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Norwich Bulletin - 5/16/2010

The Readers Share Their Stories

Losing Milo and Merlot were among the saddest days of my life. It was so cleansing to be able to write about their life with me and share it with all of my readers. And in return, my readers shared their stories with me, and I will now share them with all of you.

Alexandra G. writes about her two wonderful indoor cats. Her first was a little gold kitten that she adopted from the Humane Society and called Nugget. When she was a year old, she seemed so lonely that her owner decided to adopt a companion for her. That’s when a little male, gray tabby kitten caught her eye and she felt an instant connection with him. On her way home from the Humane Society, she put on the radio and a Willie Nelson song was playing. Well, Alexandra was a Willie Nelson fan, so that took care of his name.

Willie turned out to be her very special cat. He was an extremely tall cat; with his highest scratch mark on the door casing, being 56 inches high. He was also the boss. As a kitten he marched right over to one year old Nugget and bonked her on the head. He was the darling of the household. He even got his own little red headband with braids attached so he could resemble his namesake. His humans were sure that he could think and reason. Whenever he wanted attention, he would very gently tap on an arm, with a soft paw. And whenever Alexandra or her husband came home and said hello, he always responded with his two syllable kitty hel-lo right back. This was one smart little cat.

Life was sad when Nugget dies several years after Willie came to live with them, due to a seizure disorder. Willie continued to be the darling of the household. And then he became ill. Everyone worked extra hard to save this little cat’s life – the vet even slept in a sleeping bag for two nights by his side, monitoring his IV and watching his progress. But it was Willie’s time to leave, and all efforts failed.

They were terribly sad when they picked up his ashes at the vet. A family member who had brought so much joy to their household, was gone. Sitting in the car, with the urn on her lap, Alexandra wondered where Willie was now and if he was all right. As if the little cat knew she needed a sign, Alexandra reached over and turned on the radio, and Willie Nelson was singing “You were always on my mind.” And then she knew.

Another letter tells me that my columns have both educated and influenced decisions that were made. Because of one of my columns, a couple found their way to All Friends Animal Hospital, which they feel is the most remarkable place. And this is where they had a most remarkable experience. Their dog’s was named Annie. She was a constant companion to the woman’s mother, and her best friend, bringing joy during the time they were together. She even spent time in the ICU at Hartford Hospital, bringing comfort to her human and the rest of the family too. After he first owner passed, Annie lived with the daughter and her husband. She loved her life, funning in the woods and they were blessed with her for many years. But nothing lasts forever, and Annie’s health began to fade. That’s when their vet retired and they found their way to All Friend’s Animal Hospital through one of my columns. Annie was given quality care and even though the couple knew she would not be with them too much longer, through medication and careful medical procedures, Annie lives an extended quality of life, and continued to be a happy dog.

One day in November, Annie could not get up. She was dying. The whole family spent the night with Annie – always making sure that someone would always be near her, as she had always been there for her family. In the morning they brought Annie to All Friends.

When they arrived, they had a room prepared for them. It was time to let Annie go. While her husband and daughter said their goodbyes, Annie’s human mom opted to stay. During the procedure, she talked to the assistant about Annie’s life; how she came to live with them after being abandoned with her puppies. She wanted Annie to know in her final moments all that she had given to her family. When Annie was gone, the Assistant told her that she knew Annie and had fostered her and her puppies. She even had pictures of a young Annie with her pups. The family feels this was a gift – their own little miracle that of all the people in the world and of all the things that could have happened that day, the woman who found Annie a good home was not helping to send her to her last Home. And everyone is connected. I am so happy that I had a small part in that little miracle.

And then there is Tamara D. Tamara wrote to me because I was so angry at the people who abandon their pets and she wanted to tell me that there are people who do just the opposite. She and her fiancé had a ten year old black lab/chow mix named Zoe. One day in late October during a cold, rainy spell, they were walking Zoe, and a kitten came out of the woods and followed them. The kitten would run ahead of them and the lie down in the road on its back, and as they got closer, he would run again and repeat the action. Tamara thought it was just cute and they continued on. But this “visit” became a daily occurrence and both humans realized that this little guy had no home. They became the rescuer and took him in and did all the right things. They put an ad in the paper, took him to the vet, got him his medical care and tried hard to find him a home. Since he had already been neutered they figured someone was looking for him – not so. They named him Jake and he and Zoe became good friends. But not too long after, Tamara opened her door and a creature literally jumped over Zoe and entered their apartment. Thin body, huge head and ears, full of fleas, very sick, and running around in circles meowing. Tamara’s fiancé went off to the 24 hour store and picked up flea shampoo and Tamara literally got into the tub with her jeans on to rub him with the soap. As she rinsed him off, the water was pink from all the blood from the bites. Another trip to the vet, got him all healthy and altered, and named him Jack. Last December, Zoe was 13 years old and Jake and Jack are happy, healthy cats. Jack weighs in at 18 pounds, but I am told he is not fat – just big boned. Jake is a very handsome lap cat. Tamara wanted me to know that there are people who do help – it was a very nice Christmas gift.

If you have any stories you would like to share, please contact me through this website. I love hearing from all of you.

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