Monday, July 20, 2009

Bye-Bye Blacky, Part 2

Blacky,
October 13, 1996 to July 20, 2009
We miss you so badly.

When I was little, we would visit relatives in Wisconsin. They had farms. And they had cats and dogs running lose. Every year one of us would fall in love with one of them and beg to bring it home. Almost every year my Dad would give in and say, "Sure, why not." Before the year was out, he'd get drunk and take the cat or dog for a ride. If he didn't drop them off out by the Doty Road dump, he'd leave them in the forest preserves. If not that, he dropped them at the Humane Society. One year he left so many animals there, they sent him a Christmas card. Everytime he did that we were devastated. We had fallen in love. And then they were gone.

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That kind of upbringing can really affect a child. It did us. All four of us decided that if we take on the responsibility of a pet, we would live up to it and not dump it or give it away. It's one of the reasons I had so many animals at one time as an adult. My boss dumped Sheeba on me. And Becki brought Mike home in a carrying case. His owner was moving back to California and had to get rid of one of her cats. I said I'd keep either until I found a good home for them. Well I guess I did. Our home.
and

When I started this in the last post, I said guilt. I meant it, too.

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Once upon a time we had a very close friend. I'll call Maizie. She baby sat for our boys when they were really young. At first her behavior seemed a little eccentric. As time went on, it became worse. She needed to work and was very capable of doing anything she put her mind to. She was intelligent. If she allowed herself to, she could learn anything she wanted to. When it came to job hunting she froze. Maizie couldn't make herself ask an employer for an opportunity. She couldn't take care of herself yet she was convinced that everyone she knew couldn't survive without her help. Her interference became so bad we had to step back from her. I've always felt guilty about that, like we turned our back on her when she needed us the most. She had gotten us to the point where we were worried about our sanity and the health of our children in her hands. We were desperate.
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Maizie had a dog. That was it. She lived in her parents' house by herself, just her and her dog. The dog was as obnoxious as she was. Once we cut ties, she picked up another dog. And then another. And another. And quite a few cats in between. At one point Maizie had 17 dogs and I don't know how many cats. When I worked at the bakery, she would come in to update me about their hi jinks. I know she showered or bathed daily, and I know how fussy she used to be about herself. By that time, she stunk. She smelled of that odor dogs have when they have a skin infection, only stronger.My boss would litterly have a fit. One of the strongest selling points of baked goods is the smell. Maizie's odor covered up the smell of sugar and butter, and all the good things that went into all the goodies.

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I went to her house one day when another friend wanted a cat. Things had changed a lot since my last visit. There were dogs everywhere. And the house didn't smell like pee, but like pure ammonia. It made my eyes water. I was told that the dogs stayed upstairs in the house while the cats stayed in the basement. As bad as the upstairs smelled, I could only imagine what the basement smelled like. I wouldn't go down when my other friend chose a cat.
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Maizie honestly thought that she was 'rescuing' lost animals. She'd take them in and give them a home. As I said, she didn't work. She couldn't support herself, but she thought she could support these animals. Her neighbors objected to the smell and the mess, and she couldn't understand why. There were kind souls in town who brought her cat and dog food. I tried to tell people, 'no. Don't do that.' They said they realized that they were just making a bad problem worse. They felt so badly for the animals.
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A year or so ago, the bank repossessed the house. Maizie took ill and needed transport to the hospital. The fire department came in and carried her out. The next day they took 7 dogs from the house. From what a firefighter told me, the dogs were in very poor health. I was told the other dogs died from old age or illness, or were poisoned by the neighbors. The firefighter also told me that he knew nothing about cats. I tried to encourage the authorities to check it out. I don't know if anyone ever did. I pray I was wrong.
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As I said, I still feel guilty, even sick about the entire situation.
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Now let me get back to my situation. The economy sucks.
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Life was much different when I got Patch or Pizza. The year between when Pizza came to us and when she gave birth, life had changed. Money was tight. Where I should have had Pizza fixed immediately, I didn't. The money I should have used on her went to other things. Blacky actually had gotten pregnant a third time. At that time, we had taken out a loan in order to buy cars and make a few repairs. Anyway, we used some of it to have the animals fixed and get their shots. We found out then that Pizza had peritonitis. The vet told us that if we kept up with a peritonitis vaccination, we could keep her from succumbing to the illness. For some reason, not only did the vaccination prevent the illness if given prior to exposure, but it seemed to hold off the onset of further symptoms if the cat already had it. He also told us that if Pizza had it, the other two would get it. He asked me if he should test them. I told him no. What was the point? It wasn't a matter if they would get it, but when. And the treatment was the same. We kept it up as long as we could.
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As I said, the economy sucks. I swear last year I fractured one of the long bones in my leg when I slipped on ice. I couldn't put any pressure on it for quite a while after. I lived with it. I don't have insurance, and I sure as hell didn't have the money sitting around to pay for X-rays and to have the bone set. This summer I have several infected teeth. I'll live with that for a while longer as well. How the hell was I suppose to take care of a cat? I don't know if either Pizza or Blacky could be saved, but I do know that I could have had them put to sleep a few days earlier if I had the money to do so. I also know that I will never, ever bring another animal into this house until I can afford to take care of it. I also know that I couldn't turn out J.J., Mike or Sheeba anymore than I can my kids. I miss my babies so badly.

1 comment:

kbear's heart 2 said...

My deepest sympathies for your loss...blessings.