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It's time for me to say a special thank you.

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TygrBright Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 07:30 PM
Original message
It's time for me to say a special thank you.
Someone posted a thread about the outpouring of love for Patrick, an abused dog who was rescued recently. The DU community has a lot of animal lovers--passionate animal lovers, as well as animal rights activists and breed rescue volunteers and crazy cat ladies and others who want to cross (or eliminate) the species barrier with their love.

I got involved in a 'discussion' with a member of my family once (many years ago) who was upset by the amount of money and effort and ego-identification people put into their pets, while at the same time doing nothing about humanity's inhumanity to itself. And there is a certain justification for some of that criticism. There are those who regard their animal companions as extensions of their own ego, as status symbols, as statements of bad-assery or any number of other incredibly stupid reasons to take responsibility for a critter. And, sadly, those stupid reasons all too often translate into critters being abandoned, given up, abused, neglected or worse.

But, by and large, I believe that real love for critters, real appreciation of them for who they are, both as individuals and as species, makes us better people. Learning to communicate across the species barrier, however slowly and faultily, teaches us more about ourselves and opens up new worlds and new ways of thinking. Taking responsibility for an individual who depends utterly upon you for everything can evoke the best in us and expand our ability and willingness to be responsible among our fellow humans as well. And their love teaches us things about love that millennia of ever-more-complex human cultures have obscured and distorted and mystified.

A few weeks ago my darling esposo and I had to say the last good-bye to our own critter. I know how many DUers understand that particular pain and loss, so I'll post just an excerpt from the obit that I sent around to friends to let them know that our little guy had left:

Fisbin was estimated by the shelter staff to be about eight months to one year old when Bright visited the Ramsey County Humane Society in 1993. He had clearly had a tough kittenhood. The tip of his tail had been broken clean through and healed leaving him with a floppy-ended plume that was very distinctive; he was mistrustful of people and his disposition was not sociable. The shelter was probably the first place hed ever felt safe and cared for, which might explain his lifelong predilection for finding laundry baskets, boxes, and other small crate-like spaces to occupy whenever it was least convenient for his staff.

As with many of us who experience trauma in youth and adolescence, Fisbin fought a lifelong battle with addiction. Well, he didnt so much fight, as wallow. Any mint-like substance was irresistible, and the cost in toothbrushes was high until Bright learned to keep hers in a cupboard or drawer when not in use. Toothbrushes pulled from under radiators, covered with dust and fuzz, are not appetizing. The consumption of mint tea required constant attention and an inaccessible resting place for the cup when not actually raised to the lips.

Youth is a time of wild abandon for many, and Fisbin quickly earned the nickname Destructo-Fizz. Possibly the broken tail had affected the delicate balance and poise cats are supposed to enjoy by natural right, but the truth was that Fisbin was, for a cat, a bit of a klutz. If he was out of sight, you could often track him by the sound of fragile objects hitting the floor. The higher, the better. Everything even marginally movable was a kitty toy. Makeup sponges, the empty tubes from toilet paper rolls, socks, writing tools, matchbooks, nail clippers, teabags, bits of crumpled paperif it could be batted to the floor, it was a kitty toy.

Although never a lap cat, Fisbin appreciated having a staff, although he found one human rather inadequate. This posed a dilemma for him, as he didnt really like human beings much. The nice lady with the professional pet-care service, friend to all four-legged creatures, finally requested that Bright keep a broom immediately adjacent to the front door when she went away, as she was more than once cornered by Fizzando Furioso when she visited to provide care. The more a human attempted to ingratiate themselves with Fisbin, the greater delight he took in pretending to be a cute, adorable, fluffy, cuddly pussycat until the unwary prey put naked flesh within range. Visitors learned to regard him with hands-off admiration and/or wary amusement.


Another, slightly less painful (due to Magic Herbal Anti-anxiety Agents) cross-country move to Santa Fe finally placed Fisbin in the ideal home: Radiant-heated floors, many, many fine sun patches to lounge in, and a dry, salubrious climate. He also discovered, at long last, the Love of His Lifethe hoover. All those years of hissing and fleeing at the mere sight of the machine, wasted and lost, when he could have been receiving the delightfully sybaritic attentions of the hoover nozzle, alas. He did his best to make up for lost time. The daily hoovering ritual became one of his staffs more important duties.

We find ourselves missing the five a.m. arias that demanded Kitty Breakfast, Stage One. The favored lounging spots are empty. For all the times when Bright muttered about how nice it would be to actually be able to work at her computer without close supervision and feline assistance, it feels empty and sad to write this with only the memories of His Orangitude to kibbitz. He brought love and entertainment and amusement and enough personality for any three kitties to our lives, and we feel bereft without our little guy. We know youll miss Fisbins inimitable presence in our lives as well.

We're missing our buddy a lot. The empty spaces ache. We'll never find another Fisbin, but we do want to share our lives with another furry chum. So slowly, I've started looking into some of the local shelters and rescues, and I have to say that I am deeply impressed and grateful to everyone who participates in all of these organizations. The people who give financial support, the people who come and help clean and repair, the vets who donate free or cut-rate services, the volunteers who put up pictures and profiles on the websites, the people who cuddle and feed and care for the lost and lonely and hopeful ones. Thank you all. Without you Fisbin never would have spent all those years lighting up our lives. Without you countless other critters would never survive to bring joy and love to countless other lives.

So people... help out your local shelters, even if it's just donating old (clean) towels, or putting in a couple of hours helping out or stuffing a couple of bucks in the collection box. Whatever you can afford. Sure, it's for the critters. But it's for the people, too. Because our relationships with the critters make us better, warmer, more loving, more capable human beings.

Thanks so much.

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BeHereNow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 07:34 PM
Response to Original message
1. Yes, yes and yes.
Thank you.

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redwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 07:35 PM
Response to Original message
2. Lovely.
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 07:39 PM
Response to Original message
3. Oh, Bright - I feel like I KNEW Fisbin! What a beautiful tribute, and a heartbreaking

I'm so happy for him that he had you as his staff, and I've no doubt he knew how greatly loved he was.


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TygrBright Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 08:31 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Thank you kindly. Let's just say he regarded us as adequate.
For Fisbin, that was a tribute.

The last few weeks he would actually cuddle a little-- something he rarely if ever did in his younger days. I do believe he knew he would be leaving soon and wanted to let us know that we hadn't been a total loss as staff.

The big danger for us now is that in slowly investigating the many, many possibilities for a new little buddy we run a terrible risk of coming home with nine or ten critters all at once, which really, really, wouldn't work...

There are so many wonderful animals out there looking for people they can give their love and trust to.


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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 08:34 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. I understand the dangers that lurk in a shelter -- you want them all! I've always
had them find me, which is kind of a weasely way out, but I know myself too well. I wouldn't be able to say no.

Be strong! Leave some of those darlings for others!!
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calimary Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 07:44 PM
Response to Original message
4. Fisbin. From Star Trek?
Wonderful story - I'm so sorry for your loss!
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TygrBright Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 08:26 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Yes. On the way home from the shelter, he was in a cardboard carrier.
He kept poking his little pink nose up through the flaps at the top, and about the third or fourth time he did it, I heard Captain Kirk's voice in my head, saying: "Oh, look at that! You've got a fisbin!"

It suited him in so many ways.

Thanks for your kind empathy.

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Tripod Donating Member (534 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 08:40 PM
Response to Original message
8. K&R.
I am so sorry. I have two rescue cats and I can't imagine life without them. ;( :hug:
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gkhouston Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 08:52 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. There's nothing like that classic breed, North American Stray.
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Tripod Donating Member (534 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 09:12 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I agree! They're both pretty remarkable cats
I've had the gray tabby for almost a year, inherited him from a friend. And I adopted the black one as a five-month-old kitten at a cat adoption clinic last November. I thought my other cat could use a friend and it's remarkable how well they've gotten along from day one. The little one's turned out to be the world's friendliest cat and I feel truly blessed that they both found me. :)
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Liberal_in_LA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 09:32 PM
Response to Original message
11. k&r I love the last paragraph of your post
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