Hello, I hope you are all doing quite well, if you're not doing all that well, I'm sorry to hear this. It's no fun being ill. But you know, the Gods sport with us as though we were flies or something or other.
I was thinking what I could post that would be some kind of circuit breaker to the "heavy" posts distinctly lacking any entertainment value, and I thought "Eureka!"(no I didn't, I thought, what the fuck am I going to write that isn't going to be shot through with impending moving and bathroom rehab angst? Fucking WHAT??)
And then I thought I know! I know! I'll write about some of the menagerie of cats and dogs of all descriptions we've fostered. It's been a wild ride I can tell you.
The first guests in our Convalescence Home for Cats 'n Dogs were cats, tiny waif like cats. Sick, injured, starving, hard up poor little cats. The thing is, once you start with a few waifs, word seems to get around, (somehow) and soon all kinds of cats turned up on our doorstep: the dumped, the dumpy, the starving, the obvious carpet bagger opportunists, you know, the "I live a few doors down the road, I heard I can mooch a meal off you guys?" type cats.
These are the "junkies" of the cat world. Their food addiction drives them from house to house, bellies swaying, looking for some new sucker to mooch off. Yeah yeah, like I don't know what the go is with you friggin' sponges. I knew these cats very well, they had collars and always came around to hang out with our own cats - till they heard the dinner gong from their own homes, and before we could shut the door and say "thank Christ that fat bastard's gone", they'd be back, sitting on our lounge looking for action. There was no beating these cats. You just let 'em in. It was the easiest thing to do.
It was in this period that we experienced the only death of one of our orphans. A tortoiseshell kitten, no bigger than a teaspoon, her poor little body was wracked with illness and her tiny lungs wheezed like a whistle with almost every breath she took. In spite of our hourly medicinal ministrations, this little girl (whom we called Raisin on account of her tiny size) died several days later at the vet. He was never confident she was going to make it anyhow. It was sad in a way that's hard to describe. It's hard not think about the kind of life she could have had. She was beyond pretty and like all kittens, sweet as a spoonful of honey. Poor girl.
There was the inevitable parade of mothers with kittens, I remember one gorgeous family I tactfully as possible 'removed' from someone ("X") I worked with who had no fucking idea about the care of anything, except for herself. The cat was obviously in pain, horribly underweight as were her tiny weeks old kittens. I got the uncaring fuck as drunk as a skunk and absconded with her cat family into the night. I remember when X first told me about them, apparently, the mother, too weak to use her customary toilet outside, performed her ablutions on the floor beside the box, the kindly Ms X concluded the story with the words: "I kicked her arse from here to Christmas" That's the merciful human ape for you. After finding that this nasty twat's weakness was gin, my plan was hatched, executed. Done.
Anyway, all's well that ends well, the mother it turned out was suffering from mastitis and some kind of uterine infection which responded well to antibiotics, peace, and the prescribed pasta and chicken diet. Her kittens grew to be fat little meatballs who oddly enough, would follow us around in a straight line like a family of ducks. As they could never organize themselves into a regular, sequential line of kittens, we didn't bother naming them, if they were going to be that unhelpful, they had to take their own chances. If they ended up with embarrassing names from their future homes, they had only themselves to blame.
We then moved, and then came the Dogs. In some ways, homeless dogs are somehow a more pathetic sight than cats. Cats adore good homes as much as dogs, but dogs really need to belong to something. There's no sadder sight than a dog without a group to call his own. That look of forlorn hope in their eyes when you go past their pens in shelters is awful. All you want to say to each and every one is "Look here son, pack your miserable belongings together and you'll be on our couch in a matter of minutes" Sadly, even we can't be that open handed. We had cats, jobs, uni and God knows what else to contend with.
Well, after an assortment of dogs of all shapes and weird sizes, all of whom we loved, (the little shrill ones, we maybe loved not so much, but liked well enough), then came the Radiohead of Dogs: the Greyhound. By this time we had our own grey, she was the English Greyhound referred to in an earlier post. More of a dream than a dog, for us, the most perfect animal that ever walked the earth, besides other greyhounds and Havana cats (well what do you THINK I'm going to fucking say?)
All of our greyhound guests were loved, doted on, and fed like Queens, (they all had to be female on account of our other dog, a male basenji who would not tolerate any other fellow on the premises). One of these dogs Sunshine, stood out for many reasons, not the least she morphed from a cringing, frightened animal too scared to move (she would urinate and defecate where she stood and shake in fear) to a dog that oozed love and happiness from every pore. It didn't take long for her to "unwind". Our person is one of those that for some reason, animals even the most frightened, instinctively and immediately become calm and trustful with.
It was after her second breakfast with us, that she came and stuck her head in our seated person's chest and just stood there for hours, not moving. After that, she was calmly walked around the garden, chatted to encouragingly while she did her first shit and piss in the proper place for these things, and that was that. The awful terror had left her, and she was happy to continue relieving herself in the right place. There's nearly nothing that can't be achieved with a frightened animal with unconditional patience and calm, sympathetic common sense. Love ain't enough, you have to use your head too.
She stayed with us for many months, sleeping in our beds, standing up at the kitchen counter while her meals were being prepared with her silly greyhound smile and Schnüffel Nase (Sniffer nose in English I guess) busy at work. Sniff Sniff, tall as anything, when gently reminded she was uh, a little in the way, she'd give a little excited, placating greyhound push with her nose, while her tail wagged like a hippo's. What can you do? We worked around her.
Mind you, she had her moments, she became a little excited with one our cats, Thomas, who, sank his teeth into our person's hand, which swelled up to the size of a grapefruit. As an encore, she swallowed our favourite fish. After everything we did for her, how's that for fuckin' gratitude.
The time came when Sunshine went on to her new home. If we could have kept her, we would have. She's the foster we loved dearly. Anyway, we bought her her own backpack and filled it with everything she loved. Big meaty bones, cheese, dates, vanilla cake (yeah I know I know, but if you could have seen how much she doted on it) her favourite blanket, home baked dog biscuits, her own brush set, a list of things that made her happy and our phone number and address with the following words: "We love this dog very much. If you find she is not the dog for you for any reason at all, please bring her back or ask us to come and get her. It's no problem"
Well, why didn't we keep her? Illness had set in (Mono which was just the start of a whole raft of nastier things to come) it just didn't stop, in the end, it was job enough to keep our own tribe of animals cared for. Also, Sunshine was becoming a little competitive with our own grey, under normal circumstances, this is something easily dealt with, but as I said, Mono and then worse, and it got worse before it got a lot worse.
We really miss the mad parade. It was the funnest thing, I think, if you're going to foster, go the whole hog, waking up to an assortment of animal misfits and outcasts all waiting for you to make their lives happy is very engaging. We didn't want anything back from them, we just wanted to see them develop a sense of self worth and confidence to take on the world. We saw them as independent "people" who needed a place to get their shit together, they weren't child substitutes, ego props, or sad orphans for us, just non human people who needed a to refuge from the world for a time before they continued on their way. We loved them all so much.
PS: I don't want to romanticise this too much, the unpleasant fact is, if you're going to take on the very ill, the most frightened , the most emotionally "shut down" you need to be prepared to clean up a lot of shit and piss, you need to spend a lot of "quiet time" with just you and them and you have to be prepared to do alot of round the clock nursing, that can include preparing extra made to order meals as well.
You have to be able to understand how to prioritise and be willing to put their needs first and keep a quiet house. But this doesn't happen all the time, it's only for those that are extremely ill and frightened. Most won't need this much attention.
Life is only meaningful if you can ease the suffering of others, everything, and I mean everything else, is just details: worthless egotistical junk.
Hey All, Best Read This First:
Greetings and a warm welcome to my blog.
First things first
This blog contains words and references offensive to those who never made it through the maturation process.
The intellectually and psychologically impaired will find nothing here to enjoy.
If this applies to you, dear reader, you're welcome, and strongly encouraged to leave now. No hard feelings on my part.
I'm trying to make this clear to the 'boo hoo brigade". If you CANNOT grasp this simple concept. This page is NOT FOR YOU
REPEAT: WARNING: BLACK IRONY. NASTY SELF PISS TAKING HUMOUR. FUCK OFF NOW IF YOU CANNOT UNDERSTAND THIS. I WON'T MIND. EVER.
*PS: I'm pro Palestinian, pro animal rights in a way that pisses many people off. You should consider fucking off now if you object to this kind of thing.
PS This blog is not really fit for human consumption, it's best read as it was written, drunk on vodka or otherwise high as a kite...Enjoy...