S is for SAMMY

S is for SAMMY

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My motto for this year’s A to Z is “Animals in my life – stuffed or alive”.

Of course, S is reserved for my heart cat, Sammy!

What still amazes me after living without her for more than half a year, is the amount of love she left behind.

I have to say a heartfelt “Thank you” to all those who helped me grieving. Nobody said: “It was just a cat! Get your sh*t together!” So many people comforted me, listened to me or just were there. And there was Jackie, who patiently stayed with me as long as I needed it.

My therapist, a very matter-of-fact man, told me, grieving for a pet can be as strong as grieving for another human being… At least this is true for me. And when the grief lessens, the love still stays. It is like a comfortable, yet light blanket.

At first I thought, I would never be able to love a pet again. But now I am back to my normal, pet loving self 😄. And back to my original mission: Adopt and save as many homeless pets as Sammy in this life as possible!

I think, Sammy would like this very much. I can imagine her looking me in the eye and purr: “Finally you get it!”

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G is for GINGER

G is for GINGER

Purzl 1997

My motto for this year’s A to Z is “Animals in my life – stuffed or alive”.

Well, I have a confession to make: I always wanted to have a ginger cat with blue eyes. The cat in the picture was from Austria, near Salzburg, were we went skiing twice with my husband’s family. It was a male cat named “Purzel”, what roughly translates to “tumble”.

But somehow I never have been adopted by a ginger cat. Please note that I said “I was never adopted”, not “I never adopted”.

When my husband and I are looking for a pet, we try to push our expectations away for the moment. We introduce ourselves very calmly and respectfully to the animal and then wait what happens. Animals are very good in judging humans, they gather so much information from us in just a few moments. And they are very honest with us! If a pet shows no interest in us, it basically says: “Thanks, but this will not work.” And I have to admit: Our pets were always right!

Most animals are brought to a shelter, because their humans didn’t listen to those signals. Most humans have a very exact image in their mind what they are looking for, and they are not willing to look elsewhere. I don’t say that future pet owners shouldn’t think things through before they adopt a furry family member: It is very important to be aware of the conditions the pet will live in. A big dog in a small appartment will likely cause problems, as will a cat if a family member is allergic to cats.

But why limit yourself to a certain breed… or the colour of the fur? Other things are more important: That your character and the temperament of your pet match, for example. And let me tell you this: This moment, when a pet shows you it choses you as a life companion (and they never settle for something less) is pure magic. I was lucky to be adopted by Sammy and Jackie, and I still am at a loss how to put this into words.

So, trust the instinct and the wisdom that are alive in all pets. And prepare yourself for a fascinating bonding experience!

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Six months without Sammy

Six months without Sammy

Living with pets means accepting that their lifespan is shorter than ours. Sammy lived a long cat life of eighteen years, and her time just had come six months ago. Today I remembered her last hours with us very vividly. Most of this time she was lying on my tummy, one of her favorite places. I couldn’t have thought of any better way to say goodbye to this special cat.

And then she was gone and life went on, right? At least this is how it was in the past.

I should have known better. Nothing is or was ordinary with Sammy!

Immediately after her death, the behaviour of Sammy’s daughter, Jackie, changed completely. While she had preferred staying with my husband, she now rarely left my side. At first I thought this wouldn’t last. Of course she felt my sadness, maybe she enjoyed being the only cat in the house, maybe it was Sammy letting us know everything is alright from the Rainbow Bridge, who knows…

Well, she didn’t change a bit. She takes her time to stroll outside, or to lie on the fish tank, but she keeps coming back to me. She lies on my tummy, like Sammy used to do. When I shed a few tears, because this reminds me so much of Sammy, she licks me and purrs.

The abilities of animals will never cease to amaze me. How they recognize our feelings and react to them puts the empathy of many human beings to shame.

They say “Saving one animal won’t change the world, but it will change the world for one animal.”

We may have rescued Sammy back then, but she changed our world. She still does

A Christmas to forget

A Christmas to forget

This Christmas was everything but contemplative and quiet. On Christmas Eve my parents came over. At first Sam was restless and kept barking, but we knew he would settle down eventually. He did, and everything seemed  fine. 

When my mother stood up from the table to follow me into the kitchen, Sam jumped on her.  She lost her balance and hit a doorframe with her elbow. She will see a doctor about this today, so I know it hurts pretty bad. 

This was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, or my back, in this case. The straw that had kept piling up since Sam came to live with us. Every time I had to put him in a separate room to keep him from attacking postmen, neighbors, friends or relatives added straw. Every time he kept pulling  on the leash during our walks so my husband and I ended up tense and nervous and I struggled to keep up with the pack (I am using a walker) added straw. Every time he barks wildly at the door or the windows when a car or a neighbor passes the house added straw. Every time he tried to attack bikers or joggers added straw. Right now, I don’t care that Sam is sweet, affectionate and cuddly with us. I don’t care that my husband takes the blame for what happened on Christmas Eve and says he didn’t pay enough attention to Sam. I don’t care everyone says we are Sam’s last chance. It never should have happened and I feel so discouraged and helpless and don’t know what to do.

On Christmas Day, we drove to my sister-in-law, who lives a about 115 km from here. As a christmas present we were told she is seven weeks pregnant. Bummer. We are involuntarily childless, so this announcement reopened many old wounds. A hasty retreat wasn’ t an option, we all had been invited to stay the night. Because of the events of Christmas Eve, I was even more tense and had a close eye on Sam. The guest bed was really hard and uncomfortable, we called it a night at five thirty in the morning and tried to leave the house silently to drive home. The car had other plans, the battery was dead. When we rang the doorbell to get in again, we woke everybody in the house. My husband managed to sleep a few hours after that, my night was over. About nine in the morning, my brother-brother-in-law helped us to jump start our car from his own vehicle and we finally were on our way home.

From today until New Year’s Eve it’s business as usual, my husband has to work. I really hope nothing else happens and my nerves can calm down.