Monday, June 25, 2012

  Our Boy Opie

There's a pretty good reason for me not writing anything here for the past week.

Tim Tam - Max - Opie
        About ten years ago Patty and I rescued a little ginger male cat. From the outset he was a little bugger, we already had two other rescue cats, four rescue dogs, two Barbado goats, and a momma sheep with her two babies.

This ginger cat, Opie, was a pretty disruptive figure, but he has always had a great personality. He was pretty much a loner, only coming out of his hiding places to annoy the rest of our menagerie. He was supposed to be my lap cat, but that never materialized, sure he'd make out like he was going to curl up in my lap for a few minutes, putting me through pure hell as he nested, I tolerated it since I figured he was fixing to settle down. He'd bury his claws into my legs, lay down for thirteen seconds then swagger off without so much as a look over his shoulder, leaving me with a tube of Neosporin and an aching, itchy thigh! As he headed for his hiding spot under our bed, he'd always look to smack Maxie, our long haired female cat in a maneuver not unlike a drive-by, a quick thwack to the back of her head never looking at her or breaking stride.

         Over the years we lost all of the other pets, mostly to the needle due to either age or disease, all except Max and Opie, we adopted another little cat Tim Tam and then rescued a couple of "Didgeredoodles," that we still have. It's always heartbreaking to make the final trip to the vet when the time comes, I know some people who can remain unmoved or cold with regard to having to euthanize a loved pet, note how I said "Know some people," those people will always, only be acquaintances and never friends, because if you are incapable of understanding the bond of a pet to human and human to pet then something is wrong and we could never be friends.

Patty with The Didgeredoodle's
We met our favorite Vet, Dr. Wayne, almost twenty years ago when we had a couple of Miniature Schnauzers, Harpo and Sacha, and we hit immediately hit it off, he could see how much we loved those little buggers, so for about the past eighteen years whenever he had an animal that needed a home, he'd call us up and say "Hey guy's I have a Miniature Schnauzer that would love to go home with yous," So we'd run down to his practice and there would be Wayne proudly holding the collar of a Rottweiler or a Catahoula Leopard, no, I'm being serious, and I'd curl my lip and bark at him and he'd say that he was pretty sure there was a little bit of Schnauzer  in its bloodline and we'd inevitably end up taking it home. Our file wouldn't fit in his file cabinet, they used to keep it under the counter top, we ended up placing over fifteen animals and keeping a few ourselves and each one of them were precious to us.

        A couple of weeks ago we noticed that one of our cats had started to pee outside the cat box that we keep in the laundry... Side note here: I hate litter boxes, always have, always will, but we found a product called "The Worlds Best Cat Litter," and it really works, no smell, no mess, easy clean up so try it!... anyway, we would clean up the pee and disinfect and deodorize and sanitize and sterilize and every other ize you can imagine, but the next day, right in the middle of the laundry floor would be another puddle for us. It took a little while to figure out who was doing it, although my immediate suspicion was Opie, because he's, you know, a little bugger. Finally last Thursday I saw him saunter up the stairs from the laundry, pausing on the top step to survey his surroundings, then after licking his front paw, he made a beeline for the bedroom, smacking poor unsuspecting Max on the back of the head for good measure, I glanced over my shoulder and Tim Tam  was asleep on her perch so I raced downstairs and there it was, a big ole puddle of pee right in the middle of the tiled (Thank God,) laundry floor, AaaahhHAaaa said I, it is you, you little basta...I mean Bugger of a cat.
Tim Tam

        So immediately to the beholder of all knowledge, the gargantuan of good advice, Google ... Why is my cat peeing outside his litter box? Of course there were more than a few possibilities, everything from, Just being a bugger to Feline Diabetes, to Urinary Tract Infection, from the way he was acting we figured it was a UTI, so off to the vet with him, our new Up The Hill Vet... two days later, we found out our poor Opie has Feline Multiple Myeloma quite a rare cancer for cats and also no chance of survival. The vet, who by the way, is a great guy has no real indication of how long Opie will live, anywhere from a few weeks to a year, pretty much a guessing game, but, he's comfortable, we took xrays and he looks good as far as bone mass and internal organs. I hate to think of our place without Opie stealthily being in our lives, Max will probably be happy in a way, but I think Tim Tam will miss him, Wunya our male Didgeredoodle will miss his covert cuddles with Opes, and Yulara our female Didge won't miss the tormenting she had to endure from him. So we are going to love him up as much as we can and or as much as he'll let us, and when the time is right we'll make that trip with him and hold him, and love him and watch with tear filled eyes as he takes his last breath our biggest hope being that we time it right.

        So there you have it, the reason I didn't write this past week, I was just bummed and sad, and already beginning to miss the little bugger, but today as Opie actually is sitting almost totally on my right foot I decided that it would be a great time to Write in Spite Of Myself.

Our Boy Opie



  1. I'm so sorry for your loss. Isn't it amazing how they worm their ways into our hearts so even their sassiness and oddities become endearing? Thanks for sharing his life stories with us. He sounds like a true character--a perfect pet for a story writer.

  2. We haven't lost him yet, but it's so true he is a larger than life character and he for sure is a heck of a cat... Thanks for reading and commenting :)

  3. Beautiful. We've been away for a week and were so glad to get home to our Lucy, the rescue dog with boundless energy and affection. She's 11 now and shows no sign of slowing down, but that day will come. You guys are heroes for taking in all those animals. And you make it so clear that they've given way more than they could ever take.

  4. Thanks Rich, not heroes mate, just animal lovers, wishing everyone would adopt/rescue/save/ a shelter animal, so distressing to see how many animals end up there, thankfully the No-Kill shelters are becoming more prevalent and people are realizing they don't need to spend hundreds if not thousands of $$$$'s on buying from puppy mills. Lucy is a lucky dog to have you guys.

  5. Jon, I just hugged my dog after reading your very touching and poignant story about Opie and all the lucky shelter dogs and cats who've been part of your family. Is it okay to sometimes feel that one likes animals over people? Well, certainly not people like you, Jon.

    For some reason, pets(and even chipmunks, for that matter), can help me see what it's like to be fully present and alive day in and day out. The unconditional love, scratches and distinct personalities of our pets are a daily pleasure. I know you'll enjoy every minute you have with the tenacious Opie!

    1. You're so sweet Sandra... Thanks for reading and commenting :)

  6. Couldn't add my comment until I wiped my eyes & blew my nose. Sorry about Opie. Both my "granddogs" are rescues. One of them is scared of everything (the other dog, his own shadow, the bug zapper, etc.) so we figure he was mistreated by someone in his past. Will never understand what makes people mean to animals.

  7. People who mistreat animals really need to be publicly hung, drawn and quartered... Rescued animals always just seem to be so appreciative and have a way of showing it. Good onya for the Granddogs :)