Issue No. 07 Apr ’03

LIFE’S LOSSES

     I received a very moving account of loss from someone who has had to endure much hardship in life. She has very generously allowed me to reproduce her letter, as she says:

      I would like you to print my experiences and also my personal and health problems as I think it would help other people who have had similar experiences, and I think it helps if they feel they are not alone.

      Tiss Tiss turned up in my garden one day.  I had never seen him before, although I leave food out every night for any strays and I usually see them now and again.  Tiss Tiss was washing himself in the garden.  When I called him he ran over as I was holding a plate with food on.  I saw that he hardly had any fur on and a sore foot and was thin.

     He was in my kitchen the next day so I fed him and he stayed in.  I took him to the vets for a check over and to be neutered.  The vet saw that he only had 2 teeth.  This was 2 years ago last October 2002.  He put weight on and his fur grew back lovely and thick.

     He was always there, either in the porch, upstairs, in the window bottom, all over, I could always put my eyes on him.  Then suddenly, one day he wasn’t there, I looked all over for him. 

     I was looking for 7 days.  Then by chance, someone said they had seen this black and white cat laid on the grass verge on the Tuesday (he went missing on the Monday).  I enquired all round and then a young woman said 2 dogs had killed him.  Her neighbour said that he had seen the dogs with my cat, but he didn’t do anything about it.  This was in the next road just on from where I live.  Everybody knows I have cats (14 altogether) but nobody came to tell me.  One man said he saw my cat laid in the road on Tuesday morning and he put it on the grass verge for the owner to find, but someone had rung the environmental health people to fetch him straight away and by Tuesday dinner time he had been taken away, and so I didn’t know anything about it until a week later and I had no body to bury.

     Of all my cats, he was my favourite after being in such a bad state when he came to me.

     I have had some bad let downs with my mother who I did everything for and helped then at the end my sister stepped in and was left everything, in the will.  It’s not the money I’m bothered about, but how could my mother do it to me.

     Then my daughter has been in a lot of trouble of her own making and I gave her the money from the sale of the house and now she has married into money and has dumped me, I don’t think I am good enough for her now.  (She now lives in France and I never hear from her).

     My husband has let me down several times.  He left me 2 years into the marriage with a 12 months old baby.  He said he didn’t want responsibility, I was devastated.  To cut a long story short I asked him to come back and that I would take on all the responsibility which I did.  (A mistake, you shouldn’t have to bribe anybody).

     3 years ago I had part of my bowel taken away because of a cancerous polyp.  I have bounced back from all these upsets, but I can’t seem to get myself over the awful way my cat was killed and that people just want them out of the way.  My friend says it is because it is ‘the last straw’.

     I am 69 years old and thought I couldn’t be hurt any more, but I’ve never felt pain like this.  I think it might be because I have been let down by people so much that all my love now goes to the animals…..

Una Milner

DF Tinker in the grass0001

TINKER

      He was a lovely old boy.  He came to me, aged 18 months, in 1986, when his then owner developed an allergy to cats and put an advertisement in a shop window: ‘Good home wanted for very affectionate neutered ginger tom – needs lots of attention’.

     I got married in 1987 and Tinker was part of the ‘package deal’ my husband acquired, along with my 2 sons and my other cats.  Tinker was fearless; he loved humans, other cats and even dogs.  He was a copycat, imitating dancers on TV and ‘talking’ in brrp’s which, on occasion, almost sounded like language.  We asked: ‘Are you a good boy?’ and Tinker would answer: ‘bbrYESsss’.

     In 1990, Tinker got run over and we rushed him to the vet. He had internal injuries and had escaped death by a whisker. The vet kept him in overnight for treatment. When Peter collected him the following day, it was the start of a special bond between them. We believe that Tinker held Peter responsible for saving his life. From that time on, Tinker was a Daddy’s boy, liking nothing better than to drape himself over Peter’s shoulder, licking him on the eyelids or even (when he got the chance) on the mouth!

     As Tinker grew older, he became arthritic and developed hyperthyroidism and a heart murmur.  Eventually he went blind, but he adjusted very quickly, finding his way around his familiar surroundings with ease.  Daily tablets kept him healthy and the vets were delighted with his progress at his regular check-ups.  His quality of life was good and he was happy.

     But on Monday, 24 February this year, Peter came home from work and found Tinker staggering by the front door.  He had lost his balance and could not stand properly. He did not seem to know where he was. We made an emergency appointment with the vet for what we knew would be his last visit.  As I held him in my arms in the car (having taken him out of the cat carrier) he felt unnaturally rigid.  He was, however, very calm (he normally hated going in the car) and seemed to accept without question what was happening.

     The vet confirmed our suspicions; Tinker had almost certainly had a stroke and there was nothing they could do for him – apart from the final act of mercy.  He was just short of 18 years old. 

     People react differently to this kind of situation and what is right for one is not necessarily right for another.  Peter does not stay with the cats when they are put to sleep, neither does he look at the body afterwards.  He prefers to remember them as they were.  He said goodbye to Tinker and then went off to get something to eat.

     I stayed with Tinker.  It is important for me to be present.  The vet was very gentle and kind; it was quick and very peaceful.  Peter came back and took us home.  I could not eat anything.

     We dug a grave under cover of darkness, hoping that the neighbours were not looking into our garden.  I lowered Tinker’s body, wrapped in a towel from the vet’s, into the earth and we covered him up.  When the hole was filled in, we put candles, nightlights and joss sticks all over the grave.  Commemorative photographs were taken as our other cats came to see what was going on.  I then got drunk.

           Though every time we lose a cat it feels different, this is always how we say goodbye. Other people may prefer to do it differently.  For example, a close friend of ours has her animals cremated; she has their ashes at home.  When her time comes, she wants her own ashes mixed with those of her beloved pets before their final dispersal.

Debby W

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BELIEFS & EXPERIENCES

     Spiritualists have addressed the question of whether animals survive bodily death and come up with different answers.  In his book How to Uncover Your Past Lives Ted Andrews outlines a theory that animals reincarnate, ‘gathering intelligence and developing personality and character, moving to a more advanced species of animal, until such time as they may become ensouled’.  Another theory is that ‘there is an Oversoul for the entire animal kingdom.  Upon passing, the animal simply becomes part of a group soul rather than an individual.  Some believe that by their association with humanity, animals can develop personality, intelligence and character and eventually can break from the group soul to become true individuals.  Whatever the truth may be, we must remember at the very least that animals are symbolic representations of life that is relatively helpless and inferior to us’.  Helpless and inferior to the species that tortures and kills its own and other species – sometimes just for fun, preys on the helpless, invades, exploits and wages war on other nations and despoils the planet?  I think not.

     Medium, Linda Williamson, in her book Contacting the Spirit World states unequivocally that: ‘Animals, too, survive death.   They have souls, just as surely as we do.  It is only humankind’s conceit that makes us think that we alone should be specially endowed’.   This is echoed by animal communicator, Amelia Kinkade, in her book Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: ‘What arrogance to assume we are so different … Every creature living on this planet has an immortal soul’.  Many people have had personal experiences that bear this out. For example:

     One night at about 10pm, C’s husband told her not to shut the door of an upstairs room because their cat had just gone in there – as was her habit.  Unbeknown to both of them at the time, the cat had been run over and killed two hours earlier. 

      This kind of experience is very common, as is the likelihood that animals, too, see the spirits of other animals and of humans.  I believe that all animals and all humans continue to live on as individuals after bodily death.

Sandi Marguerite

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Your Letters

 Please send me a free copy of the pet bereavement newsletter.  I intend to show it to our vet, and ask our Minister and Deacon at church if they could use it.  I believe pets go to heaven.  In fact, I believe there is a full, spiritual, wildlife and pet life kingdom in the life after death.  What do you think?

Ros Greenwood

 Thank you so much for the copies of ‘Departed Friend’. They were both comforting and inspirational.  I just love the poem ‘Rainbow Bridge’ – I just know that is how it will be when I pass over, to be reunited with animal friends who have gone before.  Thanks again, all best wishes.

Helen Wallage 

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Selfless Spirit Rise

Selfless spirit rise

Whilst bound to earth you saved a life,

Gave a life, drove back despair.

Your chains dissolved, you’re in the light –

So much you can give, now you’re free.

Selfless spirit rise.

GC

(This poem is dedicated to a cat who prevented someone from attempting suicide by miaouwing at just the right moment).

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DF Penfriends

     If you have had a particular experience, (eg losing an animal in a road traffic accident; wondering whether you should or should not have had an animal put to sleep; losing a very young animal; etc.) you might want to share this with someone who has been through something similar.

     If you feel this would help, you can send your details to ‘DF Penfriends’ at the address at the top of this newsletter.  Please let me know if you want your name and address published (so that people can write direct to you) or whether you would prefer not to divulge your address – in which case people can write to you c/o the DF address and I will forward the letters on.

     DF will not be held responsible for how the correspondence develops.  However, we hope it will be of help and comfort.  We will be interested to know how it works out.

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