And then the day comes, when they must fly...
Every loss to us is as painful as a personal pet's passing. They truly become part of our lives as we care for them day in and day out. The following are short messages from those who cared about them the most. Until we meet again, kids.
Gunnie came to HHR in January 2016 - a fortunate accident. A volunteer was picking up another chow at an overcrowded rural shelter in NC and noticed Gunnie too. If I had said no, Gunnie’s life would've ended that week. Gunnie was a special girl. She had cerebellar hypoplasia, a condition that caused her to wobble and spin and never truly grasp housebreaking. Gunzilla (as we often called her) plowed her way through life- forcing me to laugh even when clearly frustrated. She was the original hot mess express and we loved her unconditionally. Gunnie shared her home with many other Lifer dogs here on the farm- mostly the old dogs here for hospice care but the occasional jerk dog too. Even my old dogs accepted her into their very small circle. She was a friend to all and literally smiled every day of her life. Today Gunnie left this world unexpectedly. My heart is shattered again. She was the last of our HHR Lifer Dogs. Their little cottage is empty. So many souls have called that place home. Hug your pets. Get them the veterinary care they deserve. Cherish them. The days seem long sometimes but the years are far too short.Goodbye Gunnie girl. You were so loved.
Thunder came to HHR at the very beginning of the pandemic. He had previously been TNRed by a good friend, but had finally decided he wanted off the streets. At our very first vet visit (where we had to wait in the car), we learned that Thunder had a REALLY bad heart. After scans and other diagnostics, Thunder was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy- a severe case. That’s when he moved into the HHR Lifer House. For the last 3.5 years, Thunder had been monitored every 12 weeks by his cardiologist. He was a nightmare there, so he required lots of good meds to keep him from tearing up the techs. He’d been on upwards of 8 meds per day- rarely fighting me for any of it. He lived life on his terms and he lived it to the fullest. Thunder never showed any clinical signs of heart disease. Even when he went into A-Fib over the summer, Thunder never acted sickly. I always joked with his cardiologist that one of us should probably let Thunder know his heart was broken. He didn’t care. Thunder was rushed to the ER this evening for difficulty breathing. The plan was to stabilize him and let his doctors take over in the morning. After hours of failed attempts to stabilize, we made the heart wrenching decision to let him go. Thundaroo- you will always have a piece of my heart. Thank you for always living each day like it was your last. It was my honor to be your mom.
Some days in rescue, life is pretty unfair. We can’t possibly save them all, but we still keep trying day in and day out. Hundreds of animals pass though here each year and each one holds a special place. Phil came to HHR earlier this year having been rescued from the streets by a fellow rescuer. He was a beat up old tom cat- missing and rotted teeth, FIV+, flea infested, skinny as a rail- and with more personality than he knew what to do with. It was all packed in to his tiny 8 lb frame. Grandpa Phil (as he was affectionately known) called Mew Haven Cat Cafe his home. Several folks applied for Phil, but he wasn’t interested. He was the greeter, the food taster, and quite often the cafe bully. Phil was always the center of the action. His big head and tiny body were easily recognizable and you couldn’t help but like him. He didn’t give you any other options. Phillip came back to HHR last week for a vet visit. He had a mild URI and a mildly upset tummy. He started his meds was feeling better in record time. He couldn’t wait to fly the coop and get back to managing the cat cafe. We lost Phillip unexpectedly this morning. His foster mom found him unresponsive and rushed to the hospital, but it was too late and Phil was gone. Doc’s best guess is that Phil had a sudden cardiac episode. Cats are really good at hiding issues and sometimes there is no amount of money or testing that can predict these heartbreaking losses. To all who loved and cared for Phil, thank you for treating our kitties with such love and kindness. Please hug your fur babies extra tight today. Life is short and time is precious. Rest in peace Phil. We know you’ll bring lots of personality to the rainbow bridge.
Nearly two years ago my ACO friend called and asked if we ”could take a mean old cat” into HHR. I love the spicy cats so there wasn’t even a second of hesitation. Tammy Faye was hyperthyroid and in kidney failure. It wasn’t the cause of her bad attitude but it sure didn’t help. She was a mean old cat - swatting, slashing, growling- Tammy lived life on her own terms. Her only saving grace is that she was good with other cats. Tammy escaped once by climbing on top of a cage bank and tearing a hole in a screen more than 5 feet off the ground. Thanks to a kind neighbor, we found her nearly a mile away when she peeked in their window looking for food. When I pulled up in my truck to retrieve her, she was less than thrilled to see me. Ungrateful as always. We lost Tammy Faye today. Her endearing resting bitch face will forever be remembered here at HHR. She was one of a kind.