The Sheep ranks as one of the animals that people like most. It is gentle and calm. The cute creature often reminds people of beautiful things.
This has been an awful year for pets. I lost my eldest cat, Starlight, on New Year’s Day. I posted my tragedy on Facebook. The feedback was amazing, including posts from others who had lost their pets recently or on the same day. A week later, a very good friend discovered his eldest dog had a serious kidney condition. The dog weakened and died in less than a week. Now my cat, Fred, has been diagnosed in kidney failure. He has 20% kidney function and his bone marrow is not producing new red cells. As a result, we are infusing him daily, and I am giving him three injections a week of EPO (yep the same stuff that cost Lance Armstrong his titles). So far, Fred is responding well, is much more active, and is getting his pink nose back. What is not happening is an increase in his kidney function, so it’s still a matter of time.
Why this tale of woe. I mean, really, I can whine in private. Well, it’s because there is a flip side to this. What you may not know is that once upon a time, I was president of PAWS Animal Welfare Society an animal rescue organization in Fort Kent, Maine. Our mission extended only to cats; we did not have the facilities for dogs. Our lack led us to work closely with local Humane Societies, one of which was Holton Humane Society. For the past year, I’ve been reading about Emerson, the Cat with Heart. Here is his Facebook page Emerson the Cat. When the stories first started, I had no idea who Emerson was, or why he had heart. I thought he was more myth than real. An invention of cyberland. I was shocked to discover that not only was Emerson real, he was injured, saved, and rehabilitated in my old neck of the woods.
Those are the stories that keep us rescuers going. The success stories. Holton Humane has limited resources, all non-profits do. But they went the extra yard and saved a cat that they knew would never bring in an adoption fee. I doubt they expected his story to go viral, but I’m glad it did. It calls attention to why Humane Societies exist. First and foremost, they are all about the animals. They bring kindness, love, and hope to animals that have experienced harshness at the hands of humans. What is most amazing is that these animals do not hold grudges against the race that caused them so much harm. Instead, they repay the cruelty with unconditional love.
All of my cats are/were rescues. Star, dumped in my yard. Hutch, left in a sewer just before a tropical storm was due. (In the service of full disclosure, Hutch’s mother may have moved her kittens into the storm sewer, he was found with his brother and sister, none of whom had their eyes open yet.) Missy, we found her when she was eating the squirrel food we put on top of a snowdrift on our back porch during the year of the 200 inch snowfall. Fred, from PAWS, had been picked up by the animal control officer in Quimby and would have been destroyed if PAWS didn’t take him. Zoe was dropped off at our vet’s by her owner’s mother. They didn’t want her anymore, they wanted the dog they just bought. She had dog bite marks on her neck and her medical record read, “euthanasia tomorrow.” Jenny, Piper, and Cub were abandoned in our yard late at night. Jenny is the mother cat, Piper and Cub her kittens. Smokey, now deceased, was abandoned in Arizona by his owner when she moved. He was under the porch steps in 110 degree heat. Elvis, also deceased, found my husband in New Hampshire. He was starving and found to have an acute, but treatable, thyroid condition common to elder cats. Each has brought a special richness to my life. (photos of all are on my FB page: Kait Carson)
What about you? Do you share your life with a critter? How did you acquire him/her and what does the pet mean to you?