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Dawnie

Dawnie

 

This month’s Catnip Connection is a four year anniversary tribute to Dawnie who passed over to Rainbow Bridge on January 29, 2013. I got acquainted with Dawnie in the award-winning Catsong book written by my friend T. J. Banks. Dawnie and T. J.’s lives mirrored one another as conveyed in this passage: “We’ve both experienced motherhood, love and loss and struggled our way through that last one. When she comes to me now and walks over my work, demanding a head-scritch, or snuggles under the blankets next to me, purring, I can’t help smiling to myself, no matter what kind of day it has been.”

My experience is some animal bonds are formed deep and strong and touch each other’s soul. T. J. echoes this feeling in Catsong: “Chemistry–kindred spirits, soul mates, call it what you will–is a funny thing. There’s no dictating it. Somehow two souls knit together and stay knitted together, no matter what. Even death cannot undo those ethereal skeins.” I believe she developed such a bond with Dawnie. I love how she recently described their relationship as “titanium steel strong”.

 

Tribute to Dawnie
By Linda A. Mohr

You were my heart
A titanium steel strong soul connection.
You were my Dawnreader, my Dawnstar
My beautiful red Abyssinian.

Twelve and a half years
You graced the circle of my life.
Four thousand five hundred sixty-two days
Blessed scritch and snuggle time.

You taught me about heart matters,
How to take heart and
How to endure my heart
Being broken wide open.

You taught me to trust in time
Good things can root in a broken heart
Like hope, faith and joy.
Especially joy.

My dear Dawnreader
Forever in my heart
Forever my joyful connection
Forever more, my Dawnstar.

 

Credits
Dawnie’s portrait by artist Sally Logue
Catsong by T. J. Banks, stanzas three and four adaptation

Warm Purrs!

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tatianna_coverDo cat books have nine lives? What I know for sure is Tatianna–Tales and Teachings of My Feline Friend published on October 29, 2007 does! Does award-winning cover art showcasing the beautiful watercolor work of Drew Strouble continue to be appreciated? His website featuring Tatianna artwork as well as other incredible feline portraits speaks for itself!

If you are looking for a book for the cat enthusiast on your holiday shopping list, this autographed book is one to consider.  I love to give and receive books for Christmas and always have several titles on my wish list. I will autograph the Tatianna book and provide complimentary gift wrapping and shipping. Both hard and soft cover editions are available. Hardcover books are $23.95 and soft cover books are $13.95. Please email me at lindamohr7@bellsouth.net with questions or to arrange a purchase.

I want to thank all my readers and followers for their support, recommendations, reviews, and referrals the past nine years. Many specialty shops have kindly carried the book. I appreciate the bloggers and radio personalities who have interviewed me and the libraries who have invited me to speak.

The Tatianna book is the winner of the Merial Human-Animal Bond Award in 2008 plus six other awards. The Merial award is judged on the Cat Writers’ Association entry that best reflects and promotes the strengthening of the human-animal bond, highlighting the bond between a cat and owner, as well as their relationship with their veterinarian as another direct caregiver. Visit Linda Mohr for further information.

Tatianna continues to work her magic as evidenced by your support and generosity. As stated on Tatianna’s jacket cover, “I feel connected to the faithful Tatianna who has never left my side—she is simply in another dimension.”

Thank you.

Blessings!

 

thank you balloons in the sky as online thanks message

Gratitude is the heart’s memory.
—French Proverb

On October 29, 2007 Tatianna—Tales and Teachings of My Feline Friend was published. I want to thank all my readers and followers for their support, recommendations, reviews, and referrals the past seven years. Many specialty shops have kindly carried the book. I appreciate the bloggers and radio personalities who have interviewed me and the libraries who have allowed me to speak. Tatianna is honored to have a chapter in Candida Baker’s anthology The Amazing Life of Cats, and to be included on Look Inside on Amazon.

I am deeply grateful to Ingrid King for Conscious Cat interview and to T.J. Banks for Sketch People story. Ingrid’s book Buckley’s Story and T.J.’s book Catsong were winners of Merial Human-Animal Bond Award in 2009 and 2007 respectively. The Tatianna book won the award in 2008. This award is judged on the entry that best reflects and promotes the strengthening of the human-animal bond, highlighting the bond between a cat and owner, as well as their relationship with their veterinarian as another direct caregiver.

Ingrid King & Linda Mohr, Cat Writers' Conference 2009

Ingrid King & Linda Mohr, Cat Writers’ Conference 2009

amazing_life_cats Catsong_51uBBXzJ-ML._AA160_

Tatianna continues to work her magic as evidenced by your support and generosity. As stated on Tatianna’s jacket cover, “I feel connected to the faithful Tatianna who has never left my side—she is simply in another dimension.” I can’t wait to see what the next seven years have in store. It’s bound to be good! Thank you.

Blessings!

Lexie Lee

Lexie Lee

Today is the day I start my new journey. Mom Linda found me in the kitchen before daylight. I sure wish I could eat. I went to the highest lookout which is her office. I stretched out on the windowsill that had been made just for me many years ago. The two of us have spent thousands of hours here. Mom Linda joined me and read her favorite Psalms to me.

“He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge. His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” She said we would be safe today. I always feel safe with Mom Linda.

Then she surprised me with a poem that she wrote just for me.

Intertwined Lives, Intertwined Love

Stretched out on sunny windowsill
Curled up in my comfy lap
Nestled against warm keyboard
My muse, my beloved fur friend
Always a permanent presence
Gracing my home office for ten years.

Helping me create blogs, stories, and poems
Motivating me to finish Tatianna’s cat memoir
Leaving your legacy with Lexie Lee’s Meowlogue
You have journeyed on to the spirit world
What missions God has planned for you
I can only imagine ones of love, hope, and joy.

Some glorious day I will float to meet you
We will embrace nose to nose
You will give me your signature kiss
I will whisper the familiar Linda loves Lexie Lee
Reunited at last, our hearts whole again
And all will be as it should be for eternity.

Mom Linda smiled through her tears, and I meowed. I helped her with some computer work, and she told me I had been her best muse ever. She has been my best mom ever. She left the room, and I pitter-pattered to the dining room and crawled under the table. Princess Grace was on a chair seat, and Prince Chauncey was in a box under the table. She took a picture of the three of us freezing “a never to be again moment.” Joe joined us, and Mom Linda sat down on the floor with me. She tried to eat breakfast. But just like me, she could not eat. We are so much alike. Then she had a great idea and got a bag of Greenies. Oh, how I use to love those treats! The two fur babies went crazy. She put one down for each of them, and I ate one out of her hand. It was so good. She gave us each two more morsels a piece. Some crumbs fell on the carpet, and I ate every last one. She said the Father, Son and Holy Ghost as we ate this heavenly meal.

The phone rang, and she spoke briefly. A few minutes later Joe ushered an unknown woman in the house. I usually run, but Mom Linda was still on the floor and talked me into staying. So I felt safe. The woman was Dr. Johnson from Lap of Love. She sat on the floor. She talked to me and called me a beautiful baby. Princess Grace checked her out, and Prince Chauncey disappeared. I stayed under the table. Mom Linda got closer to me, but I wiggled away as she tried to pick me up. Joe wrapped me up in my papoose towel and put me in a basket.

Up to the office we went. He sat me on the desk next to the computer. Mom Linda sat in a chair right beside me. Sunlight flooded the room and warmed my face. She kept rubbing my head and talking softly to me. I am going to float high above the house and trees. Then I felt a shot that I had not expected. I meowed and tried to crawl out of the basket. But Mom Linda calmed me down and kissed me on the top of my head. She said she wanted to read a poem to me. It was the same poem filled with love and hope she read to me earlier. I was so happy to hear it again. When she recited the title Intertwined Lives, Intertwined Love, she cried and stopped talking. But I knew she was brave. Joe rubbed her back, and she continued. As she read each line, she paused and looked at me. I really lit up when I heard “leaving your legacy with Lexie Lee’s Meowlogue.” By the end of the poem, everyone was crying.

Mom Linda raised me out of the basket and pressed me to her heart. I was relaxed and calm as she cradled me in her lap. It was so quiet and serene. I heard Mom Linda tell Dr. Johnson “we are ready.” Last I heard a familiar chanting:

Linda loves Lexie Lee
Linda loves Lexie Lee
Linda loves Lexie Lee
over and over and over again
until it was a faint whisper and then no more.

Lexie Lee

Lexie Lee

By the time you read this, I will be on Rainbow Bridge. I am not sure where this magical place is. But Mom Linda told me all about it. Now I want to tell you about my last days. My battle with cancer ended on week 18 of chemo treatment. The previous week my blood count was too low for treatment. We prayed to continue later. But as time went on, I had trouble using the litter box. I went back to Dr. Lechner. My kidneys were too big. I guess they were filled with cancer. Mom Linda was quiet driving home. She usually talked to me, but I knew she was sad. I was quiet too. Well, except when I threw up two minutes from the house!

She put down some soft bedding and my water dish in the upstairs hall. I wanted to go in the bedroom and crawl under the bed. But it was closed off. So, I found a hiding place behind the shower curtain in the bathroom. Mom Linda sat on the floor with me and read some of my Meowlogues to me. That was fun. I got up and rubbed along her side. She liked that. Part of the night she slept in the hall near me. Later she moved to the couch. But it was just six stair steps away, and she could see me. Once I went down the steps and jumped up on her chest. I surprised her. She thought I was Chauncey until she felt my stub tail!

The next morning I returned to the couch and cuddled with Mom Linda. Oh, how I love those moments. I wanted to eat breakfast. Several kinds of food were set out, but I could not take a bite. So I stretched out on the rug under the dining room table. It’s a good spot to people watch—especially for anyone trying to put me in a carrier or give me medicine. And don’t forget cat watching. I have to keep track of Princess Grace and Prince Chauncey. Sometimes, they need their ears boxed. This morning Mom Linda told me I did not have to take my medicine. She crawled under the table near me. I hoped this was not one of her tricks. She said we had to have a big talk. And boy did we ever!

First, she told me I had been incredibly brave. But I don’t have to be brave anymore. She’s going to be brave for me and help me go on a long journey. I don’t want to go anywhere because I get carsick and I love where I live. She said I will float in the sky and be free from the carrier. I will go to a beautiful place with lots of food, water, and sunshine. I will feel great every moment and will not be stuck with needles anymore. The sad news Mom Linda cannot go with me. She said it is not her time yet. But five of her cats, Noelle, Taittinger, Marnie, Tatianna, and Katarina will be with me. I don’t know what they look like. But not to worry. They have been keeping their paws on Mom Linda’s home for over thirty-five years, and they know me. Imagine that! Tatianna will meet me on Rainbow Bridge.

Next, she told me it’s ok to let go and stop fighting cancer. I am not to worry about her or Joe or the two fur babies. Everyone will be fine. I do not need to be the great defender anymore. That’s what Lexie means! She knows me so well and how much I love her. I don’t want to leave her. But she said I am doing what I am destined to do. Everything is happening according to God’s loving plan.

Finally, she asked me to send her a sign later that I am ok. Maybe I’d walk on the bed or appear on her chest. She trusted me to figure it out. I wonder if a syringe filled with icky red medicine is a big enough clue for her!

After our chat, she went out to the patio and watered plants. I love to watch her from the front entrance of an all glass door. She always has to step over me when she comes in. What a great way for more attention! When she returned, she ate lunch. I sat on the windowsill behind her chair like I have done for years. Maybe I will get a nibble. She tried to hand feed me a piece of fish, but I could not eat. Joe arrived in the afternoon, and everyone was so glad to see him. Our household was complete. I spent the rest of the afternoon between the hall, living room, and dining room. I even went to the downstairs level. Mom Linda sat with me in the new bedroom she renovated. I love the high soft bed that I can jump on. She put me on the table by the window that overlooks the street. I love welcoming her home from this room. She wanted to carry me upstairs, but I wanted to dash upstairs. She laughed when I ran so fast. Once when I was in the upstairs hall, I heard Princess Grace and Prince Chauncey meowing. I ran down to check on them. They were just having a little tussle. I managed to eat a few licks of one of my favorite foods, Weruva paw lickin’ chicken. Dr. Lechner’s office called. Mom Linda reported we were having a good day doing our favorite things. She was right.

When it was time for bed, Joe wrapped me up in a towel like a papoose, and Mom Linda gave me a dose of morphine. Now that is not one of my favorite things. But I made it hard on her. I may be leaving, but I still have lots of spunk. I guess she succeeded because I slept through the night.

Dawnie

Dawnie

 

This Catnip Connection is a tribute to Dawnie who passed over to Rainbow Bridge on January 29, 2013. I got acquainted with Dawnie in the award-winning Catsong book written by my friend T. J. Banks. Dawnie and T. J.’s lives mirrored one another as conveyed in this passage: “We’ve both experienced motherhood, love and loss and struggled our way through that last one. When she comes to me now and walks over my work, demanding a head-scritch, or snuggles under the blankets next to me, purring, I can’t help smiling to myself, no matter what kind of day it has been.”

My experience is some animal bonds are formed deep and strong and touch each other’s soul. T. J. echoes this feeling in Catsong: “Chemistry–kindred spirits, soul mates, call it what you will–is a funny thing. There’s no dictating it. Somehow two souls knit together and stay knitted together, no matter what. Even death cannot undo those ethereal skeins.” I believe she developed such a bond with Dawnie. I love how she recently described their relationship as “titanium steel strong”.

 

Tribute to Dawnie
By Linda A. Mohr

You were my heart
A titanium steel strong soul connection.
You were my Dawnreader, my Dawnstar
My beautiful red Abyssinian.

Twelve and a half years
You graced the circle of my life.
Four thousand five hundred sixty-two days
Blessed scritch and snuggle time.

You taught me about heart matters,
How to take heart and
How to endure my heart
Being broken wide open.

You taught me to trust in time
Good things can root in a broken heart
Like hope, faith and joy.
Especially joy.

My dear Dawnreader
Forever in my heart
Forever my joyful connection
Forever more, my Dawnstar.

 

Credits
Dawnie’s portrait by artist Sally Logue
Catsong by T. J. Banks, stanzas three and four adaptation

Warm Purrs!

I took a nasty tumble down some stairs last weekend. I was headed to the lower level of the house to feed the kitties, Chauncey and Gracie. They dashed ahead of me. I missed the third step and tried to catch my fall by grabbing onto the banister. I landed hard on my right side, twisted my left foot on the fifth step, and broke a fingernail way back. I was certain I had broken my ankle, and I let out a scream. The kitties were at the base of the stairs leading into the room where they eat. Lexie Lee was at the top of the stair landing looking down at me. Chauncey ran to the step where I landed and rubbed up against me. He stayed with me for several minutes before moving up with Lexie Lee.

Gracie maintained her position at the bottom of the stairs and kept her gaze focused on me. Lexie Lee and Chauncey did not stir from the upper part of the hall. Like Gracie, they watched me intently. No one meowed.

They had never seen me like this. Their expressions told me, “We are staying here until you get up.” They had forgotten about their late night snack. I was comforted by the thought if I could not get up for awhile, I was not alone. After about fifteen minutes, I made an effort to move my foot. I wriggled my toes. But I could not stand. I managed to scoot the rest of the way down the steps. As I moved, Lexie Lee and Chauncey followed me.

I groaned and made lots of noise as I slowly hopped into the room. They continued to watch me. I think I scared little Gracie. I fed them and crawled back up the stairs to the second level and then hopped my way to the third level and fell into bed. The three cats soon joined me.

By some miracle, I did not break any bones. Lessons learned—go slowly on the steps. It’s ok the cats get to the destination faster! And never underestimate their powerful presence and support!

Warm Purrs!

A friend sent me the Ten Commandments for Pet Ownership. My understanding is that the commandments were originally written for dogs by Stan Rawlinson, but you will soon see they work for cats as well.

A Pet’s Ten Commandments
1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.
2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.
3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.
4. Don’t be angry with me for long and don’t lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.
5. Talk to me. Even if I don’t understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.
6. Be aware that however, you treat me, I will never forget it.
7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.
8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I’m not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.
9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.
10. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can’t bear to watch. Don’t make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.

Take a moment today to thank God for your pets. Enjoy and take good care of them. Life would be a much duller, less joyful experience without God’s critters. Now please pass this on to other pet owners. We do not have to wait for Heaven, to be surrounded by hope, love, and joyfulness. It is here on earth and has four legs!

Bountiful Blessings!

Paws for Patriots is a program that provides a guide dog and training to a blind or visually impaired veteran. Barbara Makant, the Florida State Regent for Daughters of the American Revolution selected this cause as part of her two-year office. She hopes to raise $60,000 for one veteran to receive a guide dog.

I had the pleasure of hearing Barbara speak yesterday at my DAR meeting. Southeastern Guide Dogs is located in Palmetto, Florida. Their emphasis is on Paws for Independence, Paws for Patriots and Gifted Canines.

In 2003 a board member learned of Marine Corporal Michael Jernigan who was blinded by a roadside bomb in Iraq. The Veterans Administration does not provide guide dogs to soldiers, so Southeastern Guide Dogs worked with top military leaders to make them aware of the medical and therapeutic effects of the dogs. Today therapy dogs can be found at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center to help soldiers during recovery.

The Paws for Patriots veteran and guide dog receive 26 days of individualized instruction in Palmetto where they bond and train together. Southeastern Guide Dogs provides the dog, equipment, lodging, meals, instructions and post-graduation support free of charge–thanks to the generosity of contributors.

“Brittani has been an essential part of my recovery process. She is not only a guide, but she’s also a great companion when the world gets too difficult,” says Retired Marine Corporal Michael Jernigan and Paws for Patriot Graduate.

Truly a worthwhile program! For further information, visit Paws for Patriots.

Bountiful Blessings!

The last post introduced ways to express sympathy to those who have lost a pet. Here are additional recommendations.

1. Make a donation—A donation can be made in memory of the caregiver’s cat. The donation can be to an animal shelter or an animal-related organization that you know the caregiver supports. A favorite cat book can be donated to a local library or a school. You can donate time, towels, or bedding to a local shelter or donate money for a veterinarian scholarship or feline research.

2. Encourage the caregiver to stay home—Companies do not provide pet bereavement leave, but many companies do offer a couple of personal days annually. The loss of a pet can be a legitimate reason to use a day or two to begin coping. If you are a supervisor and have an employee that loses a cat, consider suggesting the employee take the day off. If this is not possible due to company policy or the employee’s desire, you can still be understanding and not expect full productivity.

3. Frame a photo—If you have a picture of the caregiver’s cat, a kind gesture is to get a copy made and place it in a special frame. My brother did this after one of my cats passed away, and I so appreciated his gift. He had walked around my house with camera in hand during a two-week vacation one year and had taken some fabulous shots that I did not even know about. You can never have too many pictures of your pets—especially when they are gone.

4. Offer to do something specific—If you say, “call me if you need something,” chances are you won’t hear anything. However, if you offer to pick up the kids, walk the dog, order takeout food, or dig a grave, your helping hand may be appreciated and accepted. Just hours before my beloved Katarina passed away, a dear colleague called me and offered to pray for us over the phone. A couple hours after she passed away in my arms, another colleague appeared on my doorstep with hot chocolate and a stack of buttermilk pancakes. The hot chocolate and three bites of pancake got me through an excruciating evening. The pancakes were microwaved several times the next day and that is all I remember eating for two days. Later, still another friend volunteered to take Katarina to the veterinarian’s office the next morning for cremation. I accepted these kind offers, but probably would have never asked for them myself. Katarina and I were truly blessed to have had these three compassionate souls helping us in the final hours.

5. Sit and listen—You may not understand what the caregiver is going through. You may not even understand how anyone could be so upset about a cat. But you can still be present. You can sit quietly, listen to stories, and even encourage the stories by saying tell me about the time. There is no need to worry what to say. In truth, there are probably very few words that can be spoken that will really help. But your mere presence and love will make all the difference and will never be forgotten.

If you keep just one of these considerations in mind, your grieving friend will be eternally grateful for your gesture of comfort and support.

What expressions of condolence have touched you after the loss of a pet?

Bountiful Blessings!

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