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Bob's Battle with Lymphoma: The Good, The Bad, The Fugly

I took photos in case no one would believe all the crap going on with Bob. My poor baby. I don't even want to write about it. It's enough already that Bob has FIV+, a URI, one or TWO kinds of cancer and now this...

We visited Dr. Larry and Super Deb today. I have to find out what is on Bob's head. Is it ringworm? Is it a fungal infection, but NOT ringworm? Of course it's #@#@!! ringworm, who am I kidding? How many times have I seen this in the past year? We did a DTM culture to see if it's positive, but since I know I have ringworm in the house, DUH, that's what Bob has. The culture can begin to show signs of being positive in a few days to a week, but we really don't know for TWO WEEKS.

Meanwhile, Itraconazole which is an anti-fungal, is really toxic so we can't give it to Bob. Okay, I won't give it to Bob and neither will Dr. Larry. We CAN treat it topically and I already started that, BUT the treatment duration is a month.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob's head was shaved here and there to slow down the spread of #$@$!! ringworm.

We don't HAVE a month to do this treatment. Bob MUST get back to Chemo, but if we put him on another dose, the ringworm will spread like wildfire, then guess what? ALL of my cats could get it and Sam and I could get it, too. This really SUCKS and it's a very tough decision to make. We either have a cat who looks awful but is alive or a cat full of cancer and who's going to die very soon.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob won't pose for the camera and neither will Blitzen. Hmpf!

So we wait for Dr. Larry to talk to Dr. I and we see how it goes. Maybe we wait one week...get Bob loaded up with Conofite lotion and hopefully, at least have stopped it from spreading.

But wait...the title of this post says, “GOOD” in it!

According to Super Deb, the only way to tell if Bob gained weight is to weigh him on the SAME scale every time. That's why I can't be TOO excited that Bab's weight, at Dr. Larry's, was up 3 oz in one week from the weigh-in at Dr. I's office. He could actually weigh more, less or the same. We won't know for sure until Bob goes back for chemo. and is weighed at Dr. I's office. That said, Bob appears to be less shrunken in, less skeletal. He's certainly eating like a champ!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. My poor sweetie. Mama will make it better somehow.

The other news that truly IS good is that Bob's liver function blood test came back at 475. Normal is about 100, BUT...his last ALT was 1265 so this is a BIG improvement! It proves that the surgery to remove 1/2 of his liver WAS a good choice...yeah, 'cause the liver lobe that was removed was CANCEROUS, too.

But it doesn't end there. Of course there's the FUGLY: last night, I went out to buy..ha ha ha...MORE CAT FOOD. I met Jennifer and we stopped at Dunkin' Donuts for a chat and a snack. Okay, it was the only place near the pet store that wasn't awful. Anyway, we had a nice visit. Jennifer BLASTED off to get back home. I started my car. Started right up. Tried to turn the wheel. NO GO. You would have to be Hurcules to turn that steering wheel! Of COURSE my car is busted. Is it the Power Steering Pump? Fluid? A hose? I have to call AAA for a tow. It's 28°F outside. Nice. Why do I feel lke the car repair is going to cost exactly how much money we just raised towards Bob's Vet Bill? It never ends, I swear.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. By Bye Car! You're only 11 years old! Why did you break?

I guess the good thing is that I didn't get stuck tonight. We're supposed to get TWO FEET of SNOW and we already have more than that on the ground. I would have waited a week for a tow with that going on! My car is at the shop now. I guess I won't be seeing it any time soon since they're overrun with folks trying to get their cars fixed before the storm hits.

I'm not complaining, really. I'm just a bit amazed at how much crap has hit the fan. Hopefully it will be dealt with and we'll get through it okay-as long as the power stays on, I have cat food, and cookies (for me); we should get through this all right.[crossing fingers! anti-jinx]

But I did forget to buy marshmallows.

Bob's Battle with Lymphoma: The Oncologist

I'm drained-emotionally, physically and financially. We just got home at 8pm, after leaving for New York at 1pm. It's been a really long day and everything aches. I think my head is going to crack in half.

I'll quit complaining and get back to the important stuff: Bob.

Today we travelled to Wappingers Falls, NY to meet Dr. I., the Board Certified Oncologist. I was expecting just a consultation and that it would cost about $165.00. He'd look over the blood test results and the biopsy report. He'd talk about next steps and he'd sketch out the costs and we'd schedule some treatment or he'd say Bob cannot be treated for whatever reason.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Nice office and staff, but I KNEW this was gonna cost just by looking at the signage!

But nothing went according to plan.

Bob has many complications: 1. He is FIV+, 2. He's a Senior, 3. He has an upper respiratory infection, 4. He has the remnants of a fungal infection on his head (which MUST be GONE or no chemo). 5. Bob has lost almost two pounds now, since September. He used to be a robust 14-15 pound cat. Now he's just a slip over 13 pounds. He's GOT to stabilize his weight. He's GOT to get rid of this damn URI that he's had for 11 days.

So the Dr. suggests taking x-rays. They have a digital x-ray machine. Very awesome and of course, expensive. I feel a tug at my purse strings, but I let it go. Then he wants to repeat Bob's month old blood work in their own lab AND send another full CBC out to another lab! No! They can wait a day and get the full CBC and not charge me twice for doing the same bloodwork for the most part! Sheesh. I saved $89.00. Oh wait...then he said that the pathology, though done well, should be looked at again by another specialist. He felt that we could get MUCH more information from this other person and we'd get more of an idea of this is “large cell” or “small cell” lymphoma. [we're hoping for small cell]. The problem is that it takes TWO WEEKS to get results and in the meantime, Bob is losing weight and the cancer will have two more weeks to misbehave. Oh, and he will have a radiologist/internist look at Bob's x-rays (ka-ching). I started to guess how much this was going to cost. I thought $850.00. WRONG! $1200+.! I tried not to panic. This is on top of the $5000.00 I already had to “find” to cover Bob's surgery and tests before the surgery. It's probably more than that, but I really don't want to know right now...And the first person who rakes me over the coals for spending this money is going to be kicked in the teeth. For one thing, this didn't come to me as a bill for $5000+. It started with a few x-rays. Then it was an ultrasound. Then it was blood tests. Then, a surgery, etc...Would I have done this differently if I knew up front what this would cost?

NO I WOULD NOT. I've got Bob's back. I'm not going to just toss him aside for MONEY!!! He's a living, breathing creature. He gives me his love and asks for nothing back. He does not deserve to be left to die slowly or be euthanized because of cash. I find that repulsive! Would you cut care to your MOM? Your kid? A stranger, even? A person you passed on the street? You wouldn't deny anyone who had a fair chance to recover and live comfortably, a chance to do so. [stepping off soapbox now]

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Not sure if he wants to get out of his cat carrier, after all

I tried to decide if we could get away with not doing what he suggested, but it DID make sense. We needed to compare his bloodwork and x-rays to what we had before his surgery, so I said yes. They took Bob away and asked us to go get a coffee and come back in a hour.

We went to the front desk, of course, because we have to pay 75% of the bill right NOW, before they do a thing. God forbid they wait an hour to get paid in full. So I whip out my good old Care Credit card and they say "they can't access our limit information" so we have to call them. We call them and they say there is something wrong, but won't say what it IS! So we're standing there trying to think of how to come up with the money when we weren't prepared to blow a huge hunk of cash. I did not want to use the old, beaten AmEx, but I had no other choice. Fortunately, it worked fine and they smiled and said thank you and I grumbled under my breath, freaking out about CareCredit's rejection. I was so embarrassed and I had NO IDEA WHY there was a problem. I KNOW we have plenty of room on that card and we pay the bill on time. Sam tried to comfort me by offering to deal with them-which I gratefully accepted.

I'd noticed a Panera Bread cafe on the way to the Vet, so we drove over there to kill some time. We were both ashen, miserable, and glum (which could be a good name for a law firm) as we sat with our caffeine (mine a tea, of course, Sam's a coffee, of course). I said it was a pretty day, with sparkling blue skies. That we were lucky to enjoy a nice day. We were together, neither of US had lymphoma (which without health insurance, I'm guessing we'd have to just crawl into a hole and die). I tried to get Sam to look on the bright side, but I couldn't convince myself-how could I convince him?

We've had the WORST few years of our lives. Work is just not happening and the work we DO get, well the clients just can't pay very fast. I'm on month three of waiting on an invoice for one project. We keep thinking, as so many people do, it's GOT to change for the BETTER SOON. I can't remember a time when the economy was so awful for SO LONG. It makes us feel terrified and desperate. We're trying to smile through the fear. Trying to enjoy our life day to day, but it's getting tougher and tougher. I said we should just kill ourselves and be done with it, but Sam reminded me...who would care for our cats? What about Bob?

I couldn't argue with that.

So we picked ourselves up and went back to the Vet. Dr. I is very good at telling people bad news. He must have a lot of practice. He motioned for us to come over to his computer screen. There was the x-ray of Bob's chest, from the side (lateral view, if you want to be fancy). Dr. I remarked at how GOOD Bob's lungs looked. There was NO apparent cancer and NO apparent disease. He didn't say “BUT,” though I KNEW it was coming.

What concerned him was...then he zoomed in on an area between Bob's 3rd and 4th ribs...it was a small mass. I could not TELL it was a mass. It didn't look significant at all. Dr. I said that Bob's liver cancer, they type of liver cancer, does not normally EVER spread. Once it's removed, it's gone, so he would not expect that mass to be "that" type of cancer.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob is not so happy to hear the news that he has another cancerous mass. This one in his chest.

If it WAS lymphoma, Bob has lymphoma based in his abdomen. Usually if it's in the abdomen it STAYS there and it's easy to treat and it often is a “small cell” cancer. Seeing a mass in his chest could mean it's NOT small cell and it needs to be treated right NOW.

Dr. I felt that we needed to change things around. We'd start Bob on chemo tonight, treat his URI with antibiotics and antihistamine, re-check x-ray (ka-ching) in a week and see if we're getting rid of that chest mass and if Bob is starting to gain some weight. They we may continue on the chemo, weekly (so a 100 mile trip each week), for about six weeks, BUT we may have to change course and use something else depending on what the new pathologist finds out.

I wasn't pressured at all. Dr. I. knows his stuff. Lymphoma is very common in cats and dogs. He treats it ALL the time. He loves giving chemo to cats. He says they do great on it. I realized, though, that he barely even looked at Bob. He just went by the x-rays and test results. He was very precise and informative. He told me the bad news and I didn't cry until after I left his office.

They asked us to get lost for another hour and a half while they gave Bob the shot and kept him under observation. We drove around and found a bookstore and a cutely named coffee shop. We broke our cardinal rule and had a small meal at McDonalds, which I think may have been the first time in 16 years we ate at one. We were too tired and too broke to care about where we ate. We sat in a booth. There was a flat screen tv and a fireplace in this McDonalds. The audio for the TV was playing out of two different speakers, slightly off sync so it sounded like we were really really stoned and listening to the news. It was loud, too. We both were irritated and uncomfortable. We looked at the food we ate and made faces at each other. This was setting up to be a really awful day. I could not stop thinking about Bob. I just wanted to go HOME. I wanted to be home so I could hold Bob and CRY, but I was sitting in a weird McDonalds with out-of- phase speakers and a prehistoric guy in a plaid shirt sitting nearby watching the TV in rapt silence, as though everything always sounded just like that awful TV and everything was completely NORMAL when it was FAR from it.

We got out of there as soon as we stopped chewing. We returned to the Vet and paid the remaining 25% of the bill, got the discharge instructions and waited for Bob. One of the Vet Techs brought Bob out. I opened the top on the carrier and he sat up. I petted him and he purred, his Bob-purr. He was still Bob. He wasn't glowing or limp. Like, me, he just wanted to go home.

I loaded him in to the back seat, then took the seat next to him. Sam started the car and drove us toward home. I opened the door to the cat carrier. It was dark, too dark to see into the cage, but I put my hand inside it and felt Bob's silky head. I petted him alongside his face and felt his ear. It was cool. I petted him a bit more and I could feel his purr through my hand. It was a comforting feeling, pretty much the only one I'd had all day.

Not on My Watch: Don't let a tragedy turn into a fatality

UPDATE: Kitty now has $250.00 sponsorship pledged to a legit licensed rescue who can help her!

A stunning smoke and coal colored tabby took refuge from the cold Georgia night. As cats have been known to do, she chose a small, dark place where she felt safe. It was warm. She could relax, at last.

Sadly, for this sweet girl, her choice was a poor one. She was under the hood of a parked car.

When the engine sprang to life, she was caught. She screamed. A person tried to help her, but she was so scared and in so much pain she bit the person. Her next stop, was not the emergency Vet care she desperately needs-NO-her next stop was Henry County Care & Control to be put under quarantine for TEN DAYS to see if she has RABIES. Under law, they are NOT allowed to give her ANYTHING until quarantine is up, but by then, she will also have been there too long and she will be euthanized due to space issues. THIS CAT NEEDS OUR HELP NOW.

WE NEED A LICENSED GEORGIA RESCUE GROUP TO STEP FORWARD AND TAKE THIS CAT INTO THEIR PROGRAM. I would be happy to help do fundraising for her and anything else I can do. PLEASE HELP ME GET THE WORD OUT ON THIS KITTY!

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GRAPHIC PHOTO WARNING: THERE IS A GRAPHIC PHOTO OF THIS CAT'S TAIL AT THE END OF THIS POST.

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THIS IS DIRECTLY FROM OUR CONTACT: BETSY at Henry County. Her contact info and the info of the shelter is below. This cat is URGENT!

This poor little girl is currently impounded with us as a bite case. As you can see her tail has been painfully injured in car motor. The inside of her left leg is also wounded. The person who tried to extract her from their engine was bitten so now we must hold her for 10 days with no medical treatment as she is a quarantined "bite case"

Her time is up on December 20th. I am *HOPING* one of you in rescue will be ready and waiting at that time to get her vetted. She deserves immediate attention. Unfortunately we have not been able to do anything for her.

ID# 12/10-5123 Quarantine kitty

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©2010 Betsy Merchant. Please help me.

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©2010 Betsy Merchant. This is not a mean cat. She's just scared to death and who can blame her?

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**Please Note; When forwarding, crossposting, or re-posting I ask that you leave this message intact exactly as it was written by me. I do not give permission to post my message, part of my message, or my photographs on Craig's List. Thank you for your help and support, and for respecting my wishes.**

Betsy Merchant~

We are very rescue friendly and are more than happy to work with any rescue group as long as the group has a valid Georgia Department of Agriculture license! Any rescue group, whether in or out of state, that takes pets from Georgia shelters, is required, by Georgia law, to have a rescue license issued by the Georgia Department of Agriculture's Animal Protection Division. Having tax exempt status is not the same as a license. For more information on obtaining a license, please call (404) 656-4914.

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©2010 Betsy Merchant. What a beautiful girl.

Contact:

mystiblu@bellsouth.net

Henry County Animal Care and Control

527 Hampton Street

McDonough, Georgia 30253

(770) 288-7401

http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/GA67.html

Our Hours:

Monday-Friday: 9 am-4:30 pm

Saturday: 9 am-1 pm

Sunday: Closed

County Observed Holidays: Closed

The shelter is located at 527 Hampton Street in McDonough. We are located south of Atlanta off I-75. Take exit 218 and head east on 20/81 toward McDonough. Our address is 527 Hwy 20/81 East.

For all other information regarding ordinances, county codes, and other functions of Henry County Animal Care and Control please visit www.hcacc.org

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©2010 Betsy Merchant. This must hurt like the dickens. This baby needs medical care ASAP!

Please cross post and share. This cat may only have until MONDAY!

They Stole More Than Just Cat Food

It's bad enough that Maria had a lousy day yesterday. A long day at work, followed by being caught in a downpour while waiting for the bus. Tired and wet as she was, she kept her commitment to cleaning out cat cages at Petsmart. It was a long day. She finally made her way home around 9pm.

I told her there was a shipment of cat food waiting for her by the garage. UPS verified the delivery. I was anxious for her to get the food since I knew she was running low and this food was for Polly and her family...who are STILL STRUGGLING to beat their URI!

As she walked down her driveway, she saw the shipment, but the box looked funny. Then she realized, it had been ripped open. Her heart sank.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval.

As she lifted the lid, her worst fears were realized.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval.

It was empty-save for the invoice from Pet Food Direct and the air filled plastic cushions to keep the cases of cat food from being damaged.

What sort of heartless moron would STEAL CAT FOOD...and from a CAT RESCUE GROUP??!!! Donations are tough enough to come by and now this?

Maria gave me a call. I missed picking up the phone. I heard her voicemail and she sounded terrible. I thought Polly was dead!!! When we were finally able to talk, she told me what happened. I was stunned that someone would stoop so low as to steal food. Could we have bought a big bag of dry food for a few dollars, instead of shipping cases of canned food? Well, no, we couldn't. We feed a grain-free, canned food diet, which has kept our foster kittens in much better health and at their fragile age is MUCH easier for them to digest and mix with the milk replacer they also eat. We may spend more on food, but in the long run we'll save more on Vet care since our babies will be in better health if we get them off on the “right paw” to begin with.

Maria actually filed a police report. This is the second time someone stole from her yard. The last time it was a nice cat carrier she had left outside to dry after she washed it out. A few hours later-it was gone. She originally thought it was a fluke, but now she realizes either the local kids are thieves or her neighbor who has many cats (and dogs) and no income, may have done the deed. She spoke to the woman who acted surprised that Maria would make a fuss over stolen cat food. I told Maria to check the woman's trash in a few days!There aren't many people that live in Maria's neighborhood to begin with..this is all so messed up.

The shipment cost $90.00 and I had to send out a second shipment last night to replace the one that was lost and it cost more money..the price went up. So there goes another $110.00. I called my credit card company and the purchase insurance does not cover food. I contact Pet Food Direct and they are talking to UPS, but the feeling is nothing can be done since the package was delivered. This may change, but it will be a week to ten days before I get an update.

In the meantime, our babies need to eat. If you'd like to help us recover our loss, we would dearly appreciate it. It really feels like those creeps stole more than just cat food—they stole our faith in humanity.

Maria got two hours of sleep last night. Cara, Polly's sister, is not doing well. Another kitten from another litter had a 104.6°F fever. Maria looked after them until early this morning. Now she's back at work, trying not to face-plant on her desk. I wish I could do more than just order cat food for her, but there are some things that can't be done from 1000 miles distance.

If you know Maria, do send her a note to tell her you're sending good thoughts, good wishes, support. Is this life or death? Heck no, but Maria is our friend, our super-foster mama. We need to rally around her so she can continue to care for quite a few ailing kittens. Maybe our goal is as simple as being a good neighbor—something that Maria does not seem to have.

Not on My Watch: Big and Orange and URGENT!

UPDATE: Tigger is 3-4 years young and is VERY SWEET and AFFECTIONATE! The line forms to the left. Let's rescue this love bug!

THIS IS DIRECTLY FROM OUR CONTACT: BETSY at Henry County. Her contact info and the info of the shelter is below. This cat is URGENT!

Tigger is a HUGE neutered housepet. He has NO IDEA what the heck has happened to him.

His owner died and no one stepped up to care for him so we had to pick him up and bring him to the shelter.

HOW SAD!

Please help save his life if you're able!

DSH Orange male ID# 11/20-4881 TIGGER

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©2010 Betsy Merchant. To adopt me, is to LOVE ME!

The big orange boy is so sweet!

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©2010 Betsy Merchant. I need to get out of this cage! Please, won't you help me?

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**Please Note; When forwarding, crossposting, or re-posting I ask that you leave this message intact exactly as it was written by me. I do not give permission to post my message, part of my message, or my photographs on Craig's List. Thank you for your help and support, and for respecting my wishes.**

Betsy Merchant~

We are very rescue friendly and are more than happy to work with any rescue group as long as the group has a valid Georgia Department of Agriculture license! Any rescue group, whether in or out of state, that takes pets from Georgia shelters, is required, by Georgia law, to have a rescue license issued by the Georgia Department of Agriculture's Animal Protection Division. Having tax exempt status is not the same as a license. For more information on obtaining a license, please call (404) 656-4914.

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©2010 Betsy Merchant. GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!!

Contact:

mystiblu@bellsouth.net

Henry County Animal Care and Control

527 Hampton Street

McDonough, Georgia 30253

(770) 288-7401

http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/GA67.html

Our Hours:

Monday-Friday: 9 am-4:30 pm

Saturday: 9 am-1 pm

Sunday: Closed

County Observed Holidays: Closed

The shelter is located at 527 Hampton Street in McDonough. We are located south of Atlanta off I-75. Take exit 218 and head east on 20/81 toward McDonough. Our address is 527 Hwy 20/81 East.

For all other information regarding ordinances, county codes, and other functions of Henry County Animal Care and Control please visit www.hcacc.org

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©2010 Betsy Merchant.

There is talk of a $75 sponsorship to any rescue group that can take this big lug! I may also be able to help with fostering him locally in GA until he is clear for transport.

Please cross post and share. This cat may only have until WEDNESDAY!

Not on My Watch: Perfect & Precious

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©2010 Betsy Merchant.

Yesterday, I got a plea from Betsy at Henry County Care & Control. One of the other cats hoping to get rescued is a sweet little girl who is, well, is a bit of a “fixer-upper.” I took one look at the photos and tried not to cry. I decided I had to do whatever I could to help her find a rescue.

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©2010 Betsy Merchant. Her right front leg bends at an odd angle. Her jaw appears to be broken, too.

This little dear, gets along fine, thank you, even “hauls around”, according to Betsy, even though it's clear, something quite serious happened to her. Most likely she was hit by a car, but we don't know when. We know that no one bothered to provide her with any medical care. How they could look at her and not see that she needed HELP shocks me. To make things worse, now she finds herself waiting to die at a Kill Shelter. What kind of world is this?

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©2010 Betsy Merchant.

She not a cute itty-bitty kitty. She may require thousands in Vet care to correct her facial deformity and to possibly amputate her leg. Although she can eat, she does drool. Although she can walk, is she in pain? She doesn't deserve this life she's had, she deserves so much better. The thing is...how can I get that to happen for her?

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©2010 Betsy Merchant. Not in pain, this little girl can still move around quite freely.

I guess it's like everything else. You just put the word out and hope the perfect person sees her photo and falls in love. This little cat's body may be broken, but her heart is still full of love. She's a sweet natured cat, even after all she has suffered. I know someone can help her. I just have to find them.

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©2010 Betsy Merchant.

I sent out some emails last night, to my “gals,” Connie and Jennifer. I asked them for suggestions on how we can be creative, get this cat to Connecticut and get her help. I would do a fundraiser. I would help get a foster. I would do just about everything I could think of, but I just couldn't adopt her.

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©2010 Betsy Merchant. What a FACE!

I didn't have to. Connie, who already adopted Big O-a complete wreck of a beast from a horrible situation in GA and who adopted Little Maria, who had an untreated broken leg, stepped up and suggested that SHE adopt this cat! I balked at first, but Connie prefers to help cats that are in dire straights-the ones that are hard to place-the ones that need a little work (or a lot!). One thing I know about Connie is that when she makes a commitment to a cat, that cat won't have anything to worry about ever again. Connie is a magnificent cat-mama. If she was willing to open her home to this poor creature, then I could make it happen.

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©2010 Betsy Merchant.

So as I sat in the car while Sam drove us to New York City to attend The Chocolate Show, I made phone calls. Things began to fall into place. As of this moment, this cat is FREE. She is busted out of Henry County. She's at the Vet being checked out. With any luck, fairly soon she will be at her foster mama's home and in a few weeks, she should be ready to fly to Connecticut-right around Thanksgiving—a perfect time to truly appreciate the miracle that happened for this girl. This girl, former ID# 11/10-4781, now has a home to look forward to and a proper name.

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©2010 Betsy Merchant.

Introducing, Precious.

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Oh yeah, and the Chocolate Show was awesome, too!

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Not On My Watch: Something Borrowed, Lotsa Things, Blue.

This morning I woke up, checked my email. It was bad news. No one was able to save the Little Blue Babies from Henry Co. I really thought all hope was lost unless I could find a Vet Tech or a VERY experienced foster mom to take the Blue Babies into foster care. They were getting sick, thin, not sure why, maybe just a simple thing, maybe something bad. Whatever the reason, they would NOT make it beyond tomorrow morning, that is clear. Henry is closed today, but tomorrow they are back in the business of putting down the animals who fall ill.

I stood in my bathroom, brushing my teeth, crying. I cried a lot. I went back to working the email and phones. I actually found a GREAT possible foster Mama with lots of experience with kitties. I had a Rescue step up to offer to give them a home after their quarantine time in Georgia was done.

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The post that will never come to be...

Then the emails started coming in. Barb Lowe, who must have a very powerful magic wand and the steely guts of a warrior, did what I could not do. She found a way to get the pieces put together to rescue the little blue kittens-even though we KNOW they are NOT WELL and we are NOT SURE why they have become thin. I'm sure Barb's team will get that sorted out. I just sit on the sidelines and offer to help. She just picks up the phones and makes it all happen in ways I only hope to be able to do one day.

So it IS confirmed from Betsy at Henry Co. Just as the kittens had less than ONE DAY LEFT TO LIVE...they are OUT OF THERE FOR GOOD and ON THE ROAD to THE BEST CHANCE THEY HAVE TO LIVE A WONDERFUL LIFE!!!!

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I AM SOFA-KING HAPPY (as they say in "france")!!! I think everyone who does rescue in Georgia knows about these kittens in need. Hopefully all of them will find out that they are SAFE!!!

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Oh yeah and no big deal but Betsy told us a beautiful Mama and 4 kittens just arrived-all Blue, too. Could we save them? I guess Barb has a huge heart and a warehouse of foster homes or something because THIS MAMA and the babies are ALREADY OUT AND SAFE, TOO! OUT BEFORE THEY CAN ALL GET SICK!!!!!

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Way to go, Barb and WCR. You never cease to blow our minds with what you can do.

If you feel as happy and grateful as I do, why not pop over to WCR and make a donation to any of her kitty fundraiser widgets? It's the least we can do to honor someone with magical powers. Maybe she will let me borrow them one day?

Thank you to everyone for their support and good wishes and offers to help. At last, the one thing that is NOT blue after all of this is us. I'd say we must be in the pink!

Forensic Graphologist Analyzes Previous Post

One thing I really love about writing this Blog is all the great people I get to meet. Some are pen pals from across “the pond” and others I've had the pleasure of meeting in person. These folks have a varied background. Some times their jobs flat out surprise me and leave me in awe.

While I am sworn to secrecy over this person's identity, I can tell you she is a Forensic Graphologist, otherwise known as a Handwriting Analysis Expert. She contacted me last year about analyzing a handwritten note I'd posted on my blog. That lead to me sending her some “exemplars”-samples of handwriting for her to use to practice her craft. She likes to keep fresh and seeing the samples is also fun for her. I sent her mine, Sam's, some friends and family. She told me things that surprised me and shocked me. She was even able to tell me one person I know is “closeted” gay. When I talked to that person, that person indicated she was correct! I had NO idea! And no, I didn't care if the person was gay or not. Sheesh! It was that I had NO idea and the person's handwriting said it all! That was what was so interesting!

To think that the loops and shapes of our letters tell a story all their own is fascinating. With that in mind, months ago, I asked this person to look at the writing samples from a post (rant) I'd written about Koko the cat, who was dumped by her owner. My email fell into her Spam folder and she just found it yesterday! She wrote up her analysis, which I'll share with you, below.

These notes were regarding THIS post.

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The gal who wrote the first note is youngish, I would guess early 20s.

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I'm sorry to say that I think the writing is a kid's and here's why:

1. I don't think an adult could imitate the weird spacing, which is common for kids who don't have a lifetime of experience writing notes.

2. The "10 mins" he wrote looks childlike--I don't think an adult would know to make the numerals different sizes, like kids do.

3. The word "gob" for "job" isn't a misspelling an adult would use to throw someone off the track. Adults who misspell purposefully wouldn't use a real word in place of another word (homonyms excluded, of course)--they would just switch around a few letters.

4. The placement of the ":" between "from" and "Korey" is also an indication of someone youthful.

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[Robin's note: this was the KICKER to me!!!]

The third note writer is definitely aware that they're behaving like an asshole, at least. No connections between letters within words, the personal pronoun "I" is demented and the "f" has a weird, duplicitous loop at the top.

What is wrong with people!!!!!!!!!!!

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The good news is that within a day of my post going live, Elke, one of our readers CALLED ME and offered to adopted KoKo. The next morning, our beloved Bobby, drove Koko to her new home-a few HOURS away

!

Elke reports that Sophie (no more KoKo), is doing very well integrating into her home. There have been NO litterbox accidents..no peeing or pooping other than in her pan. Is Sophie sick? Heck no. She's fine. Not only is she fine, she is well loved and cared for and living a wonderful life with Elke and her family. What started out as a tragedy-in-the-making, turned out to be quite a happy tail and one that I was proud to be part of.

If Sophie could write, I just know her handwriting would certainly indicate that she is happy, confident, friendly...and relived her nightmare is over. I bet she'd dot her “i's” with smiley faces or hearts, too.

Foster Cat Journal: The Halloween Express Lives Up to Its' Name

A few days ago there were 16 cats in my home. Adoptions were just non-existant. My first litter of kittens in our Kitten Associates program were STILL not all adopted and they'd been here since early AUGUST. I had to turn down MANY potential adopters for one reason or another. I kept waiting. I tried to have faith it would work out. I decided if I never got an application on Yodel, I wouldn't mind it so much. I've been promising myself one more cat-a long haired tuxedo, one of these days. It wasn't the perfect time, but so what?

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©2010 Robin A.F Olson. Candy Corn.

Then reality set in. I would be INSANE to keep ANY more cats at this point. My cats are pooping and peeing all over the house. They're furious. There are too many fosters cats running lose. Pattycake and Moonpie can't find an adopter. They're just too big. I can't confine them to a small bathroom. It was driving them mad. Yodel and Honey B. can't be in their old room because The Halloween Express of four kittens are a bit sniffly. The two groups can't be combined.

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©2010 Robin A.F Olson. Candy Corn actin' sassy.

I was just about to pack my bags and run off when a curious thing happened...I got a promising application. I did a Vet check. It was not great. They had taken great care of their dog, but the cat hadn't been vetted since 2008. I was about to write them, off, but I realized I needed to ask why, first. Turns out the adopter had traveled to Europe for business for a long period of time and had asked his father to care for his cat while he was gone. Dad fell in love with the cat and the son felt guilty taking his cat back. This answered the question as to why no Vet reference for the cat.

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©2010 Robin A.F Olson. Skittles. Really! I can tell them apart.

We had a good chat. He was VERY interested in feeding his cats a raw diet! He also talked about letting his cats outside, but after a few minutes he realized it was not necessary and he assured me no cat he adopted would be going outside. Yes, he could be giving me lip service, but I felt he was being honest.

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©2010 Robin A.F Olson. Three little maniacs all in a row (Skittles is probably crawling up my leg, so he missed being in the shot).

His girlfriend liked Patty and Moonpie and wanted to meet them. They have no animals currently and hope to have a few cats and a dog, eventually. I jumped at the chance to have them meet the crazy cow cats, but he also said he was very interested in the orange tabby cats-Skittles and Candy Corn. I knew Patty and Moonie didn't stand a chance against the 12-week old kittens.

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©2010 Robin A.F Olson. Treat.

Yesterday, the couple came over to meet the kitties. They both told me about how they'd had cats for most of their lives. I really had a good feeling about them. They were great with Moonie and Patty but the two cats were "off" and didn't show that well.

Then I opened the door to the foster room and the entire Halloween Express ran towards us. The second the couple entered the room, they were covered with kittens who were purring, pawing for attention, standing on their hind legs and patting one of them on the nose. They wanted to be held, touched, loved. Not one of them was shy. Who wouldn't fall in love with these happy-go-lucky kittens?

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©2010 Robin A.F Olson. Trick.

I tried to remind them that any of these kittens would need more attention and care. That Patty and Moonie were ready to go and these kittens still needed more shots (eventually), more de-worming and were still a tiny bit sniffly! They just looked at the kittens and nodded. Whatever I said was going right through them. They were smitten.

I realized it would be wise to give them some time to talk, so I left them with the kittens and went to visit Patty and Moonie. I told them they weren't going to be adopted, but that it was going to be okay. They sat on my bed and looked up at me. It made my heart melt.

As I stood to leave the room, the door opened to the foster room. The couple came out and I asked if they had made a decision. They had. Which two did you want? I figured they would say the orange tabbies, but they surprised me.

They said they would take them ALL.

ALL?

Yes. ALL!

I blurted out; “You're shittin' me!” before I could stop myself. And they said they couldn't imagine being able to chose two of the four and that they were all too lovely and they had the room for four and wanted to give them all a home.

I just stood there with my mouth open.

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©2010 Robin A.F Olson. The happy family before they leave for their new home.

They asked me to hold the cats until Monday, when I'll have finished treating them for ear mites (which they don't have but Dr Larry found ONE dead mite in Skittle's ear so we're being careful). I'll bring them to their new home tomorrow. I barely can tell these kittens apart! They've been here just over ONE WEEK and they're ALL ADOPTED!!

I just can't believe it! The Halloween Express zoomed in the door and right back out! Amazing! And to think...they were a few minutes away from being EUTHANIZED for their sniffles! I shudder to imagine...

I've adopted out a mama (Huggy Mama) and her two offspring together, but that was it. I've never adopted four kittens to one family before, but they've both had over 8 cats so I think it will be all right.

We sat down and did the paperwork. My head was spinning. If these kittens were gone in a day, then it would take a big load off me. I started to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe I would have time to get some work done? Maybe I'd STOP flying off the handle every two seconds? Okay, maybe a pig would fly out of my butt, too...hey, I tried.

But an hour later, the adoptions continued. More kitties found a home...part two coming soon!

Foster Cat Journal: Finding Faith

The Halloween Express was headed north as my heart sank southward. Adoptions are not going well, but I was on the cusp of FINALLY getting Honey B. adopted. After turning down applications and being blown off by potential adopters, I finally got one who seemed to be a great fit and who was really excited to adopt Honey B. I figured if Honey got adopted before the Express arrived, then her sister, Yodel would remain in the foster room to welcome the new arrivals. Sure, there might be a bit of hissing at first, but Yodel is pretty easy going and only a few weeks older than the little gang who were about to join us. It should work out all right. I wasn't happy to have an overly full house. It would mean 16 cats live under my roof. By now I should have had homes for at least 4 of them. It was feeing like it was way too much to handle.

The adopter didn't want to come over until Saturday at 6pm. The Exress was due in the morning so that meant, I had to figure out where to put Honey B and Yodel. I didn't want them to be flustered from meeting the new kittens-they just wouldn't "show" well. After a lot of mental musical chairs, I got it worked out. I'd reluctantly put them into my bedroom. This is prime territory for all my cats and I realized I could not keep the kittens there for longer than the afternoon without it causing problems. I thought I'd be all right. It wasn't perfect but better than nothing. I had no other place to put the cats unless I put them into a crate in the garage, which is no place to put these two sweethearts.

The Halloween Express arrived promptly at 9am. Connie, Sam and I were bright and excited to meet everyone. I really wanted to meet Rocco. I had heard he loved belly rubs and I wanted to be the first Yankee to give him one!

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. PETS, LLC seemed to forget they also transport CATS! Sheesh!

The truck pulled up and we beelined over to it. We were the first on the blob-not really a line, but a mass of folks who all centered themselves around the opening on the side of the truck. A guy pushed in front of us to get his dog. I was distracted by sending him evil eye death rays, while Connie gasped. She didn't know about these transports. When she looked inside the truck, she saw all the dogs.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. The doggies waiting for the jail break.

At first she thought the dogs were going to shelters, but I told her they all had homes. They were the ones who got off death row and were were safe. She got really choked up. Who wouldn't? I was glad I knew the drill. Watching families who were glued to the doorway, waiting to catch a glimpse of their new dog WAS very moving. The dogs all moved out of their crates, tails wagging, then not quite sure of what to do next. The owner would approach the dog and greet him or her. The dog would look up, run over to them and jump up or bark or give kisses. Everyone laughed or cried or both. It was magic.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Where are we?

But I just wanted my CATS!

We gave the driver an empty cat carrier. He returned it to us filled up with kittens. First off were two of the Halloween gang. They are tough to tell apart. One was orange, one was brown. I heard a sneeze. I thought-oh great, here we go again...a transport full of sick cats.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson

As we got our cats, the folks in the crowd applauded and oooh'd and awwww'd. I said aloud that all the cats were available for adoption-just in case! The kittens were quite animated and really wanted out of their cages. It was a cool morning and I wanted to get them into our warm car, but first we had one more traveller to pick up.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Rocco is in da house!

Rocco. Rocco was SO BIG he could barely turn around in his crate. The first glimpse I got of him was of his butt. He was crying and crying. All the folks who saw him gasped and laughed. I wanted to cheer! We hustled the cats into the cars. I jumped into Connie's to see Rocco. I sat next to him on the back seat and opened the crate door. He started to purr and make muffins on the back seat. Connie, still sniffly, said he looked like he needed to be brushed. I agreed he was a bit of a mess, but he was here. Safe with us. This big ol' tom cat made it off death row. I was so glad we could help him.

I couldn't visit for more than a few moments. Connie took Rocco to Wilton to meet his new friends at the shelter and I got into the car and Sam drove us home. I definitely had rescuer's remorse. With adoptions to almost nil, I was really worried that finding homes for these tabbies was going to be tough. I started to imagine having these cats here for the rest of their lives and that starting a rescue group in this economy was even dumber than I originally imagined...but it was too late for that. I just needed to grin and bear it. Somehow it will work out. I have to have faith in that.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Breakfast is served..three or four times until the kittens were full!

As we drove home, the kittens began sneezing a great deal. I told myself it was their new environment, the different air quality, the long trip. They just needed to rest and they would be all right in a few days. I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to put Yodel and Honey B. back in their room with these sick cats. Now I was faced with a big problem. What to do with them...well just Yodel because Honey would be going to her home that day. Yodel could meet my cats and just be integrated in with them. She had her shots and tests and was spayed. It would be ok.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Maria always sends presents with the kittens. Thank you!

Jennifer came up to visit the kittens and to go to the Pet Expo in Hartford. We had a great time, then enjoyed the notorious cheeseburgers of the Shady Glen. It was a great day.

Then, my phone rang. Since we were eating, I let it go to voicemail. Had a bad feeling. I listened to the message. It was Honey's adopter. She changed her mind. She has two calicos and didn't want a third after all and that after thinking about it decided she wanted an all black cat and that it was her "executive decision" to not get emotionally attached to Honey by meeting her. Would I call her to discuss when I would be getting a black cat in that she could adopt? You're kidding me, right?

I'm sorry, but do you think I'm a department store? If it's not in your size or your color I can just get you another one?

It was 4pm. She was supposed to pick up Honey in just two hours. Now Honey was going nowhere and I was going to be covered in cats.

We got home from our outing. I was really down. I went to check on the kittens. They were eating well and meowing furiously. Each one wanted to be petted. Most of them were sneezing. A few had runny eyes. Instead of freaking out I just sat there as they crawled all over me purring and sticking their butt into my face. What can I do? I made a commitment to these animals and I'm going to keep it. It will work out. It will. It's just going to be a bumpy road for quite awhile.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Skittles going to jump onto my shirt so he can be petted in 3...2...1

That was three days ago. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into.

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