About six weeks ago – August 15th to be exact – my cat Bandit went missing. I began searching for him immediately. Knocking on neighbor’s doors, putting up flyers with his picture, calling and showing up at the local animal shelters, placing an ad on Craigslist, and walking the streets calling his name day and night.
Bandit, a feral cat whom I had adopted about three years ago, was an inside-outside cat, and enjoyed his freedom immensely, but always returned to the safety and comfort of his loving home. So, I was no stranger to him staying out for a few days at time. This means that early on I had hope that he would walk – I mean strut, because Bandit was cool and charismatic – through the little doggie door, give me that “hello meow,” approach me for a quick pet and purr, then be off to eat and take his nap. Yet, as days turned into weeks, my heart sank and I even tweeted my concerns and grief – “Where’s Bandit?” I was consoled by a few of “my tweeples,” Facebook friends, and a Blogcritics writer as far away as Israel took the time to provide some newfound hope. Thanks so much Ruvy, but Bandit is still missing.
I have always been an animal lover and I am no stranger to losing pets, but as an adult it has always been due to death, not going missing. It started with my two purebred, papered, German Rottweilers (Rotts) [1996 Marilyn (L) and Brigitte (R)] who both died of Lymphoma cancer. This evil disease hit Marilyn at age three and she died in my arms (naturally) on a hot summer day in 1999. In the meantime, Brigitte was diagnosed when she was eight and in an eager attempt to prolong and hopefully save her from this dreaded disease, I went ahead with chemotherapy that my vet told me about, which only kept her around a few months longer than her sister who did not have chemo. In a short time, Brigitte went from a strong, robust, and blissful 130-pound energetic dog to a fragile 90-pound weak one – unable to eat or even walk. Still intact to the bitter end were her unwavering loyalty, the love expressed in her eyes, and her attempts to wag her tail. One of the most heart-wrenching times for any animal lover is when we make that decision – to “put down” our pets. Unwilling to see her suffer anymore, Brigitte’s time had come and on another sad summer day (2004 this time), I said, “Good-bye” to my other best friend.
I blame the pathetic breeders and their inbreeding practices for the cancer that took the lives of my Rotts, and since then I refuse to get purebred dogs. Not to mention that we are overpopulated with domestic animals and there are so many pets that need to be rescued. In fact, every time I visit a pet rescue center or the government-run animal shelter, I always leave in tears – from anger when visiting the latter, especially the one here on the Central Coast where I live.
In between the tragic suffering and subsequent deaths of my Rotts, I adopted Jessie, a Chihuahua-Corgi mix [R] and Whiskers a Terrier-Dachshund (Wiener Dog) mix [L]. From their”issues,” it was obvious they had been abused and/or neglected by someone out there. Both are long, painful stories and sadly Jessie and Whiskers are no longer alive.
After the heartbreaking loss surrounding Whiskers in 2007, I decided take a break from dogs. My sister found two feral cats that were brothers (around seven months old) being kept by a girl who needed to find them a home. We were both immediately smitten and my sister adopted the white one and named him Zeus, while I took in the grey and my daughter named him Bandit. My sister and I scheduled “play dates” for Bandit and Zeus and, amazingly, they would frolic around with such affection every time – proof of the bonds of brotherhood. Later I sought out a friend for Bandit when I rescued Tinkerbelle (a Calico cat) from that hellhole government-run animal shelter in my area. Tink, as I call her, is so wild she won’t let anyone come near her, yet after a year she finally started seeking my physical affection, though only on her terms.