Meeting Molly

Last week I wrote about the loss of my cat Max. I still miss him. This week I want to write about someone else.molly 3

This is Molly.

She is two and a half years old German Sheperd/Husky mix and, until recently, belonged to an 85-year-old woman in Georgia. Molly spent her days loved but on a chain in the backyard. Then her owner got sick and couldn’t take care of her anymore. Her owner’s son tried for a bit but he had health problems too. Soon Miss Molly was at the animal shelter and slated to be put to sleep.

Both her owner and her son were heartbroken. Molly was such a sweet girl and deserved better. So they reached out to friends and family on facebook, begging someone to adopt her before it was too late. Time was running out.

Then a distant cousin reposted their desperate plea. (Try to follow me on this connection, I know I should have created a flow chart but I didn’t think about it until now.) This distant cousin was my cousin’s best friend growing up. My cousin passed away at least 18 years ago. (We were very close but she had CF and was limited in what she could do. I grew up with asthma and so we bonded over our closeness in age and inability to breath.)

So here it is, a very long time since I have set eyes on this person, and I see a facebook post about this adorable dog about to be put to sleep just because she doesn’t have anyone to take care of her. I would have happily continued to care for my Max, but there was only pain waiting for him and eventually death. His was a hopeless situation. Molly’s was not.

I have never really been a dog person. We have Duke but he hardly qualifies because he

Duke
Duke

is so small. (But don’t tell him I said that.) However, my heartstrings were plucked as I looked at the post. I wasn’t ready for another cat, but maybe I could take in this dog who needed someone. We could sort of help each other.

I messaged my cousin’s friend, who messaged her cousin, and the race was on. We had to get her before the execution could be carried out. Sabrina’s (my cousin’s friend) cousin got her from the pound that night. Sabrina and her son drove down the next day. (My kid had a doctor’s appointment so we couldn’t go pick her up directly.) Then they brought her straight to my house.

At first, Molly was nervous and shy, though she quickly adapted. We’ve learned a lot about each other in the week or so that she has been here. She has learned that if I am writing at my computer and she lays directly behind the chair, I have to give her tummy rubs before I can get up. I have learned she has a mischievous personality and knows exactly how cute she is, and uses it to her advantage when she gets in trouble or doesn’t want to go outside.  Molly is very sweet and loves attention. I am still not sure that I am a dog person, but I do know that I am this dog’s person.

molly 4

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Mourning Max

3This May I lost my cat Max to cancer. It was sudden and I wasn’t prepared. I took him to the vet because he wouldn’t eat; I thought I was being overprotective and they would tell me he had a cold or something. I thought “better safe than sorry”.  Turns out sorrow can creep up on you even if you are trying to be safe.

The doctor came back after doing some x-rays to let me know Max wasn’t going to get better. She had felt a mass in his abdominal region and wanted to get a better look. The mass showed up as several tumors that were pushing down on his digestive system. He couldn’t eat or drink because he couldn’t go to the bathroom. There was nowhere for the waste to go and it would only get worse until he eventually died in great pain.

During this explanation, Max kept trying to crawl back into his carrier. He wanted to go home. He didn’t feel well and he wanted me to hold him or take him home. I shattered.

I had Max from the time he was a tiny kitten. I probably have other posts about him on this blog. He showed up on my porch three years ago with a bad eye infection. He 4eventually lost both his eyes, yet being blind never slowed him down.

He knew when it was time for me to come home from work and would wait near the door for my arrival. Then he would stand up on his hind paws and reach up, like a toddler, wanting to be picked up for cuddles. He very rarely meowed, we joked that it interfered with his sonar, but his purr was strong and deep.

So there I stood in the vet’s office facing the worst possible scenario. They advised that we put him to sleep. The cancer was too widespread for them to operate. They asked that I stay with him while they got him prepared, in order to keep him calm. I didn’t want my baby to suffer any more than he already was so I agreed. I stroked his soft black fur as the injected him with a tranquilizer. I eased him down to his side as it took effect.

7 Tears blinded me through the whole processes. Yet when the vet came in with the final shot I couldn’t stay. I couldn’t watch the life leave him, so I gathered my things and fled. I couldn’t tell you what the vet bill was. I just shoved my credit card at them, signed where the told me, and then left.

I could have taken the body home but I wasn’t strong enough at that point to deal with it. So the vet’s office took care of that as well. (They are a very well respected office in my city. A bit more pricey than some others but the way they treat the animal is worth it. They didn’t just dump him in the trash can out back.)

2So here I am. It’s two months later and my heart is still broken. I miss my Max terribly. We have two other cats and I love them, but I was Max’s person. The other cats have claimed my kids. Our chihuahua is without a doubt my son’s dog. All the animals have been giving me extra attention since Max passed away but there is still a hole…

 

 

This story has been more difficult to write than I thought it would be so I am going to have to cut it in half. This is the sad half. Like most serious events in life, this experience clings to me. However, there is a light of hope and happiness. Her name is Molly. I will tell that story in the next post.

 

Mondays and Missing Cats

Hello all. What is it about Monday’s? It’s like I wake up with an automatic To-Do list that somehow complied over night. Today is going to be a busy one.

I didn’t do much this weekend but sit around in comfortable clothes and watch Doctor Who. I had some sort of stomach nasty that wouldn’t let me get too far from a toilet without dire consequences. It was kind of nice to have self permission not to do anything. I could have done without the being sick part though.

Panda
Panda

Today I have to play catch up. There is housework to do, writing to get done, and a cat to find. Panda, our black and white cat, hasn’t been home in several days and I am beginning to get worried. Sometimes she will disappear for a day or two after we have done something to offend her, but this is a bit long. Usually these absences will follow a few days of breakfast being served late or us not letting her outside when she wants. She is the queen of the household and knows it.panda

I’m not only worried about Panda but my daughter as well. Technically she is my daughter’s cat. We brought her home from the animal shelter as a kitten, shortly after we moved into our house.

At thirteen, my daughter is all moody teenage girl. Her cat is the one she talks to when things get to be too much, because obviously mom can’t understand. (I was a teenager once too and did the same thing, so I know how this works. Cats can be wonderful confidants and they have the added bonus of being fluffy.)10502233_10201355538529691_2457240744323550533_n

To complicate things, not only does she have the usual teen stuff to deal with, but her father just moved across the country. She has always been a Daddy’s girl. She has always known if she needed him, he was right there and I would take her to see him. Now that is a bit more difficult since he is a couple of thousand miles away. They still skype and stuff but it isn’t the same.  And now her cat is missing.

My daughter does talk to me. It’s not like we have no communication, but talking to her Daddy and talking to her cat is different from talking to mom. Kids have a lot to deal with. So do parents for that matter.

I had more to say but my kids are awake now and I have lost my train of thought. I have to go make breakfast and get my son started on his homeschooling. He is full of energy this morning and is irritating his sister. She is in a good mood and is irritating him back so my house is very loud right now.

I’ll return with cat updates as I have them.

Splintered Thoughts

There are days when I wake up refreshed and sit down at the computer with a smile on my face. Then there are days where I wake up from dreams of being ridiculed for daring to call myself an author. Days where the cat has knocked my glasses off of the night stand and I have an unexplained splinter in my palm. Days where I trudge out of my room on sore feet and step in cat vomit.

Hello Monday. Where is my coffee?

The sun hasn’t been awake long. It is just now kicking off the last of its night blanket. I feel like I have a long list of important things that has to be done today but right now I can’t name a one. I know it is trash day. I will have to roll the cans out to the curb. I haven’t let the dog out yet…I guess the rest will come after I’ve had coffee. Or after the kids wake up.

That is the thing with kids. You can have a whole plan free day and then your kid gets sick or wants to go to a friends house, or needs something and then suddenly the whole day is full.

I also had a post planned for today. It was something informative about writing. I didn’t write it down as I plotted it though, so now it is gone. Replaced with: “How did I get a splinter in my hand? Was it there yesterday and I didn’t notice? Or did I somehow manage to acquire it while I slept? How?”

Questions like that aren’t of interest to anyone else but I know it is going to bug me for the rest of the day.

Literature In School or How The Dog Dies

My daughter is in the 6th grade. She has enjoyed most of her class, as much as a 12 year old can anyway. She does have a reoccurring complaint about the curriculum however.

It is a complaint that I echoed at her age and still ponder to day. The friends I have spoken with about it have the same issues. We can all agree, that while well written, they could have chosen better books for required reading.

I am not a dog person. I like dogs. I like most animals. I will happily play with and pet a dog. I had an absolutely amazing terrier mix as a kid who would go fishing with me and was smart enough to know when I had a fish hooked.  However, I am not really a dog person. As in I don’t think I am a good dog owner. They deserve more love and attention.  Cats on the other hand never ask for love or attention. If they want it, they take it and it doesn’t matter what you are doing at the time.

My cats are one of the reasons it is important for me to reread things I have written. Not only are there my own mistakes to look out for, but the keyboard sometimes gets walked on when I get up to get coffee. There won’t be a cat insight when I get back, but the evidence remains.

Some of you are wondering what that has to do with books and school. Well, when I was in middle school the preferred reading was every well written book where an animal dies at the end. Most of those books were dogs. Yes, they were heroes first but they still died.

Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, Black Beauty, Frankenstein, Animal Farm. These are all bloody death books from when I was in school. Good books from the vantage point of adulthood but when I was a kid I wasn’t so pleased.

Like my daughter said: “Why do they make us read books where everything dies? Isn’t life depressing enough? Are they trying to drive up the suicide rate?”

The thing is she has a whole new batch of books. They are ones I have never heard of but the theme remains the same. Someone or something dies at the end. I have to wonder if all of these authors read Romeo and Juliet and thought “Yep that is the way to go. Kill them at the end.”

If they want kids to read about death and such at least give them something else to focus on than a mom dying of cancer or a dog with rabies. How about some science fiction? How about the Hobbit? Yeah, some of the kids wouldn’t like it and a lot of parents don’t like their children getting wrapped up in fiction “nonsense”. But good heavens, Stephen King has happier endings than some of these things.

I am fortunate that both of my children like to read. The library is a fun place for us. Some kids don’t and the only exposure to books that they get is the enforced reading in schools. It would be nice if they got a chance to read something where, just once, everyone lives.

Stars and Cats

Good Morning Everyone.

I had my alarm set for 4am this morning. The plan was to get up an hour early and get some writing work done before I had to start the get-the-kids-ready-for-school-Samba. I only pushed the snooze button three times. Then Panda came into my room, sat on my chest and proceeded to give me sandpaper purring kitty kisses until I got up to feed her.

Panda
Panda

She was being sweet this morning. Usually she sits on the night stand and knocks everything off, one item at a time, until I get up. It goes something like: swipe, thump. Book falls in floor and Panda glances over for a reaction from the human. Swipe, thump. Second book and a hair tie meet the ground. Still no reaction from the human feeding unit. Swipe, rattle-rattle, glasses get close to the edge and the human jumps up…

 Anyway, I got up early to write and feed the cats. So, after feeding the cats, I sat down at my computer with a cup of coffee and stared at the screen for awhile. My eyes roamed over the bookmarks toolbar at the top of my screen, looking for inspiration, and found a link to something about the Night Sky.  I remembered there was supposed to be a meteor shower this month. I couldn’t remember the dates but since I had time and it was still dark, I decided to go spend some quality time star gazing.

The thing is I live in a suburb. When I was a kid and lived in the country the sky stretched spaceout in every direction, a dark cloak scattered with fiery diamonds and imagination. Now, once I turned off all the lights in the house, there is like a scrap of real night above my house that fades at the edges as the light pollution from other houses and street lights reach out to blur the beauty. If the night sky of my childhood was a diamond studded cloak, then the one I have now is a stained version in a second hand shop made with cheep rhinestones that have mostly fallen off.

Still, I laid down on the back porch and gazed up at what I could see. I opened all of my senses and took in the smell of recently cut grass and the sound of a train whistle. I felt the chill from the boards under my back seeping past my shirt and I watched my small window patch of sky. I felt recharged and more awake than the coffee could account for. Then my neighbor’s air conditioning unit kicked on at the same time one of the cats stuck his nose in my ear and I managed to levitate off of the porch.

I had left the back door cracked open so that if the kids woke up I would hear them. The cats had apparently saw that as an invitation to follow me.  Even the blind one, Max. I had three furry faces gathered around me on the porch, trying to figure out just what I thought I was doing. Laughing at myself, I gathered up Max and went back inside. I sat back down on the computer and I wrote.  Good Morning…

Sibling Rivalry?

dukeMy ex-husband and his wife are moving west. In preparation of their move they are condensing their worldly belongings and looking for homes for the pets they can’t take with them. That is how I ended up with a teacup Chihuahua. To be honest I am not really a dog person.

I isn’t that I don’t like dogs. I do. I love to play with other people’s dogs. I just don’t really see myself as a dog parent. Especially when I have seen guinea pigs bigger that the dog in question.

In my experience little dogs tend to be yappy needy things I don’t have the patience for. Yet, when my son looked up at me with those big blue eyes; I caved and agreed that it would be best for the dog to go to someone he was already familiar with. (Yes I am a sucker. That is how I ended up with three cats rather than just the one I planned on.)

So far Duke Tiberus, a.k.a the dog, hasn’t been too much trouble. He likes to sit close to whomever is home and he shivers a lot but he doesn’t argue when I give him a bath and he allowed me to attach a bow tie to his collar. (Because bow ties are cool.) He lets me know when he needs to go out and he eats very little.

However, all is not peaceful in my house. I have three cats. They were not happy about the

Panda
Panda

introduction of a dog into their household, especially my son’s cat Casper.

I expected more trouble from Panda, the eldest of the three and self appointed queen of all she surveys. She responds to Duke more along the lines of “What the heck is that?! Keep it away from me!”

Max
Max

 

 

 

 

Max, our blind kitten and youngest, just keeps his distance and sneaks up for a sniff when the dog is asleep. Casper on the other hand is not happy. My son is his person and now his place on the bed and in cuddles has been taken by this tiny thing that isn’t even as long as his tail. He hisses and spits and chases the poor dog up and down the hall. Whenever he notices Duke attempting to get close to me, he quickly claims my lap.

Casper
Casper

(Neither one ask for my opinion.)

Duke Tiberus has only been living with us for a little while. I am hoping things will settle down and they all learn to get along. Since he lived with a cat before, Duke is fine with his feline brothers and sister. He used to sleep and cuddle with the cat he lived with. I am sure he would do the same here if they give him the chance.