I adopted Mary Jane when she was four years old. This is a photo of her at age 15. Well, as I see her slowing down I think to myself, should I get a kitten to make her more active? Should I add a little spice to prolong my time with her  and help me ease into the knowledge that time is preciously limited? I wish I could say it’s all about her time, but my heart wants her forever.

I visited a rescue center because they had a Maine Coon female, age four, spayed. Well, those are the first qualifications I looked for when first adopting Jane-Thing. Despite being a Tortoiseshell, which I’m no fan of, I went over and took a look at her. There she was, another Mary Jane caught massaging her blanket before she laid on it. The blanket was purple, I was swooning.

I visited for quite a bit and looked at some of the other cats. I didn’t ask why this Tortie was only $30 when the other adults ranged from $60-$90, I just kept looking around. Eventually I returned to question the employee who admitted the super sweet Tortoiseshell sleeps with its eyes open. Heck no!!!

Crazy Jane Sundrip ArtPerhaps some remember a year or so ago I adopted a dog named Mikey from an individual without being told the real reason why he had been banished to the garage.  It turns out Mikey liked to please himself … often! I know dogs do that sometimes but when you’re dodging stuff and when you walk in the room and find him handling himself, it’s difficult to deal with. The original owner should have warned me. Mikey really had a problem. Seriously. He was never allowed to lick my face. No!

And no to cats who sleep with their eyes open. I’m a psych patient people. Come on now. Do you know how much therapy would be wiped out in a day if I rolled over one morning to my sweet fuzzy Tortie and saw her on her back with her eyes fixed? Nope. That wasn’t the cat for me and all of my problems. Any animal I adopt has to be able to withstand my issues, and I have to be able to live through theirs.

I’m going to jump back to limited time. With so many deaths in a row and the grief I’m dealing with, it’s no wonder I’d think about how much time is left for my friendship with Mary Jane. I didn’t expect to be here this long, but I am and it doesn’t look like I’ll be kicking the bucket any time soon. I have mixed feelings about that, it depends on the day you ask. But the bottom line is, I survived several times when I honestly didn’t think I would.

Had I died, my house was in order. This brings me to Mary Jane’s house being in order. She too has an advance directive. Major decisions have been made and planned out before I get into the situation and emotion takes over. I did this with my dog Captain Crunch and it was really helpful. He died in 2008 and its only now I can look at his photo and not turn away broken hearted. They are family and their last moments are important. Those decisions have to be considered carefully and stuck to. I had it notarized and the vet has a copy. When it came time to make decisions I made ’em for Captain, then a few weeks later I spent 3 days in the psych ward because the love of my life was gone.

Talk about having your world wrapped up in an animal. When it’s a service animal who has been with you in the dentist’s office, in the room waiting for you after heart surgery, MRI, X-ray’s, blood tests, he was there. He was with me for every hospital stay, at every restaurant, hotel and on travel means possible. Our bond was tight!!! The day I had to put him down was crushing. The only reason it was ‘easier’ is because everything was already in place and everyone was on the same page…except the vet. In that room that day the vet cried, the tech cried and I wept. It was bad. It was bad.

Live long and be fluffy

Despite remembering how badly it hurts to lose a service animal, I will have one until I’m no longer able to care for one. Losing them hurts, but the gifts they bring to a household are without number. I know the eventuality of losing Mary Jane, even more, I know there is still time to enjoy all she is and love her as much as I possibly can. After all, she is my baby!


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