Haven’t blogged in a while. Hope it’s not depression creeping back (one of the signs is losing interest in things you used to enjoy, but everyone reading this probably knows that); I think it’s just the insanely busy month I’ve had. Lots of late nights, but it’s hard to complain when I still find time to make it to every day of JazzFest, as I’ve done for years. Not the greatest JF, IMHO, but more on that later.
Now I’m motivated to post just to get a little sadness out there. We found out recently that McGuire has the Cancer. This will be our 3rd pet lost within a year, when we only started with 4. Slim died last June, and WhoopyCat in January. McGuire will be the toughest for E. She had him and WC before we met (in fact, my allergies to them stalled our relationship a bit–she would have been my roommate right when I started grad school if she didn’t have them or if I wasn’t allergic), but Whoopy was never the lap cat McGuire is. E can’t be in the house for 5 min before Mc is on her lap. It’s only gotten more that way since he went blind shortly after our return from Katrina.
We thought he’d die about 4 years ago when, after a lifetime of being a big old cat, he started losing weight fast. We decided against invasive treatment and went with steroids, which did the trick, obviously. But then a few weeks ago, we noticed his leg was swelling, and we took him in for a general update. Dr. Matt found a tumor in his leg that disrupted the circulation, and they diagnosed him with plasmacytosis, basically leukemia. He’s still fairly comfortable and can get around ok, but we’re watching for the signal. It’ll be a bad day when that comes. E’ll be a wreck, but she’s kept a good perspective on these last 4 years being lagniappe.
Then last night after we got home from JF, another sad event. We heard a thud on the back of the house. I heard a whiny sound and climbed the ladder to the roof over the back of the house where the sound was coming from. In the dim light, I saw a young raccoon, who apparently had fallen from the huge pecan tree that goes over the roof. I can’t take the sound of suffering animals, and I’ve broken a few necks when I’ve found something I couldn’t help or get help to. In this case, E and I decided to leave the young coon alone to see if its mother could do something. We later heard a couple more thuds and at one point saw the mother (I assume it’s the mother, but at least a large adult) come to the fork in the tree and call out (again, I’m assuming it was calling, but it at least made a noise directed toward the house) and come snoop around the ground. We’ve never seen these raccoons anywhere but in the tree. I don’t know if she could have figured out how to get to the roof safely, but we decided not to intervene, for fear that we would really doom the youngster by scaring the mom. Well, this morning I went out and found the young one dead on the roof. In retrospect, I wish I’d killed it right then so that it didn’t suffer as long as it did. I told it I was sorry and then bagged it up and threw it away (I don’t have a drive to be ceremonious about the dead, including myself).
This really made me sad, for the dead one but also for the mother. I haven’t read the whole thing, but the book “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” notes that the reason is that although other animals have a flight-fight response to danger, they don’t anticipate it and dread it, as humans do. Regardless of the instinct involved, this raccoon’s mother sure seemed to be searching and trying to help, and I can’t help but think that she at least temporarily has some sadness, even if it’s just an innate drive to protect her young. I don’t think I could’ve helped, but this is the kind of thing that I cry about.