16 April 2008

A sad tale of loss...you are warned

Well, where to start…

After spending a year in Afghanistan, living in a mud hut, I now live in an apartment that is slightly cleaner, but smellier then my hut. Eh, what do you want for cheap, a spacious, clean, and safe environment? Nah, not for me.

A big event happened in my life that affects everyone sooner or later. The wife and I lost a pet, a scruffy looking cat that meowed his way into our hearts. A little background might prove enlightening as to why it affected us so much.

Thanksgiving a year and half ago, the wife discovers a stray going through the garbage and scares it away. What she does not realize is that he has taken up residence under our porch and living in the cold and muck that accumulates under there. The kids scare it, we scare it by accident, but still it stays under the porch.

One day, the wife leaves some food out for the cat, trying to coax it out so maybe we could catch it and get rid of it. It has a bad eye and looks like hell, but we still feed it, and call it Mangy.

This is happening while I am in Afghanistan. The wife starts to like this pitiful creature and it even lets her get close and to pet him. He sleeps on the porch, she gives him blankets and towels to sleep on, and buys a space heater to help him keep warm.

I come home and Mangy is coming in the house, getting along (mostly) with our other two cats, lets us pet him, brush him, and even love him a bit before meowing to get back outside. The wife is even trying desperately trying to get rid of some horrible mats on this long haired wild cat, and making good progress.

Then, last Saturday, he starts to have trouble breathing. I actually call the vet at 1030 at night to ask what to do. We bring him in to the vet the next morning, but he stopped breathing on the way to the vet. Turns out he had a horrible infection and fluid in his chest.

He died there on the table.

So did we, a bit…Here is a pitiful creature that my wife took in, showed compassion and love, and we lose him. The wife is in tears, and I am thinking we should have brought him the night before. But I didn’t…and I regret it.

I saw horrible treatment of animals (dogs mainly) in Afghanistan. I almost drew my pistol on one afghan because he threw a brick at a dog, killing it. I vowed to help every animal I could, to show compassion, love, hope… I failed Mangy. That is weighing on my soul right now, and I can’t shake it…I hope I can make up for it in my life.

Mangy’s eyes still look at me in death, laying on the table. He did not suffer long, but it is little consolation. I can only hope that in the great beyond, we are judged by how we treat our animals, and how much we love them…

Gah…gotta get some tissue…

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