Over the past two weeks, a few events took place completely distracting me from being able to focus on the daily routine. My beloved dog underwent successful knee surgery, and is now hopping about the house and yard with a humiliating Elizabethan collar. Her surgery site is healing well, and I’m hoping she recovers quickly.
We also suffered a lost-cat episode which lasted for eight LONG, excruciating days which left me in quite a state. My beloved cat Spencer (half of Spen-Max) slipped outside after 9.5 years of living indoors due to my negligence – in the chaotic morning circus of leaving the house on time with the girls: clothed, fed, “shoes-ed,” lunches packed, and dog: walked, five pills shoved down throat, walked again (hurry hurry hurry for Pete’s sake, stop ROLLING IN THE SNOW!)…. I left the garage door wide open as I scurried about to try to get everything done on my own. I didn’t realize the cat was gone until the next morning – when my purring black foot warmer was nowhere to be found, and my calls for Spencer resulted in only a blank vacuum that looked up at me and blinked. I panicked.
Days were spent canvassing the neighborhood, calling her name at odd hours of the day AND night, and shelters and veterinary offices were called as I recounted my emotional tale to a sympathetic ear. Cans of cat food were tapped at odd hours, bags of surume were rustled at various locations outside. I put my headlamp on, normally saved for the summer nights when I garden after the girls go to bed, and wandered the streets, calling “Speeen spen… Speeeen-ceer…” and posted “Lost Cat” signs on every other telephone pole – first with a staple gun – and after the third gun refused to staple anything but itself shut – packing tape. Over the next few days, as I wandered the streets calling for my cat, I posted more fliers with a picture of my silly cat reclining on the floor, looking as though she weighed 20 lbs, while in reality, she only weighed 8 lbs. Generous girlfriends came over to console, to help watch my girls, to help keep my spirits high, and we even managed a stop at McDonald’s for food.
Yes. McDonald’s. I can’t believe I’m putting this on my post – the last time I had stopped at McDonald’s may have been during a pregnancy craving with my first daughter when nothing wholesome sufficed. I craved anything greasy, fried, oily, salty, fattening, and so deliciously unhealthy, I would pull my car over after going through a drive-thru to scarf down my guilty cravings in one inhalation. Literally. That was about four and a half years ago.
Stopping at McDonald’s for food may highlight part of the indescribable and overwhelming emotion of desperation and immense guilt I had for losing my cat. I comforted myself thinking I hadn’t found a dead cat along the road I lived, and I couldn’t stop faulting myself for leaving the door open. But oh – that apple pie certainly was good, despite the internal argument I had – whether the apples were washed prior to cooking, were they GMO, and did the apple pie use white sugar and partially hydrogenated oil? Something to be said about fast-food that left one feeling full of empty calories, much guilt, and hope that my daughters would read this later in life after they’ve decided the organic and healthy route was the path to choose. I digress.
I cried at the Grateful Paw, Last Hope, Little Shelter, the Town of Huntington shelter, as well as at FedEx. We printed up 100 lost cat fliers, and blanketed them throughout the area, and my fearless girlfriend flagged down (ahem, jumped in front of) neighbors driving out of the cul-de-sac and we spoke of our missing feline.
After eight sleepless nights – I spent several sitting outside at 2:00 am, or taking the dog out in the yard and calling for Spencer at odd hours – I was starting to despair. I hadn’t found the visible signs of Spencer – dead or alive, and the situation was wearing on me. I was short of patience, and I had difficulty trying to remain upbeat. Coworkers, clients, friends – they all realized something was wrong – and to make matters worse, my husband was across the country in Seattle for business, and I felt utterly alone in dealing with the empty shadow the trailed me in the form of Spencer, missing.
Saturday afternoon, after another few hours of walking around with my girlfriend in the neighboring Senior Citizen’s housing complex, I checked my cellphone and saw a voicemail. I was hesitant – didn’t know what to expect.
“I looked outside my house, and I think I see Spencer sunning herself!”
I grabbed both kids out of their stroller, put them in their car seats, and rushed back to my neighborhood.
The neighbor, five houses down, had seen a cat resembling Spencer, sunning in the sun patch next to his property. He pointed to the can of tuna he had opened, and we started strategizing on possibly setting up a trap to try to capture her. I had rented a trap from the shelter as well, so we debated the placement of the traps. I then walked over to the area he had seen her – along the side of a house with two window wells. I peered in the first. Nothing. However at the second one, my peering was peered right back by a pair of very large, very scared, yellow-green eyes. I called out, “Spen spen?” She meowed back, and then hissed. It definitely was Spencer.
I was frantic. I didn’t want to lose sight of her again, so I slowly got the open can of tune, and placed it at the edge of the window. She was obviously hungry, and she cautiously looked over the edge. I put my snow gloves on, and waited for her to raise her head to the top of the well lip.
I then grabbed her with both hands, and started crying.
Spencer, our dear cat for 9.5 years, was finally home. A little dusty, and much thinner, but she is safely home.
One note – I was absolutely touched and reminded of the true generosity, kindness and love the volunteers and staff have for their cause of saving and caring for the animals. Thank you all for your kindness and empathy during the very dark week.
Hence – my legitimate excuse for my delay in bento blogging. I’ll be back to normal again very shortly…