This is the face that will make me empty my savings account, give up sleep, renounce atheism and just about anything else that will make him be alive and healthy and happy.
Ollie (Oliver) came to me 4 years ago this summer, from a lovely lady (Gwen) who volunteers with the Toronto Humane Society’s foster care program. Foster parents care for animals that are too young for the shelter, until they’re old enough to adopt. Gwen has a wonderful circle of animal loving friends though, and has a near-perfect record of finding ‘Forever Homes’ for her babies without them having to return to the shelter. And I was blessed with Ollie =o)
On Friday night my sweet kitty was being his perfectly normal self – on Saturday morning he was lying on his side, unable to breathe and totally unresponsive.
We didn’t know what was going on and rushed him to our vet. Our vet took one look at him and urged us to get him to an emergency hospital ASAP. The triage nurse at the hospital took him from us and we began a long and miserable wait. When the vet finally came for us we discovered what had happened; Ollie had heart disease. We are very lucky, in many cases the first sign of heart disease in a cat is that they die without warning. Our tough little guy was still hanging in there, if barely.
I would never wish it on anyone to be in a position of trying to absorb really bad news, be filled with grief and anxiety for a loved one and simultaneously be doing mental financial acrobatics to figure out how the hell they are going to pay for this. I am grateful for the health care system here in Canada – at least I know I will never go through this for a human family member. With Ollie it was bad enough.
If you have ever had a savings account with ING Direct here is a sweet story – I phoned them in hysterics and needed access to my entire savings account right away. They gave me a 24 hour period during which there were no withdrawal limits on my card. I used it to pull out everything for the emergency clinic. I’ve never been grateful to a bank, but there you go – whoever spoke to me on the phone had a heart and I owe them a lot. I called my best friend, who came over straight away and who ended up having to put the last thousand on her credit card, for which I am forever grateful.
At 2 am we got to bring Ollie home, he was feeling better, I could tell because he was giving the staff hell. He is a one-owner cat, and very very attached to me. As soon as I had him in my arms he was a purr-monkey again. He had to go back to the vet first thing Monday for an examination and chest ultrasound, where they confirmed his condition as Feline Cardio Myopathy and started us on the meds that he will need for the rest of his life. His long term prognosis is very positive.
Ollie (and Tito, and myself) send a huge thank you to Kris and Kev for being there in a pinch for us, Shannyn for letting me cry on her at 1 in the morning, Yvette who would have sold her house to come up with the money, the beautiful ladies at the Purple Purl, the person who took my call at ING Direct, Mom and Dad and all the amazing friends on FB who prayed for us and let me know that he isn’t just a cat – he’s a member of our family and it touched me beyond words to see how everyone pulled together for him. With support like that he’ll be with us for years to come =o)
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
~ Anatole France