Monday, May 28, 2012

Thank you to these generous people for your selfless contributions:

Glenna W.
Angela S.
Jay K.
Bull P.

Two Kittens

It was hot yesterday as we drove Highway 277 from Odessa, TX back to Fort Sill, OK.  The three kids in the back were fussing and I was playing on my cell phone as my husband drove the long stretch of rural highway that would take us home.  Besides us, the only other vehicle on the road was a giant gray Ford Dually who was zipping along in front of us.  The relative calm was shattered in an instant when my husband turned to me, mouth agape.

“I think that guy just threw a cat out the window.”

I just stared at him, not comprehending what had just happened.

“Oh my God, he’s flinging kittens out the window, there went another one!” he exclaimed, pulling our car over and grinding to a sudden halt.  I got out and began running back down the highway, looking in the brush along the side of the road for any kittens.   

Seeing us pull over, the Dually squealed its tires and roared out of sight.

My husband found a turn-around and sped back to where a tiny gray kitten hunkered in the road.  He and I got there at the same time.  He handed me the bloody gray mess and dashed off down the road on foot. 

As I held the gray kitten, her eye began bleeding.  And swelling.  A cut was visible on her head and down her ear.  Bloody froth lined her mouth and bubbled out of her nose.  I cradled her against me as my elementary-aged daughter wailed from the car window.  A warmth soaked my shirt under the tiny cat … more blood. 

My husband returned a moment later with the little blonde kitten.  Her eye was also bloody. Despite having been flopping like a fish out of water on the blacktop moments before, she appeared not to have been shattered by the hellish fall.  Quite the contrary, this little kitten was proving to be a fighter, tearing my husband’s  forearms with her tiny, tar-filled claws and teeth.  Why tar-filled claws?  Because she’d skidded along the road for awhile.

Getting back into the car, my husband nestled the blonde kitten in his lap while I held the little gray one in the crook of my arm.  She was trembling as bloody tears dripped off her nose and she appeared to be having trouble breathing. 

“I fear this one won’t make it,” I told my three small kids.  “Let’s pray.” 

And pray we did.  We asked God to keep the kittens from feeling too much pain and for the man who threw them out the window to realize the error of his ways and grow a compassionate heart.  We asked St. Francis to pray for the little kittens, too. 

We passed a run-over adult cat then that was just too out of place in the remote countryside.  We figured her to be the Mama. 

Speeding down the highway, we didn’t catch up to the truck, but did give the two kittens their names.  Karma and Francis. 

Though the cell service was sketchy, we were able to contact my mom who dropped what she was doing and pulled up a list of veterinarians in Seymour, Wichita Falls, and Burkburnett.  Every single veterinary answering service that answered on this holiday weekend informed us that, since we weren’t established patients in their practice, they would not patch our call through to the vet.  I was unable to respond – my mouth was hanging open too wide to speak.  Especially when I was told this same spiel over and over and over. 

Finally, we called the emergency vet at Gore West Animal Hospital in Lawton, which was still an hour away, and told Dr. Molinaro of our plight.  She and her tech agreed to meet us at the clinic and do their best to save the kittens.      

With the vet problem solved, we turned back to the phone and thanks to the googling skills of my mom, were able to get ahold of the Sheriff’s department in Knox County, Texas.  The Deputy I spoke with was wonderful and vowed to do what he could to locate the truck involved.  He felt the perp was an out-of-towner who had perhaps been trying to get rid of the kittens, probably at an Abilene Wal-Mart or something of the sort, before disposing of the residual kittens by tossing them out the window of the moving truck.  He wished we had been able to get a license plate number.  We wished that, too.

So if any of you know of anyone who was getting rid of kittens in or around Abilene, Texas on Sunday, May 27, 2012, and drives a giant gray or silver Ford Dually, probably late 80’s to early 90’s model, with all the bells and whistles, contact me so we can get in touch with the Knox County Sheriff, or contact them directly at 940-458-2211.  Thank you so much.

The fleas were hopping off the little kittens by the time we made it to the vet’s office.   Karma, the blonde one, was treated first.   Weighing in at one pound, Dr. Molinaro determined to be underweight since healthy kittens should weigh at least two pounds by 6-8 weeks of age.  Ear mites?  Yes, she had them.  Chunks of rock from her skid along the road embedded in her eye?  Yes, she had that too.  Fleas and ticks?  Check.  A cut on her back leg and bottom?  Got that, too.  Thankfully, that was where Karma’s laundry list of problems ends.  Then, it was Francis’s turn.

The little gray kitty was much worse off, having obviously landed on her head.  She also was determined to be underweight.  Then, she was treated for ear mites, fleas and ticks, and had debris cleaned out of her bloody eye.  This eye is still much too swollen to tell if she was blinded in the fall or not.   Miraculously, no bones were broken and her heart and lungs sounded fine.  In addition to the gashes on her ear and head, her bottom was extremely lacerated.  When she was thrown though, sweet Francis skidded along the road on her face first, ripping her bottom lip away from her jaw bone. 

Then we got the bill.  Even though Dr. Molinaro gave us a break by charging the emergency fee for one animal instead of both, the total still came to $575.  I can’t help but feel the guy in the gray dually who caused this whole mess in the first place should have to foot the bill, but we all know that will never be the case.       

The vet kept Francis and stitched her lip back on the best she could since there wasn’t much to stitch it to, only bone.  My husband rushed back to the vet office after the procedure to pick up Francis and Karma.  It was already 10 p.m., but he couldn’t stand the thought of the two traumatized kittens having to stay in a kennel at the vet’s office the duration of the holiday weekend.

If you would like to donate to the vet bills accrued by these two helpless little kittens, please visit my website and go to Sara's Bio page with instructions on how to donate.  Those who donate will be acknowledged on both this blog and my website.  Thank you so, so much from all of us, and Francis and Karma, too.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

An excerpt from Chapter C of the children's book "THE ABC'S OF OKLAHOMA PLANTS"

     If you are out identifying plants only to find yourself disoriented next to a field of Compass plants, the first thing you do is have a seat under the monster sunflower-wannabes and enjoy a break in the shade.  Next, make a mental note to take a buddy flower-hunting with you next time, as another golden rule of the backcountry is to always go hiking in pairs.  Third, harvest some sap from the Compass plant and let it dry in the sun while you are waiting for somebody to find you.  You can chew this sap like gum and it will help pass the time. 
     If you are fairly confident that you can find your way back home before you would be missed, use

the north-south orientation of the Compass plant leaves to give you an idea of which way you should go.

Then, judge the amount of daylight left by holding four fingers of your hand up parallel with the horizon,

counting the number of fingers it takes to fill in the space between the horizon and the sun.