Well, dammit, you WOULD be an animal lover, wouldn't you? You could have chosen to be a Justin Bieber Groupie or a lifelong devotee of Humphrey Bogart or a Film fanatic in general, but NOOOO.......you had to become a pushover for the pet population and beyond. Serves you right that you are suffering for your foolish choices now. Gaaaaaahhhhrrrr.
For several days last week I watched my precious Cat, Gussie limp a bit and favor her left forepaw while I worried and wondered and felt the damned paw up and down as much as she would let me and I knew I would have to take her to the Vet or not sleep ever again.
So Ann and I went thru the routine required for the job. Close all outside doors. Close all inside doors to the room in which Gus was at the moment reclining. Quietly as possi'ble fetch one of the cat carriers and introduce it into the Room so she doesn't see it. Fail. Gallop after Gus and pin her in the corner when she immediately guesses what was up and attempts escape. Snatch her up and into the carrier before she could put plan B into effect. On our way to the Vet I mused that the problem might be an ingrown toenail since I had not had her claws clipped lately since I was too old and feeble and blind and clumsy to do it myself any more.....(at what point did she become so much stronger than me? I somehow missed that subtle transition point.) And to my relief and abysmal shame, that is exactly what it was. One long claw had curved into a paw pad and must have been hurting like hell when she walked. What a rotten Mother I turned out to be.......this would cost me huge .....A trillion in kitty treats not to mention endless hours of painful immobility while providing her with a reclining tummy to doze on and being unable to scratch any part of me that itched or any muscle that cramped without disturbing her. She is still demanding apologies from me and there is no sign of her letting me forget my heartless neglect of her well being. Sigh. At least she is no longer limping piteously and breaking my heartless heart. And the vet bill, including antibiotic shot and blood test, was under $1000.
Then, without having the chance to recover from this episode the Pet God decided to smite me with another heart wrenching situation. I went in to bid my Fabulous Finches goodnite on Friday and, as usual, I proceeded to count birds on perches and in nest boxes and came up one short. Omigod......where was Judy the smallest female, Mickey;s beloved? I immediately began examining he floor of the cage for signs of the dreaded Egg Bound Female Syndrome and there, in a corner was the pathetic little creature barely moving and seeming to pant ever so slightly. Panic time. This condition was usually fatal and I had no skills as an avain midwife. Desperately I thrust my hand into the cage and seized the poor mite, brought her out into the light, examined her, petted her feathers, scratched her neck whispered sweet nothings and prayers into her ear and put her back hopefully. Nothing. Still seeming to be dazed, almost comatose she sat and sat and sat.
I had already ruled out the idea of finding a Bird Vet, especially in the middle of the night so I called the breeder where I had gotten her and asked for advice. I was told to grab her gently, check for a lumpy looking lump in her nether parts under her tail feathers and, if found, to squeeze it gently to break the egg and the impasse. I did all that, found no lump and when I squeezed gently anyway all I got was some poop for my efforts. Tearfully, I replaced her in the cage, spent 15 minutes meditating and sending good thoughts her way and finally staggered off to bed thinking my usual cop out thought.....'que sera, sera".
Barely slept and upon rising went in to look for a corpse only to find all four birds sitting on the perches looking, as far as my untrained eye could tell, alive.
When my caregiver arrived we both examined the creatures and she said that poor Judy seemed to have no feathers along her back between her wings and she suspected some sort of family brawl. (I had not seen this condition but had felt something strange in the texture of her back as I petted her) One or more of the other birds must have ganged up on her, plucked out some feathers and left her in a state of birdy shock and post traumatic distress WTF???. Apparently I have got myself a dysfunctional bird family. Or perhaps just a normal bird family since, I suspect, all families are dysfunctional to one degree or another. Careful scrutiny since has indicated that Judy is mostly OK if temporarily short some plumage and tempers seem to be calm along Finch Lane.
Oy. In fact, Oy Gevalt!
Excuse me while I go in and put cold cloths on my head. I just had to go out and shut off the pool motor because water was pouring off my roof. I think the raccoons have once again chewed through the tubing on the solar panels which heat my pool water. No one can come till Monday. I think I should have opted to be a Justin Beiber groupie.
The New Yorker covers: February 10, 1968
6 hours ago