Friday, September 10, 2010

Another favorite Elsa photo

Friday, September 10, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Not sure of the weather — this is scheduled to post.

First and foremost, I want to thank all of you for your love and support regarding Elsa’s death, and before that, throughout her illness. It means a lot to me. Hopefully, she’s where she can chase as many butterflies as she wants, and is back with Olivia, Felicia, and Maude. Granted, Olivia is very busy running The Cosmic Cat Roster in the Sky, but Elsa always adored Olivia, and Olivia took very good care of Elsa when she was a kitten, so I’m sure that will be a happy reunion.

Elsa picked me when she was seven weeks old, jumped into my arms from the rescue pen and that was it. We were together all the time for 15 years. She was with me when I wrote, she was with me when I cooked, she was with me when I did things around the house, she was always on the yoga mat. She was a sunny, optimistic personality. She assumed everyone she met was a potential new friend. If something went wrong in the moment, she had full faith it would get better in the next moment.

Iris and Violet are having a tough time with all this. Violet understands exactly what’s going on and she’s both angry and heartbroken. Elsa was her best friend. She blames me for taking Elsa away and not bringing her back. She hasn’t really looked for Elsa — she just stares at me accusingly. She’s been more affectionate this morning, and we kept to our morning routine, but there are times when she catches a scent on a chair Elsa used to sit, or goes to one of Elsa’s usual spots to keep her company,and then remembers. It’s sad. Iris, who didn’t particularly get along with Elsa, started looking for her last night and meowing when she couldn’t find her. She doesn’t really understand what’s going on, just that Elsa isn’t there. Granted, most of the time they just batted each other upside the head, but Iris, in her own way, misses her, too.

Then there are the practicalities: washing the bedding, sterilizing the carrying case and the syringes, packing away the medicine.

When I get back from Philly on Monday, I will do a 7 day Ceremony for the Dead for her, because that is what I do, and the dead are mine. I’ll also honor her on Samhain.

I am so disappointed, disheartened, and angry about my experience at Smith Ridge Veterinary. They came highly recommended, and I went to them because I wanted a second opinion (which I think is important any time there’s a serious diagnosis), and I wanted to integrate alternative medicine with traditional. They’re supposedly the premiere cancer care integrated center for animals in the country. Too bad they’re all about the money. Sure, it’s beautiful, and sure they’re very nice as long as you keep waving a wad of cash at them. I made it very, very clear in the first visit that, if it was cancer, I did not want to set a course of invasive or torturous treatments. I wanted to keep Elsa as happy and comfortable for as long as she could have a good quality of life.

Instead, I paid a lot of money for X-rays, then a lot more money for them to be sent to a private consultant. And I was told there was no tumor. Yet, on Wednesday morning, her poor little face was all swollen and when I took her to the emergency clinic IT WAS BECAUSE THERE WAS A TUMOR. The only option by the time I took her to the emergency clinic on Wednesday was to put her on pain medication that would have had to increase as her suffering did, and that was not the right choice. I was told at Smith Ridge that it wasn’t cancer, but fungal infection that “might” turn into cancer. It was cancer. She was put on a course of treatment of eight doses of medication per day that caused the acid reflux and made her last weeks more uncomfortable than necessary. When I took her back to have the acid reflux handled, I got more medication THAT MADE IT WORSE. When I got frantic, I was told to put her on IV for 32 hours at a ridiculous cost, including a huge fee for a private technician, in spite of the fact that I had told them I didn’t want to use invasive procedures. When I re-iterated that I didn’t want to go that route, and that I had to keep an eye on cost, they lost interest. Sometimes, weeks would go by before anyone could be bothered to answer a question. The vet goes on vacation and there’s no one covering his patients? What the fuck is that? There were far too many nights when I was up all night with her, frantically trying to help her and not getting any response from the vet. I expect my vet to be a partner in my pet’s health and well-being, ESPECIALLY when they’re charging three or four times more than any other vet in the area charges (and vets in Westchester charge up the ying yang anyway). This facility charges for phone calls.

When Felicia was in the final stages of CRF several years ago, that vet called me EVERY DAY to check on her progress. On his own time, and he never charged. He gave me his beeper number, so if something happened, I could get hold of him any time, day or night, and not have to go through the answering service. I never used it, but it was a comfort to have. I wish I knew where he was now. The last time I heard from the Smith Ridge vet was over a month ago. Not acceptable on any level.

Now, I realize that Elsa’s condition was very serious, I didn’t expect miracles, and I was perfectly willing to try unconventional treatments, knowing they might not work. But to just leave me twisting in the wind, not listen when I said, “I think this is mutating every few days, what can we do?” and simply not respond once they found out I did not have unlimited financial resources — in addition to not giving me a correct diagnosis and the information and I needed to make an informed decision AND charge me the fees they charge — unacceptable. I feel they were stringing me along to get as much money out of me as they could for as long as they could, and once they found out I wasn’t an unlimited ATM, they stopped responding.

They are all about the money. The surface of the place looks good, but there’s no heart behind it, only conniving to get as much money out of people as quickly as possible.

The Reiki Master did more to keep Elsa comfortable and happy these last few weeks than Smith Ridge did in the past six months. And then the vet actually emailed me condolences. He didn’t help me when I so desperately needed help and now he wants to know if there’s anything he can do? Mercury’s Retrograde — I’m not going to strike back.

I hope I find a good, reliable, caring vet when I relocate.

And any time a client tries to lowball me on my rate, I will remember the ruthlessness of this vet and hold my ground. Because at least what I do is not life and death.

Wednesday morning didn’t start well anyway — I left Elsa napping, knowing she wasn’t feeling well at all, but hoping an afternoon in the park would help. I drove up county to check out the store I needed to — I’d checked the website, and it stated that the store opened at 10 AM. It was a forty minute drive, no problem. I got up there, and the sign in the door says it opens at “10:20 ish.” I was not happy for several reasons. First of all, put the correct time on your damn website. If you change the hours, change them on the website. Second, don’t give me any of this “ish” crap. Either open or don’t. But be honest about it. By 10:40, still no sign of opening, and the woman who runs the store beside it said, “Oh, she never opens until at least 11. But she thinks putting 10 on the materials sounds better.”

So I left.

A small business person can open whenever he or she wishes, but at least be honest about it, and be open when you say you will.

That business does not get any of my hard-earned money. I’ll spend it at a business that respects its customers.

Yesterday, I had to work away from the building, thank goodness, because the workmen grow daily more hateful. I only barely managed to get the bare bones of the work done, not all I wanted to, but I’m having trouble concentrating. I managed to get four loads of laundry done, so everything’s clean before I head out the door.

I came home to find the cats freaked out and my neighbor even more so. Not only was she struck by workman’s ropes on her way out of the building (no notice they were working over the doorways and no protection), someone in another section came home to find his window open and jewelry, money, and other things gone from the apartment. It happened during the work day, so, gosh, gee, who could it have been?

I scheduled this to post the night before because this morning I have to run around like crazy before leaving for Philly. I will check in from Philly.

Got some writing done Wednesday and more work on the lectures. I hope the workshop is well attended. Although they waited so long to put up the information (even though I sent it to them a month before deadline, and they kept “losing” it), that many of the people who wanted to sign up couldn’t and booked other things.

Mercury Retrograde, Jupiter Retrograde, what do you expect?

I still cry a lot about Elsa, but that’s all part of it. Iris and Violet are very upset, too. Violet cries a lot and Iris hides.

I’ll check in from Philly. Mercury’s retrograde, so I’m just putting on the iPod, pulling out my book and my chocolate bar, and hoping for the best.

Again, thanks for all your support. I will be getting back to each of you individually over the next week or so. I so appreciate your support.



  1. Those money-grubbing bastards. I am sorry you had to go through that experience with them.

    Take care of yourself, be safe, and heal. {{{HUGS}}}

  2. I’m crying over your very sweet tribute to Elsa.

    Take care and know that we are better for knowing our furry friends than never to have had them in our lives. I can’t imagine life without their sweet personalities. But it DOES hurt when they go onto something better. (Watch out butterflies, Elsa is there.)

    Prayers and thoughts,

  3. I love that picture too – she looks so fierce. 🙂

    Have a good trip.

  4. You had such a frustrating, unfair experience with that clinic: I’m so sorry that unpleasant experience dominated Elsa’s last few months. But I’m very glad that Elsa’s last few days were filled with walks in the park, swatting butterflies. She sounds like such a special creature and the two of you were lucky to have each other.

    Safe travels.

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  6. I don’t understand businesses that think it’s okay to treat their customers/patients that way. I’m so sorry you had to go through all that. I know you did everything you could for her and I’m sure Elsa knew that, too.


  7. Hugs and love, darlin’. Elsa’s in a shiny new place with beauty and love all around her. Much like her life at home, so she won’t be lonely at all.

    What a lovely girl she was.

  8. {{{Devon}}}

  9. It is an utter shame that the Vet lied and did nothing to help, but to string you along for more money? Shame on them. People who work with animals should do so because they honestly care for them, not for the money in their families pockets. Abhorrent behavior.
    Devon, I wish I was there to give you a hug. Please know how much we care for you.

  10. I am so sorry to read about Elsa. When I visited, I’ve been skimming your posts, tense with hope that she’d recover and fear that she might not. Your descriptions brought her alive for me, and in any case, I’m enough of a cat lover to care even about cats I’ve never met.

    I have learned – through very painful experience – to be hypersensitive for any sign of a bad vet. Based on what you say, these vets were worthless money-vampires. I’ll spare you the long rant bad vets so easily trigger in me, but given the chance, I’d blister their ears, just while I was warming up. But you may be interested in an independent site where you can report bad vets.

    Violet, and perhaps even Iris, probably need comfort almost as badly as you do. Cats do mourn, more than I think most people ever guess. My “kittens” were disturbed by the death of a cat who had only been with us for three years (after the death of a friend), who had been kept mostly apart from them because he was old and sick and not up to the stress of getting to know and living with younger, active cats. They never did more than exchange polite greetings every now and then, and it has been a month, but they still remember him and look for him.

  11. Oh, Devon, I hadn’t checked your blog in a couple of days and I didn’t realize that Elsa had died. My heart goes out to you. She was a beautiful cat, and I know you did so much to keep her comfortable throughout her life and especially in her last days. How lucky you both were to have found each other. You’re in my heart and my thoughts as you grieve this loss.



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