Good morning, Dear Readers!
December is a rather challenging month for me. I have lost 5 kitties during the month of December since 2001, & my kitty Jasmine had a stroke on Christmas day, 2009. Naturally, they’ve been on my mind a lot lately. Not only missing them, but thinking about the good times, & the things they taught me. I’d like to share some valuable lessons they taught me before their passing.
December 11, 2001- I lost Bubba to feline AIDS & emphysema.
Bubba was a very laid back, gentle soul. We met when he was only about 4 weeks old. From that moment we met, he purred loudly every time he saw me. Needless to say, he had my heart immediately.. 🙂
During Bubba’s short 9 years of life, he taught me the value of being patient & understanding with others. Even when he was sick during his last few months of life, he showed patience with me giving him his medicine (which he hated!), & with his best buddy, Squeaky, who still wanted to be by his side every moment. He understood we loved him deeply, & wanted to do what we believed was in his best interest. His sweetness was very inspiring to try to understand why people do what they do, even when it isn’t what I would like. It helps me not to be angry or frustrated, but instead appreciate that they are trying.
December 13, 2003- I lost Bob to cancer.
Ahh, Bob.. named after Bob Dylan the singer, due to his odd meows. He was truly a character- loved to play fetch with tiny jingle bells, would put his paw on your mouth if you blew on him, & was always a chatterbox. Such a sweet, fun boy!
Bob taught me to fully enjoy comfort. Granted, most cats love to be comfortable, but Bob seemed to take comfort to a new level. Once comfy, you could NOT get that boy to move! It made sense to me, so I’ve learned to appreciate comfort more. A comfy pair of jammmies, my cozy, warm bed on a cold winter’s night, an afghan made from especially soft yarn- these little things are heaven to me! They help me feel good & relax.
December 16, 2009- I lost Doofus to causes unknown.
Doofus was such a fun kitty. A very big, loving, gentle, laid back tuxedo kitty. He rolled with the punches, never getting upset. He helped me to realize that in life, one thing never changes- change happens! Might as well accept it & go with the flow. I have trouble doing that sometimes, but I try to remember, if Doofus could handle going from the king of the cats in our old neighborhood to a content housecat once we moved into our house, I can handle less drastic changes.
December 21, 2010- I lost Vincent to causes unknown.
Vincent was a very special member of the Bailey family. He was my Granddad’s best friend until he passed in 2003. Vincent even shared his personality. Strong, stubborn, loving, loyal, intelligent & dignified.
I was blessed to have Vincent his last 2 years of life, & in that short time, he stole my heart. He obviously missed Granddad, but in spite of it, he was happy living with me. In the fall before he passed away, I took him outside one brisk day. Since he had been an outdoor/indoor cat with Granddad, I tried to indulge him in outdoor time periodically. (It was too dangerous to allow him to roam unsupervised around my yard, what with the wildlife & living on a major highway.) This one day, Vincent taught me about how to appreciate the little things. He stood perfectly still, allowing the cool autumn breeze to caress his face gently. Once it died down, he grabbed my hand & covered it in kisses. That moment inspired me to write my book, “Lessons From The Heart: What Animals Have Taught Me About Life & Love.”
December 22. 2006- I lost Delta to unknown causes.
Delta was a very special little girl- she was born with only 3 legs. Her left rear leg stopped just below the knee. Upon adopting her, I noticed she did her best to hide that leg, always wrapping her long, fluffy tail around it when she sat, so as to cover up the “stump.” It didn’t take her long to notice that no one in the house thought of her as different. She was just one of the family. She began to make her feelings known with said stump after a while- sitting & tapping it when irritated, or standing then tapping it when she wanted her favorite treat (whipped cream in a can). She taught me that something others see as a handicap doesn’t need to be. It can be used in a positive way.
Last but certainly not least, Jasmine’s story…
Christmas morning, 2009, my husband woke up before I did. He found Jasmine unresponsive, but alive. Being Christmas day, no vets were open, so we had to wait until the following day to take her in. The vet said further testing would reveal for sure, but he believed she had cancer or pancreatic issues. He said she would live 1-2 days, tops, & it would be best “just to put her down.” I don’t believe in euthanasia, however, if I knew that Jasmine would have wanted that, I would have done it for her. However, the look she gave me when the vet said this was one of sheer terror. She obviously did not want that, & besides, my gut feeling said don’t do it!. I told the vet no, I’ll take her home. The vet scolded me, telling me I was doing the wrong thing, putting her down was the only humane thing to do, etc. I walked out on him. I am so glad I did. Jasmine started to improve once we got her home. During her recovery, I was searching online trying to figure out what was going on, & met a vet tech. She correctly diagnosed Jasmine as having had a stroke. Within about a week, Jasmine was walking again, although with a small swagger to her rear half. Until her death 2 years later, Jasmine had a total of 4 strokes, & after each one (except the final one), she fought so hard to regain her faculties. She barely allowed me to help her recover from her strokes, as she wanted to do it all herself! She was a fighter with a never give up attitude. Jasmine was a true inspiration! She was strong & passionate, until her final breath in August, 2011.
God uses animals to teach us humans, if we are only pay attention! Job 12:7 says, “ But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:” I encourage you today to pay attention to the animals in your life. You’ll be surprised with what you can learn!