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Precious Lives

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Message Suzana Megles

Princess, my calico cat of only eight years is dying of kidney failure. Why haven't I put her down yet?  Somehow-during the time at the vets is past week, she still showed a lot of exuberance and life.  I have had to put down quite of few rescue cats in my day and it isn't getting any easier.  I thought I would try an internet remedy from Canada since there is no medicine available here - but it doesn't seem to be working. Please God, help me to do the right thing for Princess.  She deserves that from me.

An indoor cat, I let her out this past week to enjoy the spring weather and to observe the blue sky and green grass once again and she has, for the past 3 days. 

I remember how Oliver, a red Morris cat I had rescued, resented being pulled in after glorious outdoor days in the sun.  Becoming an indoor cat I believe led to his serious illness in the 80's.  When I finally let him out - it was too late.  He was so sick at this point that being let out to his beloved outdoors didn't matter any longer.

Letting cats outside has its built in hazards--fleas, catching immune diseases from other cats, bird killing, and the concern of being hit by a car.  Well, being kept in for Oliver had its hazards too.  I believe that the stress of indoor living may have contributed to his last serious illness.

Dear Oliver, I wish that I had realized this sooner but no vet or book clued me in and maybe you would have died whether you lived indoors or not.  I really don't know, but remembering you-- I knew that I had to let Princess enjoy the sun and fresh air for as long as she could.

As I watched you, Princess, hoping to see signs of recovery, I opened up a Nov. '08 Guidepost.  There was a story about a puppy mill rescue which almost didn't happen.  Jana Kohl of Chicago had flown to California to adopt "Baby," but the first meeting didn't go as well as hoped for either Jana or the foster care giver.

Initially, Jana found it hard to get use to Baby's missing leg -a result of poor nourishment.  Her leg bone became brittle and had to be amputated.  Baby's vocal cords were cut so she wouldn't bark, and she also had a nervous tick-- her pink tongue flicked rapidly.  Lastly, Jana also noticed a tattooed "94" inside Baby's ear.  She asked the foster parent about this and was told it was the year Baby was born so that the breeder could tell Baby's "expiration date."  Jana, who is Jewish, could not help but remember the sad chapter her own people and their tattoo numbers as well.

Anyone reading this will probably pray as do many of us that the day will come when there will be no more "Auschwitz" puppy mills for our dogs.  They should be forever banned.  

Suffice it to say though, that at this time of her initial meeting with Baby, Jana had second thoughts and left California without her.  She did promise the lady to give the adoption more thought and left money for Baby's care until she was certain about whether to adopt or not. 

Jana does finally realize that there weren't too many people lining up to adopt a nine-year old three-legged dog and that it should probably be her.  She does fly back to California and time will prove that she made the right decision. She becomes so enamored with Baby and the whole experience that she wrote "A Rare Breed of Love" - the true story of Baby and the Mission she inspired to help dogs everywhere.

In 2008 you may have seen Baby on GMA with Diane Sawyer.  She was also on CNN. You may have bought the book or the music video "A Rare Breed of Love."  Somehow -even then presidential candidate Barak Obama had his picture taken with her.  Maybe, this is when he got the idea to adopt a shelter dog.  
At the internet site there is also a wonderful picture of Judge Judy with her 5 rescue dogs.  A surprise to me because I sometimes see her coming across rather harshly- but then anyone who rescue dogs has got to be all right.

For dog lovers everywhere who want to read Jana Kohl's book, "A Rare Breed of Love" here is a delightful excerpt:

"Sometimes I wonder if I'm Dreaming.... I open my eyes and find myself in a soft, comfy bed, not a wire cage.  The house is filled with sweet, peaceful silence, not the desperate cries of dogs.  And then there's her.  She calls herself 'Ma.'  After she adopted me I didn't know what to expect.  After years of being locked in a cage, I had lost all hope of ever being treated with kindness, but from the moment she touched me, I was smitten.  Whenever she picks me up or stokes my head, she is careful, soft, gentle.  She doesn't grab me.  She never hurts me. She feeds me delicious food, as much as I need to feel satisfied.  There is always fresh, cool water in my bowl.  She actually kisses me.  A lot.  And sings to me.  And lets me sleep pressed against her.  I'm not afraid anymore.  I have a name, not a number.  I am loved now."

I wrote this for you Princess.  I love you.

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I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the (more...)
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