Accounting for my plastic campaign – Week 1

Week one is done! Starting strong is natural, finishing strong is certainly a challenge.

My self-imposed rules were set last week:

  1. Commit to change
  2. Do my best
  3. Go easy on yourself – I don’t have to be my own worst enemy
  4. Do not beat up others who are slow to join campaign
  5. Be accountable

I know it is the training phase and I need to establish my baseline. I figure it is the same as getting on the scale for the first time in 3 years, so expect a shock.  I also must follow rule 5, be accountable: be truthful and embarrass yourself.  Yet to do so puts me at odds with rule 3, which advises not to beat myself up. Full disclosure is a fallacy and leads to boredom for anyone reading the blog, and given the embarrassing result could imperil rule 1, committing to change. CHANGE IS HARD!

Mo’s Baseline Report

My journal was indeed placed on the counter above the garbage and I recorded the plastics that made their way into the garbage. Of course, this is the plastic our municipality does not accept as recyclable. It includes cellophane, plastic bags of all description, styrofoam trays, those sort of things.

Truth.  I only recorded one full day. It took me a while to relocate the journal.  I entertained my family on Day two and cleared the habitual junk off the counter before anyone arrived.  So the accountability exercise was then forgotten. I wish to invoke rule 3. I wish to be easy on myself. I may wish to redo this exercise commencing tomorrow for a period not to exceed Monday to Friday.  I think the data is incredibly important, but I acknowledge what I end up with will be incomplete, yet telling. (You know I will stuff the journal away again, don’t you.)

My list included the following for Day 1:

  • lid to cereal container recyclable and later removed
  • Plastic protector on new cereal box – garbage
  • Toothpaste tube – garbage, toothpaste cap – recyclable
  • 3 baggies used for left overs – garbage
  • Shake and Bake bag – garbage
  • Plastic ice cream wrapper – garbage
  • ripped doggie poop bag – unused – garbage
  • Enormous plastic lawn fertilizer bag – garbage
  • Enormous soil bag required for planting tulip bulbs – garbage
  • Plastic wrap from left overs (never even ate the left overs) – garbage
  • 2 outdated cranberry juice containers, cleaned but stained – recyclable and removed from garbage
  • Also, used the municipal garbage container, which now contains two used doggie poop bags, however I retrieved one unused poop bag from the bog in the park, so net harm is less than one bag. It is “less than” because otherwise the plastic bag in the water would have broken down into micro plastics and polluted the water habitat in short order. This has longterm impacts on birds, ducks and fish and possibly insects and I do not know what else.

In spite of all that horrible plastic, I was quite pleased with my performance. I told the truth for one day. I did not unfairly blame my beloved husband for picking the accountability week/ day to do his gardening, as that would be so unreasonable. I could heap praise falsely on the lack of regular plastic garbage, so as to hide the fact that I postponed cleaning the rest of refrigerator after the cranberry containers made the list. That would be so misleading, so I confess.

In truth, I felt severely guilty at my propensity to buy things in plastic containers.  A case in point was hand soap.  We have three bathrooms and of course the kitchen sink.  I could understand if I had four containers of hand soap and even four more in reserve for replacing them.  I had twelve plastic containers of hand soap and no inventory of replacements. I also had matching hand lotion, that is seldom used, to match the twelve hand soap dispensers, all with matching shapes and design and often with cute plastic trays for the hand soap and the hand lotion to sit in.

But there is always more behind the story

Have you ever counted the plastic containers in the expensive cabinetry we have placed in our bathrooms and kitchens?  These are the places that we have to lock when toddlers come to call. They are filled with cleaners to get rid of the scum that accumulates in the sink from the hand soap and hand lotion, etc.  Often toxic, they come in thick plastic containers.  So I counted all those. I have 40 plastic bottles in that category.  Most of these products are discontinued.  Many of the containers have less than an inch of product peeking through the bottom of the plastic cylinders. They are sitting there because of the time and water required to wash them out so that I can dispose of the containers.  I don’t want to use the products because they are old and I most likely have replaced them already with other bottles. Sigh!!!!!!!!

The worst and most egregious count must be disclosed. Bath soap, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion, face cleaners and face creams in plastic containers only. We have 44  containers for two people. We also have to protect our skin from the sun! There are at least four such plastic containers and two more for insect repellant. I have two drawers dedicated to travel size jars and samples from the cosmetic aisles that I would rather just estimate as 100 plastic items.

Report Analysis

So as you can guess, I need this plastic purge in the biggest way.  I am not a hoarder qualified for the America Most Wanted shows, but I am unimpressed with my habits.

If I recycle all the excess, is that a net gain or net loss?  The plastic exists now, harm is done, so I am not adding to it if I give them to recycling.  But will I just go mad and replace it all again?  No, the point of this exercise is reduce plastic purchasing by buying what you truly need and if possible in packages that do not use plastic.

Help please!  What else does shampoo, conditioner and lotions come in? Research is required!!! Buying in bulk means thicker plastic containers. Does bulk buying help here?

Rule 3 Go Easy on yourself

So what is a girl to do after such a reckoning!  Seek out nature – walk the dog. Calm the mind. Ummmmmm ahhhhh.

Jersey and I left the house ready for a new purpose.  Breathing in the fresh air, we started walking up our town road, passing through one road in the subdivision to access the nature trail.  When what to my wondering my eyes should appear, but a super sized garbage bag, empty and near.  It was a sign!  A means to save my wicked soul! Penance! I jumped at the chance to clean the road side as we walked through the neighbourhood and the trail leading to our nature park.  This walk can be trying on my evangelical nature.  I silently growl and curse the littering public. I now know that I am every bit as bad as those littering, I just hide the stuff at home. So, why not give those littering a helpful hand, a good example, a clean environment!

Jersey enjoyed the activity tremendously.  She sniffed and pawed at the ditches and road sides as I proceeded to fill up the garbage bag.  She rolled in mud and who knows what.  While she was readying herself for a big bath later, I was similarly smearing dirt and mud from my head to my toes.  Of particular note were my favorite red leather gloves and the cuffs of my favorite down jacket! I donated the gloves to the bag at the end of litter drive and did the laundry including the coat.  It was a cold and overcast day, so we did not meet a soul, thankfully! Nor did I motivate others to the cause with my service to the community and the environment.

Actually, I was sad when I finished my task and tied up the bag.  There was so much left to do! I abandoned the bag next to the underpass. Do not despair.  After we had completed our walk, I drove back to the spot, retrieved the bag and brought it home.  It more than filled up the space in our garbage container. Zero harm! The garbage bag was thrown away unused anyway, it would have broken down after several years and turned to micro plastics in our water shed. At least it was used to clean up and not left for the ducks and geese to choke on.

One might think I did a miserable job with plastic and waste to look at our garbage bin this week, but I felt really good about it.  I gave back to the community by cleaning up.  I know what I threw out, which improves my mindfulness, and it has sparked my ambition to do less harm and even make my own compost.

The remainder of the week was focused on minimizing garbage until garbage collection day.  I composted!  I have my first bucket (small bucket albeit) of compost material. Jersey and I will do another few walks to finish the clean up before the snow flies. Once again, we will commit to plastic research and plastic reduction.

Did you know compost containers also come in plastic?  Oh…. my head hurts!

Week One concluded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A simple story for Christmas

It has been a while, hasn’t it? Christmas Eve is a splendid time to revisit the blog community, after two years of not writing a blog!

As you may know from my old blogs, my precious Chocolate Labrador, Heidi, died three years ago after a tremendously naughty and nice lifetime of 15 years.  After all, she was a Labrador and all they are capable of is naughty. There wasn’t a nasty bone in her body.

As fate would have it, my children love animals and dogs in particular. Two of my handsome boys have Chocolate Labradors, Bella and Jersey.  There is an open invitation to Bella and Jersey for doggy sitting, sleep overs and occasionally to stay as company when I am alone. I was unbelievably lucky to have a week this past November with Jersey as my companion.  Jersey’s owners run in marathons, so they needed a sitter to run in a Texas marathon. I love doggy sitting and besides it would ‘up the ante’ on my daily physical fitness routine.

The week was everything you might imagine.  We jumped in bed early, curled up with my book and snuggled into the lengthening winter nights.  Jersey adapts well to her surroundings, so by day two she was under the blankets on my husband’s side of the bed with her head and right paw on his pillow.  I have to admit I let her!  I prayed madly to the patron saint of animals, Saint Francis of Assisi, that my son and his girlfriend provided Jersey with regular flea and tick treatments. (It worked!  No fleas!!! Thank you Saint Francis!)

By all measures, it was a fantastic week.  My biggest regret was how quickly the time went. It was already day 7 and I enjoyed my Jersey time like it was a vacation. So, what better way to cap it off but with a nice lengthy walk, not a marathon, but an indicator that I was a suitable sitter for the dog of a marathon runner, who finished her race in under 4 hours.

I live in the country, on a farm. We walked through the farm everyday that week.  We walked in our local park practically everyday. But for as long as I have lived here, which is now 33 years, I have never walked from one end of our road to the other.  It is approximately 5 miles either way, so that would be a round trip of 10 miles; not 26.2 miles that comprise a marathon, but not bad.

It was a cold and crisp day, but we had been spared any snow. Not even a puddle had begun to freeze up yet.  I put on two sweaters, my thick hiking socks, my new skinny jeans, followed by my relatively new Helly Hansen Newport jacket.  Finally, I donned my very lovely new Asics Fluidride Dynamic Duomax GT 2000 sneakers …and out the door we went!!!  We would make our mark that day as distance strollers of the senior citizen variety. In truth, we were fake senior citizens, Jersey is a mere 7 years old and it is really none of your business knowing how young I am.  Agreed?

Jersey didn’t have her regular collar that week, as she lost it hiking with her owners the week previous. Christmas was only a month away and opportunity for enhancing Jersey’s closet was beckoning! I made a mental note to look into colour coordinating collars with my wardrobe for her next visit on Christmas Eve.  Instead, on that November day she was sporting a lovely blue body harness with a red lead clipped onto to the body harness. The colours of the harness and lead didn’t match, but being a dog, I didn’t think she would mind.

I willfully abandoned a colour matching opportunity. My son had instructed me to use the gentle lead (red) when taking Jersey walking. A gentle lead is a fabulous product that is just as it is described, gentle. It effectively signals walking commands to the dog. I also must compliment the designer on the multitude of colours! The gentle lead is also referred to as a head collar which goes around her nose but is not a muzzle. Regrettably, I did not pay enough attention to the demonstration and couldn’t figure out how to loop the gizmo properly. Our other strolls went charmingly with this mismatched body harness ensemble. I gently wrapped the lead around my left hand and we took off as colourfully as a maple tree in autumn.

As we walked, I soaked in the impact of a picture perfect day.  Very little traffic.  The skies were a little grey, but the cloud cover was high, leaving the impression of an endless sky. As we got comfortable with our pace, I unwrapped the lead from my hand to give Jersey more freedom. We went up hills and down again. My Fitbit was just clocking off steps to beat the band!!!! Ah, now I must admit I am competitive.  I regularly complain about my husband’s fitbit giving him more steps than I get with mine. He usually wins hands down on a daily basis. My husband wasn’t about to catch me this day, 10 miles would amount to a clear win on a work day!  Oh, the benefits of dog sitting abound.

Having a wee bit of a safety background, I was alert to the road conditions. Country roads have their own hazards.  The shoulders of this road were very narrow.  This couldn’t meet city codes, surely.  As we crested our last hill, I noticed how deep the drainage ditches were and I tested the shoulder of the road only to find it was soft. Safety first! Spot the hazard, assess the risk, find a safer way, every day! We were already 5 miles down our road.  I decided that at the first opportunity, we would cross to the other side of the road and test the shoulder of the road there.

Out of no where, we spotted a black swarm of birds rising from the field across the street.  I recognized this as Starling Murmuration.  It is well known in the United Kingdom, but less noted in our Canadian neighbourhood. Essentially, it appears as a black sphere that changes its shape as it swirls across the sky above you.  A mesmerizing spectacle.  I instinctively wrapped the lead around my left hand to make sure Jersey would stay by my side.

Documenting the murmuration on my Samsung 4, I felt very fortunate to have witnessed the dance up above.  Realizing the shoulder of the road was soft, Jersey and I decided to cross the the opposite side of the road.  We were practically at the end of the road with 5 miles under our feet!  I was feeling one with nature, gazing once more across the farmer’s field.  This was sheep country, lush green fields with enough for the sheep and the starlings to be well fed before the winter.  There we stood facing the field, toes to ditch, mesmerized.

A sheep moved!

Jersey is a dog, a sheep was scampering away, a dog must respond!  With my left hand, attached to the lead, no ground ahead of me, I had a split second to respond.  That second is quiet detailed, so forgive me for taking sometime to explain.

Jersey’s instinct was to take command of the situation and perhaps corral the sheep. My instinct was to hold  Jersey back.  These are incompatible instincts. She leapt forward to cross the ditch, but gravity being what it is, she went across and down.  My arm attached to this movement sent me forward and down, head first toward muddy, slimy looking ditch water, rocks etc. At some point in that split second, my left fist stopped hanging on to the lead and Jersey was free to scale the opposite side of the ditch and run along the fencing.  I don’t even think she barked. I remembered I had one hand free to protect me and extended the right hand in an attempt to escape the ditch.  As no doubt you are anticipating, my wrist and hand took the first impact, followed by my face sliding over the rocky bottom of the ditch.  My legs were still splayed over the wall of ditch and my Asics super sneakers were dug into the bank.  I remember thinking, this can’t be good. Spitting the mud out of my mouth, I wasted no time getting up. With brown dripping hair, mud caked jeans and soaked coat, I emerged from the ditch. A colour coordinated being that suitably matched the dog!

I had to get control of the situation!  I commanded Jersey to come back,  the way a high pitched whining maniac might try to do.  It was met with the response such maniacs have come to expect. I was ignored.  Jersey paced back and forth on the opposite side of the ditch, wondering how to command the sheep on the other side of the fence.  Sputtering and trying to wipe the mud away from my eyes and nose, I thought of throwing a temper tantrum, but reminded myself instead that one must be dignified and in control. Even so, Jersey remained unimpressed with my command to come back. Resigned to my place in the world, I scrambled down the ditch, retrieved my Samsung 4 and crossed the ditch, remaining upright this time. Jersey responds well when you are next to her, so I did eventually take control.

Several split seconds had passed and there we were back on the roadside of the ditch, facing down another 5 miles.  I guess school must have been over for the day, because suddenly there was lots of traffic.  Some folks even slowed down to have a good look. My hair, my coat, my jeans were a spectacle. My hair had no other choice but to lie flat across the left side of my face, dripping. I had been at the hairdressers that morning.  The back of my head was perfect, the hairspray should be commended. But the spray and the style were unable to withstand the drenching of the ditch!

All was not lost.  Dignity is not just what you look like on the surface, it is the person you are inside! My left hand was in command of a very muddy lead, wrapped tightly around my hand once again.  Jersey walked in step with me, instinctively keeping her eyes to the path below her. My right wrist was throbbing, as if to the beat of our feet.  I looked at the miles ahead and the friendly passerby’s who must have thought I was a bit of mess to be outdoors and in public, but they just didn’t know the inner dignified me. We continued to plod on a little ways.  I occasionally wiped my face, the way windshield wipers wipe the car’s windshield.  I was able to assess how lucky I was, my face was merely chipped in a few places, nothing major.

I remembered my phone.  I called my husband.  He was gone out! Fortunately, he is a twin and his twin was at work and available!

One and half miles of walking later, my brother-in-law rescued me.  He drove Jersey and I back the remaining 3.5 miles to my home. By this point I realized my right wrist had enough for the day, so in a pathetic sort of way, I asked if my rescuer could continue his service. Graciously, he opened the truck door, unlocked the door to my house, unzipped my coat, and unbuttoned my outer sweater that had big metal designer buttons suitable for dignified me.  He then bid me adieu and took off liked a scald cat.

Well, I am happy to report that my son and his girlfriend came home that evening and Jersey went home with them.  My clothes actually came out of the wash in great shape. My glasses were not broken or chipped. My phone has a wonderful video of the murmuration. My wrist is almost as good as new. Jersey has been back for a sleep over.  We have not attempted my 10 mile jaunt, but we will. I promise to be: a) dignified, b) in control and c) colour coordinated, d) stay out of ditches and other nasty places, and, e) use the gentle lead which would have saved the day!

Until now, I did not share this story beyond my immediate family. I thought it would make a good story and consequently be a reason to recommence writing my blog. I offer this as a simple present, a Christmas chuckle in particular, to my friends and all those who liked to read my blog.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and/ or Seasons Greeting to you from Mo!

Twenty four hours with our pooch, Heidi

It was bedtime on a cold December night in our busy home on the East Coast of Canada.

Our beloved 15 year old chocolate Labrador, Heidi, was uncomfortable. In spite of gentle care, her hip was interfering with her gait. I worried as I assessed Heidi’s ability to maneuver over the stairs and to circle her L.L. Bean doggy bed before laying down. You could detect the strain in her eyes, and the defeat in her shoulders. My youngest son was soon leaving for his two week hitch up North, he paced and sighed. My husband, son and I gave Heidi a gentle group hug.  I lingered to give her a tender kiss on her perfect head. I looked longingly in her eyes.

I fought the panic in my chest.  The previous winter she also lost strength in her legs and overcame that set back. Looking at her, I assured myself she was uncomfortable but she would persevere.  Surely it was early days if something was wrong.

Heidi’s deep brown eyes reminded me of my father. I secretly felt that she was my conduit back to Dad. Even that night, I knew we were in contact.  Dad was deceased almost 32 years. Mom was now living with me having reached the glorious age of 91 years.  Dad’s presence would not falter and leave us now. Heidi would hold all of us together.

With a firm reassurance, I patted Heidi and turned in for the night.  My husband is one of those people who puts his head on the pillow and falls asleep. Opposites attract, for 32 years of marital bliss, my husband has slept soundly while I toss and turn. On that night, the air was still.  I could hear every sound.  Heidi moaned, Mom snored, my husband snored and our son slept restlessly, like his mother.  Correction, I didn’t sleep.

Heidi began to cry.  I lay rigid in bed. Listening sympathetically, I prayed that she would settle down, shift a bit on her bed and find a comfortable spot. She struggled with her pain. I scolded myself, “what are you accomplishing here in bed. Heidi needs comfort and that dog bed isn’t doing it.”

I crept out of our bed and into the hallway. Heidi had slept outside our door since she graduated as a pup from her dog carrier. When my husband travelled, I would leave the bedroom door open. I would have left the door opened that night but she could only have been frustrated by her inability to jump up on the bed. I took my place next to her on her bed. Heidi accepted the company but her discomfort wouldn’t let her settle in.

After a disconcerting period of consolation, Heidi stiffly rose to her feet.  Even with her grey hair, slumping back and awkward gait, she was the most beautiful dog I ever knew. Those brown eyes were the pathway to gentleness.

How long had it been since her last acetaminophen? I didn’t want to upset her stomach as she was eating less and less these days. She was evidently in a lot of pain.  We looked long and hard into each others eyes. I decided to take the chance and placed the pill in a marshmallow. Heidi stared at the marshmallow, previously the treat of choice, the highlight of her summer bonfires. Hesitantly, she gently took it from my outstretched hand.

The pain was hanging on resolutely, never leaving that hip. She tried to stand up again. Standing was too great an obstacle. Confused, Heidi winced and moaned. Her crying was continuous. I sat nearby, nesting my head in my hands. We caught each others gaze and we cried together. I left the chair and lay again on the floor, by her side, and held her as we continued to cry.

I choked down the lump in my throat. Breathing was nearly beyond my capability. My forehead seemed clamped by an invisible band. In pure panic, I grappled with the possible loss of my faithful puppy dog. It wasn’t welcomed. How could my world be immersed in such turmoil? I needed my family. Mom and Heidi, they only needed to stabilize.  No one could falter. Our balance was tenuous.

After what seemed like hours, Heidi gave in to her exhaustion. She slept. I needed to face the morning, so I allowed myself to return to bed and sleep.

Tossing and turning, I thought about my son and husband quietly confiding with each other before bed. Brushing off sleep, I took on a catatonic stance. No one, I told myself, will take Heidi away. If there was any discussion of the vet, I would merely end the discussion.  I was not ready to say goodbye. And that was that!

Sleep arrived at 6 a.m. and for once I was grateful for the late winter sunrise.

When I awoke at 7:30, Heidi looked exhausted.  She gingerly made her way to her bowl. The pain in her hip equated to the pain in each of our hearts.  I made Mom her breakfast. One fried egg and one slice of whole wheat toast.  I knew she would take two hours to eat it. Tara, Mom’s homecare worker, arrived at 8 a.m. sharp.  Somehow I managed to prepare for work.  I took my own acetaminophen, brushed my hair, applied makeup and lip stick and searched for sunglasses. The regular rhythm of the day was leading me step by step.

I carefully and lovingly hugged Heidi. My husband had left for work. Mom tackled her egg and my son slept fitfully. As dour as it seemed, we had conquered the night and my heart was set on another day of normalcy.

I don’t remember the drive, but I arrived safely at work. I sat skittishly at my desk and felt the descent of gloom and foreboding.

I picked up the phone and called my husband.  His accountant answered. I asked to speak with him. She apologized and explained that our son had arrived and he was in my husband’s office and the door was closed. I stiffened, “Patch me in to the conference please.” With a nervous laugh on the other end of the phone, my call was transferred to my husband. I don’t remember how my husband explained things to me, I only recall my response.  “No. And don’t think for one moment you are going behind my back. Heidi is our dog. I am going home now.”

As quickly as I arrived at work, I left. I made it home to see my husband and son kneeling next to Heidi, her lead in my son’s hand. The dye was set. We were going to vet. In denial I boarded the car. My plan was to control the discussion with the vet.

As we entered that waiting room.  Heidi seemed to recognize the change in Karma. As we sat, I held her lead tightly in my hand. Heidi got up, I observed she seemed more agile. She lead me to the door.  It was her signal that it was time to go home. My husband rose, patted her gently on the head, said nothing and guided us back to our seat in the waiting area.

I convinced myself all was fine.  Heidi was feeling better.

The vet called us in. The four of us descended upon the sterile stainless steel room. Upon examining my precious pet, the Vet explained that a growth in Heidi’s hip joint had pushed her femur out of place and was interfering with her pelvis. It was not likely that this hard growth would subside on its own. I asked about surgery and if the Vet thought it was cancer.  Could she take a biopsy? Was there medication? I explained I wasn’t ready for this.

My husband and my son took over the conversation. They asked if Heidi would be in pain.  The answer was obvious, yes she would be in great discomfort. The Vet commented that it appeared that we arrived at the veterinary hospital seeking direction but the immediate decision was ours. We were left to make the decision.

I prefer not to write or speak about the short time we had left with Heidi that day.  We had all lived a wonderful life as a family together. Heidi was a joy to behold, a beloved child in so many ways.

We did not take Heidi home that day.

I arrived home shattered. I looked at my mother and nodded. I sat at Mom’s bedside in silence.  She told me I was exhausted.  I nodded, words wouldn’t come. She raised her blankets and I climbed in beside her. Silently the minutes passed. We mourned together and slumber came.

Post script

Heidi rests in our yard next to our fire pit, a place where she playfully chased hot embers as they spit from the bonfire.

An Open letter to Boo Boo

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Dearest Boo Boo,

You are a handsome short haired tabby cat, beloved companion of Mary, my/ our mother. It took me the better part of a decade to love you. I found you hard to connect with, you needed to do something about your breath and quite frankly, you drool.

Boo Boo, you probably could sense I didn’t particularly like you. Given your sense of smell, I suspect you already knew I was owned by Heidi, the chocolate Labrador. Heidi and I saw you as a threat. In fact Heidi was ostracized because of her apparent threat to you! Boo Boo you know I saw through that hoax.  You would run and take cover hissing at that gentle Labrador.  You know full well that you would take my sweetheart down with one swat of those sharp claws. Your childish histrionics were such a façade to keep Mom on your side! It took me a decade to understand that I would have done the same had I been a cat.

Boo Boo did you see it coming? I didn’t expect your whole world to be put on its ear either.  Your lair was pretty much unchanged until the fatal day of Mom’s fall.

All Mom needed to do was drop her car off at the garage, she did that often enough with that old clunker. It was close to your meal time and Mom needed to prepare your tilapia to go with your Fancy Feast. She was such a slave for you!  So she called the local taxi company and they sent a van to pick her up.

Now the garage was in the country and the parking area had crushed stone.  Mom was already 87 years old and Boo Boo you kept her in such good shape the lazy taxi driver presumed she was in her late 60s. But taxi drivers don’t get out of their vans to help people get in.  That courtesy is long gone.  A van is a high step off the ground and Mom couldn’t see a handle she could grab.  Boo Boo you know Mom, she was filled with personal pride. She was 87 and she should have known it was too difficult for her manage. Her attempt resulted in a bad fall on those awful crushed rocks and she sustained her fourth concussion. That lazy taxi driver didn’t even notice. He drove her home, took the fare and let her stumble up the stairs.  Didn’t he notice the blood on her head or even the blood stain on her leg?

Thank God for our sister, she was the first to arrive to Mom’s rescue.  Boo Boo you must have been stressed. I called in the doctor and he did a pretty good job.  The morphine he gave her was a little too much.  Between the concussion, the coccyx injury and the infection in her leg, she just couldn’t stay at home with you. If she only had a bungalow and lived closer to her daughters, she could have managed.

So I won Mom and you lost. It wasn’t ideal for either of us Boo Boo.  You still needed to be feed and the kitty litter changed.  You were as important to Mom as we were and Mom’s direction was firm.  We were to feed her Boo Boo at all costs. Let me tell you, for a dog lover, that commitment was onerous.

You were so sad. You seemed to think I was Heidi.  Every visit you welcomed me with a hiss.  I couldn’t pet you because you didn’t trust me. Do you remember when I would sit on the stairs and place my head down so you could eventually come and sniff my hair? After many weeks of that routine you eventually let me scratch you under your chin. You were so lonely!

Eventually that loneliness got you ill. Our sister told me to catch you and put you in the cat carrier so we could take you to the vet. By that time you trusted me!  Regrettably, it turned out you were smart.  No carrier for you and scratches for me! I was stupid, because I tried it again.  Thinking back on it, you were awfully desperate for affection or I doubt you would have let me pick you up twice.  I could not get you in that carrier.

Our sister managed you the next day. Perhaps you couldn’t fight anymore.  We met at the vet’s and you were so afraid.  You shook with fear and you looked up into my eyes.  Darn it Boo Boo, I had to fall in love with you that day! Any of my brave talk, “that leaving you in that house alone for over a year was cruel and required compassionate euthanasia’, went quickly to ether. You needed a home. I was going to find one!

You only had bad teeth. The antibiotic worked. You managed to get worms and we got rid of them.  I was beginning to think you really liked me and you were getting sick to make me swoon over you!  But you would vomit and I would get over that fantasy.

I did find you a home over Christmas. Thanks for crying for all 12 nights. It was nice to get you back! I had my short haired tabby stress ball back! But you were still alone for 23 hours a day.

Our sister found a home for you! Only six hours flying time away in Winnipeg. But it was with our niece, the cat whisperer, and her cat friend. Oh and who knew the vet had Paxil! Paxil for cats! We medicated you for a week and boy, oh boy, you were better prepared for the cat carrier. You made it to your new home and Mom and I got your letters and pictures regularly.

Boo Boo, I am sorry we didn’t get along for our first ten years.  I am glad we sort of liked each other for another two.  You were such a bad boy and girls often fall for that kind of guy. I love you and wish you well.  Mom loved you too!  She has already left us for a better place.  I know some day we can all get along together, where cats and dogs can coexist and it is peaceful and bright.  Until then my furry friend!