Posts Tagged 'cats'

More Than Elementary, Dr. Watson–So Much More!

There is a favorite among the witticisms I have collected in my life.  It says, quite simply:

I try to take life one day at a time, but lately several days have attacked me at once!

The last four weeks have been a roller coaster ride in my house.  Not the screaming-in-glee-buy-the-obscenely-priced-photo-at-the-end kind of ride, but the stop-the-world-I-want-to-get-off kind.

One of the barn cats that came with the property in the country we bought 5 years ago (and are currently trying to sell) showed up in February looking abnormally thin–skin and bones, to be exact.  Mom and Dad took her to the vet there, who said she was dehydrated and had a kidney infection.  Lavender (the calico cat) received some pills to clear up the infection, and we brought her up here to the city to nurse her back to health.

For about 3 weeks, Lavy seemed to improve.  Then, one day, she couldn’t walk straight and, in fact, could barely stand.  When I got home from work that day, I took her to the nearby Tech Ridge Pet Hospital.  Even though it was only 10 minutes before closing time, Dr. William Watson and his staff bent over backwards to help us.  A blood test confirmed that Lavy was still dehydrated, and had a red blood cell count of only 18%–marginal for sustaining life.  They spent an hour stabilizing her, then directed me to the 24-hour vet clinic a few miles south.

There, I had an agonizing choice to make.  Money is tight now, and the recommended course of treatment would be far beyond our means with no guarantee of success.  I was tearfully honest with both Dr. Watson and the 24-hour clinic.  Both were understanding and accommodating, none of us wanting to give up if she still had a chance.  We worked out an alternative plan of treatment that had about the same chance of success, but was much more affordable.  It did require someone at home to provide round-the-clock care, but fortunately I did have that available.

I faithfully followed up with Dr. Watson at Tech Ridge Pet Hospital, stopping by to refill medications or to purchase Science Diet A/D food and Barleygreen in efforts to increase Lavy’s weight and appetite.  Her numbers, though, were not improving.  I was told to expect Lavy’s red blood count to decrease as she re-hydrated, but at her follow-up visit a week later, her count was at 10%–the absolute minimum to sustain life.  Knowing that chances were not good but that she seemed to be rallying in response to treatment, we took her back home.  The whole time, Dr. Watson (himself!) called every few days to check on her progress and to see if we needed any advice.  We were very impressed with his far-above-professional interest in our little love.

For almost another week, she seemed to improve–two Saturdays ago, it was all we could do to keep her from jumping out of the box in which we were keeping her (Dr. Watson had urged us not to allow Lavy to jump or even to walk on her own–with so few cells to carry oxygen, any exhertion could kill her).  The next day, Sunday, she wasn’t even able to stand.  Still, she had recovered before from “bad days,” so we weren’t losing all hope yet.

This time, though, there was no rally.  Lavy stayed the same until Wednesday night.  Hubby and I were giving Lavy her medicine (mixed with A/D), but this time instead of fighting us with wriggling and paw escape attempts, she clamped her jaw shut tight.  I got a little more of 3/4 of the mixture down her using a food syringe, but when I tried to administer the rest, Lavy looked at the two of us and plaintively meowed.  Lavy NEVER meows.  I looked at Hubby and said “I think she’s asking us to let her go.”  He agreed.

Thursday morning, Lavy was too weak for any medicine and had no interest in food or water.  She was held and loved all day.  At 5:35 last Thursday, Lavy breathed her last.  I called the clinic to say I was coming by with the body (as we have no where here to properly return her to the earth).  How appropriate–again, we arrived 10 minutes before closing.  Lavy was in a cloth-lined wicker basket that Hubby and I had bought several weeks ago in case she didn’t make it.  Inside the basket, Lavy looked like one of those kitties sleeping in the smallest space into which they could fit–complete with tail across her face.  It was a sweet-looking image.

I thought that would wrap things up until next year, when Baby Sally Semi-Meezer is due for her next annual shots and check-up.  I was amazingly wrong.  Today, in my mailbox was a card addressed to the family from Tech Ridge Pet Hospital.

“How sweet,” I thought, expecting a generic condolence card with the name of the practice neatly laser-jetted beneath the printed sentiment.

How incredibly wrong I was–fantastically, overwhelmingly wrong.  Inside the card with the beautifully-silhouetted black-and-white photo of a cat, were HANDWRITTEN condolences from EVERY member of the staff, and an entire paragraph written by Dr. Watson himself to comfort us on our loss.  Also enclosed was a card with Lavender’s name written in a gorgeous calligraphy and her two dainty pawprints.  I have promised my daughter that I will frame the pawprints for her to keep always.

Every consumer expects customer service.  Every business is exhorted (especially in these tough times) to give the customers more than they expect.  The attention that Dr. Watson gave us, whom he didn’t know from Adam a month ago, goes indescribably above and beyond any definition of customer service and attention to detail.

This is beyond being a good businessman–this is being a wonderful human being.  All I can do is tell everyone I can what a jewel is found at Tech Ridge Pet Hospital.  This, Dr. Watson and staff, is for you.  God bless each and every one of you–pressed down and running over.

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This Month’s “Must Read”

The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron

My review


rating: 5 of 5 stars
About 3/4 of the way through this book, I went into a panic. I realized that I was rapidly approaching the end, and I did NOT want that to happen! I couldn’t put this book down, yet I did not want my journey through nearly 20 years of trials, tribulations, and triumphs at the Spencer, IA Public Library to end. You will laugh much more than cry, but cry you will. A not-to-be-missed book.

On a professional note: writing teachers, you will find a wealth of incredible examples of descriptive writing in this book, almost all of which are appropriate for middle-school and up. The first paragraph is the best opening I’ve read since “A Tale of Two Cities.” I’ve never been to Iowa, but I know I could find Spencer just by reading the opening, which is as informative but much more entertaining than any map.

View all my reviews.

There ain’t enough perfume to pretty this hog.

One of my good friends in the UK sent me this clip:

http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=528694&in_page_id=1811

This is just the latest in an intermittent litany of articles that expose the government in the People’s Republic of China (the PRC, or Communist Red China) for its cruelties. Many are now calling for a boycott of the Summer Olympics this August. I must admit that, horrified by this latest chapter of PRC truth as I am, I have become somewhat dulled by its constancy–at least I should say, I am not surprised; I’ve seen this too many times before in my adult life. I served in the military in the 1980’s in the Pacific–one of my jobs was to keep up with what was going on in Asia. I’ve never gotten out of the habit of keeping up with ongoings throughout the Pacific Rim.

Still, I don’t know if I can commit to boycotting this year’s Olympics, because for the first time in my life, it’s personal. Two of my daughter’s former teammates are likely to earn spots on this year’s US Olympic team. I’ve known these kids since they were 14 and 16, and yes, they ARE all that. Their step-dad is my daughter’s former coach, and he and the girls’ mother are great folk (the only reason that I don’t mention their dad is because I have never met him). These girls have spent most of their lives preparing for this (typical practice time is 2 1/2 hrs. per day, 5-6 days a week during the school year and 6-8 hours a day, 5 days a week in summer, and they love every minute of it, else they wouldn’t be there). It’s not these girls’ fault that the IOC got their collective heads turned by a pretty, perfumed package that contains the rotting offal of its policies well hidden inside. Quite frankly, I couldn’t tell these girls not to go, and should they go, I owe it to them to indulge in the pleasure of watching their aquatic poetry in motion one more time, especially if it gets us a medal that otherwise would have gone to the PRC.

Please notice that I am being very careful to direct my outrage at the government of the People’s Republic of China, not at the Chinese people. If you read the article carefully, you will very clearly see that these people are scared–as well they should be. The Chinese people have my sympathies and my frustration at the knowledge that they are trapped in an autocratic system with alarmingly little regard for human life, and practically none for other life. The people who work there making baubles for our comfort “earn” slave wages. Collective bargaining? HAH! The PRC’s idea of collective bargaining is to gang up on the one person who dares to point out that this emperor has no clothes, beat him up, jail him, and persecute his family. If they execute the poor soul, the family gets billed for the bullet–quite a contrast from the some $35,000+ per year we taxpayers spend to keep ONE prisoner on death row!

I know from first-hand accounts of attempts by the PRC to violently overthrow governments that are in their way that stretch back nearly 60 years–almost to the foundations of the PRC as a nation. My former boss was an officer on board a US Navy ship during the shellings of Quemoy and Matsu. During Tienanmen, a Grad Assistant in my mom’s office was sleepless the whole time, seeking news of the family he had been forced to leave behind in Beijing. Thank God that all turned out well for him, unlike the families of the up to 3000 people (casualty figures vary widely) who were crushed under the weight of the Red Army tanks. The Chinese Student Association at my alma mater printed and sold “Goddess of Freedom” t-shirts. I still have one.

Those kids who died at Tienanmen were a drop in the bucket compared to the 20 million Chinese citizens who died at the hands of Mao Zedong in the 1950’s and 1960’s using a combination of famine, political purges, and megalomania that he had the chutzpah to call a “Great Leap Forward.” That pales in comparison to the untold millions of Chinese babies who to this day are being forcibly aborted just because their mothers already have one child (if they live in the city) or two children (if they live in the country). The PRC even employs legions of spies whose job it is to seek out women who attempt to hide an “illegal” pregnancy. Some disguise themselves as midwives, then take the newborns and kill them right after delivery and tell the mother that the child is dead. The horror stories are legion. You do not have to go to political activists’ websites to find them–they run in such “factional” publications as Readers’ Digest.

Those of you who, like I, came of age during the Cold War remember that the primary objective of Communism is world domination. It failed in the Soviet Union because the Soviets were, like us, of a European cultural background. Although we differ in individual issues and methodologies, we are motivated by similar drives and desires–including the need to “keep up with the Joneses” and for a quick return on our investments.

The Chinese, if you will pardon the banal metaphor, are Klingons to our Federation. It was a Chinese general, Sun Tsu, who wrote the definitive book on warfare over 2500 years ago. His The Art of War is still required reading at all the US Service Academies and War Colleges today. General Sun’s instructions and wisdom did not just cover conventional war, but unconventional methods like disinformation and spying as well.

One thing that may prove our downfall is the fact that the Chinese culture is one of infinite patience. They are willing to wait millenia if they have to for conditions to be right for victory. Trust me, the PRC is biding its time, giving us enough rope to hang ourselves. As it is, we are almost totally dependent on the PRC for toys to entertain our children. Some 95% of all toys sold in the US are made in the PRC. Contrary to what many believe, the skyrocketing of oil prices did NOT begin with Gulf War II, but with the PRC’s cornering of the petroleum market. The economy in the PRC has been booming all decade (thanks largely to us), and they are taking advantage of this singular opportunity to buy up all the oil they can and stockpile it.

If you think that the debacles this past fall with tainted pet food and toy paint were mere incompetence, let me sell you some beachfront in Tennessee. To borrow a geek term, they were beta-testing a covert assault on our way of life. I’ve studied these guys too well; they were trying to see how easy it is to “sneak in through the back door” and catch us with our pants down.

Again, let me stress most wholeheartedly that I have no issue with individual people from either China: the PRC or Taiwan. I have known plenty of people from both nations and have found each and every one I have ever met to be the epitome of generosity, friendliness, and kindness. I would love to see the cities today that my grandmother described in her letters dated from her visit in 1920. Until the communists there have gone the way of the Soviets, though, that will be impossible for me. I have to admit that I am greatly relieved to know that I will not be in a position to decide whether or not to allow my child to go to the Olympics this year. I sympathize with those who do.

What do we do in the meantime?

  • Ask our Presidential candidates how they will deal with the PRC and with American companies who outsource their manufacturing there.  Support the one who won’t kowtow and offer MFN (“Most Favored Nation”) status as if it were candy to shut up a bawling brat.
  • Stop buying products made in the PRC.  The more we do it, the easier it will get as suppliers realize that we don’t want goods from the PRC.
  • Incorporate into tax-reduction deals with American manufacturers the stipulation that if they close down their plant to move manufacturing out of the country that the company will owe not only every penny of tax savings they pocketed in the past, but hefty penalties as well.

Back in Georgia, we used to say that trying to put a pretty spin on something ugly was “like putting perfume on a hog.”  Believe me, there ain’t enough Chanel on the planet to disguise the ugliness that is Communist China.  Or, to translate the above once more into Georgia-speak:  “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly cuts clean to the bone.”


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