A happy ending to a (literally) crappy week

Well, I don’t think I’ve ever been so obsessed with poop as I have been this week. But it was for the best, believe me.

Poor Lucy has had the Hershey’s Squirts since Monday. Of course, I was immediately concerned. The dog has a stomach of iron and eats everything that will fit in her mouth, usually without incident. I had Mark take a stool sample in for testing, but nothing was found. I was advised to cook some white rice and feed it to Lucy with her regular food for a couple of days. But it didn’t cure her loosey goosies.

Lucy Chatting

“Mom? My butt hurts!”

I watched Lucy in the yard last evening. After she did her business, I went to investigate, hoping to see some sign that things were returning to normal. But things were far from normal and I also saw blood, which made me feel a little panicky. Bella had bloody stools just as she got so incredibly sick. I couldn’t sleep last night. I worried that Lucy was getting incredibly sick too. I made Mark promise to take her to the vet today.

Mark called me at work this afternoon. He asked, “Do you want the good news? Or the good news?”

“Umm… the good news,” I said.

“They found a fungus in Lucy’s stool. She has some pills to take for a few days and her poop should get back to normal as soon as this evening.”

I was so relieved! When I got home and Lucy greeted me at the door like usual, I dropped to my knees and hugged and kissed her and told her how happy I was that she was going to be just fine. She put her paws up on my shoulders and gave me a big, sloppy, wet kiss! A happy ending to a crappy week!

On a side note, for anyone wondering, “Why don’t I know who Tigger is?” ….

Tigger

This is Tigger.

There’s not much to say about Tigger. Like some of our other pets, he found his way into our lives when we weren’t even looking. He used to belong to my parents until they couldn’t keep him anymore. It took him a while to get used to us. He never really did, I guess. He now resides behind the furnace for the most part and comes out for treats and a snuggle from me when I get up for work in the morning. Otherwise, he pretty much keeps to himself and prefers not to be looked at or touched.

I can’t say for sure, but I think Tigger is glad that Lucy isn’t feeling so crappy anymore too.

Stray

Lucy frequently barks at things she sees out the windows. School children walking to and from the bus stop. Runners. Dog walkers. Squirrels in the yard. Turkeys in the yard. (Yes, really. But just that one time.)

Last evening, Lucy was gazing out the window of the front door and began to bark and howl, whine, cry and dance like a dog possessed.

“What the heck,” I said, leaving my skillet of Sloppy Joes in the making to investigate. Jake came to the front window just as I did. There we saw Neighbor Bob out in his front yard with Jack, the German Shorthair. And in the middle of the front yard was a cat. The cat and Jack were running circles around each other, Jack trying to play with (or eat) the cat, the cat trying to fend off Jack. Each time Jack tried to approach the cat, Neighbor Bob pressed a button on a remote control which shocked poor Jack who howled profusely which sent Lucy into further fits.

I slipped on my jacket and walked across the street to see if I could help. While Neighbor Bob secured Jack in his back yard kennel, I approached the cat that was now sitting in the middle of the front yard, breathing heavily. Bob came back just as the cat was hissing at me, warning me not to come close.

“Do you know whose cat this might be,” I asked him?

“No idea,” he said. “Maybe nobody’s.”

There are a lot of feral cats in this area. They tend to stay closer to the many ponds and wooded areas, but sometimes one will run through the neighborhood. They tend to be small and skinny and extremely skittish. The cat in Neighbor Bob’s yard did not appear to be feral. He was too pretty and filled out. I was sure he was someone’s pet, but I couldn’t see a collar and he wouldn’t let me near without hissing. I wasn’t up for getting bit, and I told Bob so. He said he wasn’t either and thanked me for trying to help.

I went back in the house to finish dinner. Not long afterwards, I was looking out the front window and saw Neighbor Bob in his front yard with a broom, shooing away the stray cat. The cat alternately pitched and ran and made it as far as across the street. To my yard. Where he found refuge under the deck steps between the chain link fence and a sizable shrub. I went outside once again to check on the cat, now huddled underneath the steps. Neighbor Bob stood in my front yard with his broom, apologizing for sending the cat my way.

I didn’t want to mess with any more of Neighbor Bob’s crazy antics, so I said not to worry and to just leave the cat. The cat was outside of the fence that surrounds our back yard, but close enough to Lucy’s play area to make her crazy when she went outside. And something was clearly wrong with the cat. He wasn’t leaving in spite of all of the commotion. I decided to keep Lucy in the house long enough to let the cat wander off again. But since Lucy’s stomach was still bothering her, I knew I couldn’t keep her inside indefinitely.

I told myself not to think about the cat. I told myself not to worry about the cat. We’ve had enough pet issues recently. I couldn’t afford to take on another pet, especially one who wouldn’t let me near him anyway and one who might be sick or injured.

I checked after an hour. Cat was still hiding out under the steps.

I checked again sometime later, taking a closer look. Cat was still hiding out under the steps. In the rocks. In the cold. With icy snowflakes beginning to fall and a snowstorm on its way.

I told myself not to think about the cat again, but all I could think is how if he were my pet and out on his own, I’d want someone to care for him. I found a box and lined it with towels, hoping Cat would let me get it under the steps so he could get inside. He hissed when I came near, but I could see him shivering, so I knew he was cold. So I just placed the box as near as I could to Cat with the opening where he could see it.

I went back in the house and told myself not to think about Cat as I was getting him some of Tigger’s food. I brought the food out to the deck steps and Cat hissed at me again as I approached, but he allowed me to put the food in the box. I went back inside, then came out again a while later to peek at him and he was eating.

All I could think was that a snow storm was coming and Cat was going to be dead under my steps in the morning.

And I couldn’t let Lucy outside because she’d go nuts and anger the neighbors with babies on either side of our house. I decided I had to do something.

Not my stray cat, but he looked like this one

Not my stray cat, but he looked like this one

A series of phone calls led me to the county animal control agency who assured me that Cat could be picked up and taken to the Humane Society. I didn’t know if this was the best solution for him, but it would be better than letting him suffer and/or die in the cold overnight. Animal Control said they’d send someone out. It was not who I expected. Turns out we don’t have any type of Animal Control services after 7:00 pm in this city. Instead, I got a police officer who was not equipped to remove or transport Cat. Instead, he proceeded to lecture me about how I shouldn’t provide shelter and I shouldn’t provide food and water. He was not on board with my animal loving instincts. He said that I could probably get someone to remove Cat in the morning and for now, I should just leave Cat out there without the box, without the food and without the water.

“Okay,” I said. “But I think the cat is sick or hurt and I can’t let my dog out.”

He said that Cat didn’t look sick or injured to him. Again I was given the same spiel about help being available in the morning. “Just leave him there for now. Don’t feed him. Blah, blah, blah.”

“Yes, I know,” I sighed. “But I can’t let my dog out. But whatever. I’ll figure it out.”

He left, reminding me again. No shelter. No food. No water. I closed the front door behind him and muttered, “Asshole.”

Maybe he felt my disdain. Maybe he felt guilty. Whatever he felt, he was compelled to go the extra mile after he left. My phone rang and the officer informed me he was on his way back with a kennel and if he could get the cat, he would take him to the Humane Society. And true to his word, he arrived within minutes and came out of his truck with a kennel. He managed to get Cat on the first try. As I watched out the window, he gave me a thumbs up and put the kennel in the back seat of his vehicle. I poked my head out the door and shouted, “Thank you!”

I didn’t feel great about the whole thing. I know what happens to cats that go to the Humane Society and who don’t get claimed or adopted. But at least he didn’t suffer out in the cold overnight. I hope that if he has a family, they find him again. But really, I just have to try not to think too much about him.

He Wants Me

When the day winds down, I know he’ll be waiting there for me.

It’s late and I’m tired. I know I should go to bed. I do love our bed, with its heavy down comforter and soft fluffy pillows. I love to bury myself in a cocoon of blankets and fall asleep beneath. On really cold nights, I grab my fleece blanket and toss that on top too. He loves that blanket. If I use it, I know he’s going to snuggle up really close to me.

But sometimes I’m reluctant to go, especially after a really long day. Our schedules are so different and just when I’m ready to wind down for the day and drift off to sleep, he always seems so full of energy. The last thing he’s thinking is sleep!

I know he loves me and he just wants to be close to me, especially after we’ve been apart all day long. But sometimes I’m just not in the mood. So I hold off going to bed, knowing if I do, he’ll just climb on top of me and paw at me.

I know it sounds callous of me. After all, he practically worships the ground I walk on and follows me around the house when I’m home, just hoping for a little attention.

I shouldn’t be so selfish with my affections. After all, he’s never been anything but dedicated to me. He waits so patiently for me, night after night, just hoping… I think tonight, I’ll give him a little of what he’s been looking for.

 

Tigger

A nice belly rub.

Watching and Waiting

When I returned home from work yesterday, Jake informed me that Holly had been sick at least three times during the day. (Sick = throwing up icky stuff.) I went to find her and she was dry heaving and looking miserable. I let her be until the sick feeling seemed to pass and then picked her up. As I did, she squealed a little bit, as if she might have been in pain.

Jake then told me, “Dad said she probably won’t make it a week.”

The combination of that statement and what I had just witnessed caused me to have a little melt down. I was sure the vet’s assumption that she had another month or so was way off base.

Later, I gave Holly some bits of chicken and she ate it willingly. I don’t think she’s been eating her dry food. She threw up all of the chicken not long afterwards.

I woke up at 3:00 this morning, and had a little trouble going back to sleep because I kept thinking that somewhere in my house, my little Holly had passed on. But I was afraid to go look for her. I finally did go back to sleep and  got up just before 6:00.  After using the bathroom, I hesitantly opened the door, afraid I wouldn’t find her waiting there for me. Normally, when she hears the water running, she comes to the door and then jumps up on the vanity to get her drink, but I didn’t expect to see her there this morning. Much to my relief, she was. As soon as I opened the door, she started meowing over and over. I think she’s too weak already to even attempt the jump, so I lifted her up and turned on the trickle of water for her and she drank to her heart’s content.

Afterwards, she huddled up into the bread loaf position on the vanity and stayed there, sleeping, nose down, while I cleaned up for the day. When I was done, I carried her to the love-seat where I had spread out my favorite fleece blanket, which she just loves. She’s been sleeping there ever since.

She seems a little better today, but I’m seriously doubting she’ll make it another month. As soon as it’s clear she’s in pain, I’ll do the humane thing.

The hardest part of this is just knowing she’s dying and being reminded every time I look at her, yet not knowing when it’s going to happen. We’ll know when it’s time, I know. And I do remember that after we had Shelby-dog put down, it became immensely easier knowing she was no longer in pain.

The kids seem a little less scared about the prospect of losing another pet. It was extremely hard on them when we lost Shelby, but I think now they’ve learned that time goes on, and pets come and go. And since Dacotah entered his life, Brad has learned that it’s possible to fall in love with another pet again. (Talking on the phone with him today, he said she’s in heat for the first time. She’s wearing doggie diapers and hates it, so she sort of waddles when she walks and “it’s SO cute!” I think HE’S so cute.)

So, these are difficult, but valuable life lessons for all of us, I guess.

Sometimes I feel a little silly, thinking, “My gosh, she’s just a cat, and one that I never even intended on having. She just sort of fell into our lives.” But she’s been a part of this life for 15 years. She’s been a source of love, entertainment, amusement and frustration over those years. She grew up right alongside my own children. And they love her immensely. She has a very distinct and permanent place in all of our hearts. It’s sad to know that very soon, I won’t feel the soft, silky feel of her fur on my face and the sound of her purring when she cuddles on me.

Holly in her younger days

Okay… I’m going to try to stop with the bummer posts from here on out…

I’m hanging around the house waiting for the stove repair guy to show up today. It sucks that a brand new oven doesn’t work on the first try. (And since we were remodeling, it wasn’t installed upon delivery – our choice – so that’s why it didn’t get tested when we first got it.) Hopefully it’s no big deal and I’ll be able to cook in it soon!