Friday, June 22, 2007

Cat Tails/Tales?

Well, I should find out tomorrow, but I'm thinking the sparrow's head is in Buddy's stomach. He threw up blood Thursday afternoon, so I took him to the emergency vet in Shreveport (my second round trip of the day!), where I paid almost $500 to have the vet tell me that Buddy had a blockage. Duh! So, at 1am, I was driving the highway homeward. I went to bed around 2am Friday, got up around 7:30am, and took Buddy to the local vet. I taught my class, went to lunch with a former student, then drove back to the vet's office.

I like Dr. Anderson. He's a large and small animal vet, which means he deals with horses, sheep, cows, as well as dogs and cats. I love sitting in a vet's office--I've met some wonderful animals and their owners in the last two days. At Dr. Jeff's (that's Dr. A's first name--that's what everyone calls him), I met a Rat Terrier named "Shorty" who was in for a toenail clipping (which Dr. Jeff did himself), a cat named "Lucy," (an orange-striped tabby), a lab named Jojo, who loves to have her head scratched, and a Jack Russell puppy named "Gigi," and her human, who's name is "Daisy." Last night/early this morning, I met a Cocker Spaniel named "Petunia," a Rat Terrier named "Abby," a miniature Shnauzer named "Abbie," a lab named "Hunter," and a lab named "May." No other cats, though.

Dr. Jeff took the time to talk to me about Buddy--is he prone to eating hair scrunchies, rubber bands; does he throw up often? Answer to both questions: No. Buddy likes to play with scrunchies, rubber bands, and yarn (yeah, he's such a typical cat), but he knows the difference between toys and food. He and Bubba will tear the hell out of a catnip mouse, but they won't eat it. I told Dr. Jeff about the sparrow and the missing head. He said he checked the x-rays from the emergency clinic and said he planned to do an exploratory surgery on Buddy and keep him overnight. I expected the doc to call, but he might have had a large-animal emergency. (And I found out that, at night, he only deals with large animals. So he doesn't come in for small animal emergencies.)

I trust him--even though he seems to be rather youngish (but how do I know?). Dr. Jeff is personable, asks interesting questions, and seems to know the animals he cares for quite well. He wants to know and he treated my concerns seriously, even the money question. How much? About $150, unless he has to resect a bowel! Next time, I'll just wait for Dr. Jeff's office to open to take in a sick animal. But now I have a local vet to vaccinate my cats and treat them when they swallow birds' heads whole!

But the question that's plaguing me now is "How much is an animal worth?" If I had to choose between paying $1,000 to save my cat or $1,000 to save my child, of course, the answer is obvious. But my children are grown; my cats are my companions. They share my life and complete my home; I couldn't imagine living without them. I think that, because I lost Judas to the dogs, I'm particularly vulnerable right now. I've raised Buddy--he wasn't more than six week's old when my neighbor handed him to me. He's my puppy-cat and follows me around. I would hate to lose him, especially when I can do something to prevent it.

I can't wait to get him home. But I think I won't let him go outside for a while!

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