Friday, August 2, 2013

Losses and Gains

Newton's third law of physics, roughly translated from the scientific jargon, says that "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."

So, for every loss there is a gain.

For every ended relationship there is a new one out there?

What if you don't want one?

Don't look for it.

Xena, about two years old! She's a big girl!
In the last twenty-seven years of my life, I have been in two relationships with two different men for twenty-four of those years. In the last twenty-seven years of my life, I have had loving relationships with three cats and two dogs and for a brief four months with all five of them together. I am now down to my one cat, Xena.

And she is ill. She has numerous health concerns, though none fatal at this point in time. She has had inflammatory bowel disease since she was a kitten which flares up from time to time. She has hyperthyroidism- a condition very common in senior cats, which may be affecting her kidneys and liver. She also has arthritis and I suspect she is beginning to lose her hearing.  Xena is a senior citizen at age 16 which roughly correlates to the human age of 84, and for all her health problems, she's one tough ol' girl.

When my dog, Mufasa, died in June of this year, people asked me if I was going to get another dog. I immediately and emphatically answered, "No!" I needed my time to grieve him, to honor him, to let go of him. He has left some indelible paw prints on my heart as have all of my furchildren who have crossed over.

Maynard came into my life through my first partner's sister. Sister had come to California to visit friends and her brother and was going to smuggle this barely six week old kitten home on the airplane by sticking her in a coat pocket. (Yes, Maynard is a female, the aforementioned sister and friends thought Maynard was a male and named her as such. It's a good thing animals don't attach connotations to names.) Maynard was a very loving cat; I remember trying to read or do counted cross stitch with her sitting in my lap! She slept, not on my bed, but on me, almost nightly, for nearly eighteen years. I would complain, but I loved it. Stomach cancer eventually took her, as she, too, suffered from hyperthyroidism, same as Xena.
Maynard, 1986-2004
Gabrielle, 1997-2008, (l) joins Xena at the door.
Xena, and her sister, Gabrielle, (yes, the names were deliberately taken from the TV show, Xena: Warrior Princess) came to us in 1997. My ex had come home and asked if we could get a kitten since I'd had my own cat. In truth, he took (almost) just as good care of Maynard as I did. But, as I'd had more time with her, she was now ten years old!, she and I had the closer bond. One of his coworkers was looking for a home for two kittens. We went to look at them and, thinking they would entertain each other and leave Maynard alone, we brought them both back with us. They were a delight and quickly adapted to our house. While Gabrielle tried to win over Maynard with overt displays of submission, Xena tried to assert her dominance and Maynard did not want anything to do with either of them. Fortunately, she still loved me. Gabrielle passed prematurely at the age of eleven, after running downstairs to greet me after I'd been out for a while, she collapsed at my feet in a sudden seizure. She was gone before my ex got downstairs to help get her to the vet.

Simba was my ex's idea. His own mother had passed suddenly at age 52. He then began his list of things he wanted to accomplish before his death. Owning a Pomeranian was on his list. Once he decided on a black-and-tan Pom, he began investigating and through a series of events, Simba came home with us the night we met him. He was a sweet, loving dog, and I have chronicled his life here in another post, "A Poem to a Pom, Dec. 2011." He passed in December 2011, the day before his eleventh birthday.
Simba, 2000-2011
I have written about Mufasa barely a month ago, "A Second Poem to a Second Pom, June 2013," and where Simba was a big couch potato, Mufasa was very hyper and intelligent. I'm not saying Simba wasn't, he just wasn't as prone to figuring things out. Mufasa was the investigator, Simba the observer.
Mufasa, 2003-2013
Xena is hanging on. She is my one remaining furchild from this period of my life. She is doing well, for someone her age. Yet, she is going through a change of temperament. Until her sister's death, she only graced us with her presence when she wanted food. Then she'd retire back to whatever room she came from. Lately, she's been nearby, wanting more than food. I think she realizes now she doesn't have to compete for my attention. Yet, like a typical cat, she wants attention on her terms, which is new for me to see in her. Maynard and Gabrielle both would wait until I was watching television or not on the computer, and come sit on my lap, or next to me. Sometimes they'd both be there; Maynard on my lap, Gabrielle lying next to me, lightly resting her paw on my leg, with just enough contact to let me know she was there. Now, when I sit or lie down, Xena jumps on the couch or my bed, and will walk back and forth across my lap, instead of settling down.

I'll get another dog and maybe a cat. But, later. I don't want to bring another animal into the house and put Xena through any additional stress.

I figure pets are like boyfriends.

Or, are boyfriends like pets?

Either way, the right one will come along at the right time.

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