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Photographer, self proclaimed foodie, blogger and regular contributor to The Disneyland Gazette podcast.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Honoring the Old Man

This is one of the most difficult posts I've ever had to write. At first, I was overcome with sadness and yes, tears. Try as I might, I could not put my thoughts into words. As the days passed, my sadness turned to anger and I found that I could not formulate my thoughts into words without including numerous expletives in the process. And yes, tears. I thought it best to wait until I could hold my emotions in check before telling you about "Old Man" because I wanted to honor him. He may have not known love during his life but he did on his last day here on Earth.

For those of you that don't know, I posted all over Facebook asking for help to rescue a very sick and injured cat. Approximately 3 weeks ago, I found out about this cat through a co-worker. He was a stray and was being fed by a kind man. A friend of my co-worker had seen the cat and because he looked to be in bad shape, began texting pictures to people she knew in hopes of getting some help for the animal. When my co-worker showed me the photos, my heart broke. I could not concentrate on my work. Over and over again my mind kept drifting back to that cat. I knew I had to help him so I immediately asked my co-worker to text the pictures to me and I started my Facebook awareness campaign. Personally I could scrape up a few bucks for medical expenses but I knew I couldn't do it alone.

As the days progressed, I received a few donations, a few suggestions and plenty of sympathy. I met with the man that was feeding the cat and found that he affectionately called the cat Old Man. I also found out that he was feeding two other abandoned strays. One of them, barely coming out of kittenhood, had just given birth a few days prior. I was grateful that they were being fed yet saddened that they had lived their lives without a home. We exchanged names and phone numbers and I was confident that together, Rick and I would be able to help these cats.

We tried to catch Old Man on two different occasions but he was determined not to be caught. I started asking around for a humane trap but by the time I found out that I could cheaply rent one by the week from the local animal shelter, I received a text message from Rick telling me that Old Man looked like he was dying.

My friend, Linda, and I were at Denny's waiting for our dinner when Rick's text came through. I was distraught, wanting to leave immediately and thankfully, Linda suggested we tell the waitress to wrap up our food to go. Within five minutes (but it seemed like an eternity to me) we were out the door and on our way to Rick's place of business. When we arrived, Rick told us that Old Man had not eaten much that day and since he normally had a voracious appetite this was a sign that he was not doing well.

Within a few minutes, Linda managed to catch him but only because he was so weak. As she gently lifted him to place him into the cat carrier, we were horrified at his wounds. I knew they were bad but I had no idea just how bad they were. He had a huge gaping wound and you could see all the way down to his intestines. To make matters worse, the wound was infested with maggots. We rushed him to the vet's office and the doctor gently informed me that it was impossible to save Old Man. The decision was made to euthanize him and put him out of his pain and suffering. While I waited for the doctor to get what she needed, I gently spoke to Old Man, telling him how sorry I was that it had come to this; how sorry I was that he lived his life alone on the streets, probably never knowing love. I told him that it hurt me to be the one to decide to end his life but that I would stay with him until the very end so that he would not die alone. I watched him take his last breath and said a prayer and knew at that moment that I must find a way to honor him. I decided that I would write about him on my blog and beg each and every one of you to share his story.

PLEASE talk to everyone not only about the importance of spaying and neutering animals but also about abandonment. It is so UNNECESSARY! Especially in this day and age, with the assistance of social media, if someone needs to re-home an animal, there is a VERY good chance that a new home will be found. This animal lived a horrible life because he was abandoned. He may be gone but I am keeping his photos. To delete them seems callus because he mattered. He mattered to me.

Please share his story. Thank you.
Update 9-3-14
A wonderful organization, Hope for Paws, will help
me with medical expenses for getting the other stray cats fixed. Please visit their site and donate to them in honor of Old Man. Thank you.

1 comment:

David Dedrick said...

Thanks for this, Connie.