Issue No.13 Apr ’04

‘MOVING ON’ — OR NOT

I received this letter from a friend who regularly reads DF.  I reproduce it here, as she wrote it but with some identifying details changed:

 I would like to ask readers how to convince someone to get another cat. You have, of course, met my friend Michael and his beloved Sooty who died on 4th March 2000 from old age.  Michael has never even thought about ‘replacing’ him, just saying that he ‘couldn’t go through all that again’. 

 I don’t go along with that remark which I have heard people say – ‘going through that’ is part and parcel of life and surely 16 odd years of the pleasure of having a loving pet in your life is worth the pain.

 Michael is an animal lover of the highest quality – nothing is too much for his two dogs. …  He does ‘cat sit’ for a friend of his …  So – I would be most grateful if you would consider putting in a little piece on this difficult subject.

Cathy R.

 + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Sybil, who owns a riding stable, takes a similar view to Cathy. Most of her horses are ‘rescues’ – many of them old. Naturally she is sad when they die but she says she just ‘gets on with it’ as there will always be another animal out there who needs taking in and looking after.

Alex was a teenager when he lost his beloved Cindy, a little mongrel who disappeared one day.  (See DF1).  Twenty years on, he still refuses to get another dog as, in his words: ‘Nothing can replace her’.  He does, however, enjoy the company of the family dogs on visits home.

Bertha does not give the impression of being an animal lover, but she had a cat several years ago and, when he died, she vowed never to have another as losing him was ‘too painful’.

 Ella lost her beloved Timmy, whose poem and photograph appear in DF11.  She wrote in DF12 that she had now found another dog whom she already loves dearly.  She has written an account of the period after Timmy’s death, which is reproduced below.  Two months on, she says:

I want to stress the amazing bond that can still be formed with another animal, when all hope and despair of this was thought to have been lost.

I never thought I could feel that strength of feeling again – something, of which, we must never give up hope.

You must look into your heart and do what is right for you.

______________________________________

LIFE AFTER TIMMY

After I lost Timmy, I felt all the feelings associated with grieving – I loved him very much – he was my best friend.  I decided to leave a little time to gauge life without a companion. However, after a few weeks, life without a dog was empty and lonely. I decided tentatively to look around the local animal shelters.

I went twice or three times a week to kennels – even to the next county. Thousands and thousands of dogs: big, small, thin or fat, brown, black and white, but of course – all wanting a home – all needing to be taken to that place.

Friends had told me that I would know when I found that special dog, the one that ‘jumped out at me’ – the one that had that special something – the one where I knew we would bond.

However, I began to despair. They all deserved to be chosen, all deserved to be homed, but none had that special magic that said: ‘We are made for each other – I know I must be yours.’ 

Then I saw an advertisement in the local newspaper, placed by an organisation called the EAST MIDLANDS DOG RESCUE (See ‘Resources’ section for further details.  Ed.) This is an organisation that is a registered charity, run by a group of volunteers, who do not have formal kennels, but take unwanted and particularly older dogs, into their homes and then advertise to find them either permanent or foster homes.

They particularly concentrate on older dogs who, they feel, have a slimmer chance of success in finding a home but, in order to promote this, guarantee to pay all the medical expenses for the life of the animal. They will also take the dog (or cat) back into their homes if the foster owner goes on holiday.

Anyway, duly, I went over in answer to the advert – and then I saw her.

It was love at first sight.  She was so beautiful – a slightly built dog, age not known, but between 10 and 13 years old, a red/gold copper colour, with a real soulful expression, and amber coloured eyes.  We think she is a spaniel/collie cross, and was ‘christened –  Flossie.’  She was wandering around this large house with about 10 or 12 other dogs. They were all loved, some permanent residents, but some looking for homes.

I fell for her immediately.  She looked so vulnerable, had beautiful eyes, and had been through a rather rough time.  She had been found wandering, was taken to the local Police Dog Compound, was going to be put down within 7 days, had not the E.M.D.R. stepped in and ‘rescued’ her.  Her previous owners had been traced, but would not pay the required £25 to reclaim her

I knew I wanted her immediately but it was about 5 days before she was brought to me, as she had a medical condition and they wanted to treat her before she was released.

Since she came to me, she has been the most perfect dog in the world.  I never thought I would love a dog as much as Timmy – not in the same way – but YES, I do love her – and almost in an exactly identical way.  She is perfect for me.  She just slotted into my life.

She was frightened at first I would leave her.  She was obviously insecure.  She followed me to the bathroom, the kitchen, the bedroom.  She barked at first when I left her, (according to tenants and neighbours) but gradually trusted more – knew the sound of my car coming home and knew my routine.  She soon knew my exact movements, knew when I put my make-up on, when my shoes and coat came out and when, of course, it was time to go for that walk.

Since coming to me, she has had to go back to the vets twice.  The first time she had contracted fleas from the next door cats!!  E.M.D.R. offered to take her to the vets – they provided spray for the house, a ten day course of tablets, and an anti-flea treatment for her body.

The second time was far more serious.  Before coming to me, she had been in season as she had not been spayed, and had developed a very nasty discharge, that could have developed into something much more serious, when she would come into season again.  In order to stop this happening, spaying was essential although, at her age, there was a definitely higher risk.

On the day before the operation, I felt like a nervous mother hen.  I was taking pictures of her (I had none).  I was being so negative, picturing the worst, and praying that she would come back to me again.

On the morning in question, E.M.D.R. picked her up (an eight mile journey to my house) accompanied me with her to the vets, kept in touch with me during the operation and, Praise God, returned her to me in the evening, complete with stitches but breathing, and in one piece.

I have never asked the cost of the operation (possibly between £75 and £150) – but this was all done for the love of a dog – to give her a good home, a few more happy years, whatever her age, to give her love, until, one day, she again becomes, unfortunately one of my Departed Friends.

A day again, I dread but one which I know, will have been filled with happiness and love – up to that time when we will and (must be) apart.

May I just say, but for the E.M.D.R. – we would not have had that chance.  They are a truly wonderful organisation, giving other and older dogs a chance of a few more happy years.

May I also say, that if this idea was adopted (maybe it has been) a little more extensively, so many more Departed Friends could have been given a wonderful last few years of life, and owners the chance to know they could live, love and know the love of another animal again, to relive the love of the animal they once had and thought had lost.

Ella Meah, 17/02/04 

******************************************************

 

CAN ANYBODY HELP?

 I had a lovely Christmas card from

JULIE HASLER

Who used to run a

newsletter called

THE CATS VOICE

from a PO Box number in Welwyn Garden City.

 I wrote to her, but my letter was returned

 “Addressee gone away”.

 Does anyone know of Julie’s current

whereabouts?  Would you be willing to

give me her address or pass on a letter

for me?  If so, please let me know at the

Departed Friend address. – Debby.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BITTERSWEET SPRING

I love Spring..

signs of new life

crocuses, daffodils,

bluebells, joys galore. 

 

But this year will be different. 

 

I’ve just been to look at the grave

I’ve prepared for you, my lovely Tyger. 

And under the plastic glass,

I saw shoots of new life, maybe bluebells? 

 

And I feel so strongly,

you will be part of those bluebells,

before the Spring is over. 

 

And yet, would I have wanted you

to die in Winter, in the freezing cold? 

Or Summer, when the heat is high? 

Or Autumn, when all is colourful, but dying? 

 

No, my Tyger,

I feel I will lose you

in a bittersweet Spring. 

 

             –      Mags Scorey 16.02.04

DF no 13 cat0001

Tyger passed at age 19, after a long illness, on 7 April 2004. Our deepest sympathies are extended to Mags Scorey in her loss.

———————————————-

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated… I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.

 To my mind the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being.”

 Mahatma Gandhi

YOUR LETTERS ….. !*

My big problem, as we who have lived closely with animals or “pets”, and mourn them, how can we tolerate the deaths of animals for food, unmourned, and recently the widespread slaughter of cats and the way they were murdered and chickens abroad and the foot and mouth here, giving rise to the unbounded killings….  When upset ourselves about pets we love and loved – where does the wider picture end?  … Will you ring 0870 366 6910 or go to www.ilph.org to leave your name and address on the answerphone for info from the International League for the Protection of Horses re live export to Europe of horses and ponies, soon.  … Write to MP and local newspapers.  No regulations included in new EU proposals of live export (April).  See ‘Resources’ section for further details.  Ed.

Pauline Edington

 

Canine Care (See ‘Resources’ section for further details) offer a service that if one dies before their pet, their pet will be cared for.  Thought it would be useful.   Yours faithfully,              Miss J L Holloway

 Here is an address of a pet crematorium in the Durham area (See ‘Resources’ section for further details).  It is a family run business and the owners are sensitive to the pet owners’ grief, and are kind and very patient.  They receive the bodies of pets and treat them with respect and kindness.  I have had 5 golden retrievers cremated there.  They also do pet memorials, plaques, etc.  There is a reception with a Book of Remembrance, where one can leave a message and a photo of their pet.  Your pets are all cremated alone so you know their ashes are theirs.  

Jamie Wright

Thank you so much for sending me the copies of Departed Friend.  I have enjoyed reading them and starting a file/collection, that have come in handy. Thank you for advertising our memorials in the back.  (See ‘Resources’ section for further details.)

 Lynne Milford: Lyncraft Marketing

Death is nothing at all.

I have only slipped away into the next room.

I am I and you are you.

Whatever we were to each other, that we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name;

Speak to me in the easy way which you always used.

Put no difference in your tone,

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow,

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed

together.

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was;

Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.  It is the same as it ever was;

There is unbroken continuity.  Why should I be out of mind

Because I am out of sight?  I am waiting for you, for an

interval,

Somewhere very near by, just round the corner.

All is well.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

DF Catwork only0001

Catwork is a small, independent sanctuary for cats with special needs, run by Barbara and Bob Hunt.  It started as an extension of Barbara’s natural love of cats, and her not being prepared to sit back and do nothing when she heard of a cat needing help.

They concentrate on long stay hospice and sanctuary work, mainly for cats with. FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) which is a much misunderstood virus, many cats being, in their view, unnecessarily euthanased due to over-reactions from a lack of understanding. They have also now been asked to help a number of cats with the FeLV virus (Leukaemia).

 There are a number of different buildings of different sizes spread throughout the garden, each with its own outside area. All are timber buildings with heating and lighting – and loads of different levels and cubby-holes, so the different cats have a choice of where to go, sleep and play.

One major project was to try to improve the quality of life of the FIV cats by creating an extensive enclosed garden area as an adventure playground for them. This is in a fairly “wild” part of their large garden, and includes a number of trees, lots of shrubs and other undergrowth, and a selection of logs, little walls, and bits and pieces. This may look a little messy to our human eyes, but the cats love it – lots of places to poke about in and explore. This was completed in the late summer of 1999.

In the spring / early summer of 2000 they put up a new building which can be divided into two, thus giving them flexibility to take more cats with special needs.

In 2001 they added three new, small buildings (room for 3 cats each). One has a largish garden area, which is an area for FeLV (Leukaemia) cats.  The other two small buildings are within the main adventure garden, but also have their own enclosure area. This gives more flexibility for handling a wider range of cats.

For more information about this amazing project – as well as their merchandise, which includes a delightful diary, featuring a rescue cat for each month, see the ‘Resources’ section.

DF Catwork20003

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One Response

  1. Hey I think this blog is really interesting 🙂

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