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Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

Okay, Deep breath.

I want this blog to be happy and full of love and funny stories. But somehow it always ends up sad and heartbreaking and heartbroken. I’ve been putting off this post because I haven’t been ready to write it, but maybe I should. Maybe I should face it and feel good and enjoy the sunshine again.

On Monday I gathered up the kitten, who’s legs had begun to drag behind her. I gathered her up and cooed nice words and she was sweet and sat in the pet carrier and didn’t even mew. Didn’t say a word. When we got to the vet’s she was good and sweet and didn’t hiss or act too wild. The vet took her out with a little help, and examined her. He told us her back was broken. She had been hit by a car and the wound that I had been looking after, that I thought was a simple scrape from her life outdoors, was a result of that. There was an infection in the bone, in her spine. The feeling in her legs was gone. She was in a lot of pain.

And I broke. I felt like all those things that I’ve lost along the way; grandpa, sully, Tiny, sister-that they were all there in that room with us and they were all gone. Especially sister, who in some way was like the kitten, Bones-that the babe named her, who looked at us with eyes that were scared and knew knew knew that somehow this was the end. And I had to put her down. Because even if I had the $3,000 to pay to have her hips re-broken and her spine realigned she would never walk again, would maybe never recover. And maybe it was wrong that I did. Her eyes were wide and she was afraid. She wasn’t a pet. She was a wild cat and all that she wanted to do was survive survive survive. This wasn’t like when we put Tiny down, who was old and loved us, and was happy that we were crowded around. Bones didn’t want anyone around. Didn’t trust people. Maybe she would have rather fallen asleep outside under the tree and just let the infection spread and never wake up. Or maybe she would have suffered. But would the suffering have been as bad as her fear in that room with us? It was suffocating.

I wonder if this was the last thing. I wonder how much I can take before I turn into something that isn’t me. I build up these little things inside my heart to try to make sure it keeps on going, keeps me up in the morning and making breakfast for the little person. In the vets office, in that room with the kitten, with Bones, something started to break, like I could hear it splintering and cracking and folding over. All I could think to do was say, “Oh god, Oh god,” while little kitten huddled in the corner.

Now, she is buried in the backyard. The part-time lover came with me and he dug a deep hole for her. He lifted her on the soft little blankets that I put in the carrier for her, that we carried her home in, and laid her down in the ground as softly as he could. I sprinkled the dirt over the blankets and wished her a happy journey, safe and beautiful lives forever after.

I don’t know what else to do or what to say. I’d like to just stop for a little while. Or maybe a long while. But I know I can’t. So, for right now at least, I go on for the babe. Up in the morning for him, up at night for him. For a while that will be okay, I imagine.

When she first found us

Her first food

Shortly before our trip to the vet.

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Tonight I found myself with my arms wrapped around the tree-trunk chest of my dog. I rubbed my nose on his fur and held on. I held him like he was a person, a friend, a family. I haven’t done that in a long time. I haven’t run my hands down the creases of his face or let him press his big head into my hip either.

I spent this Thursday out with one of my dearest friends that I see all too little. We met a nice boy with a nice accent and she said, “Isn’t sad that we’ll never again love like we did with our first love?”, and it’s true. Our hearts will always be a little protected and a little worn and a little broke up. We’ll always smile for our new lovers when we may have cried for our first.

This is how I feel about the dog. When I held on to Sully I had to tell myself to breath out, to let go. I had to tell myself that I could hold and and cuddle him and speak softly like I did to Tiny and to Cleatus before him. I told myself that it was okay to see him as more than just Dog, or more than just a fleeting moment of happiness that will run out before I would be able to grab onto it, that it would be more pain than comfort. With Sully I’ve found myself holding back. Maybe because he’s not my first dog. He’s not full of the promise of maybe a life time together. He limps with the promise of an early death and another day week month lifetime of heartache.

But this isn’t how we are supposed to love. Maybe I need to love harder, knowing that the love that I get and give is so restricted by time.

I think of the kitten similarly. Some days I want to give up. The simple stroke of fur seems almost too little of a reward. Almost. Then, I see him sitting there. He is calm and he observes me. He likes to watch us now. And maybe he’s teaching me something. There’s something encouraging in the silences between us and in the ways he’ll stay within earshot just to watch us. Maybe the lesson is that it’s okay to love someone without being able to grasp them at all.

These pictures don’t fit the blog, but I was never good at that anyway.

Rainy day adventures

Oh look, a puddle

Cue nice weather, we sat in the car and rocked out to Metallica

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The babe is in bed, he went to bed early, and now I don’t know what to do with myself.  I feel like I have so many different things that I’d like to do.  Shouldn’t I be writing?  Reading? Cleaning? Doing all of those things that I put off because I feel like I don’t have the time concentration peace of mind? I’m watching “Sister Wives.”

It’s like I just don’t know what to do with myself outside of the babe. When he’s up and I’m working on homework or blogging here or anything else that isn’t playing in the puppy tent or swimming, or doing fun baby activities I feel like I’m being neglectful.  But then when he’s sleeping I feel so overwhelmed with possibilities that I shut down completely and sit in front of the t.v. to engorge on some polygamist drama.

Ugh.

In other news: I pet the kitten cat.  Fleetingly and apprehensively I reached out with my fingertips and stroked his back while he was eating.  I approached from the side, like the internet told me to do, and averted my eyes, like the internet said.  He flinched at first, backed away and made a little hissy sound.  But I persisted, and then, he just sat.  Underneath my fingers his fur felt soft and clean, and underneath his fur it was all bones and fragile.  I was shocked at sharpness that lay so close to my fingertips.  Despite the two feedings a day of a canned and dry mix that I put into the rooster bowl, he’s still a little bony thing that seems like he could break down and get buried under leaves where no one would ever find him again.  His legs also seem strange.  Bent funny, like it’s too much energy to move them.  He’s so light, though, that he moves in and out of my eyesight without me noticing.  He makes no noise on the ground and his only signal of approach is the mew that he lets out when he’s hungry.  I’m worried that I’ll find him one day covered in flies, but I’m too afraid to capture him.  I don’t know what I would do with him or where I would take him or how I would change him.

I need to though.  His legs worry me.  If anything else it would be to put an end to my suffering.

“Teen Mom”, now.  Let’s hope the babe wakes up soon.

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What I need.

The kitten now hovers at fingertips length.  I can reach out and touch him.  I could scruff him even.  He would do that weird cat thing where they freeze up and their faces look like something out of hell.  I could scruff him and then hold him to my chest like he was a baby.  Like he wanted me to be there.  Like he wanted me to hold him.

But I don’t.  I’m afraid that in doing something like that it would compromise who this kitten is.  He doesn’t want to be held.  He wants to be wild and roam around the streets eating dead mice and pigeon eggs.  Except he doesn’t.

This kitten wants me to feed him gourmet kitten food.  He wants me to set it in the same place every day and he wants me to sit at least an arms length away to watch him eat.  He permits me speaking.  He permits baby playing.

He won’t let me touch him or cradle him, he won’t come to me when I call, even.  He won’t play with the baby or feed him or bring him dead mice.  At this point I’m not seeing a whole lot of value in the kitten.

Maybe I should have left him out where I found him.  Maybe it was wrong of me to start feeding him and to offer him clean water.  Possibly he liked being wild.  Even when he was skin and bones and bags under his eyes.  Even when he was wandering from house to house looking for love and trying to hide from the hawks that were just waiting for his claws to retract.

Maybe he would be happier like that.  Or someone with sterner resolve could set him straight.  They could scruff him and take him to the vet.  They could sternly yet tenderly pull him in.  They could make him a house cat.  Hell, they could train him to go in the box.

But maybe then he wouldn’t be him.  He wouldn’t be that stray little snarky thing.  He would be held against his own accord, and even if that’s what he thinks he wants, it would never truly be his choice.

And maybe that’s my downfall.  That I’ll feed the kitten and I won’t force him to be touched.  That I’ll let him take from me.  To come when he’s hungry.  To drink when I’m not looking.  To eat freely.  To shit in the garage.

That I don’t force him to be good to my son, to spend time with him, to love him.

Thanks Mimi and Papa for the little red wagon!

How could he not want to rub his whiskers on that sweet face?  How could he not want to spend every nap curled up on his little baby lap?

There’s a good chance that the kitten sneaks to other houses during the day.  The times when I call him and I can’t find him.  He possibly rubs his body against other legs.  Mews.  Takes food from prettier girls hands.  Drinks from their mouths.

Yeah, kitty face, I see you sneakin' in that back door.

And maybe that’s okay, too.  Maybe all I really need is to know that he is fed.  That he’s patting around living his kitty life.  Maybe I don’t need to force him to be what I need, but to instead be content that he existed for a purpose in my life, and that I will feed him, but otherwise maybe I don’t need him for anything else.

All I really need is this face:

A shout out for Fern and Mary!

 

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The kitten that I have been feeding gourmet cat food and canned salmon is still the finicky Ferrell thing it was one month ago when I found it.  My dad went out and got it a pet carrier so that I could ease it into the space and then capture it gently to take to the vet.  I put the food in his carrier, along with a soft towel, and still when I approach he darts out and glares at me until I’m at an acceptable distance so that he can return to his carefully mixed meal.  He won’t let me touch him.  He’s not mine.  He’s still a stray.

My entire life I’ve been collecting strays.  My parents used to joke about it when I was young.  The kid on the playground that swung alone would end up at our front door.  They would come in and take my barbies.  I would always be Ken.  They would claim me as best friend and then take my lunch.  I mean, I would give them my lunch.  It never occurred to me that relationships were give and take, and that when I gave them my cookies they should hand me an apple, or a hug, or a handwritten note with a Lisa Frank sticker.

But I like this part of who I am.  When I give out cookies, or catfood, or love it’s because I want the recipient to feel good.  I want them to feel full.  However, it’s my propensity for taking in the broken and helpless that begins to leave me feeling unfulfilled.

My fingers ache for this kitten.  I want scratch behind it’s ears.  I want to run my hand down his back and circle his tail.  I want him to rub his whiskers against my jeans.

My body aches for large warm hands to smooth it.  I want someone to lie down beside me and brush out my hair.

Did you know that I almost never have my hair this long?  I’ve kept it short since I was in middle school.  Now that it brushes across my shoulder blades, I don’t know how to keep the tangles out.

I may never pet this cat.  Most likely I’ll have to close the crate on him when he doesn’t expect it.  I’ll have to terrify him.  Take him to the vet to get his shots and some vital part of his reproductive history completely removed.  When I release him, he will hiss and bolt.  I may never see him again.

But I’ll still go out.  Night after night with the little babe following behind.  I’ll mix his food with the right proportions, and I’ll put it in the yellow and orange rooster bowl.  I’ll leave it out for him, even if it turns out that it’s only the ants that I’m feeding.

 

My picture of the day, taken just a few minutes ago.

Wha wha

Too many late nights with the baby bean and too much to do before the big party has left me feeling less than energetic.

Onward and upward!

 

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I have switched Kitten Little’s (yes, that is now the ferrel kitten’s official name) food to some kitten chow, mixed with soy milk, mixed with a wet cat food.  He seems to eat everything with gusto and doesn’t complain that he’s no longer ingesting large amounts of albacore tuna.  His little whiskers still lie out of my fingertips reach.  He still scampers if I get too close.  I wonder why I wait for him.  He doesn’t seem interested in getting to know me, other than a food source, and even seems increasingly happy when I put his bowl down and walk away.  He is like all of my lovers; starving, yet fleeting once full.  Kitten Little hisses when I expect too much.

My mother believes that the kitten is a bad omen, that he brings death.  Many years ago a black cat jumped through the kitchen window cut out and into my mothers lap.  She sent it out.  It came back the next day and hid under her bed while Tiny and Cleatus, our big and lovely dogs, barked mercilessly.  The cat followed her like a shadow, it was relentless in its pursuit of her affections.  It insisted she was a cat person despite her allergies.  She had my father bring it to the humane society.  A month or so later Cleatus died of cancer, suddenly and quickly.  Cleatus was big and sturdy and liked to be scratched under his chin.  He was the best hugger because his body was the size of a full grown man, and you could curl up between his paws and snuggle and hug him without restraint.  Cleatus was our first pet loss, and we buried him in the backyard near a towering pine tree.

Kitten Little showed up the day we had to put Tiny down.  His intentions were not as direct, but he made his presence known.  Tiny’s passing wasn’t as abrupt, it wasn’t unexpected.  It didn’t jump into your lap.  He was 14, maybe 15 and took on the presence of a distinguished old man.  He no longer listened when we chastised, he stole food from the table, he farted at will and blamed it on the younger dog.

I guess a death messenger in Kitty cat form seems appropriate.  Didn’t the ancient Egyptians have a cat goddess that worked as a death messenger?  Or was she a protector?  To me, it seems almost one in the same.

Our Sweet Tiny

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