Monday, August 6, 2012

I Choose Who I Let In - Including Doctors.

I have a good habit of doing this.  When I want to talk to someone about a subject, I usually go straight to the point and find the person I want to talk to.  There's a problem though - I've done this a lot, and have been laughed at a lot.  Rather than being overly embarressed, I want to learn from it.

It's the long weekend, and my cats need their shots.  If I go to any animal clinic, it's Bear's Creek.  Why?

I wanted to share this story with them.  I want them to be part of our lives, and I want them to experience the unique bond I have with Jubilee.  I decided that I was going to give them a history of how I got here.  This is what I wrote.  It's been emailed, so if I sound like an idiot, it's nearly 5 a.m. and I'm not scared or embarrassed.  I just hope they're nice and not make fun of me.  :)

To Bear Creek Animal Clinic,

I have a very special story to tell, and the best part is, this is only the very first chapters of life unfolding.  I'm training a kitten as a life long 24/7 working companion.

I would like to tell you a bit about myself, and how I got to this point in my journey.

Since I was around 14, I was diagnosed with high risk depression.  For over a decade, I have been fighting this disease.  I am among the small percentage who are actually missing the receptors in the brain that regulate mood.  I've been taking medications, but they only lessened the attacks.  When I turned 22, I was diagnosed with adult ADHD.  I managed, but I was left unable to work, and when I keep thinking I'm getting better, something traumatic breaks me apart.

Flash back to beginning of June.

My birthday.  I turned 25, and all I could do was cry.  I cried because I hated myself, I cried because in my mind - nothing was worth it.  My husband, who has been with me through the worst of times, kept me going, kept me strong.  I couldn't do it anymore.  I felt useless, without purpose and driving myself to the ground.  I didn't know what to do with myself.  When I was 14, I trained my dog, Logan, to go downtown with me, and to school.  Those few years were the best I had, and I miss him with all my heart.

I've trained and rehabilitated so called 'aggressive' dogs, into pet's that were balanced.  This will be relevant in a second.

Because I cared so little for myself, I let myself waste away.  I had no reason to clean my house, no reason to look after myself in anyway.  I could go days without eating, not even thinking about it.  Last Wednesday was my breaking point.

I hadn't done dishes in nearly a month, only doing enough for supper that night.  When my husband asked me to try and clean up, I broke down and cried.  It would only take 3 shots of alcohol to destroy my liver, as the medicines I'm taking double it's effect.  In other words: I wanted to kill myself, instead of doing the dishes.

It scared me shitless.

I always have emergency contacts when something goes wrong: but suicide, even suffering with Depression as long as I have - was NEVER an option.  For me to go 'oh shit, what do I do?' I went to my doctor.

Dr. Berhe has been my psychiatric doctor for the last 5 years. He has tried many times to convince me to get another working animal.  I desperately agreed, but my husband was apprehensive.  For one, every new cat is a $250 charge, and that's a lot of money for us.  Two, our cat Edgar is a Siamese cross, and hasn't been around other cats.  Friday though, he gave me a kitten. The introduction with Edgar - you couldn't ask for better.  Love at first sight.  It's unusual such an aggressive breed welcome the stranger.  

He would have loved to give me a dog, but I live in a one bedroom apartment that doesn't allow dogs.  Plus, a kitten as a working animal?  Can it be done?  Why not.  I'm going to ask Dr. Berhe to call my apartments and try and get the fee lifted, if not, we have the money to pay it.  

Jubilee is more than just a 'pet' cat that I get to take everywhere.  She is my teacher of everything I have been trying to put together.  She's the REASON I have to live, so that I can take care of her, and give her a life of adventure and companionship.  I want her to live her life in a way most cats can never experience, all the while learning things like manners, signals, boundaries and live a life of wonder.  

I also know that I have to change who I am, in order to achieve that goal.  Here's a few things that I'm already doing with her.

She has a ferret vest and leash - when it goes on, it means she's going out, and needs to be in her bag.  (large messenger bag)
When the flap is over her, it means it's time to go and she needs to stay.
If a stranger wants to pet her, I either pass her myself, or she has to paw gently for permission (to the person.  That's working already)
I'm potty training her to tell me when she needs out, or a cat box, and keeping track. So far so good.
Leash boundary trained.  She can try to pull, but when the leash is on, she needs to stay close to me.

This experience has quite a few side-effects already.

This is her blog, detailing the process as it goes.  I have a lot of work to do, but I'm hoping to spread awareness.  I have a lot of ultimate goals that would mean the world to me, but I know I need to start small.

The first thing: cat's can be trained to do a dogs job.
The second thing: You can train older cats - Edgar goes for nightly walks.  If he's been behaving, and coming when called he gets to roam our courtyard freely.  He's been learning that if he goes past a certain point, or ignore my calls - I pick up the leash and he get's walked back to the apartment, even if that cuts his time short.  I've only been doing this for a few weeks, and he's very obedient.
The third thing: I'm learning how to express myself during episodes, and becoming brave enough to say out loud issues that I never speak about.  My two abortions, despite it saving my life both times, I finally said "This is what happened when I lost 20 something pounds in 5 weeks.  This is what I lost my friends for."  
I found a voice I didn't know I had.  I want people to read my articles, and cry as I cried writing the words.  I want people to have a dream, and truly believe it can come true.  It's 4:15 a.m. and I want to share this with you.

Why?  Because if you have the space - I want your clinic to be Jubilee's and Edgar's.  You took care of my dog Logan when he was horrifically neglected by my family, and you showed compassion when my husband took his sick cat in to be put down.  You were the first to answer my questions with a smile and kind words when I asked questions about life as a vet, and you calmed me down when I brought Logan in after he got in a fight.  You were the name my best friend Anne told me to go, without knowing the help you have already given me.

Both my cat's need their shots.  Edgar is mostly an indoor cat, but Jubilee will be out in public every day, and meeting new people and animals.  I'm estimating she's about 6 weeks old, give or take.  Edgar is 3, roughly about 20 pounds, a little overweight, but not obese - he's just very solid.  He came from petland (though I acquired him second hand) and was fixed at a young age.

Please get back to me as soon as you can.

If you feel the need to: Dr. Berhe's number is XXX-XXX-XXXX

Your's Truly
Tanis Wuttunee-Belleau

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