Saturday, December 20, 2014


Maggie Moo

I first met Maggie when she was rescued by friend Alan who was a veterinarian. He went home to his apartment one day and kept hearing frantic meowing. He finally found the source on his roof. He went inside, opened the window and held out a laundry basket and the little black and white cat leapt into it. Thus Maggie, as in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, came into my world.

First though, she went to live with an elderly friend, Mary Scott who had recently lost her little old man cat of 20+ years. Maggie delighted her with her youthful antics. She would tell Mary promptly at 10 pm that is was bedtime by tapping her on the leg and running to the bedroom. She slept in the bathroom sink. She chased her crocheted mice that Mary made. She looked out windows and chattered at squirrels and birds.

Eventually Mary became too frail to live alone and moved to an assisted living facility and Maggie moved in with me, my husband, Molly Dawg, Buddy Love, Mo, Kizzie, Sniffy Pie and Dennis the fish. She hated us all at first. She chased all the cats from the litter boxes, she fought with Mo repeatedly peeing on him as her primary defense. After a month, I moved her into the upstairs where she had no contact with anyone but humans. She liked that. 

She had several window to sit in and would taunt the birds. The resident mockingbird even learned her "meow" and frequently sent me on a wild search thinking Mags had escaped outside only to find her and the bird meowing at one another.

She loved to bat things with her paws and would sit at the stairs bopping my head as I went upstairs to visit her.

Over time, the other cats crossed the Rainbow Bridge and we moved to a single floor ranch. Now Maggie had to contend with living with Kizzie. They developed a relationship centered on active ignoring. They knew each other existed but they did not interact except for the occasional hiss as they passed in the hall.

Maggie loved to sit on the other side of the doggie gate and taunt the dogs. She was the expert at "stare down".

In the past year I began to notice Maggie acting not like her self. She lost weight and began to make a strange sound high pitched whiny meow. I took her to Dr. Dreamy and she was diagnosed as hyperthyroid. Thus began a new experience of pilling a most unwilling cat. She finally relented and took her medicine fairly well for several months, enjoying her window time and putting on a bit of weight.

Then last week I noticed she was no longer sleeping in her favorite chair. When she leapt into bed she felt so thin and began to look frail. Back to the vet for a checkup. Her blood work showed only a hight white cell count. Thus we began antibiotics and fluids. 4 days later, no improvement and she seemed to be getting weaker. I found that she had not gotten out of her little bed to urinate. The Maggie was fastidious about her litter box would never have done that. 

That plus her increasingly pitiful cries and the look in her eyes told me what I needed to do. 

I could have gone to extremes and put her IV fluids and injections but for what purpose? I did not want her to suffer any more indignity or pain. I spent the last day with her letting her sleep in her basket, changing the blankets as needed, bringing her "chicken pudding" to lap at, petting her gently as she purred. I put her favorite mouse in with her, one that Mary had crocheted a decade ago. 

I called my ex-husband to come say goodbye. He sat with her and petted her. Maggie purred the whole time.

When it was time, we took her in. She was ready to go, too tired to stand, still purring she received the first injection. When she was still, she received the "big pink shot". The vet listened to her heart and pronounced "She's gone" as my tears flowed.

She was a most beloved cat.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Great Love

Today while cleaning out a closet I came across a collar and tags belonging to Molly Dawg, my first Golden Retriever. And my heart broke open again and I wept... not just for the loss but for the memories of the life we shared.

Molly was my ex-husband's and my first dog. We were a childless couple with cats who had talked of someday getting a dog, but never really pursued it. We dog sat for a friend who had a huge black lab named Merlin. He was the sweetest, gentlest, most perfect dog ever. Until we met Molly.

I went to the Humane Society to drop off donations and somehow wandered into the dog area. I passed by puppies and adults, murmuring to them, saying prayers that they would find a forever home. I looked and cooed and passed on. Until I saw her: an old lady Golden whose dark red coat was matted and tangled. Her eyes locked on mine and she sat gazing at me. I walked over and stretched out my hand and she sniffed politely and gave a little lick. She looked so sad, so resigned, so lonely. I was weeping by the time I got to the car. I cried all the way home and burst through the door sobbing...

Needless to say we raced back to the shelter and adopted her.

She was about 8 years old and unsprayed. We had to wait a day to collect her. I took along a shot of pain medicine from the vet clinic where I worked at the time. We took her home and began the best 4 years of our share life.

She went on vacations with us. She made us laugh and appreciate the moment. I think in some ways she held together our crumbling marriage...

When she left us right before Christmas something in the both of us died. The world was bleaker, darker and colder that Christmas. No presents for anyone. Just the heart breaking sorrow of losing the world's best dog.

Finding her belongings swept me me back to  that dark time, but it also reminded me of the joy she brought in our lives and into the world. The unconditional love that entered out hearts and in a way, still remains. Perhaps that is the lesson she left me, that there is darkness and coldness, but there is a time when we all leave our sad shelter and get a second chance at happiness...

Thank you Molly Dawg for all the lessons and love you gave me.

And Merry Christmas in Heaven.