FIRE!

fire truck

fire truck

i was at my computer, typing away when a coworker had gotten word that there was a structure fire in dotsero which was where she resided, as well as me, and she asked if it was ok if she went and drove towards home to make sure everything was ok.  i picked up the phone and dialed 911 communications to find out more information before i  hit the road.  i had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach tho, as i knew that trailers were notorious for fires, especially older ones. mine is fairly new, about 2001-2002.  communications told me that it was believed to be trailer numbers 29 and 30.  they weren’t sure where they were located in the park ,and neither was i.  the park layout is two rows, and towards the end of the two rows, where my trailer was located, there was a basket ball court/play area for the kids in between the two rows of trailers.

my heart was pounding in my throat as i headed  out myself, with my bosses approval.  again, all i could think about were the few pets i had left!i drove cautiously as i knew that unsafe driving and speeding wouldn’t help anything; i needed to arrive in one piece.  the lump in my throat growing bigger as i got closer to “home.  getting closer and on the highway, i could start to see wifs of smoke and our trailer court literally lies next to the highway so as i got closer to home, state highway patrolmen were pulled over on the side of the road to get keep an eye on traffic and get us to move into the lane furthest from the fire.  (the trailers on fire were literally a stone’s throw from the fire.  but driving by it, all you could pretty much make out was a black structure and lots of flames being whipped by the wind.

i pulled off the exit and onto the access road that goes back up to the park.  the park manager and others were out directing traffic, so to speak, they weren’t allowing anyone to drive into the trailer park for obvious reasons.  and she said they weren’t allowing people in either. i sat in my car scared, worried, etc, ’til  i eventually found out that i could drive up a second backroad that travels along back behind the trailers in my row.  there is also a road that goes up to the volcano, and you can take a cut off off of that, but it was blocked by a city truck, and so i got as far as i could with my car and started walking.

burned trailers

burned trailers

this was a challenge ’cause i was in flip flops and it was rocky and sandy.  i eventually got to the trailer, changed shoes and got Shyler, my dog, and one of the cats into a crate.   i would have to go back for the other two.  i also grabbed my cell phone charger and my camera (other then the pets, those seemed like the two most important things at that moment that i needed/wanted)   smoke was pouring off the fires and blowing right into our trailers and it was awful!! (wind blowing it from the east to west and the way the trailers sit i imagine) i was concerned about smoke inhalation with the pets if i didn’t get them out, and with the way the winds were picking up, i was also worried that if i didn’t evacuate them….what if it were to get worse and leap from trailer to trailer?

the first run back to the car with the crate and Shyler weren’t too bad.  i deposited them in the car safe, and locked it.  then headed back for the other two cats.

Ashley was being difficult and hard to catch.  it felt like forever to catch her!  and if i had of thought it out more clearly, i would have left Merry here and taken Bethany previously when i walked out with Shyler because that way i wouldn’t have been carrying the two heaviest cats at the same time back out!

the walk back with the two kitties, and crates, was long. i was carrying about 20 lbs of cat, plus crates, on a mountainside and i will be the first to admit i am far from being in ok shape.  i would walk a bit and then stop, set them down, and catch my breath.  pick them up, walk til i could no more, set them down, and rest again.  i would estimate that it was about a mile back from my trailer to where i parked the car.  not really that far.  but i was going back uphill also.  a few people here and there, were walking back into the trailer the same way i came.  on breaks, i could see a little bit more as to what was going on.  there were several fire trucks, and a variety of city trucks that brought in water.  at one point, it looked like they were almost flooding the street, but i couldn’t tell for sure.

three vehicles were lost.  dunno how old this trailer was.  there was also alot of refuse as well as storage sheds in the yard.

three vehicles were lost. dunno how old this trailer was. there was also alot of refuse as well as storage sheds in the yard.

two men came walking heading the opposite direction of me, and asked me if i was ok.  i said yes and they continued on.  i was planning to take my time getting back to the car, and was over halfway there, now.  but the biggest hill was up ahead and i was about the forth of the way up it, when i noticed the same two guys heading back.  one was the brother of the trailer park manager and they went ahead and grabbed the two crates.  they had one truck parked up at the head of where the cutoff came off of the road up to the volcano, and he put the crate with bethany in the back of his truck while me and the other boy, actually, cared the other crate to my car which was further up ahead.  the truck came down the road and i met it on the side of the road and the gentleman transferred bethany over to by my car.  i said thank you, and was very relieved to have everyone safe back at my car.  i climb in and headed out of the park.  another fire truck pulled onto the access road to the park, and i pulled over to let it have free and clear access of the road.  this is when i took the opportunity to let myself  have a minor emotional breakdown!  then pulled myself together and headed onto the highway.

i grabbed something to eat and headed back to work.  the cats spent about 2 1/2 hours in my car, and Shyler was able to go back into the office with me.  had we not been let back into the park tonight, my boss said that i could crash in one of the apartments there in the building and showed me one of the rooms, as well as letting me know where the key was for it.

fortunately, we are back home.

i don’t care what anyone says! today was a scary day!  it doesn’t have to be your trailer or your home that’s on fire, just the imminent threat is scary enough and when the only family you have is back inside that home, and being threatened, it’s scary.  i and the animals had already been thru so much over the last few months!  and i could tell as i started walking out with the crates, the expressions on the kitties faces were “oh no!  here we go again!”  the only benefit this time, was that i was able to get them out and Shyler out, and make sure that they were all safe.  i was determined!

the second damaged trailer.  i watched tonight as the young couple that live in this one were working on trying to salvage anything they could from inside.

the second damaged trailer. i watched tonight as the young couple that live in this one were working on trying to salvage anything they could from inside.

i feel terrible for the two families who have pretty much lost everything.  i understand another family has taken them into their trailer here in the park.  i have no idea as to who they are or anything.  the 2nd trailer that’s still standing, i watched as the young couple tried to find anything they could to salvage.  i felt so sorry for them; so young, and their trailer doesn’t look that old either.  it’s just so fortunate that no one was hurt, and it doesn’t appear that any animals, as far as i know, were injured either.

when we got back home, Merry seemed a bit topsy turvy over everything and spent some time crying once released back into the trailer.  Ashley doesn’t do well for long periods of time in crates, and messed on herself.  she got a very much needed but unwanted bath shortly after we got home.

ashley running from me after bath: apparently afraid i might have some other trick up my sleeve!

Ashley running from me after bath: apparently afraid i might have some other trick up my sleeve!

now we have all calmed down.  i’m pretty much exhausted.  i returned to a worksite where things were mess with issues with all of our computer and network systems which made for a very frustrating afternoon for everyone.  just damn glad we are all safe!!  please keep the people’s who homes burned down in your prayers tonight.  thank you!

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FALL OUT

*This and a few following posts, the exact number unknown at this time, are a retelling as accurate as I can give of the several recent dramatic events of my life which have been full of some of the most traumatic experiences that I have ever made it through, but which also  lead to some of the most profound and startling realizations and epiphanies of my life.  While these entries are not directly about animals themselves, the animals in my own life were impacted greatly by the events that occurred, as well as many of these events causing me to examine the predicaments of  the various animals that come into “shelters” and animal control centers everywhere.  I have chosen to be brutally honest, and realize while some may judge me, others will appreciate my honesty and hopefully a few will maybe learn something from my experiences.   The specifics of which ALL  will come to be revealed in the the telling of my story.*

two days later i received a text from the trailer park manager where I lived.  she said that we needed to go over some things: needed to talk.  which as many of us already know, is never a good sign.  i had a knot in the pit of my stomach.  we set a time to talk after work that friday afternoon.  i would stop by her trailer on my way home.  she had also inquired via text, how i was doing and how things were looking.  i texted back that i was hanging in there, and had already made the decision to surrender two of my dogs, and four of the cats living with me to local rescues.  she said that was good, and that we would talk further friday afternoon.

i numbly went thru life the following day and half or so, trying not to think about the discussion that was to come.  the papers on the trailer, declaring me owner had not been signed, and i knew that that very much put the ball in the owner’s court; that just made me even more nervous.  i could only imagine what was to come.

conceitedwoman

that friday came, and after work, i made my way home, the pit of dread in my gut growing with each mile that brought me closer.

the trailer park manager ushered me into her home, and we sat down at a table to talk.  she read to me a “statement” that the trailer owner had forwarded to her.  the demands were simple: i was to reduce my fur family to two dogs or cats, and to clean the trailer from top to bottom.  the trailer park manager would come in and take before and after pictures to document any damage beforehand, and to show improvements after.

i told her that i disagreed with the whole premise of reducing my fur family.  i explained that i didn’t have anyone else in my life, and that they WERE my family as the way i saw it.  after further discussion she conceded to allow me to have 3 cats and one dog, and then to see how things went for a few months’ and maybe another two cats could be moved back home to me.

Aslan: special needs kitty, minor mascot of Planet Kitty, and one of the cats to be affected by the demands of the trailer park.

Aslan: special needs kitty, minor mascot of Planet Kitty, and one of the cats to be affected by the demands of the trailer park.

i left her home begrudgingly agreeing to the terms.  what could i do?  the closing papers on the trailer had not been signed between me and the owner, and due to recent unemployment, i was behind on lot rent and trailer payments.  the ball was fully in his court.  if i were to disagree any way whatsoever with the terms, i and then all the fur babies would be homeless.  at least if i agree to the initial terms, it was possible for me to continue to provide a home for some of my fur family.

i drove the rest of the way home.  stormed into the trailer, thru my things down, and broke into tears.  i was furious with my sister, and with friends who had taken her side of the issue.  not only had my sister’s allegations of being a hoarder affected my personal reputation in the rescue circles, but it had quite could have made both me and my own personal pets homeless.  what was wrong with her??? why couldn’t she THINK before she ACTED??!! i had pleaded with her over the phone from jail to contact a fellow animal lover i knew to see if they could care for my animals for a few days.  my sisters could have moved my dogs temporarily to the local shelter who had said they would care for them for a few days, and then a friend could have fed the cats.  but no she responded.  she “would not subject someone else to the condition of the house”

please allow me to interject again, here, that prior to them coming up, i had warned my sisters that due to recent severe bouts of depression from being unemployed that things had gotten away from me at the house and that the trailer needed work; that the litterboxes needed cleaning; that the trash needed to be collected and taken out; that overall all the house needed a good thorough overhaul cleaning-wise.  the depression that i had experienced while being unemployed had been severe.  many a night i had spent on the crisis hotline talking to someone to get me thru the night.  i had been denied unemployment and was completely penniless; i literally didn’t know how i was going to get from one day to the next and some days i didn’t get out of bed except to do the bare minimum for the animals and to let the dogs out.  the county i lived in had classified my food stamp application as critical and had gotten me food stamps in less than a week.  i had no money for pet food and had previously reached out to a local pet food which stocked me up for quite some time.  as far as gas for my vehicle, i limited my trips everywhere, and the salvation army had occasionally refilled my tank to get me to a couple of job interviews.

enemy within: my sister.

enemy within: my sister.

the oldest of my two sisters, knew of my predicament; she was FULLY AWARE!  she had spent time on the phone with me various nights calming me down from my depressed, and yet anxious state of mind. she had been a comfort, attempting to sooth me during the hell i was going thru, and yet this same sister; my sister, who had SERIOUS hoarding issues of her own: to the point where her husband had issued an ultimatum that either she went or her stuff just some time prior to all this; had gone all intervention happy and decided that this was the time to intervene and put a stop to my so called “unhealthy animal hoarding” lifestyle-while i was in jail and could do absolutely nothing; had absolutely no ability whatsoever to rectify the current state of my trailer which had been made worse due to a period of incarceration!!

to say i was enraged that friday evening of March 15, 2013 was putting it mildly.  i called my sister on the phone;  calling her out for the hell i was being put thru; not only could me and my pets have wound up homeless-could still wind up homeless but it was also compromising the future lives of the animals that i still had in my care who were considered special needs.

Tony. My mom's cat who my sisters moved to rescue while i was in jail.

Tony. My mom’s cat who my sisters moved to rescue while i was in jail.

my sister made no apologies for her actions, and even implied that i had a “reputation” with others in the rescue field.  i asked her who she was speaking of and she implied it was someone associated with Best Friends.  i told her to fuck off and  hung up.  that would be the last time i would speak with my sister as far as i was concerned.

i attempted a phone call to a friend for support.  unfortunately, i called the wrong friend.  they sided with my sister’s actions and i hung up on them.  i later released some of my rage towards them on their facebook page, and they have since unfriended me.  how could they make such a rush to judgement?  how could one person, a family member no less, do so much damage in a matter of a few days?  how could they react so rashly and not think about their actions before they took them?  especially someone who was a so called “cat lover” themselves? how could this same sister tell me just last summer that she just knew i was the right person to take of mom’s cat Tony and that i would do right by him to now being accused of being a hoarder?  nothing had changed between last summer and now; i had the same number of cats now that i had then.  just exactly who was being irrational here?

Sherlock: one of my personal pets, who was also affected by the recent events. Sherlock was fostered by someone who has now decided he's not a good fit for them, and we are working on finding him another home.

Sherlock: another one of my personal pets, who was also affected by the recent events. Sherlock was fostered by someone who has now decided he’s not a good fit for them, and we are working on finding him another home.

i knew that my sister’s beliefs where animals were concerned, could be a bit antiquated in general.  rather than letting her 20 some year old kitty be humanely put to sleep, she allowed her to suffer thru the terrible last days of kidney failure; something that i personally had wanted to give her a good tongue lashing for, but kept my thoughts to myself.

i was a depressed, raging, desperate, emotional mess that night.  i texted the trailer park manager; begging to be allowed to at least keep five kitties rather than just three.  i texted that i had already tried to pop a vein in my arm in jail, and i probably wasn’t above trying it again if that’s what it would take to keep my fur babies.  she apologized and texted that she was doing all she could to help me, and that i really needed to talk to someone if i wanted to hurt myself.

i then picked the phone and dialed the hotline and once again was put in touch with a crisis counselor; they talked me down and helped me regain some calm; at least for the moment. our time on the phone was a good 45 minutes.  somewhat soothed, i hung up the phone.

i wanted to just go hide in bed.  i wanted that comfort of my cats and dogs curling up against me and on top of me and to hide from the world; their weight was my comfort.

Moose.  one of my cats.  a fan favorite of Planet Kitty, and one of the first affected by the events.

Moose. one of my cats. a fan favorite at Planet Kitty, and one of the first affected by events.

i crawled into bed and pulled the covers up around me.  various kitties took their usual spots; around me and on top.  Shyler, my one dog left, curled up next to the bed on the floor.

“how could i choose?” i thought to myself.  “how was i supposed to decide who now stays and who goes to some strange shelter or rescue where they could even be determined to be less adoptable and possible euthanized?  and how would i go on without my babies?

the emotions, frustration and anger, once again whirled up inside me and i once again began crying hard.  hard….. buried in my fur-babies.

Pannda another special needs kitty of mine, who was moved along with Aslan to a rescue in southern Colorado who specializes in special needs animals.  Pannda and Aslan are close buds.

Pannda another special needs kitty of mine, who was moved along with Aslan to a rescue in southern Colorado who specializes in special needs animals. Pannda and Aslan are close buds.

Decisions

*This and a few following posts, the exact number unknown at this time, are a retelling as accurate as I can give of the several recent dramatic events of my life which have been full of some of the most traumatic experiences that I have ever made it through, but which also  lead to some of the most profound and startling realizations and epiphanies of my life.  While these entries are not directly about animals themselves, the animals in my own life were impacted greatly by the events that occurred, as well as many of these events causing me to examine the predicaments of  the various animals that come into “shelters” and animal control centers everywhere.  I have chosen to be brutally honest, and realize while some may judge me, others will appreciate my honesty and hopefully a few will maybe learn something from my experiences.   The specifics of which ALL  will come to be revealed in the the telling of my story.*

Kelly Jo in happier days with fellow Planet Kitty cat Merry.

Kelly Jo in happier days with fellow Planet Kitty cat Merry.

i had been to the Eagle County Shelter before.  it was a no kill facility, but didn’t post the adoptables on Petfinder, which I had issues with.  the reputation was a good one tho, and i knew that my pets were in good hands.  i was anxious to get things in order tho, and depart.

the control officer wanted to speak with me first, and i waited, growing even more anxious.

2 dogs and four of my cats were in his keep.  he said they were all doing great.  he felt that two of my dogs,  Ave’ and Kelly, were a bit on the thin side, and i explained how they had recently recovered from a bout of giardia.  giardia is a bacteria that’s fairly common in colorado and is easily picked up by both dogs and cats.  once it’s in their system, it can be difficult to get rid of.     i had been working on getting them back up to par for some time.  once a dog picks up the bacteria, it is with them forever, and can flair up for no reason. .

i explained this too him and he understood.  he gave me some requirements as far as getting everyone updated on rabies vaccinations, and said he would “check back in” with me as to how everyone was doing come april.

i had been thinking alot about Kelly Jo and her circumstances while I was in jail, and I had also been thinking about Ave’.  Ave’, being a border collie mix, loved to stay busy and had developed the habit of “herding” the kitties at times.  because of this, i had previously been considering re-homing her on a ranch where she could be taught further herding skills, but would also be kept as an inside dog when not working.  i just didn’t feel it was fair to her to be kept in the house all day without much to do, and what with recent events, I had now been thinking about Kelly Jo and what would be best for her as well.

Ave' Maria who could be a bit shy

Ave’ Maria who could be a bit shy

i spoke to shawn about my concerns about both dogs, and that i had made the decision to find better homes for them.  he said that they were full, and wouldn’t be able to help me with my decision for a few weeks.  i explained i just couldn’t bear to take Kelly Jo back home and have to place her in the kennel when I went to work the next day after what she’d already been thru.  i also felt it would be more cruel to send them home with me, and then have them have to go thru further trauma of having to be separated from me again, not to mention that it would make things alot more difficult for me as well; emotionally.  i just couldn’t bear the idea of having to look into their faces a few weeks down the road; and then leaving them behind.  it was far too cruel.  not to mention having to make Kelly Jo have to face being in the kennel while i was at work.

shawn stepped out for a minute, and came back saying that they could go ahead and keep the two dogs.  i decided to keep my third dog, Shyler, because being a Newfoundland mix, she sleeps alot and is much more mellow overall.  being at home during the day wasn’t difficult for her since she slept so much.

the four kitties were rounded up , and along with Shyler, were loaded into my little car.  Pannda, Ashley, Moose, and Bethany all looked pretty shaken up.  they also all cried the ride home, but were relieved to return to familiar surroundings once home.

rather than transfer the kitties from the rescues crates to mine, Shawn felt it was better to just let me use theirs.  he would retrieve them later.

i was an emotional mess!  i had just relinquished two members of my furry family, and was deeply shaken.  once home, i fed everyone and went and hid in bed.  no cleaning done.  no trying to correct the evidence of what had occurred in the trailer over the last few days.  i just wanted to climb into bed with my furrbabies around me.  it gave me security.  the kitties would climb into different crevices of the blankets on the bed, and Ashley always perched on top on my hip.

one of the many pile ups i have always found so comforting

one of the many pile ups i have always found so comforting

this time, there were missing bodies tho.  Kelly Jo usually joined me and the cats on the bed, and Ave’ was always at my right hand against the bed sleeping.  those two missing bodies left me feeling a bit hollow, but then i thought of the blood on the living rooms walls and knew that i had done right by both Kelly and Ave’.

i would not sleep well thru the night.  i had not taken some of my medication and that lead to dreams about the dogs and imaginings of what they had gone thru while i was in jail.  other images that came to mind were the cats fleeing in terror while animal control was in here chasing them.  i woke up feeling almost as exhausted as i had when i lied down.   i couldn’t crawl back under the covers and hide, tho.  i had to get up, shower, and get to my recently new job.

i climbed into the shower and took comfort in the hot water.  i looked forward to returning to the new job, and hopefully some sense of routine returning to my life after the previous 4 days, and the loss of my two dogs.  however, what was up ahead of me just a couple of days down the road, was anything but “routine”.