Advocates of B.C.
"Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace." Albert Schweitzer 1875 - 1965
Five months went by and I happened to be looking at the Pet Page in the North Shore News for animals needing homes. I saw this particular big white cat named Handsome and immediately felt a strong draw but I said to myself No; no I dont want anymore animals. My life is too up in the air and I dont need this. Three more times (every two weeks) the Pet Page was there and so was Handsome each time the draw being even stronger why THAT cat???
Finally I had to call and left a message with Animals Advocates, reluctantly expressing my interest in the big white cat named Handsome. I came home the next day and the message on my answering machine from Judy Stone of Animals Advocates was Donna Handsome has been waiting for you.
Handsome's story is only too familiar to rescuers - he was left behind when his "family" moved and he survived on the street until a kind soul took him to AAS.
Judy delivered him to me on New Years Eve, 2001. My bonding and extreme love for him was immediate. In the days to follow that bond and love grew and grew. This was the cat of all cats. I had never had a cat quite like him and I was thoroughly, totally in love. He was such a sweet, sweet, knowing boy and he understood about house, never once scratching my furniture and never an accident. I loved him with all my heart and soul and we would spend many hours talking and playing, me reveling in his loud purring as I combed him. He didnt want to go outside and that was just fine with me. He had been abandoned and I saw behavioral traits from that. For the first month he would hide under my bed when someone came, except for my son. Later I had my bedroom re-carpeted and I shut him out of harms way from the rest of the house in my living room. I never heard such a wailing and desperation. I carried him down to the rec room and comforted him. He was fine to stay there while the carpets were being laid.
When I first got him I took him to my veterinarian for a check-up who wanted to give him a round of vaccines. I said no I dont know his history. I had also heard and read some negative things about annual booster vaccines, that in fact they arent really needed and may suppress the immune system.
I took my Handsome back to the vet on August 14, 2002 for round worm treatment. The vet said at that time You love him so much, it would be a shame to lose him to something we could have prevented. I, in that weak moment relented. So came the onslaught rabies included all together between the shoulder blades. I came home with a gnawing feeling why had I done that????
Then - at the end of August, Handsome went off his food. I took him in for a complete blood work up. The results showed very high white blood count, he was jaundiced, and indications showed Lympho Blast and Leukemia and an egg sized lump between the shoulder blades which the Vet advised was post vaccible sarcoma. Prognosis very poor with chemotherapy which I could afford and didnt want to put him through. I went for a second opinion at the Animal Advocates' veterinarian same diagnosis.
How could all this have happened so fast????
I was reading, reading, reading trying to find answers. I read a paragraph from the book WHY IS CANCER KILLING OUR PETS? by Deborah Straw. I had bought this book after losing Sally Girl to try to find out why so many pets die from cancer. One sentence states Dr. Richard Pitcairn's warning giving a vaccine to an animal with cancer is like pouring gasoline on a fire. The next page warns of one type of vaccine that has, over the past ten years, actually produced malignant tumours or sarcomas in cats. Deborah Straws cat Puck died of this virulent cancer, which is caused by killed virus leukemia and rabies vaccine that are traditionally administered between the shoulder blades.
So now perhaps Handsome may have had latent cancer and the gasoline was poured on an open flame. I was devastated, my precious sweet boy how could I do this to you. I was so angry at myself and the veterinarian and at this time of writing, still am somewhat.
I decided I did not want Handsome to go through Chemotherapy, which Animal Advocates told me never worked anyway and only put the cat through terrible suffering. I would love him and care for him in a palliative role, one day at a time being sure that he did not suffer unreasonably. I even had homeopathic remedies applied, hoping against hope that a miracle would happen. It just wasnt fair that I would find this beautiful boy only to lose him nine months later.
A day at a time took us to September 28. That morning he was especially bright. He came out on the patio with a great deal to say. He seemed especially comfortable that day. In the latter part of the afternoon we had one of our big combswhich would go on for half an hour. His purring was especially loud and vibrant.
Then - at about 7 p.m. something happened. He seemed to get very weak and very uncomfortable and began deep laboured breathing. Oh no I knew. I prayed a prayer I found.
Dear God this wonderful boy has been a gift such a faithful and honest companion. Enfold him in your embrace and ease his way home to you Holy Spirit give my boy your peace and heavenly blessing Amen". Goodbye my dear sweet boy I will love you forever.
I gave him a small tranquilizer to help him which did seem to. I stayed awake with him till after 1a.m. I woke at 5 a.m. expecting him to be gone but he was still with me looking straight into my eyes. We stayed like that until the end came at 6:55 a.m. My beautiful boy was gone. Death is so final. No matter what one has lost before it never insulates you for the next loss it only gives understanding.
As I sit and write this today, I wonder how I will live without him.
My daytimer for that day September 29, 2002 had the motto: -
We cant feel sad over the loss of those we love, without first remembering that the real and true sadness would have been never having had them in our lives at all....For that I am so very grateful.
You can bet I will be extremely pro-active regarding vaccines. It was too late for my precious boy but hopefully my lessons learned will help others become aware.
And I will be forever grateful to Judy Stone of Animal Advocates who cared for him and then let me have him.