For the first half of the year, click here.
While the first half of the year had come and gone rather quickly, the events that took place in July made me wish I could transport right out of 2010 altogether. This may have been the worst month I’ve ever had. We came right into the month with Callie’s health going downhill fast. She refused to eat, it was difficult to find anything she’d take from us. She was a little more wobbly on her feet because her lack of nutrition kept her weak. We took her to the vet after giving it our best to encourage her to eat, but we found out when we arrived that she’d lost more weight than we’d realized and her kidney values were very elevated. This little dog that had been the center of our world- home-preparing foods for her, giving her fluids/meds/supplements, providing hospice care towards the end- died in my arms at the vet. I don’t pray, but I did for her, hoping that she would be able to see her beloved dad again- we were never her “owners”, her “mom and dad,” I feel like we were simply her caretakers until she could be back where she belonged, and so I prayed that Heaven was real and that she’d get there safely. I didn’t want the essence of “Callie” to be snuffed out that quickly, with her last days, months, years having been full of illness and the loss of the life she had known.
“Today, I emptied the refrigerator and washed the dishes used to prepare and store your last meals. I put your supplements and meds in the mail to help others like you in need. I picked your bed up off the floor. Slowly, I’m removing the last traces of evidence that you were here, because your ashes are proof that you aren’t anymore. <3“
The next week brought more pain and suffering when I got a phone call that a young friend had shot himself. Towards the end, he had become a shell of the person I’d known and it was difficult being around him because his behavior was something I couldn’t condone. Instead of realizing there was something seriously wrong and being a good friend to him, I’d let him slip away and had not showed him that I was there for him. While I don’t know for sure if that would have made a difference in the final outcome, it couldn’t have hurt for him to know that there was someone else there that cared and wanted what was best for him. He flew back to live with his family, apparently to try and get help for his depression and drug issues, but I think it was mostly to say goodbye. I never spoke about this on Facebook because it was private, and painful. But despite my grievances with his behavior, he was a good person and a friend and we didn’t get to celebrate his 22nd birthday this year (which comes three days after mine.)
A couple days later, I noticed that Lilly, my favorite (shh, don’t tell) guinea pig and the steadfast matriarch of my herd, fell ill. An appt was made to take her to the vet and I thought I discovered it soon enough that she would make it with me helping her eat and keeping her warm, but she died overnight. While some won’t understand the loss that can come from losing a small animal like a guinea pig, those that have the privilege to love them understand that their physical size is not a representation of the place they hold in your heart.
I couldn’t wait for July to be over, with all its spiteful death and illness. If I never have to deal with a month like July again, I will be blessed. August came and with it came volunteer work for the dog training club, classes with both Toby and George, and lots of caching in the wee hours of the morning when it wasn’t so hot outside. I tried to stay busy and it helped until I was sufficiently beyond July to start functioning normally. A new face tugged at my heartstrings and without much convincing needed, I pulled Buster Brown the pit bull who desperately needed saving. When he arrived, he initially chased, pounced, grabbed, picked up and tried to shake the cats. I was concerned that even tethered to me in the house, he would not be safe. It was clear that he was playing, not prey-driven, but he did not know his own size. Of Mice and Men, anyone? I worked so hard to get him to a point where he could be in the house safely with them and by some miracle, it worked! he started to thrive with our training sessions and we started obedience classes with an understanding of all the basic cues already! Our pigeons were adopted and a pair of guinea pigs that had been with us for 2 years found a forever home. Wow!
September brought laminate floor project that has given me a lot of peace. I am now okay with people stopping by the house. The house looks cleaner by sheer comparison to the 30 yr old carpet, and I keep it cleaner because it’s easier to do and looks so nice. September ALSO brought the adoption of our remaining two pairs of long term guinea pigs fosters, marking the end of an era here!
October was mostly quiet aside from a week with a boarder, thankfully, but Buster Brown was adopted. His adoring fans on Facebook shared in our joy! With his departure, we were able to bring in a shelter dog, Daisy. On her transport, one of the drivers found a stray beagle and sent her along as well. We’d arranged for one of our friends to be the second to last leg so we could say hello and see each other. It may have been fate, as Debbie fell in love with the little “extra” beagle. Within a week, we were making plans to get her back to them, for her forever home with folks that already feel like family- now they’re part of our adoptive STAR family, too. :)
In November, I voted! The month brought not another STAR dog, but Beauty, an Ohio English Setter Rescue foster. My birthday came and went and generous friends donated to the rescue for me. Daisy was adopted. Tragedy struck when one of my STAR dogs that had gone through a prison program was set to be returned to the rescue with a bite history. We surrendered him to the prison program because of a conflict in the way that we felt the situation should be handled. It was horrifying for me, and I am grateful that we’ll likely never have to deal with that situation again as we don’t intend to use the prison program in the future. I found my 320th cache before the end of the month, and that is where I sat exactly one year after I’d begun caching- not bad, eh?
December arrived and we now had only one foster- Beauty- and all was well and quiet. We prepared for Christmas, which came quickly and involved spending more on charity and helping people than we ever have before. In the weeks before the holiday, I personally adopted two guinea pigs from a Pittsburgh shelter. Afterwards, I needed supplies to expand my pigs’ cage, and went to get them from a guinea pig rescue friend. While there, she told me of a local pig that she’d received word about and I agreed to take him in. He is set to leave tomorrow (January 2nd) and has been an absolute joy to have around. L’orange needed surgery the week before Christmas and stressed me out, but it looks like she’s recovered very nicely now. We rolled out of December leaving 2010 behind happily.
Loss counterweighted by new family members and friends were the theme this year, and rescue took somewhat of a back seat so I could tend to Callie, personal issues, dog training classes and my new hobby: geocaching. I have made wonderful friends, mostly through Facebook and some in person, and have had a wonderful time taking a step back to appreciate the things I have and the things around me, especially the environment and nature’s wonders (thank you, caching, for putting me back in touch with that.) I am feeling renewed and ready for 2011. It’s all about making a difference, and that’s what I intend to do! On 1-1-11, I promise that I won’t lose sight of my goals.