Saturday, June 18, 2011

And now for the weather

The weather around here just knows no moderation.

We've been dealing with wildfires for the past six weeks or so. The gov declared the state in a state of emergency because of fires burning up the peninsula, and on Thursday, so did the county. It's not really that dramatic; it's mostly to get FEMA funds and such. There's no military law in effect or anything like that.

One of the fires came perilously close to the old saintly household, which I'm still clearing out very slowly — I'm living with my hubby.

A thundershower came through yesterday evening, producing a nice downpour. We could do without the lightning, however -- it just starts more fires.

A few minutes ago, the weather radio squawked at me — a severe thunderstorm warning.



NOTE: The rains started around the end of June. We're in the green!

Thank you Father for seasonable rains to make lush your land, replenish the lakes and streams, and grow crops.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Doing better

The other morning, I found myself singing as I fixed breakfast, and realized this was the first time I'd done that since Jack disappeared. That told me I'm getting better now.

Oh, I can still tear up suddenly. Overcoming grief is a funny thing — one moment you're convinced you're all over it; the next minute you're bawling. And one grief recalls earlier losses.

I watch and fuss over Shamu, my poor loner. He's often fussy and fretful. It usually comes out as begging for food and sometimes for attention, but I wonder if he's reacting to the losses in his own way.

Shamu is 13 years old, and he's never been alone in his whole life. There was always Jack with him, even when I was out of town and Molly was at the kennel. Usually he had the both of them. And when he was a younger cat living with my mother, she was always home.

Now, he's home alone 10-12 hours a day.

I read that the fretfulness can come as the result of his thyroid condition, so who knows exactly what goes on in his mind.

I remember how frightened of Molly Shamu was when he came into the household. He got over that. Molly was playful, but so gentle.

Thinking of how Molly was in those final weeks of her life. She was stiff from arthritis, and getting up and down got more difficult for her. She may have been in more pain than I imagined, but she was so full of grace. She was brave and strong and loving until the end.

I hope I can have even a fraction of that.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

The hardest entry

This is probably the hardest entry I've had to write, and it's taken a little while to be able to write it.

Molly and Jack a few Christmases ago, with some of their Christmas loot.

I've lost two members of my little family: Jack the Brat cat, and Molly McGuire, the best dog in the whole wide world (TM), aka Betsy.

Jack was just starting to settle in to the new house. I was too. But the door from the utility room to the back yard doesn't always catch properly. We came home one night, and the door had blown open, and the door from the utility room to the kitchen had blown shut.

Read Jack's story here.

At first we thought Jack was somewhere in the house — there are lots of hidey places where it was hard to find him. But we walked all around the yard and around the house and around the block calling him. Nothing.

We finally went to bed. Jack would hide away until bedtime often, still getting accustomed to things. Then he would get up on the bed with us. He didn't this night, but we heard a commotion a lot over, and a cat screaming. By the time we ran out there, it was all quiet — deathly quiet.

I hoped that was not Jack, and kept looking for him, including running across county to the Humane Society several times, in case he had been trapped. Nothing. He's never shown back up.

That was April 19 that he disappeared, almost two months now.

Then we lost Molly.

She went to the pooch beauty parlor and got a spring haircut in time for the wedding, and we realized she had lost weight. She seemed to be getting more arthritic too, having trouble with her back legs.

Read Molly's story here. She was my Christmas present to me.

I took Molly to the vet, who diagnosed dysplasia, and prescribed super glucosamine and pain medication. I was already cooking for Molly and trying to get some weight on her.

My friend Coe kept Molly while Mr. T and I went on a delayed honeymoon to the Keys. Coe, an old pro at dog care, cooked for her too. Molly gained a few pounds.

She continued to gain some weight, and seemed to be feeling much better. She would clean up her dish and bark for more.

Then, one Wednesday in May, she just quit eating.

I thought perhaps I'd overfed her, and her body just needed a little break. Molly was drinking water, though some of it came back up.

On Friday, I came home and checked on her at lunchtime, and Molly seemed to feel better, and hadn't spit up any. Friday night, though, she threw up every bit of water she drank. She was so thirsty, but couldn't keep it down.

Saturday morning, I called the vet, but there was none on duty. I called another veterinary clinic, and they squeezed her in. The vet took one look at Molly, felt her stomach, and shook his head.

They did some tests. Molly's liver readings were off the scale bad. Her kidneys were in bad shape. The vet suspected she might has some congestive heart failure, too.

He could send off samples for expensive tests to pinpoint the problems, the vet said, but the result would be the same: Molly was filled with cancer inside and was coming to the end of her life.

I was too stunned to accept this right away. The vet gave Molly a subcutaneous IV to get fluids in her, and let us take her home to see how she did over the remainder of the weekend.

The vet was right. Molly kept throwing up every bit of water she drank, and the water that came back up now had the sickly-sweet smell of things gone really sick.

After one really bad bout Sunday afternoon, I thought Molly might die. She lay on the floor, seemingly semi-comatose. After a little while, though, she got up, drank some more water, then wanted out.

Molly went into the back yard, and walked all around. I think she knew, and was saying her goodbyes. She came and leaned against my legs a couple of times, like she used to do when she wanted affection.

I lavished affection on her all weekend, telling her how much I love her, stroking her back and stomach, and rubbing her ears. I hope she knows how much I love her.

The vet had said to bring her water, but Molly wouldn't let me — she insisted on getting up and getting it herself. Once on Monday, she let me bring her water. She was having trouble standing by then.

We loaded her onto the back seat of the car, and went back to the vet. The vet and an assistant came out to the car and gave Molly the inoculation that ended her misery and her life. That was on May 16.

It seemed fitting that Molly died in the car. That was the same car in which she rode home with me from the pound, when she was just a little puppy. The same car in which she loved to go anywhere with me, her whole life. Molly's favorite words were "go" and "ride."

We brought her back home, and my husband, Mr. T, buried her near the front steps.

Losing Molly and Jack was like losing children. I am still grieving them both, and will be.

I will post more later.