I have acquired over the years here at Care2, what I consider a good, no, a great group of friends. I do not lightly become a friend. When I do link withsomeone, I like to think that they are as fond of me as I am of them. Some of my friends I am not as close with as others.
Of late, it seems, there has been an overabundance of hurt feelings and outright hostility in and among some of my friends with subsequent hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and break ups occurring . I find each of my friends special and enjoy interacting with them. I got to know many quite well, and am quite fond of them. Unfortunately, circumstances have arisen where there is a rift among some to the point of broken relationships. I feel quite uncomfortable with this and am trying hard to not take sides or insert myself in this upheaval in a formerly peaceful and congenial group.
I am so sad with the increasing divisions. I wish that fences could be mended, that the animosity toward one another within this group could be resolved. I don't, however, see that happening the longer the animosity lasts and the wider divisions become.
I want each of you involved to know my feelings have not changed, although because I refuse to be pulled into the fracas, some people are now decidedly cool towards me. I suspect because I AM refusing to allow the negativity to change how I interact with any those involved. I am sad for the anger evident toward one another. I will not take sides and I will not speak ill of anyone no matter how angry they may be with one another. You are still my friends. I hope each of you still consider me your friend no matter what is taking place. However, if you cannot accept my position, then there is little I can do about that. It is what it is. I am still the same goofy, conflict avoiding person I have always been. I haven't changed. I only wish resolution could be reached for those in conflict, those with hurt feelings, and an abundance of anger toward one another. Life sure can get messy, can't it?
Because I can, I am going to shamelessly plug this organization. Randy Grimm started rescuing strays on his own time with his own money. He and some friends would go out to the raunchier sections of the city of St Louis where there was a huge population of stray dogs and cats. They would take packages of hot dogs and give them or leave them for the mostly dogs. When they could win the trust of some, they would take them back to the small place Randy was using and clean them up, find some sympathetic veterinarians to look after their medical needs, then try to find them homes. For the most part, these dogs have been just abandoned when they could no longer fight, or be cared for, or were abused then let go. I am posting the link to this marvelous organization because it has grown and grown. They have many programs they promote including a Seniors for Seniors program, a hospice program, foster care, permanent adoptions, everything. They recently got space for their own clinic. This is an excerpt from the Stray Rescue Home Page about its history. The picture, by the way is of Blaine, a rescue from today who has an obvious broken leg. If you can look into his eyes and not feel an instant love--well I have nothing but pity for you.
I am often asked how I started Stray Rescue of St. Louis. I ask myself that, too. I never devised a game plan or had a vision; I guess it was born out of necessity. I hated my job as a flight attendant. I figured there had to be more to life than saying, "chicken or beef." Little did I know that this career move would one day evolve into two no-kill shelters with a legion of 200 volunteers, and have an impact on the stray dog crisis in America. I love the dogs I save. I feel their pain, so I keep up the act of "Dog Man" or, as a homeless man calls me, "Coyote Man," so those canines don't suffer and die. That's pretty much why I became the founder of Stray Rescue.
I suffer from social anxiety. I have some phobias. I am gay. I am a shy, private kind of guy - by no means a hero. I have been thrust into the dog limelight from a previous book about my work. It forces me to try to be more outgoing and confident. You know, exude that Rambo-type of confidence.
In 1990 I learned the fine art of cutting dog hair. It's not something I really wanted to do, but I thought it would at least point me in the direction of my dream of working with animals. I'd see stray dogs - some in packs - pass by the Lafayette Square grooming shop where I worked. In an effort to get them off the streets, I'd make the normal calls to the local shelters and government agencies, only to find out that these dogs simply are out of luck. I started to think of ways to catch them, and before long I invented some wacky capture methods. I also enlisted friends to help save these poor guys. Each year, this makeshift organization grew as I overloaded everyone I knew with a stray dog.
Stray Rescue officially was born in 1998 as a full-fledged non-profit organization and shelter. I still have no idea how I did it, except that I had no choice. Stray Rescue has received numerous accolades from the American Red Cross and also has received national media attention from Animal Planet, National Geographic, the Weather Channel and Forbes Magazine. Now with Quentin on board, his story has been featured in People Magazine and on It's a Miracle television show. In the National Geographic feature, Mary Ann Mott wrote: "In St. Louis, Randy Grim, founder of Stray Rescue, is out on the streets every day feeding 50 or more mutts. If these wild dogs don't die of sheer starvation, he said, diseases such as parvovirus, heartworm, or intestinal parasites usually kill them. Their average life span is one to two years. Many of the animals he sees were once "bait dogs" - smaller, passive animals used to train fighting dogs. Great Dane puppies are commonly used, he said, and wire is twisted around their legs to hold them down, so they can't run while being mauled during training sessions. "If they live, they are just discarded onto the streets," said Grim. The animals are recognizable by their missing limbs, and scars from the brutal attacks. Since starting in 1991, I am credited with saving 5,000 feral dogs, all of which - through months of gentle, loving care - have been turned into house pets and adopted by new families. Some have even gone on to become therapy animals, bringing joy to people in hospitals and nursing homes." Animal Planet's "Wild Rescues" television show featured Stray Rescue in action, saving dogs and cats from abuse and neglect from a dilapidated abandoned puppy mill in Cuba, Mo. More than 17 lives were saved, but the woman responsible never was prosecuted. Since 1998, more than 45 households have participated in the Stray Rescue foster family network. These generous people take in sickly, traumatized animals and, with time and the support of professional animal trainers and behaviorists, give back healthy, loving companions ready for adoption. Stray Rescue's foster network is the largest and most effective program of its kind in the St. Louis area. Stray Rescue has made a significant impact and become a voice for stray animals everywhere. With fabulous volunteers, veterinarians, trainers, behaviorists, shelters and programs, I continue to be amazed at how this organization has evolved. But there is so much more work to do because these poor animals continue to suffer. Some days it feels as if I'm fighting a never-ending battle, but it's a battle that I must wage - for their sake.
Today, October 15, is the second anniversary of the death of Miss Pink. Two years ago I watched her go from a fat and happy cat to a very ill and dying one within a matter of a few weeks. I would like to say it gets easier every year but so far it is still as if it were all happening right now. This month. This day. As fresh as ever. Of course I don't sit around crying uncontrollably like I did when it first happened. I still light a candle every Monday evening around 8PM to remember her and all my other pets from the past. I light that candle, too, for all the sick and injured pets in this world, for all the abused and neglected animals without a voice and no hope on the horizon of release from a miserable life. I still get teary when I think about her. Miss Pink was a lucky girl. She was safe and warm and loved and died with dignity. All of my past "friends" were just as lucky. They were all safe and warm and loved and died with dignity. I wish that could be true for everyone, for all living beings in this world. To be safe and warm and loved and allowed to die with dignity.
It has been a long long time since I blogged about anything. In fact, I was living in Oklahoma City when my last blog appeared. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then. This blog, however, is not about me but about one of my cats who died last year on this exact date of October 15.
Miss Pink belonged to a co-worker's friend who had three cats that needed homes because the owner was dying of cancer and wanted to get the cats settled before she died. I do not know how old the cats were but one was the mother cat and the other two were her daughter cats. My co-worker, Kay, was going to take one and she asked if I would take one also. I already had Mr Atticus, my other cat, and without really thinking it through said "sure, no problem."
Kay took the cat she was going to adopt home to her house that already had a dog and a Prima Donna cat already. Prima Donna cat, although she was a much smaller cat, terrorized the new cat and for almost 2 weeks kept the new cat under the bed and wouldn't let her out.
I had not gotten my adoptee yet so Kay asked if I could take the one she had gotten right away instead. I said "sure, no problem." The new cat was named Pinky. (yech) So Kay brought over a huge homemade carrier with Pinky inside. Pinky was a large calico with blue eyes who was understandably a little nervous about coming out of her carrier. Mr Atticus is a neutered adoptee from a no kill shelter I had had for about a year and a half at the time. He immediately went up to the carrier to nose around. They both hissed at one another. Then Pinky (I guess she had that name because she had pink nose, paw pads and ears)eased on out of the carrier and off the two went. Together. Becoming inseparable from the first. They were a couple and it was if they had known one another from birth.
I renamed her Miss Pink as I thought it was a heck of a lot more dignified than Pinky. Trouble was, I had no background for her on how old she was or whether she had been the mother cat or one of the daughters. Kay left as quickly as she could. I suppose she was afraid I might give the cat back.
So we took a trip to a vet to have her checked over and she seemed fine. I took gobs of pictures because I had a new digital camera and was practicing. Most of my pictures were not too good but a few came out okay. And we all lived happily together.
Miss Pink was a gentle cat but not one to be picked up and cooed over. She would sit in your lap on her terms and at her times. She became the cat that sat next to me at all times. She was a talker and would sit there looking intently at me meowing away as if we knew what we were talking about. She was a pretty large cat which I called "big boned" but which the vet called fat. He said the same about Mr Atticus too. How rude.
Miss Pink would let Mr Atticus choose first where to lay down, when to eat, etc. Mr Atticus, on his part always let her choose when to eat and let her go first. He might have done that out of self preservation as Miss Pink did love her food.
Since both were declawed when I got them, they were always indoor cats who got to go out on the fenced patio.
When circumstances dictated a couple years late, I moved to a cheaper apartment, on a small lake in the city. The lake was inundated with geese that never ever left so there were hundreds of them. Eventually, the cats and the geese tolerated one another and things went along fine.
One thing about Miss Pink, though which I and the vet attributed to hairballs, was that she threw up a lot. Right after eating, and other times too. But she never stopped eating even though I limited their intake to get some of the "big bones" reduced on advice from the vet.
After a couple of years, we moved back to my home town of St Louis. Miss Pink was vomiting a little more. When I took them into the vet for their immunizations, he said it was probably hairballs and to put them on hairball prevention food. I did that. But it made no difference. She just would suddenly get sick, throw up, and go on like nothing was ever wrong. This went on for almost a year.
My niece has a dog that she took to The Banfield Animal Hospital in the petsMart stores. The hospital/clinic offered a wellness program for dogs and cats where for a monthly fee, your pet got all the necessary shots, blood work, exams, and dental cleanings. Sounded like an okay deal so I signed up both Miss Pink and Mr Atticus for the program. The Vets there are very nice and seemed to be very thorough in there care. Both of the cats got their physical exam, shots, teeth cleaning. It was at the time of the teeth cleaning that the vet noticed that both cats had teeth broken off. Mr A had two and Miss Pink had one. So we went back a couple of weeks later and under anesthesia, the broken teeth were removed.
It was then that Miss Pink really started on her journey toward the Rainbow Bridge. Mr Atticus healed fine and was back to eating right away. Took his pain meds okay. Hunky Dorey. But Miss Pink did not. She showed inflamed gums that wouldn't heal so she was put on antibiotics and pain meds. She stopped eating. More intensive lab work came back showing she was hyperthyroid. And although she ate like a fiend throughout her life prior to the surgery, she did vomit a lot which the vet explained was a symptom of hyperthyroidism. She was put on an oral med then an ear gel med for the hyperthyroidism. Arrangements were mad with the University of Missouri Vet School Hospital for her to get radioactive iodine treatment for the hyperthyroid condition. But she refused to eat. I tried everything to persuade her to eat but she took nothing. She rapidly lost weight.
Because of not eating, her liver became involved which the vet said happens quickly when cats do not eat. It was very serious and if we could not get some food in her the prognosis was pretty grim. As a last resort, she kept her overnight and gave her tube feedings in an effort to have her digest some food. But by then, her intestines stopped working and she continued to vomit.
She lost some more weight. She looked terrible, and her beautiful pink ears were turning yellow from the jaundice of the liver involvement. She was dying before our eyes. When I went to pick her up from the clinic after her second overnight stay for tube feedings Dr Morgan told me that it was not working. She mentioned that they could have a specialist put in a gastric tube and we could feed her by tube until she got a little better and could eat on her own, but she could not guarantee success. Miss Pink was pretty far into liver damage and she felt that it would be better for her to put her to sleep and save her from a slow agonizing death.
And so, as I Miss Pink sat next to me on the bench in the room we were in, she laid her head in my hand and as the doctor injected the sedative overdose, she gently went to sleep. That was on October 15, 2009.
The vet techs wrapped her in a blanket and put her in a box, and I carried my beautiful little cat with the pink nose, paw pads and ears out through the store, onto the car, and my sister-in-law Terry and I drove home with my package.
We buried her on a rainy afternoon outside close to the patio and piled pretty stones all about her grave. My beautiful lively talkative polite girl was gone. She was gone.
I went inside and found that I could not look at Mr Atticus without feeling guilty and angry. They had been inseparable for years and now she was gone and he was healthy and present. He was so confused. She left one morning and never returned.
We have been grieving ever since. In retrospect, all that vomiting probably was due to the hyperthyroidism which could have been successfully treated years earlier. The vet said it took a pressing event like the surgery to reveal the cause of her not healing, and vomiting.
Every Monday night at 8pm I light a candle in memory of Miss Pink. It sits by her picture. It is a custom started by a group of other grieving pet owners across the country to remember the sick and dying animals around the globe, but especially our own lost pets. Every Monday night when I light that candle, I cry a little. Mr Atticus was grieving too and to this day will try to climb in my lap and get me to feel better--every Monday night.
For the longest time I felt guilty and I felt angry at Mr Atticus for surviving. Every time I look at him I don't just see Mr Atticus, I see Mr Atticus and his best friend Miss Pink. I had to consciously make time to do nothing but spend time with him in my lap. He has never taken to our new little guy who is now two years old. He resented and ignored the new guy. His name is Smoogers (soft g.) That is the name he came with. Mr Smoogers. They get on, play together, but they are not close like Mr A and Miss P were. I don't know exactly how old Mr A is. When I got him from the rescue shelter they approximated his age as around 3 or 4. So he is now about 10. He is having some trouble with inflammatory bowel and is on prescription diet. Mr Smoogers eats it too. It is just an easier digestible food that certainly won't hurt him.
Mr Smoogers really likes Mr Atticus and spends some of his evening awake time grooming Mr A who accepts these ministrations as his due. But on Monday evenings, Mr A and I remember our best friend with a candle and some lap time.
I believe that we are given time with certain animals in this life for special reasons. And I have had so many little animal friends during my lifetime. They have all been very special in their own way. But there was something about this little cat that was more than usual. Perhaps we both knew, deep down inside somewhere, that her time would be cut short--limited. She may have know all along that something was wrong. The vet tells me that animals, especially cats, hide their symptoms of illness very well and that many times by the time the symptoms show up, it is way too late to help them, as in this case.
Quality time. Not length of stay, but quality of time spent together. That is what is important. I cannot do those years over. If I could I would be smarter about things because I would know the future and would be able to change it some. But I can't. I just have those memories that I hope in time replace the tears and grief and guilt. I have Monday evenings, though. Mr Atticus and I have our time on Monday evenings when we remember
Erin has killed three people already. It looks a lot like the hurricane season is underway with a bang. Erin is causing a lot of rain and flooding as it makes her way up Texas to eventually die out as rain in remote areas. No one took this storm very seriously. But now, Dean is rumbling through as a category 4 storm, decimating the Caribbean and heading, they predict, toward Brownsville, Texas. Or it could turn north and head on to Louisiana and those parts.
The governor of Louisiana has issued a preliminary state of emergency just in case and several Parishes are holding evacuation drills. Some are thinking of the lousy year of 2005 culminating with not one but two deadly storms that annihilated parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Who can forget Katrina? The levies and barriers have not been repaired yet to the level they were during the last major storm and now another could quite possibly be a repeat, a horrible reenactment of before. Let's hope it isn't so.
Some places however, don't learn as easily as others. Reports are that there are some local cities and parishes that haven't gotten onto the emergency preparedness wagon and are once again taking a wait and see attitude. For a population who only partially returned to live, you might assume that all of Louisiana and Mississippi would be on the edge of the bus seats anticipating leaving. Not so. FEMA is ready. After all, they still have all those unused trailers from the last fiasco. Buses are lined up. Bags are packed. There are only 13 out of 23 hospitals operating this year in New Orleans and some of the police districts are still operating out of temporary mobile buildings. Those who choose to stay behind will once again be on roof tops waiting for rescue which may or may not be available this time.
Given the errors in hurricane tracking, like any weather predictions, plenty could change from hour to hour. This storm could easily change directions. I hope not. I hope it fizzles out at landfall. But just in case, if I lived anywhere along the gulf coast, I'd be making vacation plans to say, North Dakota for the duration. The season is still young. The predictions are for a busy season based on the warming of the climates, ocean current, history, etc. Anything is possible.
I'd like to go north anyway for the summer,and I surely wouldn't wait and see. When we get tornadoes, we have minutes to evacuate. Hurricanes are the most anticipated storms there are. Get out of Dodge now and send postcards to those who don't.
When many of us were in high school, we towed the line or else the wrath of the instructors and parents were visited upon our heads. Oh therewere fights and wrestling outside class hours, but there were no knives or guns in double digit quantities. Most of the time the biggest concerns involved who dated who, who had new clothes, what make-up was the best, who stole whose girl or boy friend, who held what position on which team and who were we to massacre on the field on Friday nights. Remember that Fridays were group nights and Saturdays were date nights. And for the most part, nobody took their life in their hands going out at night.
It seemed to me it began changing when the war escalated and so many of out young men were drafted. Then as if a disease insidious and stealthy took over and the drugs abounded. Music changed to very dark lyrics and groups more likely than not dropped in and dropped out on Fridays. Kids from the sixties grew up and had kids of the late seventies and eighties. We gave our kids freedom we never experienced. Most of us had to work to make ends meet for the family. Schools changed. People sued schools over discipline. Groups became gangs, dropping out took over. Students ran roughshod over the entire place. Studying was optional. Weapons appeared. Fights abounded.
Now we have schools run by committee. No discipline. This mess has produced a plethora of children on antidepressants and Ritalin. Weapons appear in grade schools. Shootings, gang warfare, drive by shootings, mass killings at schools followed by suicide. Abductions and urban flight have made every parent personally deliver children to school or to the buses. No one walks to class any more. Children and parents retain the umbilical connection by cell phone.
We had a school fro the inner city move to a brand new building complex in suburbia in an attempt to "spread the wealth" I guess. children from the old area were to mingle with the children from the new area and they would all "take a house by the sea together" so to speak. These are high school age children. What has happened in the first year of operation is gang fights and school warfare. Many new area kids were pulled by parents and sent to private school. These kids are our grand kids now. We are so ready to pull a race card on either side, get the news involved, solve the problems with law suits, handicapping the schools to where no discipline is found. This school was built right next door to a small police district office. Some of the police moonlight as unarmed guards at the school. A fight broke out an it was the guard who was beaten to a bloody pulp and sent to the hospital and not a student. No police arms were used but plenty of guns and knives appeared on the scene. Righteous indignation prevailed, firings happened, suits were issued, and next year, they will begin bringing in freshman and sophomores. As a consequence, more people from the neighborhood could not sell their massive housed fast enough leaving many "for lease" golf course front homes.
It is no wonder home schooling abounds. But with home schooling, where is the socialization to be learned. Are we growing a crop of social isolates whose only contact with a "vbf" is on line with text? Leaving what is left to fend through the war torn vistas that are high schools now. Where boot camp needs to be the pre-high school course. So it has come to two worlds of high school teens-the isolates and the grunts. Heaven help us. These are our future. These are the people who will inherit a bigger less physically well generation to do something with. We are placing our lives in the hands of man made social misfits for the most part. Will mass suicides crop up among the elders of my generation? What legislation will abound concerning society in general and the sick and elderly in particular. Will the decrease and demise of the future generations spell disaster. Can a handful of fairly normal kids make it to adulthood with some sense of ethics and sincerity?
I don't know. I just know when I opened my patio door and saw a dozen or so dead goose eggs that had been smashed on the ground by a bunch of bully children old enough to break a clutch egg to reveal a small fragile life form now dead all over the yard, my heart ached. Not just for the goose family who stood by while the massacre took place leaving small corpses of goslings who will never grow, but for the children who felt it necessary to perform this ritual killing. Today animal cruelty, tomorrow people cruelty. Where are the parents, they are at home polishing their guns and suing somebody who yelled at their kid the other day probably.
This is me reporting from the front lines of the neighborhood signing off with a heavy heart and a frightened soul.
This is the first post for my new blog and sad to say it is a sad one but hopeful. Or maybe a Quixotic one. Either way, I am sick and tired at this time of my life in the land of the brave of hearing about children and innocent families being shot during gun exchanges or drive by shootings either random or revenge. What ever do children do to folks that makes them throw away commodities in our cities? A disproportionate number are of course in poor racially integrated, poorer sections of cities and towns where necessarily, surviving is a challenge every day the sun comes up. If it doesn't come up, chances are good the person died in his/her sleep either naturally or violently.
Folks in these neighborhoods, one of which I am rapidly falling into the category, are poor. The trash seems never to make it to a bin. The gutters are clogged. The homes old and falling apart, many are rentals with absentee landlords/ladies/persons. The daily grind to find assistance to supplement a meager if non existent income is a full time job. Red tape is high on the NASDAQ as is runaround and rudeness. Lines are long, offices are hot, windows don't open and funds are low. Being told to find help at a community church is a usual response. Somewhere is help, but finding it is a riddle few can crack without a little assistance from some savvy street guides. How do I know this? Because for the past month, my income has fallen to zero and I am now one of the chosen poor.
But I digress. All too often I her sirens in the night that suddenly stop and come into my complex. Now and again it is a harmless domestic noisy member, but more and more it is for violence, assault and shootings. Never, under any circumstances part the blinds and peek. All doors remain tightly shut. To quote old Cpl Schultz " I know nothzing, I see nothzing"!
But then this child got shot up. She was the only one hit during a drive by shooting. No neighbors peeked at the rat-a-tat-tat raking through the house across the street and down the way. Neighbors saw nothing, know nothing. They are mute with fear and terrified of revenge if anyone talks. So if this baby survives, which is real iffy at this time, she will never again be the happy gurgling 8month old she was earlier in the evening. If she survives.
and would appreciate a visit and a signature. It doesn't matter if you are in my state of Oklahoma or not. The terrorism is every where in every city town and state. Take the signatures and send them to your Governor. Start Small, Get Big.
Thanks in advance. Hold your babies tight, they may not make it through the night.
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