I've thought about not writing this.
Our intention when starting this blog was to share our day-to-day lives in the poverty well, to put two human faces on it. It means sharing the decisions we make, the barriers we confront, the silly things we do, our talents, our faults, even certain toilet habits.
The point was to bring home the reality of two lives in poverty and their struggles to maintain dignity and a sense of self-worth. If readers have been following this blog since it launched January 1st, they'll have already detected the inner conflicts, the desire and determination to maintain X and not do Y while ultimately having to do Y anyway, and then the struggle to adjust to the new reality. For life in the poverty well, it's forever a struggle to adjust.
The following I began yesterday, at 2:30 in the afternoon, as I waited for Daphne to arrive with a car to transport Kiltie and I to the SPCA.
I'm crying as I write this.
Kiltie and I have been together for ten years, ever since I rescued her when she was about eight weeks old.
Today, I can't keep doing it anymore. There's no money to have Kiltie go back to the vet, again, be examined, again, get x-rays and likely go to surgery. So I must do what I've dreaded having to do these past three years, since she first developed FLUTD. I've phoned Daphne and she's coming over. Together, we're going to the SPCA. They will take care of Kiltie in a way I can't. It's a no-kill, clean, caring shelter with lots of volunteers. I'm bringing the blanket Brodie uses so Kiltie will feel a sense of home; and a full prescription of Cipro that I've had standing by, just in case.
Last night was the first night without Kiltie. Emotionally exhausted, I slept 11 hours. Brodie and I cuddled more than usual, last night and again this morning.
Tonight or tomorrow night we may have Kiltie back. The lady at the SPCA - manager Sandi Trent, it turns out - said they'd prefer to keep Kiltie with me ... if it's possible; that they'd likely not be able to find Kiltie a new home, given her age and maybe needing special care.
Sandi said to leave Kiltie with them for a day or two and for me to call her later today. They'll get Kiltie vet-checked, monitor her condition and see what they can do to support her staying with me... And I'm crying all over again, dammit.
People who make the blanket declaration that poor people shouldn't have pets have no clue.
Did you pick up above that I rescued Kiltie? She's had ten years of life, a good life in a home where she has been much loved. Those ten years she likely wouldn't have had.
Kiltie and Brodie (I rescued him too*) have also been my lifeline. Too many times to count, their presence prevented my suicide. As a mother would feel about her children, I couldn't, wouldn't, leave my two furry companions without someone to care for them. They needed me, someone, to make sure they were alright. I'd wonder what would happen if I died and feared no one would take the two cats in; or if they did, it wouldn't be a good home and then they'd be abused or die.
Kiltie and Brodie are the only reasons I kept going through some terrible years, including the years I was doing the WISE project.
I will always need an animal companion. They help me maintain my humanity....
Which brings up the point of BC's anti-pets tenancy act. Rarely in this province can one find a rental unit - private, subsidized or public - that permits animal companions.
*Foolishly, in late 2000 I expected to become employed. Didn't want Kiltie to be alone all day, hence I got a second cat. Never did get anything but brief, contract or part-time employment.
ETA: It's 1:40pm and I've just spoken with Sandi at the SPCA using SkypeOut (as I did to contact Daphne - I haven't a phone). Kiltie's vet hasn't returned Sandi's call yet. Kiltie hasn't eaten since she arrived but there's also been no vomiting. Sandi will keep her there another day. We're both thinking Kiltie may not be eating due to stress (as her human). If she still hasn't eaten by tomorrow afternoon, Sandi may take her home to her place and put her in a room of her own so she might settle down. Either way, there's two of us now concerned with Kiltie's health and I feel relieved Kiltie is in good, caring hands.
See also this and this follow-up.