The One with Angel Wings

If you are a mom, I can place a pretty safe bet that you would be absolutely shattered if you lost your child. With a heavy heart, I’m sad to say that my sister lost her 13 month old daughter on January 16th. It is beyond heartbreaking. My dear niece. Gone.

My niece was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 1 at 6 months old. We were all so sad to learn that she would never walk, or even sit up on her own. She would not be able to eat without a feeding tube. She would need machines to assist her in coughing. It was even worse when we learned that the average life span of an SMA child is only 2 years old.

We all knew that every moment with her was precious. We knew to count our blessings every time we were able to see her. But it doesn’t make the pain any less that she is no longer here. I am heartbroken for my sister. I can only imagine that her pain is magnified times one hundred. Losing a child is a parent’s worst nightmare.

Her funeral was on the 21st. Seeing her small white coffin was awful. She should be outliving us. It’s just so wrong. What a beautiful soul she had. Such an amazing girl. The entire house was in tears. How could you not be? It’s just not right. It’s not fair. Yes, I said it. I know life isn’t fair but at moments like these, I don’t care. She should still be here with us. My sister dedicated everything she had in her to our little Koko. She should not have to go through this agony.

I know my niece is in a better place. I so want to believe that. What a hard life she had ahead of her but you know what? She was a fighter and I know she had it in her to live her life to it’s fullest with my sister’s help. She was surrounded by so much love, she had to have known how much we love her. She fought every step of her way.

My beautiful little niece, may your soul rest in eternal peace, never to experience pain, only love and happiness. All who knew you will miss you more than we can explain, but most of all, your mother will grieve you every single day for the rest of her life. I know she will get through this but she will never forget you – none of us will. I truly hope she can live her life happy. Please know it’s not because she has forgotten you or doesn’t love you anymore. She always will. We all love you so much and I know I am so privileged that you were in my life. May you watch over us with your little angel wings.

Stay strong little sweet pea. I love you.

The One with Saying Goodbye

It seems like my most memorable posts are about the loss of my loved ones – my pets. I am such a huge animal lover and easily form great bonds with my furry friends so losing them is always very difficult to come to terms with. On November 27th, I lost my precious kitty, Hercules.

Herky, as I affectionately call him, is – was – my childhood cat and he lived to the very old age of 18. He almost seemed invincible in a way. Never had any significant health problems. Still seemed so active for such an old cat. It all happened quite suddenly. He was having balance issues with his jumping for about a month. Then, one day, I came home from work and he was practically dragging his legs behind him. I took him to the vet the next day.

The vet said it could be arthritis or diabetes. We could do x-rays or blood work, or both, but he thought to try one thing at a time. So we went with the blood work. I’m glad we did because it was the right choice. It turned out Hercules was not diabetic but the results were much worse. His kidneys were failing and there was evidence of infections in his body. The vet was not optimistic about his prognosis.

I knew I had a big decision to make. One that would not come easy. Thoughts swirled in my head, not wanting to come forward. I didn’t want to think it, let alone say it. I knew I had to put my sweet Herky to sleep. There is nothing the vet can do for failing kidneys. There wasn’t any hope. He was suffering. At this point, he literally did not move for an entire day. I carried him everywhere. He would not drink or eat or use his litter box. It was the saddest thing I ever had to witness one of my animals go through. He just looked so…helpless. And that is how I felt, too. So helpless.

As each year has gone by, and Hercules got older and older, I knew this day was coming at some point. I didn’t know it would happen so suddenly with such little warning but I did know it would happen. I am the luckiest person alive to have had 16 amazing years with my cat. I really hope I made him as happy as he made me.

Saying goodbye to Hercules was really rough. I couldn’t stop crying, of course. It was so hard for me to finally say “ok, I’m ready” and let the vet come through the door to carry out the euthanasia. I had to think of my cat, though. He could not fight his illness and he was in pain. I couldn’t let him go on like that for my own selfish reasons. It had to be done. It was the worst feeling as I watched the vet inject him with a needle. I felt his last breath. I held him for about 30 minutes before and after the procedure, and it just didn’t seem like long enough, but I knew I couldn’t hold him forever. I had to let go.

It’s strange at home now. Every time I went into the bathroom, Herky was always already in there waiting, or following me in. I walk by his favourite sleeping spots, expecting to see him. He visited me every night while I was sleeping. I would be half asleep and feel a cat jump on to my bed. I would always try to guess which cat it was, as I have – had – two. I knew when it was Hercules by his steps. They were light and he would always walk on me, making next to no sounds. He always knew if I was somewhat awake. He was very cuddly and affectionate. Always purring.

I wonder how my other pets feel. Both of them have never known life without Hercules. Do they miss him? Did they realize he was sick? I wonder. My son doesn’t understand what death is quite yet but he asks about him. He thinks he’s at the doctor. I explained to him that he passed away and won’t be coming back but he keeps insisting he is still at the doctor. I like that version of events better too.

I will miss you, Hercules, every day for the rest of my life. You were so special to me, and I hope I was special for you, too. You were such a sweet boy. Everyone in my family always called you the perfect cat. He had the best personality. He got along so well with other animals. I still remember when I brought home Tika, my old Akita, and I thought she was going to eat my cats. Hercules just had something about him though. He would saunter past her and act like it was no big deal and suddenly she wasn’t interested in eating him. He just had this way about him! One time, my cousin’s lab/shepherd mix tried to bite my small dog, and Hercules chased my cousin’s dog into the bathroom and kept her at bay. It was so funny. I couldn’t believe that big dog was so scared of my small yet courageous kitty!

I have so many fond memories of my cat. Even when he was sick, I will never forget spending 24 hours with him laying on my lap because he couldn’t walk. I needed those cuddles so badly, before saying goodbye. Losing pets is so hard. It’s not even the length of time I had Hercules that makes it so hard. It’s the quality of our bond. I love that cat with all my being. I really do wonder if I could find one like him again. Goodbye Hercules, you beautiful feline. You were the best. I wish I could have you back but you’re in a better place now. Please don’t forget me.

The One with the Baby Tiger

A couple of weeks ago, I found a Groupon deal for the zoo in Bowmanville that had to be used by Thanksgiving. My boyfriend’s and my own work schedules were pretty insane so we had a hard time finding a day we were able to go. Starting in October, the zoo was only open on weekends so that put October out of the running. We had to pick a week day in September, so eventually we chose the 29th. Boyfriend was supposed to work a short shift in the morning but decided he would take it off. I was working until 5 am so I would be tired but was planning to get a few hours of zzzz’s before heading out.

A couple of days before the 29th, boyfriend kept asking if we could go in October instead. I kindly reminded him that weekends were not an option for us and those were the only days they were open. He didn’t persist on convincing me to change the date so I let it go, as did he. The day before the 28th, he tells me that he agreed to work a different shift than the one he had taken off. I wasn’t happy, obviously, but it was flexible so he could do it in the morning and get it out of the way before leaving.

Come the day of the 29th, I’m feeling pretty good because I managed to get off work at 3 am instead of 5 so extra sleep was coming my way! I get home, go to bed, and don’t wake up until 8 am when my little man woke up. Boyfriend wasn’t in bed, nor anywhere in the house, so I text him and find out he went to the shift he was originally scheduled for and was supposed to have taken off. I asked him what about the other shift he was supposed to do and apparently he had it taken care of.

With his job, nothing ever goes smoothly. Shit always hits the fan. That day was no different. It worked out that he did indeed have to do the other shift, which meant no zoo for us. Little man and myself were looking forward to going to the zoo and daddy didn’t keep his word. This is not unusual for our family. As a matter of fact, it happens quite often. Doesn’t make it any less disappointing though. If I hadn’t already paid for the tickets, it wouldn’t have been so bad but I felt like I wasted $35.

Boyfriend knew I was pretty mad with his poor planning skills. It was supposed to have been all taken care of weeks ago, or so he said. He said he forgot about the zoo. Again, not surprising, but as I’ve told him many times, he should talk it out with me first before agreeing to things like that. This happens often, leaving me scrambling to find last minute babysitting. And of course, it’s always my responsibility even though I have been the responsible adult and managed all the schedules in the first place. But, I fear I digress a tad.

To make it up to us, boyfriend asked his boss if he could leave work early the next day, the 30th, since he worked twice the day before when he was supposed to be off. First I was told that we could leave at 11, and then it turned into 12. His “word” is never his word. Then it took half an hour just to get out of town and we had to take a 20-minute stop on the way since little man peed his pants. Fun. Just glad I remembered to pack extra pants!

So we pull into the parking lot of the Bowmanville Zoo and it’s deserted. There are two vehicles already there. The “OPEN” sign is up next to the zoo sign. It didn’t look open. The entrance doors were locked. The gift shop entrances were locked. Having never been there before, we started wandering around looking for another entrance but there did not appear to be any other way in. I knocked on the doors, peered inside, but there was no one in sight. I pulled out my phone to double check the hours of the place. Their website said it was supposed to be open. We arrived at 2:25 pm and it said it closed at 4.

Boyfriend decided to call and talk to someone. They said they closed early because they had no visitors all day. Boyfriend accepted that and hung up. I was beyond pissed. I could not believe we had just drove 2 hours to get to this zoo that was supposed to be open and they are not. I called the lady back and told her the situation. We drove 2 hours to be there, we already paid for our tickets, their website says they don’t close until 4 and their sign says open!! I guess business and word of mouth means a lot to them because the lady decided to open up just for us.

At that point, we had been waiting in their parking lot for half an hour. It was just about 3 pm and we would only have an hour to visit the zoo. She explained that a lot of the animals were being moved so we might not see them all. I didn’t care. I didn’t want to drive all that way for nothing so I was going in whether I saw 10 animals or 2! It’s just a small zoo so I knew an hour would be fine and the lady told us it would be enough, as well. She let us in for free (although technically not really since I already paid for 3 tickets), gave us a family pass that doesn’t expire, and free feed for the animals. We appreciated it a lot because we saw that our business meant a lot to them.

So we had the whole zoo all to ourselves. I knew from online searches that the zoo was small, but I quickly realized that it was way smaller than anticipated! We didn’t even need an hour to go through the whole thing. A lot of the animals, as we were told, weren’t in their exhibits so we missed out on seeing the jaguar, serval, zebras, and a few others. Little man loved the goats. They ate our map and tried to eat his shirt. He found it pretty funny! We saw camels, baboons, a few different types of monkeys, reindeer, among others.

Luckily, the lions and tiger were out for us to see! I spent a lot of time watching them. There were 3 lions, 1 tiger and 2 lion cubs. Tigers are my favourite animal and seeing them is always a huge treat for me. To me, they are the most beautiful animals in the world and the most majestic. They have been my obsession since I was a young child. I’m a lover of all big cats so seeing lions is always a pleasure, as well. The two baby lions were simply adorable.

The best part of the day came just 15 minutes before we had to leave. We had run out of things to see and were killing time, when members of the staff asked us if we wanted to see a baby tiger. Ummm YES!!! There, right before my eyes, was an 11-week old tiger cub named Uno. Unbelievable. I expected for them to just show him to us and that would be it, but no. They let us hang out with him for a good ten minutes! I was silently cursing my phone for dying literally seconds before this all happened but pictures or not, I was the happiest girl alive. I was petting a real live tiger!! A real live tiger was biting my arm and knocking down my son! Little man found it hilarious. The cub acted just like a domesticated kitten, only much bigger! This was definitely the highlight of my life. It’s always been my lifetime goal to encounter a tiger. What a gorgeous animal, they are. He was so soft and his paws were bigger than my hands!

So after an initial sour experience, we left that zoo feeling pretty darn special. The baby tiger has not been seen by many people yet so we were very lucky they brought him out for us. Boyfriend managed to get 2 pictures on his phone before it died, so that was nice, but I will never forget that experience. How many people can say they played with a real tiger cub!? I bet not many! Thank you Bowmanville zoo for making my dream come true!

Also, thank you boyfriend for screwing everything up. As angry as it made me, our tiger experience would never have happened if things went as planned.🙂

Lots of love,

Tigritsa

The One with the Furry Friends

I am a huge animal lover. I am a firm believer that a house is not a home without some furry friends! I have two cats, Hercules and Meeko, and a dog, Destiny. I count my lucky stars that Hercules and Destiny are my childhood pets and I still have them to this day! I want to write a bit about each one.

Meeko is a 7 year old grey striped tabby cat. I got him from the local humane society at 4 months old. A month before I got him, I had first adopted a 3 month old dilute calico kitten that I named Callisto. She was diagnosed with FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) after only 22 days with me. Sadly, she passed away from the deadly disease. The humane society was kind enough to offer me another kitten. When I saw Meeko in his cage staring at me with the biggest saddest eyes I had ever seen (very Puss in Boots!), I wanted to hold him instantly. His cage was marked “go slow” as he was very scared and skittish. I could tell when I was holding him that he did not like it at all! He was so frightened. I found out he had already been adopted once and brought back because he was too scared. I was so drawn to this cat and had to give him a chance. So I did and am I ever glad. It took me only about a week for Meeko to completely warm up to me. It was a lot of effort but I guess I did things right. Today, he is one of the most attention seeking affectionate cats I’ve ever met! He is still very scared around people he does not know but around his family, he is the sweetest boy ever! He still hates to be held to this day! But he loves to lay on your lap or pillow!

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Destiny is my just about 15 year old shih tzu schnoodle mix. I absolutely adore dogs. When I was a kid, I think I asked my parents for a dog at least once a month. When my parents told me their friend’s dog was having puppies, I asked if I could have one and much to my surprise, I was told yes! I got Destiny when I was 13. Poor dog got stuck with kind of a girly name! But that was the name I picked out before I knew which puppy I was getting and it stuck. He was the only black puppy in his litter and that’s why I picked him. I feel very lucky to have had Des his whole life and that he has lived such a long life for a dog. I hope to have many more years with him. Having a dog in the house brings so much comfort and joy to my life. I cannot describe how awkward it feels when I am home alone without dogs around. It’s just weird! He isn’t as lively as he used to be but that is to be expected due to his age. His hearing isn’t as great as it was, too. His behaviour has improved a lot since I was an inexperienced teenager. It’s nice that he is much calmer with age! He loves being around his family. He has separation anxiety so I try to stay home with him or bring him places that I can as much as possible.

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And then we have Hercules. He was given to my family from a friend of my parents because their children were highly allergic. We got him when he was 2 years old. He is a dark grey long haired beauty. I was 12 at the time we got him and super happy to have a cat in the family again. We had not had one since I was about 4 when our outdoor cat did not come home. Because of that memory, I insisted Hercules be an indoor cat. It was my opinion that an indoor cat would have a much longer life and I think I may have been right since Herky is now 19 years young! He is actually the inspiration for this blog post as two days ago, he was sneezing a lot and I thought he was coming down with a cold. At that age, a cold can be deadly so I was pretty freaked out. Yesterday, he was completely better and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I know he can’t live forever and he has lived a long and happy life, but of course when the day comes to say goodbye, it will be very rough. He is literally the perfect cat. He is super friendly and calm. Nothing phases him. Bring home a giant dog and he’s like “meh, whatever” and saunters by!

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I love my animals so much. They were my first babies before I ever had a real child! I believe that pets are part of the family. It drives me nuts when people are always getting new animals and getting rid of them all the time. Of course I understand in some special situations (allergies, aggression, etc.). However, when someone gets an animal and then realizes it’s too much work and they don’t want to put in the time and effort, it angers me when they can so easily just give the animal away or bring it back to the pound. Do your research before adopting or buying a pet, please! They are a lot of work and you should be prepared for that! But their love is unconditional and irreplaceable, which is worth the extra work you need to put in. I know even when my pets pass away, I will always have dogs and cats in my life. It’s an unimaginable world without them!

The One with Memory Lane

Hello blogging world! I’m sure a lot has changed since the last time we saw each other.🙂

I’m positive no one is reading this, and that’s ok. This is more for my own indulgence than anything. A long time ago, I used to be very into the blog scene. I had two websites, Tigritsa.net which was my personal blog and Tahlmorra.net which was my collective. I started blogging and creating websites when I was roughly 13 years old. I started on page builders but quickly evolved to doing all my own HTML, PHP, graphics, etc. I don’t think I would even know where to begin if I tried all that now! I stopped blogging a long time ago. I’m not sure if I lost interest or time. Perhaps a little bit of both.

I’ve grown up a lot. Although I’ve written the odd private blog, basically as “diary entries” so I could vent, I haven’t been involved with blogs for 7 years! That feels like a life time ago! Lately, I’ve been having so many fond memories of when I had my websites and thought about starting one again, although with a much different purpose.

Back then, I wanted to make many friends with websites. Mostly, I ended up making acquaintances, and a small group of people I actually talked to a lot, e-mailed back and forth, chatted with on MSN, etc. I have somewhat kept in contact with one of those people to this day. I really wish I stayed in contact with all of them, even if it’s just having them as a friend on Facebook to see what they are up to. Nowadays, I just want to blog to get things off my chest, but most of all, just have the enjoyment of owning a blog again. Will I be getting back into graphics and scripts again? Doubtful! But just writing this post and taking a walk down memory lane has brought a smile to my face.

Until next time,

XOXO, Tigritsa