A-Z: The Queen

Oddibe came first. He watched me from across the road, as he sat beneath the old cedar trees. Our eyes met; we bonded. It didn’t matter that I already had two indoor cats and two dogs. I became Oddibe’s human.

Oddibe

He was already an old tomcat, and obviously not neutered. He was King of the Road. I called him “Oddibe”, because he “ought to be” somewhere else. He would come to my window at night. Sitting on the porch rail, he would tap on my window screen. He knew I would then get up and go outside to feed him. Our midnight rendezvous began right after we bought our rural lake house. Neighbors swore they had never seen him before.

Soon, Oddibe brought his Queen with him. She was a petite little thing, and very young. Quite feral, she trusted only Oddibe, following him everywhere. She quickly learned that food was found at our house. She became “Echo”, because she kept coming back.

Young Echo

By Spring, Oddibe and Echo had a little grey kitten. She would blend into the shadows of the cedar trees, so she was called “Shade”. Echo would bring her shrews and chipmunks. She tried to teach Shade to hunt. They were entertaining to watch. By now Echo trusted me. She taught Shade to come to our porch and eat from the bowls, too.

Oddibe & Shade

During the day, Oddibe would go off to do his tomcat business. At night, he would still come to my window. He also watched over his family. Elusive, existing in the shadows, for the most part, they lived this way for a couple of years. Survival was their mindset; I was their safe haven.

Then, there came a time when Oddibe was missing. The girls came alone for several weeks. When Oddibe finally appeared on my porch, he was emaciated and very weak. I quickly put him in a crate, which was never a possibility before. I knew it was serious when I took him to the vet that Saturday night.

The vet grimly told me that Oddibe was probably close to twenty years old. He then gave me the diagnosis that I feared. Oddibe had cancer. At his advanced age, surgery was not a realistic option. He would not survive even the anesthesia, but the cancer was obviously too advanced. Late that night, in the vet’s treatment room, I lost a very special friend.

I cried all the way home, and throughout the funeral we held for him. I missed him. Echo and Shade surely did, too. They would sit under the cedar trees as if waiting for Oddibe to join them. They looked somehow lost and lonely, their little faces questioning me.

For years, they came together, alone, and sometimes with kittens. We rescued many of those kittens, finding forever homes, and keeping some. But, others would just disappear. After a few years, Shade disappeared, too. It broke my heart.

Echo would stay away when in heat or when she had kittens hidden. We were never able to trap her. Her sense of survival and dedication to her family was acute. Tomcats came and went, though none were like Oddibe. Most were haggard, mean, very wild, and entirely feral.

Queen Echo
When Echo was about 12, she went missing for about a week. I knew she did not have kittens and became very worried. Then, one morning quite early, she appeared. She was as happy to see me as I was her! I quickly filled her bowls with food and water. Watching her eat, I assessed her health. I noticed her rear left leg hanging at an odd angle. It seemed to be very loose. I knew something was very wrong.

I scooped her into a crate. Though her first time, she did not fuss. We went right to the vet, where Echo was overwhelmed by the entire experience. However, she was the regal Queen. An exam and x-rays showed that there was nothing but bone chips between Echo’s hip and foot. Her foot was intact, and her hip was fractured. But, the entire leg had been shattered by a hollow point bullet.

Hollow Point bullet:
Note the mushrooming effect

 

 

Hollow point bullets are used by law enforcement and military personnel. Their purpose is to kill in a drastic, surefire manner. A hollow point bullet increases its size once it enters its target, and it remains there. It expands inside and does not pass through, creating extensive damage. This usually results in blood loss and/or shock, and thus death. Echo was a six-pound cat. She was also a miracle.

I had a choice to make. Echo had to be put to sleep or have her leg amputated. She had lived outside her entire life, free, doing whatever she wanted to do, wherever she wanted to do it. I saw her living the life of a wild thing, and happy to be that way.

If Echo’s leg was removed, she would become our indoor cat. She hated other cats. We would have to make her a home in the secure basement. She would be safe under our supervision. Could she be happy this way? Could we put her down, let her go because of someone else’s cruelty? We had loved her and been trusted by her for over 12 years!

There was no choice, really. She had the surgery and came home to live out her last five golden years inside our warm house. Echo had her favourite pillow and blanket. She took over the sofa in the basement. She flew up and down the basement stairs. She maintained immaculate litter manners. She appreciated it all.

We promised her she would be safe and secure for the rest of her life. She was special. We were amazed that she made the transitions so easily. From outdoor to indoor cat, and four legs to three legs, she never changed. She was the same little, petite, sweet, gentle Echo that she had always been.

When Echo passed over the Rainbow Bridge, she was well over 17 years old. She developed cancer but went quickly and without pain. We were left with the pain of her absence. Her loss was felt deeply.

Aging Echo

Echo’s life had been full. We had kept our promise to Oddibe, by keeping watch over Echo. Her golden years were also safe and secure; we kept our promise to her. And, The Queen’s memory still echoes in our hearts.

~McGuffy Ann Morris

Q

“My Writeful Heart”:
A= Acknowledgments
B= Believe
C= Camouflage
D= The Drought
E= Exist
F= Final Departure
G= The Guardian
H= The Horologist
I= Impasse
J= Joseph
K= Knowing
L= The Loan
M= Mirror
N= Number
O= Ozark
P= Mr. Peabody

 

Easter Pets

easter-bunny-disapproves

I agree with The Easter Bunny. I disapprove of giving animals as gifts. I print this post this every year because it is important. If I can help spare one little life, it is worth repeating myself. Please read, and share this information with others.

Every year hundreds of baby bunnies, chicks and ducklings are bought as “novelty” Easter gifts. While much thought is put into the “surprise” factor, little is put into the long-term care and commitment. Consequently, the animals will suffer abuse or neglect. Many will be released into the wild, ultimately facing death.

It has been reported by the U.S. Humane Society that “within the initial weeks following Easter, 30% of these novelty Easter pets will die. Another 60-70% will be released or left at a shelter.” Most of those released or left at shelters are already ill or suffering.

Every Spring, shelters are inundated with bunnies, chicks, and ducklings that are dumped because the novelty has worn off. Little or no thought was put into their growth or care. They were purchased solely for human enjoyment, into homes not equipped for their needs.

Before purchasing any pet, do your research. Ask the right authority, go to the proper source. Read, go online, learn about the animal’s needs, proper care, and expected lifespan. See what is involved to keep the animal healthy. Know what the possible pitfalls are with the particular pet you are considering, such as the fact that chicks and ducklings are known to carry salmonella.

Following are some facts and links provided by the Humane Society of the United States. Please read, consider, and take this to heart. These are real live beings with beating hearts.

RABBITS:
Average lifespan: 7-10 years
Facts:
*Rabbits may not do well in a household with young children. They often do not like being lifted or held.
*Rabbits like to dig and need to chew.
*If you get multiple rabbits they should be spayed and neutered as soon as possible.
*Multiple rabbits will often fight.
*Weekly expenses can be in excess of $25.00 for food alone, per rabbit.
Research Sources:
House Rabbit… http://www.myhouserabbit.com
Bunny Basics… http://www.thebunnybasics.com
Rabbit.org… www.rabbit.org

DUCKS:
Average lifespan: 8-15 years
Facts:
*Ducks are very social animals, doing better kept in groups (a “paddling” or “brace” of ducks).
*Ducks need a lot of space and a shelter to keep them safe.
*Ducklings will need to be kept in an indoor pen/cage for the several weeks.
Research Sources:
Pet Duck Blog… http://www.petducksblog.com
Keeping Ducks… http://keeping-ducks.net

CHICKENS:
Average lifespan: 5-8 years
Facts:
*Chickens naturally scratch, peck and dig. If housing is inadequate, they will cause damage.
*Many towns and cities have regulations concerning chickens, regarding them “livestock”.
*Health and zoning boards should be consulted.
*Chickens are noisy, but roosters are especially noisy!
Research Sources:
My Pet Chicken… http://www.mypetchicken.com
Backyard Chickens… http://www.backyardchickens.com

Please, do share animals with children. Educate yourself and children on animals and the various breeds and species. Visit them in natural habitats or ones created especially for them. Visit zoos, farms, and other places where you can do this in safety, for all involved. 

So, fill those Easter baskets with their favourite stuffed Easter toys. And, remember to include lots of books about those animals, too.  Love and knowledge can change the world.

Sparks: 20

20

I am thankful for the opportunity that Sparks provides me with, which is to renew a goal I had when I began blogging. Years ago, I shared inspirational thoughts each Monday. It would be my weekly meditation, and perhaps feed another’s spirit as well. It was all about positive energy.

But, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans” (John Lennon). Recently, I was motivated to revive this weekly post. The negative energy in the world has become thick and oppressive. It is everywhere, including social media. People speak of love, but from a dark heart. It is true, actions speak louder than words. There is an obvious universal need for more positive energy. We need to walk the talk. And, some do.

I was very encouraged when others wanted to join me in my quest to counteract the negativity around us. I am inspired by the positive energy of my peers. Every day, I read their heartfelt words, and often feel I am better for it. Their weekly posts for Sparks are especially filled with hope and light. They are Sparks. They shine!

I believe we are all meant to be lights in this world. If we allow our light to shine, we can see where we are going. It is then that we can begin to truly see each other clearly. With clarity, we begin to understand, or at least accept our differences. The light within us is unique, which only adds to the beauty.

It all begins with a spark, a true desire to be the change that we all wish to see in the world. Together, we can light up the entire world with positive energy. Imagine!

If we all shine on…and on and on and on and on…

I hope you will join us. Post a positive quote or some of your own inspirational words. Please add the Sparks badge to your post, so others can find it easily. Be sure to come back and link up to us here. We want to see your Sparks! Peace!

Click here to add your Sparks to ours on the Linky List!

Mouse for Sale

 

Everyone has the same basic human needs. We all want food, shelter, clothing, etc. We all want to be loved, and to have someone that we can love. We want to be accepted for who we are. In these basic things, we are the same.

We are born with a genetic code. Then, heredity and environment join to shape us. From that, we develop our own personality. We express ourselves in unique ways. These are the things that make us different. From childhood, we seek to find someone who totally, completely “gets” us. When we do find someone who accepts us just as we are, it is a wonderful thing. When we find someone who is like us and can celebrate that which makes us “different”, it is truly special!

May you always be accepted and loved for who you are, and may you appreciate those who do. Celebrate that connection together. It is a blessing.

Have a wonderful weekend doing what you love with those you love. See you soon!

The Journey

I wrote this musing in January, 2013. When I came across it recently, I realized how timeless it is. As we end a year and begin a new one, I felt it is worth sharing, again. Now, with a postscript.
I’m Getting There
Roads, directions, mile markers, signs, ramps, bridges…we are always moving because that is the way of life. This has long been an inspiration to poets, including myself. We rely on maps, GPS, satellites, to help guide us. 
Bill has a satellite GPS in his truck. It speaks the directions to him, giving warnings, telling him which way to turn. I named it Hal, after HAL 9000, the computer in “2001: A Space Odyssey”. While Hal can show and give directions, even Hal doesn’t know everything down the roads. (“I’m sorry, Dave; I’m afraid I can’t do that.”) There are detours, weather factors, missing signs, construction, accidents, the unexpected, and the unknown. If Bill listened to him exclusively, he could end up off-roading in an 18-wheeler. 
This is life, too. We each must make a journey through life. We come into this world alone, and leave it alone. We may be guided by our parents. We are definitely influenced by our family and peers. We do not travel through life alone; not one of us does. Nevertheless, it is our personal journey to make. No one can make your journey for you. No one can tell you where to go, or how to get there. You find the tools that help you navigate, because you must. If you don’t keep moving, you become a casualty. 
There are times that you may feel lost, and only you can find your way. Sometimes you have to “reconfigure” the route. Even with GPS or navigational devices, you have to use your own senses to find your own way. The fog may move in, or the GPS may be off (Dang it, Hal!). You control the GPS. You control your life. You must focus, and give your undivided attention to your direction and intended destination if you are ever to arrive. 
That’s where I am. I needed some time to “reconfigure” my route with writing, blogging, myself and life. I needed to quiet the road noise. I had to be able to hear my internal GPS. I am getting back behind the wheel. I will finish the race, but I will do it my way. I will listen to my own GPS, and I will turn off the road noise when I need to. I’ll get there. 

Now, five years later, I still occasionally withdraw from traffic, park my spirit, and reset my inner GPS. After refueling my soul, I am able to continue on my journey, with purpose.
I don’t want to miss anything of value. I want my journey to have been a wise one. I know that at the end of my road there will be the Pearly Gate. When I park there, I want to be sure that I have used my miles wisely. I want there to be no doubt that I followed the signs, observed the rules of the road, and stayed in my lane. I do not want to be a distraction to others or an obstacle on their road.
We are all in this world together. Our roads inevitably intersect. Some of us travel side by side for miles. For others, it is but a brief time that we share on this journey through life. Sometimes, we have a mishap, sideswipe someone, or outright collide. But, in each encounter, there is a lesson. There is always something of value, to use somewhere along the route we maneuver.
There are many roads to choose from. Realistically, there are wrong roads, bad routes, one-way streets, and even U-turns. But, no one can tell you where to go, or the right way to get there. You must listen to your own GPS and decide your own route. Because, the journey is yours.
Thank you for being a part of my journey. I hope this year brings smoother roads for everyone. Set your internal GPS; enjoy your journey. Peace be with you.
  

Forgiveness

I make mistakes and must fix them. I sincerely try to not hurt others, because I do not want to be the source of someone’s pain. So, I seek forgiveness when I should, because it is important to resolve issues. Forgiveness is healing. It is simply a fact of the human condition to make mistakes. Consequently, there are times that we need to be forgiven. 

Whether we deserve forgiveness or even seek it is an individual thing. Sometimes, it comes easy, but sometimes forgiveness comes at a price. As a child, I thought that forgiveness was automatic. You gave forgiveness no matter what, whether someone asked for it or not. As I grew, I realized this is not the case. Just as you can choose to apologize, you can choose to forgive.

It literally took me a lifetime to understand that simple truth. We journey through this life not alone. We must learn how to forgive from our relationships and experiences. It especially becomes relevant when you realize that in forgiving others, you also become more forgivable. This is the human condition at its ultimate best.

But there was even more to this for me, something much deeper. I had to learn to find forgiveness for significant people in my life, for some painfully difficult situations. I prayed about forgiveness and my relationship with it. I sought advice from friends, extended family members, and even clergy. I realized that forgiveness can mean different things to different people, too. I read about forgiveness and its processes.

Through my search, I came across various pieces of advice and many quotes. Some of these seemed too trite. However, there were some that truly spoke to me. This one, in particular, seemed to fit my history of hurt and life situation. It is: “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.” (author unknown)

It still did not happen overnight. I did not suddenly feel unburdened. But, I have slowly let go. As I always say, when there is nothing left to hold onto, you have to let go. We can never undo what has been done. We cannot go back. Things will never be the way they could have, should have been. I know my truths. God knows, too. If He can forgive, I can. And, so I do.

I am very thankful for forgiveness. I understand and appreciate the power of forgiveness. The wise and wonderful Mark Twain said this: “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” 

Day Twenty-Nine of my Giving Thanks series.

The Briar

I am thankful for the past. I am relieved that I made it this far because my path has always been lined with briars. But, it is much more than that. I am thankful because, “That which did not kill me made me stronger.” Yes, I survived, but while these experiences shaped me, they do not define me.
My family was not close. Dysfunction is what held them all together, and secrets were their glue. They indeed did play a significant part in my history. But, this is not about them. This is my personal story. It is what it is.
I did not choose the things that made up my childhood. The briars were planted by significant others. But, I am an old soul. I seemed to understand things from a very early age. I paid attention; I knew the score. I asked questions, when possible. I rebelled in ways to alter my path in positive directions. I cleared the briars. I held my ground where I could and voiced my concerns. I knew that I could choose differently, but I had to grow up first.
As a child, I had a couple of key role models. Grampy was my anchor. He is the one who held my moral compass. He taught me, and he guided me around the briars. I never doubted his love. He believed in me and my worth. He was the only one who did. I still feel him in my life, every day. He may not hold my moral compass, now, but I think he keeps it running. For that, for him, I am deeply grateful.
As an adolescent, Uncle Eddie came into my life. To my surprise, he believed in me, too. We had long talks about life and philosophy. He taught me things that I needed to know. He knew there were briars and showed me how to remove them. I felt safe with him. I was aged ten through thirteen when Uncle Eddie was present in my life. I am very grateful for my time with my Uncle Eddie. I needed him.

I am grateful for all of the people who helped shape me in various ways along my journey. Grampy and Uncle Eddie were clearly the exceptions. Others were examples of what not to do, who not to be. Whether they meant to or not, they all helped me to understand life. That helped me to find my own place in it. I am not perfect. I am very human. I make a conscious effort to be a good person. I know that I should, “Be the change” that I “wish to see in the world”. That is what the lessons of my journey have truly taught me. I am thankful for each lesson and every step that I took along that path of many briars. I am here now. 

Day Twenty-Eight of my Giving Thanks series.

Animal Rescue Blessings

One of my greatest blessings has been to participate in animal rescue. This goes back to my childhood. We first rescued a guinea pig, who was being relegated to perdition. Following her, throughout my life, there have been various raccoons, opossums, rabbits, rodents, birds, numerous reptiles and amphibians, fish, a skunk, a monkey, and naturally, cats and dogs. I have been blessed.
One of these wonderful blessings was a litter born on Thanksgiving, November 25,  2010. These kittens were rejected by their very young and very ill homeless mother. Her rescuer was not able to care for their needs and her, too. That is when they came to me.
This litter of four were the most pitiful babies I had cared for. They were extremely ill, too. For weeks we had humidifiers running for them to help ease their congestion. They were given antibiotics and nose drops. I was feeding them every 1-2 hours with a syringe because they could not nurse normally. I was also doing chest thumps on two of these babies. I had to help break up the congestion.

God’s hand was in this, as always. Two kittens went on to be adopted by a young couple. We kept the two black kittens, otherwise total opposites. You know them: Grizelda and Chloe Jo. They just celebrated their seventh birthday! 

~Happy Birthday, Girls!~

Baby Grizelda Zoe

Baby Chloe Jo
Baby Sisters
Grizelda
Chloe Jo
~The Girls Today~
I have so many reasons for doing animal rescue. This is what moves me: to see them survive and then to thrive. This is the reward. I am humbled by God’s faith in me. I am honoured by the animal’s trust. I am happy to be a part of their journey. I love each and every one of them. And, I am grateful for the lessons they have all taught me and continue to teach me.
Day Twenty-Six of my Giving Thanks series.
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