I always keep a notepad around, no, not a computer.
One of my best ideas came to me at three o’clock in the morning. I awakened with it so had to run down a ladder to write it down. It was an event of exponential proportions that cost us nothing as I got the funding. We saved a kids program, helped an orphanage, kick-started kids lessons, got free press and benefited both kids and Shakespeare-loving people. Development, audience development, full house for kids’ production. All for $2,400. Plus a tree, kid-decorated ornaments and a menorah, electric, lest folks yell fire in a theater.
This year I’ve three paper ornaments made by local children from the aforementioned event I created over 20 years ago.. I’ve never had a tree before but when I saw a painted tagboard ornament addressed to me saying “Love, Helen”I cried.
Which brings me to logs. I am starting one today because it will take 31 days to get our nearly ten-year old dog to our regular vet for a bordatella shot now due and blood panel that was recommended at the beginning of the year, She has been for two annuals and has no health problems since she was last examined, but I think she may have issues.
So, I’ll keep a log of what she eats, eliminates, sleep patterns. She’s a great sleeper even at six weeks of age and will be ten years next month.
I took an hourly log of my cat M. I adopted him at nine weeks from the shelterat which I volunteered He crawled into my old dog’s bed and they were inseparable for a year. One day he was acting strange. I felt his head and it was hot (after that I was one of the first graduated or the HSUS/Red Cross pet emergency team) so I ran him off to the vet early in the morning after calling to say something is amiss.
We were there in minutes. For three days I had to pick him up from there and take him to an overnight vet. I called in for his temp as I knew they took it every hour, helped them get him into an ice bath and onto a towel over an ice pack. For three days I monitored his temperature. Nothing showed up on the blood tests, and in the end they had him on antibiotics but said they didn’t understand it at all.
They gave me instructions to get a rectal thermometer and take his temperature every hour but that he hated them so get him out of here asap! I did, had an ER nurse friend who took his temp once and said forget trying again. The next morning he was chasing crumpled post-it notes diving over the sofa and delivering them at my feet while I worked. Yes, a cat who fetched. His idea.
The key was the log. I would visit him at the overnight clinic where the vets looked young enough to be my kids. Every hour I hand-wrote a chart with visits, calls and temps. Whenever I visited and held him, his temperature went down two degrees. Amazing! Why didn’t they let me take him home?
When you deal with older pets, parents, sick siblings or friends, remember that being there, presence and touch is important. It lets them know that you are there for them, and if they leave you will remember them.
Sadly M disappeared. He liked dogs and the outdoors and dogs used to run away to visit him. I think coyotes finally figured a way to lure him out of his tree house.
N (gift of God) , my first cat since he was five weeks old was a Burmese talker who always had the last word until he was struck with pneumonia atop chronic heart failure. I held him for a while and his spirit went to a good place and helped me do so as well.
C, my dear abused rescue dog, rescued me. Afraid of men, uniforms (she was abused by a deputy sheriff) and children who threw rocks at her and her brother, even at a no-kill shelter there are limits. I was advised by a fellow volunteer turned staffer that a call to put her down had been delayed for one week by one of my favorite adoption staffers ever. She knew something good would happen.
I had my rescue dog home the next day, after visiting her even in a neck brace every week for a year, and we trained. Food, scariness, uniforms, hats, men, children; professional, personal and group training. After ten years together when she died I had to go through to the park via the bushes and all the kids would call her name and run out to pet her, and I had to take her best friend behind the bushes and tell him she was gone. It was tough for both of us because he was probably seven and I said she was gone, As a guy of course he demanded to know all the gory detais. He cried and I told him to make up a story for his older brother of something he’d done for which Ms. Dee had to yell at him.
Oh, hi, Dee was all I got from the kids from then on. It was one of the hardest things in my life to go out to our park the afternoon after she died. Neighbors had her ashes separated and placed in a container, gave me a collage of her photos and placed some her ashes in the only stuffed animal she ever brought to the park, as she wanted to say goodbye. She didn’t want me to know. They donated to the city a tree in her memory, and we held a watering ceremony attended by dear friends, park staff and foundation members.
In the month it takes for my new (we’ve had her nearly ten years) dog to get a vet appointment my dear husband is a computer guy but as for N, heaven rest his soul, and Zoe now, I am depending upon an old-fashioned unreadable (except by me) handwritten log of everything regarding Z. Unless she really gets sick. Don’t worry, I can always find a new vet. There’s something of an Aggie network. Davis is OK too. Lengthy, indeed. Dee