Chester: The first thing that came up when I got to Barbara’s house on that Sunday was that she had decided to have her beloved cat, Chester put to sleep the next day. Chester was resting on her lap as he always did. He was such a good cat but he was very old and getting very sick.
He was peeing all over the place and didn’t look well. I fed it some vanilla ice cream and as much canned food as he wanted the first night I was there. Barb’s handyman and good friend Larry brought him to her vet in the morning. It was time. Chester kept her company through a lot of ups and downs. Larry loved Chester too and stayed with him while he was put to sleep.
Nellie: In addition to her sick cat, Chester, Barbara has a rescued Springer Spaniel named Nellie. She is a sweet loving older dog and she bonded with me right away. The same day that Larry took Chester to the vet to be euthanized, Nellie started limping. She couldn’t put any weight on one of her front legs. It didn’t seem like she was in a lot of pain. She wasn’t whining. But it didn’t seem to matter where I rubbed or prodded her. So that afternoon I took her down to the same veterinarian to have her checked. That office was easily two or three times the size of our new Hampden Vet Clinic that I thought was so fancy the previous week.
There was some confusion at the reception desk. Nellie was smiling and vibrating her little tail. I explained that I was Barbara Lehndorff’s brother. She asked if I had the “authority to sign papers for her?” I said “Sure.” She went to gather some forms for me to sign then she asked me…
“We just need to know what you would like
done with Nellie’s remains?”
“Ummm. We’re just bringing her in because she hurt her leg. You have her confused with Chester, the cat. A different pet.”
She checked and felt really apologetic, but with my dark humor, I thought it was kind of funny.
Eventually, she thought it was funny too but she started to turn red until she could go into another room.
The vet kept Nellie for a few hours to x-ray her and see what was up with her leg. She felt it was a partially torn tendon. She prescribed a painkiller to reduce the inflammation and told us to not let her have too much fun or activity for a week or two. She said waiting was worth it because the surgery is really expensive.
There is also another side to Nellie that is pretty common with some rescue dogs. She is a thief. A robber and chewer. Marty will take a sock and play keep-away with me for a while. Nellie will take the same sock. And eat it. A small roll of toilet paper is no match for her. And despite her gimp leg, she is a counter cruiser. She managed to steal a loaf of very nice bread from the counter and drag it through the doggie door where she devoured it. Granted every mistake was due to human error (mine).
I am sending Barb my “Scram!” matt that I used to train Marty. It is a sofa sized nylon runner that you unroll on a sofa or put on a counter. Once you turn it on, if a pet or anyone else touches it an alarm like a smoke detector goes off. The real answer is to be careful what we leave out. These are crimes of opportunity. When Marty was younger he ate frozen salmon fillets I was thawing for dinner. And once he ate a whole frozen pizza dough ball. Incidentally, our vet advised us to give Marty a few tablespoons of Hydrogen Peroxide with a big syringe and Marty puked up the solid dough ball. It took a while before I wanted pizza again.