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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 4 April 2002 Issue

Readers Responses to:
Personal Tragedy, Losing Boris

Letter from Jeri - 11 April 2002

Thanks for your reply. I have done a freelanced pet adoption column for both area animal control facilities that has run in the newspapers locally (several different papers over the years) for 22 years, so I see a lot of death at the shelters. I know of a dog that was euthanized in the gas chamber and when they went to unload it, there he sat.  He went back up for adoption and seemed none the worse for his experience until about a week later, when
he was still in an adoption cage, he began to seizure; he was then put down again.

Another large dog, when the chamber was done away with, was given massive doses of sodium pen before it finally seemed to do the job at hand.  He was checked and rechecked because it took so long before he was put in the freezer with the others and the next morning when they opened the freezer to take the carcasses to the landfill, he sat there smiling and alive.  He was taken to a vet and checked; no damage noted.  He was ultimately adopted and named Lazarus.  It has been several years and last I heard was he was still alive and well.

Last summer I had my boyfriend stop to the side of the road so I could move a hit by car cat from the center of the street, which I always do, I don't like them being run over  repeatedly.  Only this tabbypoint Siamese was moving when I picked him up; long story short, bumped by car, knocked couple of teeth out, nothing broken, bruised for sure, I got the Humane Society to help me get him neutered, found his elderly owner in apartments nearby (she did not believe in neutering cats, takes their freedom away), kept him till he was back on his paws then took him, Simon was his name, home to her, both were happy; last I saw him, filled out a lot, she glad he doesn't spray like he did. Every time I go to move a hit by car cat, most are already long dead but there is always the chance for one like Simon, who might not have made it out of the middle of that busy street on a Friday night if he had been dragging himself (his rear leg was very sore for the next two weeks and he was unable to walk on it or stand for a few days) with no help from me or somebody else who might have come along.

Most of my own have died by injection and until last year, there used to be a person who would come to my house when it was time.  Period until rigor usually varies a bit but when Holly, 21, my little Siamese with white paws, all of 4 lbs., then, died in my lap of heart failure, rigor for her set in quite rapidly. Her's a natural death. The drug and the size of the animal are all interrelated in a non natural death.

When Pris was put down, granma's white cat I inherited, age 22, she was the one who took so long.  I wrapped her in a towel, left her in her favorite place on the sunny porch with the towel open enough for my other cats to check her out.  My boyfriend and I went to a dog show I think, came back, still warm, no rigor; I said, we wait, I put her on the bed, we went somewhere, when we finally got back, then rigor had set in.  I think her old heart just took all the time it needed, even with the drug, to wind down.

With Esther, my favorite dog, an 8 and 1/2 year old Bernese Mt. dog, therapy dog for five years at nursing homes and on Alzheimer wards, she on the kitchen floor with a two month old kitten named Ulysses that I fostered from the shelter with his sister (I kept him), Ulysses adored her.  It was going to rain, John dug the grave, pointed to the sky, I said, no, no way, not yet.  When it was time, I had to pull Ulysses away from her where he was nestled, and once we put her in the grave, I had to hold the umbrella over John because it was raining by then.  Ulysses cried for her that night, as did I.  Ulysses has adopted my new Bernese from Bernese Auction Rescue, Gypsy.  I will always cry for Esther, and think of her so as the anniversary of her death comes first week of May. Her death and loss was one of the hardest I have ever gone through.

Sorry to go on so!

Thanks again,
Jeri
 

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