Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Cathartic Post - Maybe I'll Feel Better

This is Clementine. We pulled her and her sister Isabella (affectionately Clemmie and Izzy) from the DeKalb County shelter in December 2009. They had been abandoned by their owner, and lived on their own in the house for nearly a month before the landlord found them. They had been sick at the shelter, and one was recommended for euthanasia (we don't know which one). She wasn't euthanized, and she wasn't treated either. They were being held in the wildlife room at the shelter, and no one had stepped forward for them.

We decided to give them a chance. These girls have come such a long way in just a few months. They were terrified, especially Izzy. They didn't (and still won't) eat dry food, and sometimes go for days without eating wet food. We have to try a variety of different foods every day, just to keep them nourished and hydrated.

In the four months they have been with us, they have learned to play, have discovered the joys of a good brush, and have claimed their spots on the bed at night. They have been living the life they should have had all along. Their recovery from their past has not at all been easy. But their lives are so worth it.

Now, we are preparing to say goodbye to one of them. Our sweet Clemmie has been diagnosed with FIP, an evil disease that ravages the bodies of those cats it grabs hold of. There is no cure, and it is always 100% fatal. Once symptoms appear, the goal is to keep them comfortable and happy until they aren't anymore. Then, we do the best thing we can for them, and we'll do it for her.

Clemmie is our second FIP cat in a year. It seems that we take in the ones that no one else wants, and often there is a price. They struggle with health or behavioral issues. They are, by all reasonable terms, unadoptable. We often have to say goodbye to them before we should.

Ours is a heartwrenching endeavor.

Sometimes I just wish I could turn off the part of the me that so passionately cares, and just walk away. Or maybe, I could endeavor to save old buildings. At least when they would be knocked down anyway, despite my best efforts, I wouldn't have to grieve for lives I couldn't save, or ones that I could save but lost anyway. I wouldn't have to feel the overwhelming grief of knowing that this little life is dying, and in just days, it will be time for me to make the final decision to end the dying process for her, because I care so much, not because I don't.

So, why am I writing this today? I don't need emails telling me how inspiring this is, or how you think I am so awesome. I don't feel inspiring or awesome - I feel incredibly sad and broken. Your accolades aren't comfort. I am writing this today because I need to say it. I need to let out my sadness and grief, so when I go home, I can be a happier person for Clemmie to be around. She doesn't need, or deserve, my grief. I try really hard to use this blog to write uplifting, inspiring comments that might spur you to action. Today, I need to just be sad. And I need you to know how hard this is.


Melanie said...

I'm sorry Susan.

Dana Fredsti said...

I hope this post helps you... we lost one of our rescue kittens to FIP a couple years back and it's heartbreaking.


Kathleen said...


I remember your Piglet too. Be sad. It is devastating to have gone through it once (like I have) and I can't imagine having to do it twice. I believe some people are just chosen to care for these animals -- it is heartbreaking for us -- but at least Clemmie knows love now and has someone who cares enough to let her go. The alternative would have been much worse.

Big hugs,