From 2013 until now, really, the years have been full of major transitions for myself and my children. To say our pets have helped us through it would be an understatement. I went from spending nearly every minute with both kids, as a stay-at-home and then work-at-home mom, to losing them every other weekend and sometimes for as much as nine days at a time in the summer. I always feel like a piece of me is gone with them. During these times, I admit, I rely heavily on my animals for comfort and companionship.
I left a horrible relationship in October 2013. If you remember, we had seven pets to deal with. Seven. I took them all with me and went to stay with family. This was not a sustainable situation, for obvious reasons. I was able to find us a rental house in December 2013, but we were only allowed two pets. I took three. Ella the dog and my two oldest cats, Miles and Benny.
My brother and his family took Ollie the dog, and my mother took Ikey the cat. My ex took back Fred and Ted. All of these were on the condition that we would get the animals back when we were in a home where we could have them. (Fred and Ted have never been returned, but what can you do?)
During our time in the rental house, in 2014, both Miles and Benny passed away, within a month or two of one another. So, we were down to just Ella. We got an apartment in December 2014, and after a while there, we got Ikey back from my mom. I did not tell the apartment complex, but got caught with him, so that was $50 extra a month, for a 6-pound cat.
In August 2016, I pulled off one of my proudest accomplishments… I bought a house. It had been a dream of mine for so long – a nice house for just the three of us, in a safe neighborhood, close to their school. What a wonderful feeling! As an added bonus, we could finally get Ollie back! We moved in, had a privacy fence built, and a week later, my brother and nephew brought Ollie to us. It was such a happy day!
Unfortunately, a benign cyst that Ollie had on his back leg for years began to grow and change shortly thereafter, and then his front leg began to swell for an unknown reason. Vets were baffled, and they tried a couple of different (very expensive) surgeries to try to help. This was a terrible time. Ollie was in pain and I was not sleeping, as I was up every night crying and caring for him, trying to make him comfortable. We were not willing to let go yet, as it seemed that he was getting better from whatever had caused it.
In November, he got to see my brother and his family again, at my son’s birthday party. He was happy and acted fine. We all thought he was on the mend. The next day, he had trouble getting onto my bed and seemed to be in pain again. I found that his inner leg was bruised and angry-looking. I took him to the emergency vet, and they said it appeared to be cancer. I was already thousands in debt at this point, and Ollie had suffered long enough.
He went with me to see everyone one last time on Thanksgiving. Then the next morning, I cooked him some eggs, one of his favorite treats, took him to the nature park for one last long walk together, bought him a burger at Steak n Shake, and then took him to the vet to say goodbye. After he passed, they took him from my arms and later told me that they found several tumors all over his body, so we had made the right decision to save him from more pain. So many tears were shed for him, by the entire family. He had won all our hearts, and now they were broken. I felt I could never bear to go through this type of loss again.
Now we only had Ella and Ikey left. Fred and Ted are still living, but not with me, so Ella and Ikey were all I had left of those seven animals that had been mine. And within a couple of months after Ollie’s death, our sweet little Ikey started to go downhill rapidly as well. He had been diagnosed with hyperthyroid disease many years earlier and was on medication for it, but it was getting to be impossible to keep his levels regulated. He kept losing weight despite treatment, and eventually had to be put down in March 2017. He was 17 years old. I counted up once that he had lived in around 11 different homes with me over the years! So now there was only our beloved Ella.
Again, I vowed that we would not get another pet. It was just too painful to lose them, and their lives are too short! Still, my love for animals drove me to want to continue helping, and we missed having cats. That is when I began considering the option of fostering, as it seemed a win-win. We get to love pets and help them find homes, but we don’t have to go through the deaths! I started looking into it, and that is when I found Misty Eyes Animal Center in Avon, Ind.
I had been to one of their events before, but I did not know a lot about the organization. I ended up contacting Misty Eyes in May or June of that year, and I believe it was one of the best decisions I have made for my kids and myself.
More about fostering to come soon… if you would like more info on it, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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News Writer: Lucy Perry