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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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From My Window

Issue Date: July 3, 2019

Jane Thibodeau Martin

Note: I have received quite a few inquiries about the location of the Amish dinner I wrote about last week. I will publish the address of the farm when we get notified of the next dinner, which I believe will be in late July. Once I publish the address, you can write to them and request to be added to their mailing list, since there is no standard schedule of the breakfasts and dinners.

Last Tuesday morning our family lost a dear friend when I had to have our 17 year old cat Emma euthanized. I was preparing to leave to join Mike in Oklahoma for a visit, but I found her abdomen distended and unnaturally hard. I called the vet immediately and took her in, but was fully expecting the verdict. "Well, I can't say what this is without diagnostics, but I can tell you without them that in a 17 year old cat, it's not good." Emma had already been declining due to kidney disease, and we'd had her in sort of a hospice care situation at home. So we helped her to the Rainbow Bridge and I went home with a heavy heart.

Emma came to us not long after we moved to Oklahoma. I was doing dishes one evening at the kitchen sink, and she jumped onto the windowsill outside, startling me. She made immediate eye contact, and I knew she was asking for help. So the beautiful tortoise-shell calico long haired girl was set up with food and water in the garage, and a search started for an owner. This was before the time when microchips were common, and she had no collar, but she was very friendly. It seemed she must be a pet, but no one responded to our posted signs, and none of the neighbors knew her. Unfortunately, a never-ending stream of such animals was a part of life in Oklahoma " not much value for spaying and neutering and the convenient way to get rid of an animal no longer wanted was to "take it for a ride in the country."

So she was vetted, vaccinated and spayed and joined our family for good. We had no shortage of pets, but we always found room for ones that needed us. Every animal seems special to me but there were several unique things about Emma. Besides her unusual tolerance for small children, she absolutely loved dogs. She made friends with not only our own dogs but those of friends, and even the stream of lost and dumped dogs that we took in and rehomed throughout our Oklahoma years. She was an excellent judge of dog character and never made mistakes. And she was a spectacular athlete. In her prime she could jump from the floor to the top of an open door, and land on the 2 inches of the door top with perfect balance. It was astonishing to watch, and she was completely casual about these kinds of feats.

There is a hole in my heart where Emma should be, despite the fact we have three other cats. It's like children " losing one is incredibly painful, even if you have others left to comfort you and even if you could see the end of her life approaching for months.

We have had family cats that lived 21, 19 and now 17 years. Sometimes people acquire cats, not realizing how long the responsibility for the animal will be. It always makes me sad when older cats are surrendered at the shelter where I work. We currently have 10 and 12 year old cats " sweet adults who may have many good years of friendship to offer a family, but who will repeatedly be overlooked. And no doubt, they wonder how they ended up where they are and not with the family and in the home they shared.

Tomorrow will be the fourth of July. Already last weekend, I could hear fireworks in Oklahoma during the day and at night until very late. These loud explosions terrify many animals, and it is totally predictable that this week will be one of endless Facebook postings, neighborhood signs and sad calls at the shelter about missing dogs and cats. Please, if you have outdoor cats and dogs, secure them inside or in a safe place. A place they normally stay may not contain them when they are frantic and afraid. Don't assume the dog that's never left your yard won't do it if someone goes by tossing firecrackers out of a car. Don't be comfortable that the cat that has never gone missing before won't do it after this holiday. Think twice before taking your dog to a party or picnic away from your home and the dog's familiar environment. What people will do with fireworks, and where they will do it, is unpredictable. Animal ears are way more sensitive than ours, and pain and fright can cause them to flee.

My heart is heavy with Emma's death, but she died in my arms. I can't imagine the grief I'd have if she'd been lost; and I never had the comfort of knowing she had a gentle walk to the Rainbow Bridge with a familiar face next to hers.

I wish all readers a safe Fourth of July. Take care on the waterways and highways!



You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: JanieTMartin@gmail.com.


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