I just got the call. One-Eyed Jack has gone to the Bridge. He started peeing pure blood and they took him in. The vet found a mass on his bladder and suspected cancer. Amanda didn’t want to put him through chemo so she let him go. At least the end of his days were a lot happier for him. Poor Boy had such a rough start in life but I am blessed to have had some time with him before he left.
I learned about this feral kitty this week and I have been emailing her caretakers Dorothy and Phil about her plight. Dorothy is a delightful woman who used to rescue stray cats but ceased doing so some years back due to her husband’s illness. She kept a few of her rescues, Betsy is one of them. Betsy is a mackerel tabby brown about 12 years old. She has been living inside their bedroom closet, to scared to come out for quite sometime now. The family is relocating and Dorothy does not think that based on all she knows about Betsy, that this move would do her any good. She has asked me to take this feral cat and allow her to stay here until her end of her days.
Dorothy said that when she found out about me, she smiled and knew that Betsy would be happy here. I hope so- apparently, Dorothy has tried to adopt out this cat before but it ended in failure. She believes that the upcoming move across country would do this cat in and she does not want to be responsible for that. Instead, she will drive her 3 hours to our home and see where her kitty will be living out the rest of her days.
In order to do this, based on what I know and have gleaned from the conversations- we need to insulate the deck enclosure and put a new roof on it. Instead of putting up drywall or plywood or chipboard, we will cover the insulation with pet screen as Betsy seems to love to climb up walls and run laps over Dorothy’s head when she is scared.(Much like Cyclone used to do to us). I have talked to George and he is willing to come over when the weather permits and start doing the work and he will also make high ramps along the sides of the enclosure (inside) So once Betsy goes high, she won’t be stuck and have no where to go but a straight drop down.
There is a bit of seed money for the project but before we can do anything, we have to get rid of all the soiled cat litter that has been building up since the hoarder kitties arrival and free up our trailer so we can load supplies on it. If anyone reading this has any money that they can spare- would you please toss it our way? Guesstimates for this dump run is $85.00 and the reason it is so expensive is because it goes by weight. Someone left about 7 bags of cat litter (the pine stuff) on our porch while we were away and unfortunately, the bags were opened a bit and it rained in our absence. I about threw my back off by lifting these now bags of concrete off the ramp so Mike can get in the house. They are the reason the dump bill won’t be under $50.00.
Here is Betsy- the kitty soon to be relocated:
Addison has been adopted into a new home. She has a new family who love her- all the way down to her two black toes on the front paw. I have a line for a home for Sophie on Friday. If all goes well, this gorgeous cat will have a new home and never be homeless again. The elderly couple were charmed by her good manners and her incredible good looks.
I find myself looking for her in the morning so she can go outside and run laps around the pasture. I have yet to remove her food bowl from the corner of the living room where she ate. This morning when I was getting ready to go into town and had Juno in my arms- I called out “Come on Journey, let’s go.” Then I realized my error and fell silent.
I was looking at the photos of her when she first arrived and comparing them with later photos and I can really see that yes, she did do an amazing turnaround. She was white and grizzly looking on the first day here- super skinny, her coat so coarse that when you pet her, the hairs just fell to the ground. She weighed 39 pounds when we picked her up and when she passed, she weighed 51 pounds. She was not here for two months, we got her in October, so she had four months with us and she was happy for the most part until this last week.
Before she passed, I caught her doing something that I thought was quite odd and it should have clued me that the end was near. She would normally wolf down all her food, but when I fed her the day before her stroke, she picked up her bowl still filled with food and placed it inside her cage that was also in the living room. She did not eat a bite. then she went over to the carpet, started to rub her ears on the roughness and flipped over on her back. On her back, she continued to rub her ears- flipping her head from side to side as if she had a really deep itch and was trying to relieve it. After that, she lay in one spot on the carpet with Juno by her side. Journey barely moved.
I miss her like crazy but I am glad we were able to take her out of the pound and give her at least some semblance of a normal life. I feel blessed that I knew her even if it was for just a short time.
We also have answers now about Mike and all those heart tests they have been running. My husband has congestive heart failure with two abnormal vents on the left side of his heart. Because of his obesity combined with the diabetes, they are reluctant to do anything because as one specialist told me: “What we see on the graphs of the contrast study is concerning. It is not alarming.” I guess that was supposed to make me feel better. (It did not).
So I will keep him on the strict heart health diet. They basically said that if he went and ate a large bag of Fritos, fluid would accumulate around his heart and he would suffer irreversible heart damage. So salt and salty food are not his friends anymore and he loves salty foods. Oh my- no fried foods- no ground beef-fish and chicken only- no bacon etc… He told me later, he wanted to just go to Hidden Lake and drift the lake fishing and forget all else. Hidden Lake is really the place of our first date over 36 years ago when I flew from California to Alaska to meet this man. We wrote to each other for four years first…
I guess I am just feeling a bit emotional right now and trying to sort through all my thoughts by sharing this so forgive me for regressing a bit. Things have been a bit unnerving here lately. We are getting hit by thieves. They tried to get into the front door but when they couldn’t get through the security door we have- they kicked a hole in the bottom screen. They have stolen mail, packages on our porch, our gas keeps getting siphoned out of our tank. They took the cover of our generator? Go figure on that one- I asked the deputy the other night when he was here, why anybody would steal from us when we have nothing to steal? He said that the other week, they had a home invasion in town and the people had literally hocked every valuable they owned so they could pay rent on their home and stay there. The thieves broke in- took a look around- found nothing of value, so they took a case of soda! A case of soda! Geez! The deputy is now coming and parking in our driveway at night when he can and working on notes of the day and they are doing added patrols around the place. We have lived here 21 years and NEVER had issues of theft until now. Really upsetting.
Tomorrow, BossMan and Janna will be going to their new home leaving us with only five kittens who will soon need to be neutered and re-homed. I wish we had the funds to get all the kittens done right now, but at least out of the five there is only one female the rest are males.
We got a call from an elderly woman last night. Her family is taking her out of her home and putting her into a nursing home. She feeds 35 cats and wants us to take all of them. I told her, I was so sorry but there was no way I could help her in that way- the best I could do, I told her was come to her farm and feed the cats until the family makes other plans for them. She started crying and hung up on me. I feel bad but we can’t save them all. We do save some and for that, I am grateful.
This is one of the hoarder’s kitties who when she first arrived here would do nothing else but hug the space heater in the isolation room. Now her world has widened, her ringworm is gone and the feline herpesvirus has bit the dust and she is admiring her new found self in the mirror!
And here is Linus- he now is in a new home and very happily taking it over. This photo was taken right before I surrendered him to the local shelter because he just wasn’t doing well on the meds provided-
And here is Hamilton. He is still feeling the effects of the feline herpesvirus but he is getting better every day
Ultimately, the decision regarding Journey was taken out of our hands and made by her last night. She was asleep on my recliner and when I asked her to come down, she tried, but she collapsed. Her front legs were on the ground, her rear legs and belly still on the chair)and she was having some sort of a seizure episode. It lasted for just a few seconds, but she spent the rest of the night laying on her bed hardly moving. She appears to be in a great deal of pain and we made the tough decision to let her go. We could not undo what some a-hole did to her before she arrived here, the damage was to extensive. I suspect that besides her ears being such a painful issue for her- something else is going on internally.
I just don’t understand how someone could intentionally turn a blind eye to an animal suffering. I think that is why I rescue because someone needs to care. We didn’t have Journey long but it still hurt like the dickens to say goodbye.
I did want to say thank you to the three of you who reached out to me privately and relayed your own stories about the challenges of caring for a senior dog. Journey was a hospice adoption- it cost us nothing to adopt her- all we lost was our hearts which we freely gave to her for just under two months.
I was pretty upset when I typed this out (I still am). But wanted to let those of you who wonder what happened. Journey had a stroke. The vet believes that all her head shaking to relieve the pain of her ears caused something in her brain to rattle loose and she stroked out. She died on my lap and she went peacefully with those who loved her surrounding her to let her know that YES, Journey you DO matter.
I did a lot of research online about cauliflower ear (that’s what they called Journey’s ear flap and inner ear. Of all the images I found and there were hundreds, I didn’t see any that even resembled the level of damage that Journey was dealing with! I couldn’t even lift the flap of her left ear without her yelping. My vet said it was the worst case of ear damage that he had ever seen. He also said even if the flaps had been removed, that the pseudamonis would have been a lifelong, painful battle for her.
Toward the end of December last year, I was at the dog pound picking up some donations when I overheard a conversation about an almost unadoptable dog. I asked to see her (wondering at that time why?) and that is when I met Journey a 10 plus year old female hound or terrier mix. She was in the kennel surrounded by pits and pit mixes looking absolutely terrified. Her muzzle was grizzled with gray hairs and she was hunched in the back of the kennel. Her pleading eyes met mine and sent a message: “Get me out of here please?” I did.
It was clear from the beginning that although someone took great pain to teach her “tricks” She whirls and dances on her hind legs every time we feed her, she sits on command, knows all the basic commands and wants to shake the paw of every kind soul she meets, they did not pay attention to the fact that she is allergic to everything under the sun. This resulted in her ears turning into what one vet called a “hot mess” and another calling it a “train wreck.” They are full of scar tissue and congealed blood and she has a bad infection of pseudomonas inside. I have since found out that pseudomonas is a opportunistic bacterial infection and will take advantage of dogs in compromised immune systems and invade their ears or their mouths. She had dark pudding like substances coming out of her ears and her ears are lumpy and misshapen. They look, like one vet tech so succinctly said, like miniature sandbags. When she is in pain, she is in pain quite a bit, she shakes her head violently back and forth further causing damage.
Her skin also shows damage from the allergies which turned out to be: chicken, turkey, beef, pork, soy, milk and eggs. Her stomach was charcoal black but the pills to stop the yeast infection seem to be working and now the black is a bit lighter in color. We have her on a hypo-allergenic diet- NO treats or human foods and this is helping her out as well.
She is so gentle with the kitties until they pull her ears and then she yelps in pain and runs to hide under the bed. We have been treating the ears with all sorts of combinations of drugs, ear washes, ear drops, salve and recently, we have put her on prednisone when her ear flaps turned the color of strawberries. She has had two surgical cleanings or her ear canals and now, they want me to take her to a dermatologist for a second opinion. I called that clinic, they want $300.00 to walk through the door.
It is astounding to me that Mike and I have been married for so long and yet, we live virtually off his paychecks (social security and retirement) It just doesn’t go very far.We own no fancy vehicles, sold our boat before we left Alaska, don’t go on vacation and spend our time paying on our debt and living expenses. With me having to take care of Mike at least 14 hours in a day, I lost my job years ago. It can be a bit overwhelming.
I just really need your thoughts. If we go to the specialist, we might be able to handle some of the cost, but they don’t do payments. But even just talking to the specialist over the phone we are looking at one of two operations for Journey to get her comfortable- an abulation (removal of both of her ear canals) or a complete docking of her ear flaps bringing them almost to the side of her head to get rid of the pain, inflammation and constant problems she is having. OR they can put her on prednisone for the rest of her life (never a good option) too many side effects to that drug and keep her on pain killers that make her goofy in order to give her quality of life- OR we can say, we gave her a few months of relatively normal life and put her down when the pain becomes so severe for her that she shows us she no longer wants to live. The two operations would run about $1,000.00 an ear just because of the amount of lifelong damage the ear flaps and ear canals contain.
I know she isn’t a cat, but she is an important member of this family and there have been many a homeless kitty who she has licked and mothered and let snuggle up to her hairy belly. I would hate to cut her life short because it is inconvenient or difficult for us to budget her needs into our life.
One thing is clear, had I left her where she was, they would have put her down. When I see her flying outside in the pasture chasing the wild turkeys or following a scent- she is beauty in motion. She runs like a gazelle and you wouldn’t even know she was an old lady. I named her Journey because I knew she was on her last journey in life and it would be with us. I guess, I was hoping the journey might be a bit longer than the vets are leading me to believe.
Journey on one of her bad days:
Meet Juno an 8 week old female german shepherd mix. She was spayed yesterday and we picked her up this morning. She doesn’t seem to mind the cats and kittens although Cagney has already nailed her for getting to curious…sigh. Journey isn’t sure about her either, but there hasn’t been any alarming moments between the two of them…yet! The kittens are crawling all over her and she doesn’t even blink. Great temperament!