January 17, 2012

Where We Began

Last night I paused in the hallway to look at the photo montage of Aimee, the calico cat who inspired me to start this blog and advocate for rabies medical exemption for sick and senior pets.

Aimee must have been tapping me on the shoulder; I realized that it was five years ago today that we said "goody-bye."This blog and my participation in the reform of rabies laws nationwide began as a tribute to her.

I have much to thank her for. 

If it had not been for my experience with her, I would never have known about the damage that redundant vaccinations can do to our companion animals. I would never have explored or adopted the proper diet for my dog.  If it had not been for Aimee, I would never have connected with so many wonderful dog and cat people around the country and worldwide.

Since Aimee's death, more than 1,800 people have stepped forward to sign the petition to exempt sick dogs and cats from redundant rabies vaccinations.  Many others I am privileged to know advance reform with informational blogs like this one, by lobbying city, county and state lawmakers to reform rabies laws, by advancing our knowledge of current vaccine science or contributing to this study through The Rabies Challenge Fund.

We come to this information through heartbreak. We took our animals to a licensed veterinarian. We trusted their advice. We obeyed the law. "Doing the right thing" turned out very wrong for our companion animals. Loss. Grief. Anger. Resolve. If I can do nothing more for my beloved pet, let me spare someone else this anguish.

For a long time, I felt tremendously guilty and ashamed about choosing homeopathy over conventional drug treatment for my cat and hospice over heroic medical intervention for Aimee. Should a. Could a. Would a.

Shadow the VAS cat

Five years later, knowing the stories of animals who lost their lives to the unintended consequences of overvaccination - Shadow, the VAS cat, Neptune, the poodle with IMHA - as well as Peaches, the champion rat terrier who survived, I know it doesn't matter. All the heroics and resources in the world don't always win.

We do the best we can with the information, understanding and resources available at the time. When we know better, we do better. And in my heart, I know that hospice was the right choice for my cat.  

So today I remember Aimee with tears and smiles.

She was the first kitten of four I picked up the day Callianna gave birth in the towel cabinet in my bathroom. The many joyful moments raising her and her siblings. The satisfaction of finding homes for all of them, knowing that she would always be mine. The many beautiful days she bathed in the sun while I gardened. Her diligence excavating a poo garden behind the house on Lakeway Drive. How tough she looked when she puffed herself up to drive off an opossum on the patio. How vital and lively she was just days before her disease turned for the worse. The many peaceful nights she snuggled up in the crook of my legs to sleep.

Aimee, my fat cat.

Bitter. Sweet. A good life.


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