For anyone that knows me, they know I love my animals. I can be harsh as hell with humans, but a dog or cat will melt me in a heartbeat.
Tina got me started in the fostering and rescue work. I’m a smart girl. I know the animal is in this situation for a reason and not usually a good one. Abuse, mistreated, behavioral issue either of their own making or something a human has inflicted on them.
I know that the outcome is either joyous or heart wrenching.
Tina and I have covered both sides of that. We have lost a litter of kittens or two, along with a mama that either had physical or behavioral issues. It hurts, it really hurts. Maybe because I am a born “fixer.” I want to “fix it and make it better.”
The biggest most rewarding foster was Tyson . What a little man he was. www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
The ER vet ride with him will be with me until the day I leave this earth. Same for the day I watched him ride down the driveway with his forever mom! My heart was sad to see him go, but so joyous for such a wonderful outcome for such a great dog and loving human.
Sam came into our lives about two years ago.
His mama had been run over by a car and he was but a couple weeks old – eyes open, but not walking real strong. Tina and I (mostly Tina) sat up nights to bottle feed him every two hours. We watched him grow. We watched our other cat, Katie, try to kill him a time or two – not sure if it was intentional or a learning experience.
He was a beautiful, big male with large eyes and distinct markings. Rail thin, but weighed 14 lbs. All muscle.
Somewhere along the line, he took a dislike to Tina, regardless of all of her nurturing efforts. It was nothing for him to hiss or swat or try to bite her for no reason. For a while he had some issues with me as well, didn’t seem to like his back end touched, but I kept working on him.
The biggest issue we had, and one hard to take from a cat, was inappropriate urinating. He seemed to like textures, - bathmats, blankets, “brand new carpet”, the list goes on. Took him to the vet and he did have a slight urinary tract infection. Figured as soon as the meds kicked in – life would be good again.
Sam and I were very close. He was MY cat. Ya know, I am 50 something and have had a ton of animals in my life, but never one that was totally devoted to me as Sam was. He was MY boy. No one else’s. We would cuddle in the mornings of the quiet house. I discussed life issues with him on a regular basis.
The meds did not work. And the issue got worse. Talked with the vets and they told me – hard as it was to hear, that kittens that lose their mother’s usually have behavioral issues. Maybe we should think about crating him!! Are you crazy – in a house of 3 dogs and two other cats – crate him? What kind of life is that. Add to that he had been declawed, so putting him out was not an option (we have 3 other outside cats that have been steadfast or 10 years).
We tried everything. Play therapy. Toys out the wazoo to keep him busy. I bought a harness and took him out and sat in the yard with him. He had always been a really skitty cat. Everything frightened him – I believe now, part of the whole issue.
The urinating got worse and to be honest – a lot of personal property damage occured. It was suggested that we re-home him. Now this is a cat with a mean side – to everyone but me. He was “red-jacketed” at the vet office. How do you re-home a cat like that? Who wants a cat that will destroy their home. A cat with so many issues that is so unhappy with everything but me.
Bottom line, we decided to have Sam euthanized this past week. He was not a happy boy, and there was not a good solution for him.
Even aside from my broken heart, it feels like such a failure. It is a LAST resort for someone who believes in fostering and rescue work. I am tormented by the fact that we could not make him truly happy. I came to the point where I knew it was the most humane act for him and thankfully, while I could not do it myself, I was able to count on Tina. Not an easy task for her, I know, but I can always count on her.
With all the other stuff I have been faced with so far this summer (there is more news to come in the proper time) this was the straw that broke me. I have cried for days. The hurt and disappointment is overwhelming. Yeah, I hear some of you – it is just a cat. Not for me. It is a loss, a failure. Something I am struggling to come to grips with.
So, I am a little off my game and this is why. I am working hard to remember all the good we have done in rescue an fostering and acknowledge that I cannot always fix everything.