*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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.