Well, I have lost two more of my fur babies, Courtney and Cordelia. Obviously, it’s been a tough year and a half. So many of my animals came into my home within a about a two year span of time. I brought them in without a thought to the extra burden and cost of increasing the size of my herd. To me, it was a matter of life and death for them and I simply couldn’t turn away.
I euthanized Courtney on January 12th. She had been given a diagnosis in December that limited how long she would survive. Because of all of the ones that proceeded her, I didn’t take her to the vet when she started breathing noisily. I initially thought it was an upper respiratory infection. I used my go to remedy, the Vicks vaporizer. It didn’t work. She wasn’t sneezing, her eyes and nose weren’t runny. Deep down I knew it was something else, something that I hadn’t encountered previously. I took her to my vet and she was diagnosed with upper respiratory and given clavamox. I told the vet I didn’t feel it was an upper respiratory infection, but that was the diagnosis. I took her back a few week s later, having only succeeded in getting one dose down her. She spent about a week at the vet’s office, being treated for a bad eye infection that was the result of her nasal area becoming seriously swollen. She was also treated for an upper respiratory infection. When I brought her home, the swelling had decreased a bit, her eye was better but the “snurfling/snoring” sound that had originally alerted me that there was a problem. In a few weeks I took her to a specialist. She was given a “CAT scan.” The diagnosis was what I had expected all along – nasopharyngeal cancer. There was nothing that could be done. Since she was still eating, I took her home. That was on December 29th. On January 12th, she had seizures and I rushed her to my vet to put her down. No doubt that the cancer had reached her brain and caused her seizures.
Courtney came into my life when I trapped her and her littermates, Chaz, Charlie and Charlise. Her littermates tamed up pretty quickly and became little love muffins. Courtney just wouldn’t come around. I was pretty new to taming feral kittens and I didn’t always succeed. I kept these kittens instead of taking them back to where they were trapped because I had trapped another sister earlier. I got her spayed and returned her. She died within a week. I felt horribly guilty and didn’t want the same fate for these little ones. When Chaz came down with something soon after I had fixed the entire litter, I took them to my vet. The diagnosis was calicivirus. Little did I know the far reaching effects of this disease. After about a year, Courtney surprised me one day by rolling over on the bed and exposing her belly. There is nothing more tempting to me than the soft tummy of a kitty. She let me rub her belly, her soft, soft fur. With no further ado, she was tame and for the rest of her life truly loved being petted and stroked. She never became fond of being picked up and held, however. In the last weeks of her life, however, she came to tolerate my holding her and seemed somewhat comforted by it. Courtney would have been 13 this year.
Cordelia crossed my path in 1998. I was driving home from the hospital, having spent the night in the Sleep Disorder Clinic. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, having had electrodes stuck to my head. As I drove down Orange Avenue I saw two dogs simply nonchalantly walking down the sidewalk. It was around 7 AM and I knew traffic would pick up dramatically within an hour. Cordelia was a tiny puppy, probably no more than 4 or 5 months old. With her was a large dog who was marked like a Rottweiler but had long curly hair like a cocker spaniel. He had a long linked chain that trailing behind him. Needless to say, I pulled over and opened up the back of my Jeep. I stepped on the chain to keep the larger dog from bolting and grabbed the puppy. I put her in my car and she walked from the back to the front passenger seat and curled up on the pillow I had taken with me to the sleep clinic. I picked up the other dog and put him in the car as well. I already had two other dogs that I had rescued earlier at home. We headed home and both dogs just chilled out as I drove. Neither dog had any identification. I tried to find the owner, placing an ad in the Found Classifieds in the paper, calling area vets and even talking to kids who lived in the neighborhood where I picked up both dogs. No luck. I felt certain that I could talk one of the rescue groups in Orlando to take them and find homes for them. However, the large dog that I named Cuinn developed a cough. When I took him to the vet, he was diagnosed with heartworms. By the time I paid for his treatment and nursed him through it, I realized Cuinn was staying with me. He and the puppy, whom I named Cordelia, were so bonded that I couldn’t stand the thought of separating them.
|This is Celia on the left & Cordelia on the right|
Cordelia was named for a character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That character was my least favorite character. She was arrogant, nasty and downright mean. My Cordelia had none of those characteristics, but she was a little devil dog. She would constantly find a way to escape from the fence around the backyard. And, it wasn’t just her. She managed to bring everyone with her – Celie, Cuinn and even Caleb sometimes. I live less than a block off Orange Avenue, which has really heavy traffic nearly 24/7. Because she was an amazing escape artist, I decided to take her and her partner in crime, Celie, to obedience classes. Cordelia was the best pupil. She was the first to succeed at each training exercise. I have had many dogs throughout my life who had varying degrees of intelligence, but Cordelia was, by far, the smartest dog I have ever known. She outsmarted more times than I’d like to admit. I don’t know her heritage, but it was pretty clear that she had pit bull in her. Pitties have such a bad reputation. Judging from Cordelia, that reputation is not deserved. She loved everyone she met, she would take treats from me so gently and she was also gentle with the cats, often cleaning their ears or letting them groom her. She was also one the silliest, goofiest dogs I’ve ever had.
Cordelia was diagnosed with lymphoma in November. Unfortunately there was no way to treat this –neither surgery nor cancer treatment. I had noticed lumps at the base of her lower jaw. The vet found other masses in the other lymph nodes in her body. We put her on pain meds and steroids, which helped somewhat. In the last month it was obvious that she was going downhill. Her energy level had diminished greatly and she wouldn’t finish her food each night. The one thing she did look forward to was cleaning the cat bowls at dinner time. I didn’t see any reason in prolonging this downhill slide and euthanized her on February 16th. When I dropped her body off at the crematory, I picked up Courtney’s ashes. Cordelia's spirit and joy for life will stay with me as will her strength of character. She was certainly one of a kind.