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.