Chapter 24 - I Greet
a New Century with . . . a new animal!
January 4, 2001
That's right. Another animal. Number 6. Yes, he's funny
looking. Yes, his proportions are wrong. Yes, he is tiny (7.2 lbs).
Ripley and I were looking through the local paper one evening
and the local animal shelter "Pet of the Week" photo caught our
eye. Mainly because the dog was funny looking. Then we read that
the dog was "visually impaired." Ripley and I looked at each other
and said, "This little guy needs to be rescued." Ripley understands
these things. We don't pick out animals for our household; they
pick us out.
So we told Dad and then took off for the pound. Of course, the
dog was much uglier than his picture in the newspaper. "Visually
impaired" meant "totally blind for many years." Hey, we can handle
it. Ripley rules all, cats and dogs. Even pathetic excuses for dogs.
Actually, the cats can't quite figure out this animal. He doesn't
look like ANYTHING they've ever seen, is smaller than them, but
stinks like a dog. Even more puzzling to them, he walks right into
them and of course they don't understand that he is blind.
The name Riley as you will note is a derivative of Ripley and Ripley
is making sure he knows that he is a lesser being. I haven't seen
her box his ears lately; I think she has given up. Baby Girl (Beckley)
is the friendliest to him; they share an insatiable appetite. I
suspect they will end up best of friends although Buck is the one
who sleeps on the bed next to him. Ripley, on the other hand, is
more concerned with lounging on the radiator on the leopard-print
plush comfort pad she got for Christmas. That or relaxing in the
Morris chair (the designer Morris, not the cat!) in Paul's library,
preferably listening to classical music or opera. She is such a
It's a tough life!
So now we are up to 6 animals: The Diabetic Cat, The FIV/AIDS cat,
The Feral Cat, The Anorexic turned Compulsive Eater Cat, the Reject
turned No Known Pathology Yet Cat, and the Pseudo-cat Riley!
We moved to a bigger house last spring. We upgraded to a king-size
bed a few months ago. But really, we don't cater to these animals!
By the way, Ripley is enormous! We haven't weighed her lately but
she is probably about 20 pounds. She was about 9 pounds when we
got her THREE YEARS ago. She has been extremely well-regulated with
her diabetes. We continue to be amazed at how wonderful and amazing
she is and how lucky we are that she came to us. A number of friends
have learned to give her shots and my brother now lives with us
so we have a third resident shot-giver. I wouldn't trade her for
anything and I know all of you feel the same way about your sugar
January 9, 2001: A reminder of Uncle John
Tonight I was rereading some of the diary entries, particularly
"Austin's Final Chapter". I was reading
about our dear friend, John Strohl, who stayed with us each summer
and spoiled the cats as much as we did. Austin and Eugene loved
him so much. Unfortunately, John was diagnosed with a second cancer
at the end of last summer. During his chemotherapy, John had a pulmonary
embolus that killed him while he slept the morning of September
John was such a loving and giving person, such a special person.
I know that Austin and Eugene were thrilled to greet him at Rainbow
I got this email and photo attachment from John on September 4
as he was about to start chemotherapy:
Before this picture, I don't think I had ever seen John's eyes without
a gleam in them.
I decided to take control and get a very
short haircut before my hair falls out. --John
Goodnight John. Goodnight dear friend.