Wednesday, 16 July 2008

My Dad

My dad rescued cats. He rescued HUNDREDS of cats. Not everyone understood, some thought him nuts, obsessed or some other psycho-babble. At times he was fostering more than 10 cats at his trailer-park home. But the fact is, he was an immensely compassionate and caring man. He had time for animals and time for people who were kind to animals. But he was also a very angry man; full of pain and anger about people who let their cats have kittens, angry at people who did not see kitty as a life-long responsibility and enraged at people who were knowingly careless or cruel.

Like many of us, he chose to 'do his bit', to do what he could to alleviate the suffering dished out to felines from 'human stupidity' (his words). Of course, he would also take cats who outlived their guardians. Now there are four cats he was fostering that need homes, as his last four have outlived him and gone back to save-a-pet.

My Dad lost his appetite after the sudden death of his brother (and only sibling) a couple months ago. After an MRI he received a diagnosis and did not elect treatment - just like he said he would. I LEARNED stubborn from him! His last time out of bed was to feed the cats one week ago. When he knew his cats would be safe, he moved to Niagara Hospice and after a stay of just 5 days, passed on. If all our pets go to the Rainbow Bridge when they leave us in sickness or early death, is that where their family goes too?

My Dad was really frustrated with stupid pet laws (no mandatory de-sexing, discrimination against renters with pets, too easy to get a pet etc.) and 'idiots' (his word). He chose to alleviate his frustration with the daily loving care of discarded pets. I too am frustrated with stupid pet laws and I choose to keep only my 15 year old cat and border collie Pema and work politically to make it easier to keep a pet, and make it harder to obtain a pet.

My Dad always told me he was proud of me and that makes me happy. I am proud of my Dad, and he has taken his caring one huge step further. He dedicated his body to medical research at the Uni of Buffalo. He always joked that they would fight over his fit body when they got it at the lab. My Dad worked in surgeries for years, and I bet, right now, as his body is disassembled for the benefit of other people, he is a happy and satisfied soul - and I bet he is purring.


Anonymous said...

My husband and I worked with your Dad for many years in Save-A-Pet. He became a dear friend. We have David's four cats. Three have adjusted very well, one is still a little shy. We want to keep them with us and keep them together. We want to do this for David.

I was cat officer for 6 years, a volunteer for many more. I had a massive heart attack and 5 by-passes. Your Dad was such a help to me. We all spent hours together at fund-raisers, Pick-A-Pet adoption shows, transporting animals to spay/neuter clinics and board meetings.

Your Dad has left a hole in our lives that is impossible to fill. We were so grateful for all his work for the animals and privileged to call him our friend. J&D K.

Anonymous said...

Your dad, David Zey, was a friend through Save-A-Pet. He was always there to help with the hands-on work and transport work and in so many ways that he became the support person that so many of our team depended on. If he ever told you that he "just helped out," he would truly be underestimating his impact on our group -- we will sorely miss him, not just for what he did for us, but also for the person he was.

He was SO proud of you and would talk about "his daughter in Australia" when he had the chance. From him I got the idea that you were a free-spirited, adventurous and courageous young woman, and whereas some parents might want to haul in offspring like that, he seemed to be full of admiration for all you've accomplished.

Dave touched the hearts of his friends in Save-A-Pet, and he will be remembered as a special person.

Sincerely,C.H. Save-A-Pet president

Anonymous said...

I'm one of the cat officers for Save-A-Pet of Niagara county. I just wanted to let you know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. We feel as if we all know you because your Dad always talked about you and even told us to look up your web site online. Your tribute to your Dad was so touching and that was what he was about.

Their were many different phrases that your dad would repeat that would encourage us as volunteers.For example, "we choose to do this" and my favorite "we can't save them all" as much as we would love to save them all we would get frustrated at times and he would always have something to say that put everything in perspective for us.

Yesterday was our monthly pet show, it was all too quiet. Your Dad was the one who would greet people and talk to everyone, make coffee for us volunteers, set-up the cat cages, put the signs out front and give us encouragement when he thought that we needed it.

We will continue on in our rescue group pausing as needed to hear your Dads sayings. He is sadly missed by many and we will continue to carry on in the best interests of cat and dog responsible ownership. L.P.

Anonymous said...

Dear Eedra,

I am so sorry for your loss. Your father is and will be very missed by so many. Yesterday, it really hit me that we will no longer see his infectious smile or hear his quick wit. Usually he was one of the first to be there to help set up for our monthly pick a pet show and greet the visitors.

He truly was a godsend to our organization and to so many animals. He always spoke of you with pride and I'm sure he is so happy that you carry on his quest to help the animals.

joekay said...

Your father was known for many things he did for animals but I will miss him on the holidays.He was funny and always had nice things to say and was truely interested in who people are.Weather it was having a beer with dinner or making sure there was coffee afterwards he was fun to be around.He will be missed.My thoughts and prayers are with him and the whole family.

Your cousin,
Ralph's son,
Joe Kawalerowski

Anonymous said...


I'm so sorry about Uncle Dave. I'm going to miss him very much. He was so much fun to be around because he loved to laugh, even when he was the butt of the joke. We'll miss him at our family gatherings!

We'd love to see you. Maybe you'll come for a visit soon!

Your cousin, Mary Ellen