For Kayla aka Blue Gypsy Spirit Oct. 11, 1994 – Aug. 27, 2009

The day is done and it has been quite a day of disappointment, frustration and tears. My Mom used to say that if you couldn’t say anything nice, not to say anything at all, but she didn’t have a blog. I birthed this blog to spread a little light and even on the darker days like today, I will stay true to my intentions.

My dog, Kayla was such a card sometimes. She could really crack you up. Even though she was a highly intelligent Australian Shepherd, she had her goofy side as well. She used to be so inquisitive and when I didn’t “get it”, she’d turn her head left and then right and then left again as if to ask “why?”. I’d eventually have to smile.

I would say that if you want a dog to do what you tell it to do, maybe get a lab, they are such loyal companions. Aussies on the other hand are perfectly clear about what you want. They just like to see how they can turn what you want into something better.

Kayla was only three months old when I first experienced her trickster side. It was a cold January day and it was very icy outside, so we had been playing ball inside the house. After a long session of fetch in the hallway, I picked up a book to read and had a seat on the couch. Kayla wasn’t ready to stop playing (Kayla was never ready to stop playing). She kept bringing me the ball and stuffing it into my hand. I finally gave in and tossed it backwards down the hall. She was delighted, off she went and back again, ball in mouth, stuffing it into my hand. She had found yet another way to keep the game alive. This went on for a while until I got sloppy and the ball hit the bedroom door and must have rolled out of her reach. Kayla came to the couch and looked at me with those “I really need your help” eyes and cried “oooh, oooh, oooh”.

I got up to go see where the ball was. She followed me into the bedroom and went over to the end of the bed and looked under it, panting, mouth open, eyes excited, clearly letting me know “its under the bed, it’s under the bed!” I knelt down on my knees and looked under the bed to see that it was all the way under the bed, up against the wall. I crawled under the bed, got the ball, walked back to the couch, sat down and there were those “throw the ball! throw the ball!” eyes looking at me. So I did. This went on for a while, every once in a while, I would hit the bedroom door and get up and go crawl under the bed to retrieve the “lost” ball. Once, when I heard it hit the bedroom door, I was just getting ready to get something to drink anyway, so I got up and looked in the bedroom just as my precious Kayla was picking the ball up from the floor in front of the door. She put it in her mouth and walked over to the end of the bed, laid it ever so gently on the floor and kicked it under the bed with her nose. She quickly turned to run back to let me know it was “lost” under the bed. When she saw that I had seen what she had done, she quickly looked away, head down, sheepish grin, eyes looking up at me and back at the bed, like how did that happen? She still didn’t want to admit to being caught. From that day forward, I knew what I was dealing with and the fun began.

Kayla developed Chronic Immune Disease at six months of age. She had a great life, but she had a lot of health problems. One thing she taught me in her fifteen years was to keep the faith, to never give up. When you are at the bottom of the barrel, the only way out is up.

Thank you my beloved Blue Gypsy Spirit, Kayla for all your fun and love. It is three years ago today that I had to set you free. I still miss you and one day I will get to share all of your stories so you can live again in the hearts of many. Your spirit lives on in my heart forever.

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A Flash of White

The night before last, we had an unexpected visitor in our backyard, a new kitten, all white except for the gray tip of her tail. We wondered where she came from. We had trapped Faith, the alpha female of the feral cat colony that live sin the woods behind our house. She had been spayed over nine months ago and this kitten was maybe three to four months old, if that.

This precious little one was starving and running frantically all around, looking for food. I began tossing her bits of food, crawling on my knees to get closer, hoping she would come to me so we could care for her. Such a tiny thing and she was apparently all alone. She looked up at me with those big hungry eyes and cried “mew, mew” in a sweet little voice. I spoke to her softly, encouraging her to trust me, but just as I got within a foot of her, she took off.

She ran through the chain-linked fence (she was tiny enough to fit through the chain-linked fence holes) and into the dark woods, a flash of white, maybe gone forever into the night. It was interesting that Faith had been watching her, sitting on top of the fence. I wondered if Faith had found her and brought her to us so she could be fed. Faith took off after the kitten, hopefully to protect her.

Yesterday, when we arrived home, there was a great Red-Tailed Hawk in the trees in our back yard. His piercing scream caught our attention as he dived down below the house, out of our sight. My heart prayed for the little kitten and hoped he was not after her. She didn’t come back last night and we may never see her again. It reminds me of the people who live on the streets, one day they are there and then one day they are gone. Life is hard for many and hard for me knowing that they suffer.

A proud feline huntress

This Saturday, we drove to the mountains for a hike and took some time to sit and relax in a picnic area. That’s when we saw yet another wild cat, somewhat like my tortoise shell feral rescue, except you could count the ridges of her spine along her back. I recognized the hunger-fear in her eyes. That not knowing if I will eat today look is not one easily forgotten once you have witnessed it.

How did she get all the way up here? Was she dropped off as a kitten or is she the offspring of another cat abandoned in the park long ago? The answer didn’t matter. At that moment when her eyes met mine, all that mattered was that she was starving to death. I chose to acknowledge her and look at her instead of looking away. I was so happy I had packed some salmon patties. When I began tossing pieces to her, she raised her head savoring the unknown, but delectable aromas. She gathered her courage to come forward, but ran under the safety of the rhododendron bushes to eat.

As we were driving away, she showed herself again as if to say thank you. I gave Blair the last big salmon pattie to toss out to her. She quickly snatched it up. It was as big as her head. She took off prancing, her head held high with her prize, a proud huntress. We knew she was probably taking it back to her babies. Female feral cats are almost always either pregnant or trying to feed their kittens.

Today, we watched a wild one beat the odds. Today, our hearts connected to one of those unable to speak for themselves. Today her story is shared and her life matters.

Playing in the rain

Last evening, we had dinner with Blair’s family in the country. After the rain, a doe, a buck and two fawns appeared at the edge of the yard. The fawns were feeling pretty frisky, kicking up their heels in the wet grass. How wonderful to be so innocent, so new and so full of life. Our grandaughter and her grandmother watched in awe, each with that same wide-eyed curiosity.

I had a similar wide-eyed look on my face yesterday when my rather long post disappeared before my eyes. Hopefully this one will go through and then I’ll brave retyping what was lost yesterday.

What lurks in the shadows

August 18, 2012

This morning, one of the long lost feral kittens, Shadow reappeared. Always the loner, black as night, he stays hidden in the shadows in the woods behind our house. Today he is out in the open and has grown some – long and thin – too thin. I watch him trying to lock his claws into the fence to get back to the other side to continue his hunting. Feral cats stay starved and hunt most of the day, further depleting their resources. Watching him through the binoculars, he looks like he has been hurt, probably from fighting. As he he struggles to the top of the fence, his frail body is trembling and he almost falls, but rights himself just in time. Still shaky, he jumps back over the fence, back into the shadows. My heart bleeds for him.

I take a little food outside, approaching the fence easily and calling to him softly. He turns and looks back at me with perhaps the slightest hope for human affection, but it is too late. He doesn’t trust humans and why should he? How could they let him live like this?

Often I see nature imitating what is happening in our current reality. It makes me wonder what will happen to all the people who need the programs that are being cut today? Will they wander into the woods like abandoned cats do? Or will these people rise up against the ones who have taken their means of survival away?

These are interesting times. Most often, it is what lurks in the shadows of our minds that makes our hearts ache for what is good and fair for all forms of life. Most people don’t recognize the aching as being related to what they once abandoned or closed their hearts to. Life is like a boomerang, it all comes back around, sooner or later. Be mindful of what you throw out.

As for our feral Shadow, we haven’t given up on him yet.

LITE is dedicated to Kayla aka Blue Gypsy Spirit

Our beloved Blue Merle Aussie, Kayla aka Blue Gypsy Spirit experienced our final gift to her with freedom from suffering on August 27, 2009. She had a huge, fun life despite her Chronic Immune Disease and many health challenges. We chose the Holistic route in caring for her with both a Traditional Vet for diagnosis and tests along with a Holistic Vet for homeopathy and diet consultations as well as making her dog food with custom blended herbals and flower essences along with providing her with many life-giving supplements.

If you do only 3 things for your animal, do them well:

1. Love them as unconditionally as they love you, with lots of touch

2. Feed them a natural, holistic wholesome diet (do the homework)

3. Play with them everyday – walk, hike, swim, fetch, tug and nap

We urge you to always get proper testing and diagnosis for your beloved pet, don’t assume they are not in pain as they will not always cry or whimper even when they are in severe pain or distress.

Stay tuned for more tips from the Kayla diaries