Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

"Shadows of a thousand years
 rise again unseen,
Voices whisper
 in the trees,
 'Tonight is Halloween!!!'"

Be spooky and safe!
Happy Haunting!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Another Angel Has Gotten His Wings

“Do not stand at my grave and weep
 I am not there. I do not sleep.
 I am a thousand winds that blow.
 I am the diamond glints on snow.
 I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
 I am the gentle autumn rain.
 When you awaken in
 the morning's hush
 I am the swift uplifting rush
 Of quiet birds in circled flight.
 I am the soft stars that shine at night.
 Do not stand at my grave and cry;
 I am not there. I did not die.“

There must be some truth in the well-known sayings that only the good die young, and the flame that burns the brightest and hottest, burns the shortest. It's almost as if they somehow know their time is short; they live their lives going full bore, with total intensity, in the fast lane, enjoying every moment and getting the most out of what they have. Even at first sight they’re special, totally different from all of the others, their light is so bright, their personality so strong, their brilliance immense, their energy
overwhelming, their excitement genuine, their joy contagious… When their time comes, all that is left are heartbreaking memories, the deepest sorrow and an unbearable emptiness.

Shockingly, Archi is gone. My incredible
little fighter, the sweetest, funniest, most mischievous and cheeky boy was living his sparkling life like there was no tomorrow. He left this world suddenly and unexpectedly and is now free to fly across the sky and above the stars with no restraint, to explore
things he has never seen before, as if his work here is somehow complete and he could move on. What hurts the most is that everything happened so quickly that I didn’t even have time to say a final proper goodbye...But maybe, thinking of how
wonderful he was and what he meant to me, instead of mourning his death I should celebrate his life, following the ancient wisdom..."Say not in grief “he is no more” but live in thankfulness that he was”.

The minute I first laid
my eyes on him I knew he was special. He was brought to me as a miniscule kitten, maybe 10 days old, abandoned by his mother who was obviously aware, even back then, that something was very wrong with him and that he wouldn’t live long. He was such a
fighter with an enormous will to live that I almost succeeded in persuading myself that his mother had misjudged him and that he had a chance to live a wonderful, healthy life if he succeeded in making it through the next couple of weeks.
There was no doubt about his determination to defeat all odds; hand raised and bottle-fed, he used to empty his milk bottle in the blink of an eye while his little paws were holding my fingers as if he would never let go. Too young and tiny, but amazingly
decisive and persistent, he was a true survivor and he was so determined to make it.

And yet, some dark foreboding about him remained deep inside of me. Archi’s little sister didn’t manage to pull through, although she had
remained with their mother long enough, and no matter how hard I tried, I simply couldn’t shake off some strange feeling of unease about the entire litter. When Archi finally began to eat on his own, he was diagnosed with asthma and had been having frequent and
severe asthma attacks for months, during which he was gasping for air and struggling to catch his breath, so using the inhaler was necessary. However, as he was growing, his asthma attacks were becoming less frequent and both of his brothers were doing fine, so maybe
at the beginning I got the wrong impression about their strength? Or maybe not…

Both of Archi’s siblings had been adopted and for quite some time everything seemed to be all right, they had grown into beautiful toms and looked healthy and
content. One of his brothers went missing later on as he was allowed to roam outside, but it could have happened to any outdoor cat. And then, maybe a year later, the other one, a cute ginger boy who resembled Archi a lot, suddenly died of a pulmonary embolism,
probably caused by some congenital heart defect, and my old fears returned instantly. Archi was flourishing in the shelter, getting bigger and stronger, playing, running through the yard and showing no desire to ever enter the house he grew up in. He was
independent, self-confident, always on the move and although he wasn’t as closely bound to me as when he was a kitten, he was still affectionate, lovable and sweet. Three years had passed since I took him in; he was strong, energetic, in excellent shape and
seemed to have no problems at all.

And then, destiny struck out of the blue and a cruel twist of fate turned everything upside down. While I was stepping out of the house thinking it would be a day like any other, I suddenly spotted Archi lying
motionless on the path. Completely stunned, shocked and refusing to believe the end was approaching, I picked him up and frantically rushed him to the vet clinic; he was still alive but cold, his face held no expression and he seemed almost unconscious. He was
seriously hypothermic, his body temperature had plummeted to 32.4°C and although everyone at the emergency unit did everything they could to warm him up, giving him warm infusions and placing bottles filled with hot water around him
while he was drifting in and out of consciousness, we all knew that the battle was lost before it even began. An aneurysm, said the vet, caused by a congenital heart defect. My brilliant, sparkling boy didn’t stand a chance from the start. Nothing could be done to
revive or save him.

I took him home, all tucked into his carrier and surrounded with bottles of hot water, checking on him while I was driving. Surprisingly he somehow managed to hang on until we passed through the gate and entered the
yard, as if he knew, even absent like he was, that he was coming home. Finally back where he belonged, he closed his eyes for the last time and just let go. Behind his closed eyelids, maybe he saw the perfect rainbow arcing across the sky and heard the angels
calling for him while the gleaming light was showing him the way to everlasting serenity and peace.

The final curtain has fallen for you, my special little darling, your sweet song has ended, but an echo still lingers on. Eternally beautiful and
forever loved, fly free and happy now, wherever you are. On the other side of the rainbow, not confined by body, time or space, let your light glow brighter than ever before. Shine with the moon, chase the stars, race with the wind, soar through the sky and
wait for me.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

It's Impossible Not to Fall in Love with a Tortie

Out of the countless abandoned cats and unwanted kittens wandering the streets, only the luckiest ever get a forever home, while all of the less fortunate, yet deserving ones, remain homeless and forced to fend for themselves, doomed to a poor quality of
life. Their life expectancy is short as they are constantly facing a myriad of risks like starvation, abuse, the possibility of contracting some deadly disease and the ever present threat of being hit by a car... just to name a few. Neglected and all alone, somehow
forgotten, they are living their miserable, brief lives, struggling to survive, enduring pain, hunger, thirst and cold, waiting for a miracle which rarely occurs and usually die tragic deaths. However, by a strange twist of fate, some of those seemingly unimportant kitties
which are in fact betrayed by mankind, get a second chance, a new life and a whole new world opening up for them. Five years ago, the sun began to shine on Muppet Show.

She was just a wee baby when our paths crossed – a tiny little
tortie with bright green eyes unbelievably wide with fear, thoroughly distrustful, withdrawn and literally scared of everything. Not before she had spent months living in my garage, surrounded by other cats, safe and well fed, did she manage to relax a little. Still
distant and shy, she was growing into a lovely, beautiful cat with a rather unique face, startling emerald eyes and a pensive expression, not overly social but kind, sweet and nice.

When the time came for her to be spayed, the surgery itself went
well, but her recovery was prolonged and difficult. Although spaying is a safe and routine procedure and complications seldom occur, it took her quite a while to recover, her belly remained swollen for weeks and evidently, something was wrong. No definitive
diagnosis was given, but the vet said she might have some congenital disorder that can’t be treated. She will live as long as she lives and the only thing I could do was to try and make her life as full and comfortable as possible.
Nevertheless, she hasn’t had any serious health issues for years until this summer, when she suddenly stopped eating, became lethargic and started having blood in her stools; not much later she became dehydrated and her body temperature was
dangerously low. Well aware of her unidentified birth defect I feared the worst, but luckily it was just a virus and after a few days of receiving IV fluids she was already on the mend. Unusually mellow and sweet at the vet’s while she was sick and weak,
she began putting up a fierce fight as soon as she felt a little better and bounced back to health in a couple of weeks.

Years have passed now since she was taken off the streets and found safety and love. Even though she was just a baby when
I first laid my eyes on her, she simply wasn’t able to overcome her initial distrustfulness and has remained skittish and watchful up to this day. Always keeping a good distance between herself and humans, she has discovered the way to live the life she wants in her own
little world, without conflicts and avoiding close encounters, as she's the most content and calm when left alone. Although she is usually watching me from afar, there is light in her green eyes that is radiating with serenity, a recognizable inner
peace of the once unwanted and hungry stray who after a rough start in life managed to find her place under the sun.