she gave me permission that I needed to be okay with this dog and my attitude magically changed. No kidding.
Since that day things have gotten better because she senses the change in me. She is still a whiner, which I will never get used to. But, the vomiting in the car has mostly stopped, she loves her beds and her toys and she definitely loves to eat as the six pound weight gain has proven. She loves her belly rubs and kisses on her head. She loves to run around the yard throwing the ball up in the air and run zoomies around the house. She thinks rolling in absolutely everything is the best thing ever.. She snores like a freight train and likes to snuggle inside all the blankets I have for her. And she is more confident which has, of course, led to being very stubborn, lol.
When I look at her now I don't see that small, annoying dog. I see her for "who" she is and the good things she brings to my life. She loves, loves, loves people and it is a joy to watch her say hello to everyone she sees. She does well with most dogs and it is a treat to see her run and play with them. She loves to snuggle with me on the couch while I tell her stories and rub her belly. There is still a lot to work through and deal with so that I can be the best human for her issues, and I still have that sneaky feeling that she would maybe have done better in a home with lots of people and dogs to play with. But she deserves to have someone be there for her. I guess I am that one and that I must have needed her "type" without knowing it.
I decided to make my first entry into this journey of blogging about the amazing feeling it is when an animal decides to trust you. When moving into my current apt complex a year and a half ago there were several cats living outside. The two girls, Silky and Cali, were born here and my neighbor had them fixed and vaccinated long before I moved in. There was a boy named Bandit who has only one eye and then there was Momma…the mother of the two girls. Momma is a mess. Her coat is filthy, her tail thin, her whiskers caked with old food and who knows what. She has had a chronic mouth infection since the day I saw her and you can hear her breathing yards away. She has never been friendly, even to my neighbor who has been feeding her for years. Soon after moving in I set up a few shelters close-by for all the cats and Momma took to them in the winter, even though she would run when I approached to clean them or straighten them. At first she would run far away and leave, then over time she would run a few yars and then recently only a few feet. I have spent as much time sitting and talking to her as possible, but never trying to bother her beyond feeding her when my neighbor was not around. Her breathing became bad enough in the last few weeks that I managed to get my hands on some antibiotics for her. Of course, she disappeared for a week and I was not able to give them to her. Two nights ago she was sitting out front by the food bowls and I decided to take a chance and see if she would eat the food with the liquid. I slowly walked to her and crouched down. I opened the can, put the liquid in and slowly put the bowl under her face. She must have been overly hungry, or the medicine tasted good, because when I decided to put my hand out to pet her she didn’t flinch. In fact, she right there and then, became my friend. I spent the next hour feeding her, petting her and loving every minute of it. And so did she. She obviously hasn’t had any attention in forever, if at all, and purred up a storm. All the while her wheezing making loud noises in between the purring. Two days later she is now waiting for me when I get home and lets me walk right up to her. I have taken a warm wash cloth and wiped as much of her face as possible, although she warned me that I need to go slowly with that. Amd I am happy to do so. Tonight her infection seems a little better, her eyes a little less gooey and I can’t help but smile. I have taken in a lot of animals, taken care of colony of cats and even stalked ferals to save them, but the grand feeling of being able to help never goes away. Stay tuned to see how things go…</strong>
Momma Day 2:
<strong>Well, I just came back inside from sitting with Momma as I have the last few nights after work. She is now letting me pet her under her chin and all over without signs of biting, although I am still cautious. Unfortunately, the Clavamox is not working as well as I would have liked. Although, she is a little better for now. Once again, I had to explain to my neighbor that her fat belly is not because she is happy and fat, it is because she is unhealthy, has worms and God knows what. She was freaked out and asked me if Momma needd to be put down because of the worms….
Also, had to take a few minutes to explain that not all Pitties are bad after she commented about that they all need to move out of this neighborhood and that they are mean. Reminds me of my many years in the veterinary exmination room trying to educate the clients.
Anyawy, Momma is outside eating the rest of her third bowl of food. The only way I feel okay walking away from her is when she is eating.