Lent 2017

Greetings and Happy Daylight Savings Time ūüôā

Hope everyone is having a nice Sunday – it snowed here in Charlotte today! Luckily its all melted now. Bring on the Spring!!

So I am going to take a couple of posts to share a little about what I am doing for Lent this year. It’s rather odd sounding, so I trust you won’t judge me too quickly.

It’s a daily study / course, offered by Peter Rollins, the Continental Philosopher (Irish).¬†I am a huge fan of his work. He always makes me think, in his¬†gentle teaching / sharing style. And I love his openness. He seems like he’s just absorbing the world every minute, with¬†an astute and educated eye.

The course is called “Atheism for Lent”. You can check more out here:¬†https://peterrollins.com

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It’s not exactly how it sounds, but I give him courage points for stating it the way he does. Quite shocking. It’s actually a daily reading, art, music, theory paper from insightful critics of faith, religion and God. The idea is to take the Lenten season and allow those who’ve been critical of the path I have chosen, to speak to me so I can hear and learn from their views on how I live. To be open enough to truly listen to my critics and to get something from it. Rollins asserts that Theists and Atheists have a very long history of checks and balances, and that we are more alike than different.

It’s truly an interesting course, and though I am only 2 weeks in, glad I have done it.

We can all learn from each other, and that’s a good thing.

Get to bed early tonight! Take care –

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Feline Lazarus: Part 3

Spoiler Alert: I just took this picture a few minutes ago.

Boe and Barrett, August 14, 2016. Still best friends….

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Part Three:

On Sunday, August 10, 2014, we went in after Boe’s second hyperbaric treatment to a report of him lifting his head – about 3 times while¬†in the chamber. He was supposed to rest undisturbed after each session, so it took a little bit to get some time with him.

I remember he was still pretty tired. Hard to get him to wake up. He still had his catheter and food tube.

One more day.

The doctors really had nothing to say at this point, other than to suggest to continue with the HBOT sessions (not cheap – thank you to my parents who donated 4 rounds). And to just “wait and see” what was going to happen.

We were told once a male cat develops this sort of problem with their kidneys/urinary tract – it’s often recurring. He would need prescription food to support this issue for the rest of his life. Said food I have taken to calling the “liquid gold”. It too, is not cheap. But whattyagonnado. We are¬†supporting a living miracle here.

I guess as the food tube did its thing, and the HBOT every 10-12 hours, Boe got stronger. He was becoming¬†a little more awake than before. I picked him up a lot, tried to mess around with his legs — but it still seemed like he was completely disconnected from everything in his body.

Then the doctors told us he was blind. (I just accidentally typed blond – haha. That really made me laugh. For many reasons :))

I was surprised to hear that he was blind. Looking back it makes sense, completely. But it was kind of a shock I wasn’t expecting. I knew I had a vegetable, but a blind one to boot seemed like a daunting task to take¬†home the following day.

Oh well, I thought. I am staying focused on my GOAL. Taking him home. Anything after that, would be thought about after that. Home first!

I did go out and buy¬†some potty pads and a food syringe,¬†and a few other support items I imagined I’d need. I had pretty vague plans. I didn’t care.

Sunday we let him rest a lot to try and maximize the HBOT effects and to get stronger to come home.

On Monday morning Randy went back to work, and thankfully I had the time to take off work. I was giddy and shaking — we were so close to getting Boe¬†home.

I toted my oldest stepson Tyler, age 16 and newly minted with a drivers license, down to Matthews with me to get Boe. I drove down there, and I could tell he was nervous. My car at that time was less than 6 months old and he had never driven it before.

((I was thinking, I don’t care what you do to this car, as long as Boe and I are home this morning))

I may have even told him that.

I am sure I tried my best to listen to all of the instructions they gave me, and probably I even remembered a lot of what they said then. At the current time, I recall nothing. I only remember wrapping him up in one of our blankets and getting in the backseat, and watching Tyler try and be so careful to drive us home smoothly in a car he was unfamiliar with. He tried so hard to get a sense of¬†how sensitive the brakes were, to take turns gently, and watch¬†for pot holes…

I will never forget being touched beyond imagination to have these sweet boys of ours involved in this miracle,¬†watching pieces of it unfold alongside them, seeing them take an active role in helping, knowing it was a time none of us would ever forget…

Gulp. (Blot tears)

We made it home!

I think the best way to show you what happened next in this unpredictable¬†story of the miracle that God showed us through Boe, is to share a series of videos. Because it’s just too crazy to describe how he rejoined the land of the living. And really fully became himself, quirks and all, again.

Boe Learns to Be A Cat Again

On his fourth day home he was walking fairly stable most of the time. For about a week he could only turn left.

Mr. Boe also became Mr. Clingy, as both Sundance and I learned being home with him.

Much to Sundance’s chagrin, he was now constantly being touched, cuddled or spooned by a cat. One he never paid any attention to (and it was mutual) previously:

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**The Sundance Worship by Boe lasted about 2-3 months. Eventually Boe was accepted back into Barrett’s spooning circle, which holds to this day.

And my delight:

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It took about 6 months for Boe’s sight to return, which the Doctors had warned IF it came back, it would be the last thing. During that time, I prayed a lot about him being restored to his full “old self”.

I remember talking with my Mom about it one day and one of us said,¬†“The last thing Boe probably saw¬†was¬†Jesus. And¬†Jesus told him he needed to go back and fight.”

I liked that.

While I know that Boe isn’t quite 100% “the same” (still), I would not be able to tell you anything that’s wrong with him. He lives the same full life that our other cats do. He plays the same games with the same toys, occupies the same spots for naps, is snuggly and, at times, grumpy the same. He has all¬†the same routines the others do.

Still, there is something different about him. I regularly¬†look¬†at my sweet, often¬†dopey-faced, Boe (he usually has this goofy look on his face) and think, “that cat met Jesus.”

And I shake my head in total wonderment….

Thank you, Jesus. Thank you. (I will never forget),
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PS.

I can never thank Randy, my sweet amazing angel man, enough for all that he did then, and continues to do to this day to support all of us. But it is for¬†those times¬†during¬†Boe’s ordeal, that¬†in this¬†moment I want to say a special Thank You….

Thank you for sleeping on the porch every night with Boe for 3 weeks while he recovered.

Thank you for helping me feed him with a syringe when I was too tired to do it anymore, and for giving me breaks from working with him and caring for him when you got home from work.

Thank you for LOVING Boe and me, in what was no doubt a crazy experience. And often extremely impractical seeming….

Thank you for laying on cold tile floors with me at the vet.

Thank you for holding my hand, and for being so calm and understanding.

Thank you for praying a million prayers with me.

Thank you for truly being my partner in all things.

I love you, Randy. You are my hero.

xoxo

Boe: Miracle Cat. II

A few thoughts from last night’s post….that was a flood that just came pouring out, and I was surprised at how every detail was still so vivid. It brought up so many emotions. On “average, normal days”,¬†it feels like longer than two years ago. I kind of wanted to slap¬†myself for taking for granted this miracle that still lives with me every day (and often annoys me because he whines for his special urinary support /aka liquid gold food every night at 9 pm). Does God look at me and shake his head thinking “Don’t you remember? Ahh you human!”

Sorry for the cliffhanger, but I felt I had to stop because Andrew was knocking on my office door at 9 pm, asking when I was going to be done.¬†Work¬†all day, weep through writing about my¬†miracle, trying to capture what it was really, fully like, by night….

 

Part Two: 

We got him back in to a¬†room. We could only keep him there for about 10 minutes at a time because his body temperature still wasn’t holding so he¬†was having¬†to go back to the steam shelf and heat lamps to stabilize regularly.

Here is what happened next:

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The little red wire is his “food tube”.

We had to keep his head propped up, otherwise it would fall – he had seemingly no muscular awareness or function. Like he didn’t even know what his body was about, or that he even had one. You will see what I mean more later.

And then, finally…. he opened his eyes. Just for a second.

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Tears of joy! Could this really be happening!?

But, as incommprehensible as all of this was, the doctor still reminded us that it was almost a complete certainty that he would never fully recover. He had been down too long for his brain to function.

Joy? Pain?

Were we going through all of this to “save” a vegetable cat? One, we were being told we’d likely need¬†to euthanize eventually? Were we torturing him? Ourselves? Was this all for nothing? What was the right thing to do?? I was so confused. I really really was.

Emotional rollercoaster. For reals.

The only thing I could think was: it’s Saturday.¬†On Monday, he can come home. I just want him to come home one more time. If he is going to pass, I want him to be at home. I want his brother and sisters and our dog to see him. They were all so close, I especially wanted his brother/best friend Barrett (who was wailing and calling for Boe all night on Friday), to process where his bro was.

Get. Him. Home.

(If you haven’t been able to add¬†it¬†up, or were wondering – about 8 years ago, in March of 2008, I “rescued” a feral cat / she just started living at my house – yes, I fed her.¬†She (Maeby) had 3 kittens on April 2, 2008. Nola, Barrett and Boe; aka “The Maeby Family” made me the proud owner of¬†4 cats. One of life’s greatest lessons and blessings all wrapped up into one.)

One of the Techs brought in some wet food, and a tongue depressor. “See if he responds to the smell”, she said.

It would ¬†be really great to share videos right now – but, because that is quite a $$ upgrade to a free wordpress account, I will instead link you to my Facebook site to watch those ūüôā

If I were a paying person, I would insert “Boe Video #1” here….

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Sorry for the shaky footage and crying. I am an emotional girl. And y’all, that was just a huge moment. Because I knew, the countdown was on. I was taking my vegetable cat home the second that catheter came out. If he was going to pass, he was doing that at HOME.

IF.

I still wasn’t getting much of any hope from the doctors, so I tried to take things one step at a time. The next milestone was HOME. And when there is a firm goal in my gut — back up¬†and look out. Every ounce of force I have as a human, and every bit of Holy Spirit’s power living in me, is going to be put on that goal.

It’s on.

Ok, so now what, Team of CVETS Doctors?? You suggest we try putting him in a hyperbaric chamber?

“Do it” we say. “Yes, I will sign.”

If you want to know what HBOT¬†is, I won’t try an amateur explanation – you can watch¬†here:¬†CVETS Hyperbaric Chamber

I was told that CVETS in Matthews has the only hyperbaric chamber for pets in the state of North Carolina. And wasn’t it a stroke of luck that Boe happened to be here?

Yes…..it sure was.

GULP.

((I love you Jesus! Thank you Holy Spirit living inside of my mind who took over and spoke up while I was talking to my regular vet on the phone and said “We are going to Matthews!” thankyouthankyouthankyou!!!!))

Boe could only do a session in the chamber once every 10-12 hours. He went in a comatose vegetable, and came out out with no change.

They said they’d do another treatment¬†overnight. It takes a few to tell if it will work.

So we went home to bed, after lots of pets and kisses.

My head was only focused on “I am taking that cat home on Monday.”¬†And lots of prayers. Lots. Every kind…..

 

Part 3: Coming soon!

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Boe: Miracle Cat. Part One.

Two years ago, on August 8, 2014, my youngest stepson came to get me to tell me one of our cats, Boe, was “acting weird”. “It’s like he can’t walk”, Andrew told me. I took a quick look at him, not having noticed anything wrong with him previously.

Almost instantly, I had a feeling of panic – he was definitely not right. I called our vet (having 5 pets, I don’t even say my name anymore – they are “hey Melissa, what’s up?”)

Me: “I need to bring Boe over ASAP, something is wrong with him. I don’t know what, but my gut is this is an emergency.” Vet tech: “the doctors are in surgery for 2 hours when they get back from lunch. If you really think it’s an emergency – take him to the Animal ER in Matthews. Or, if you want to wait, we are here – bring him over later around 3 pm”.

After about 8¬†seconds of deliberation – I said “I am going to Matthews”. And out the door we went – Andrew and I, with Boe.

I called Randy at work and said “If you can possibly come, please come – I think something is really wrong.”

I love this man because he left work for a cat. For many other reasons, too, including knowing me well enough to know how much I needed his support. But that day – I loved him to the moon for caring about a¬†cat….

Post initial exam at the ER,¬†the Doctor¬†told¬†us he needed emergency surgery to clear a urinary blockage that would be life threatening if not urgently treated. We kissed him and prayed over him, and left him with the Doctor and headed home. They said they’d call with an update as soon as they were out of surgery.

The last thing I remember at the clinic was being asked to elect DNR or resuscitation¬†care in the case that he had any issues. It was an extra $500 to “revive” him in a life threatening situation. After a particularly costly pet¬†year (our dog had his second cruciate replacement, and a different¬†cat had several teeth pulled and was¬†diagnosed with hyperthyroidism), I hesitated. I waved my pen over the DNR signature line, ready to sign. Boe was otherwise totally healthy and only 6 years old. Then, I remembered I had opted to cover Maeby (rotten teeth/thyroid cat) for her recent surgery. Given that I¬†want¬†to be fair,¬†I signed to cover¬†Boe’s resuscitation, shrugging it off to the Front Desk lady as largely¬†unconcerning.

About an hour later, I was driving another cat (listen, we have a lot of animals and that is a story for another day) to the Vet for another albeit smaller trauma (when it rains it pours),¬†and talking to my Mom on the phone. I noticed¬†a¬†call coming in from a number I didn’t recognize while we were talking, but I ignored it. Wasn’t thinking about Boe at that time. The same number¬†tried me again, and then again. So I said – “Mom I gotta call you back”….

The Doctor on the line identified herself, and then described the steps taken in surgery — everything seemed calm and procedural. Normal. I remember feeling relief. She got all the way to, “the surgery was successful (honestly, I remember this very well – and it boiled me for a long while), we¬†got him all stitched up, catheter in place (ok great, I am thinking!)….but unfortunately (the start of a new trigger word with her), just as we let go of him to place him in recovery, his heart stopped. We tried to revive him for almost 15 minutes. Because you signed the resuscitation, we gave him a shot of epinephrine (adrenaline) which restarted his heart, but he’s not responsive. He is unable to breathe on his own. Unfortunately what¬†will happen from here is that the drug will wear off, ¬†and his heart will stop. I am sorry, but¬†at this point, he is gone. The drug is just keeping his heart beating¬†– for now. I want you to understand, this heartbeat does not equate to LIFE.”

“You should come as quickly as you can, to say goodbye.”

Stunned silence. “Ok”, I say. “I will be there as soon as I can.”

I hang up and call my Mom back, still driving. I start to cry. Bawl. “Mom I can’t do it, I don’t want to go down there!” Mom: “You need to do it – go tell him you love him and say goodbye. You CAN do it, and you need to.” Chokey¬†sobs.

Other line rings, it’s Randy.

R: ¬†“Where are you? I am driving, and I am coming to get you.” (again, words to adequately capture my utter gratitude? no.) I really start crying now. Him: “Pull over and tell me where you are.” Me: “I’m on Monroeeeeeee”….and more slobbery directions.

It seems like seconds and he is there. He comes and opens my door, grabs my purse and walks me to his car. Then he gets Barrett (brother of Boe; have I mentioned I love animals?)

With Barrett starting to display similar issues, I say “we have to get Barrett to the vet, then we can go see Boe – we can’t save Boe, have to focus on Barrett.” Off we went. Randy all business, me, numb and stupid.

We get to¬†our Vet – I burst in, swollen face and bellow out¬†“Boe just died!” They are all so sad, listening to my story, nodding. They update his file. Deceased. “We are so sorry”, they say.

While handing Barrett to the nurse and explaining what was happening, I see Randy step out on his phone. I go back to checking Barrett in, while crying on the shoulders of all the Vet techs. Randy comes back in. And looks at me, wide-eyed.

“I don’t know what is going on. But, Boe is NOT dead.”

WHAT?

“That was the Doctor again, and basically she said the epinephrine has definitely wore off – -and his heart is still beating. We need to go down there. They have him on life support.”¬†(remember the form I signed…)

We handed¬†Barrett to the closest Tech, and headed back to Matthews. About 10¬†minutes later, we were led back to a table with a built-in hot bath with grates over the water, heating pads, tangled with wires all connected to a shriveled wet figure hidden largely by towels.¬†Standing at the table, a¬†Vet tech was counting and squeezing an air bag…..under all of this was little Boe. His tongue was clipped to his ear. He was almost unrecognizable from the soft and dry little fellow we left about 2 hours prior.

I was remarkably calm. Fear is such a powerful thing. Facing it is almost never as hard as the fear (at least for me). I have no idea why I am like this.

I prayed over him, we prayed over him, stroked his forehead, petted him and kissed him. I told him I loved him, and what a good boy he was. And we just looked at him. No sign of life. At all.

Doctor: “Unfortunately (I am still triggered by this word….), I am very confident¬†he is brain-dead. We need your permission to stop the life support, so when you are ready, we will remove¬†the breathing tube.

After another 5 or so min, I said I was ready. I could see the state he was in. Randy nodded. Lots of kisses and pets. Goodbye, sweet boy….love you so much…..

Slowly and carefully, out came the tube. To everyone’s awe (I mean, I watched the Doctor and I saw her face)…Boe swallowed. She said “woah” softly. Then he breathed. After a few minutes of the four of us staring at him, waiting to see what was happening, the Doctor¬†said “This is extremely unexpected, but an incredible hurdle.”

We watched him breathe for probably an hour. I really thought he would stop at any moment. The Doctor played with his ears and whiskers and tried to get some response. Nothing.

Now we had heart and lungs back, but literally nothing else. After about 2 hours of almost total silence other than praying, the Doctor again said “I don’t think he can recover. If he doesn’t wake up very soon. We should probably talk about euthanasia.”

I say: ” I need to go outside.”

I went by myself. I looked straight up and I said, “Lord, we need to talk. Big time. I have really hoped all these years of you knowing me, that I would not be in this spot. You know me, how i feel about the death penalty, you know we (ok me, but I live with a patient, loving family) have a catch and release policy about every single living thing in our house. I just can’t take a life. That’s not for your little daughter to decide, God. Please. I don’t want it to be my choice. PLEASE. If he needs to go, YOU take him. Please God. Please don’t make me do this, I don’t want to make this decision.” Lots of other blathering and small talk / begging, and I headed back inside. (PLEASE!)

I sit down back next to Boe.

How much is this costing? Never mind. No one tell me.

((I want to just take him home in the worst way, but the bladder surgery required him to stay in the hospital for 3 days due to having a catheter))

Randy says: “Can we give him the night? We will come back in the morning and if he’s the same, we will talk then.” (Bless this Angel Man).

“Ok” I say.

We head back to get my car. It was down a dead-end side street I have never been down before, off Monroe Road in Charlotte. When we get there, I put my head down and walk to my car from his.

Randy says – “Hey look. You parked right next to this. Did you see that?”

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Right. Next. To. MY. Car.

GASP. “No, I didn’t.”

((Oh thank you Jesus. You are with me. Literally you are standing right here, right next to me.))

Holy buckets, there are no words other than a flood of grateful and hopeful tears. When you know this without any doubt,¬†with every part of¬†your soul–¬†these are the best moments in life. When every single bit of you feels that you are RIGHT THERE in the presence of our incomprehensibly loving and faithful God of the Universe. That He cares for you and your little feral cat.

Mind-blowing.

I remember nothing else that night. Other than Randy got Barrett, and I went home. Out like a light. Likely some muttery begging while passing out.

9 am the next morning, we arrive back in Matthews. We go back to see him. No change. The Vet tech is still playing with his ears and whiskers trying to get some¬†reflex or response. We spend some time with him, kissing on him, loving on him. He’s still on the water table under a hot lamp. They are trying to keep his body temperature up.

Nothing is happening. No change. I am calm. Nobody is asking anything about next steps. We are just hanging out.

“Can we take him in to a room?”, ¬†I want to lay down next to him on the floor (him in his mess of blankets, me on the cold tile).

 

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Randy and Boe on the floor I will never forget. We brought his blue blanket from home – the pink thing belonged to the ER.

After loads of pets, prayers and love heaped on Boe, I stepped outside again.

“Jesus I need your help. I don’t want to keep him if he can’t recover. I BEG you to take him if it’s his time. PLEASE don’t make me do it. Please please please. Only you know what he can do. If he can recover, I ask you to bring him back for us. If he can’t, please dear Lord, please take him.”

I had the sense of that cross standing there next to me. Though there was still no change, I felt God saying, “I am right here next to you. And I am showing you a¬†miracle.”

When the Doctor said a bit later – “He needs to eat and drink. So if we are going forward, we need to insert¬†a food tube. It’s a little risky but it’s a must if he’s to have any chance at all. He’s incredibly weak.”

“Do it” we said.

At the point of the food tube, we had very slight (you had to really want to see it) ear and whisker reflexes. Not consistent. Just barely.

We left and let him sleep. We went to eat. Totally numb.

We came back several hours later. “He’s trying to wake up!!” they tell us as soon as we get there.

What?? GIVE HIM TO ME! ¬†And back to the tile floor we go….

 

….to be continued

 

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Links I am ALL About…..

1. Grow Box

My sweet friend just launched this site and ahhh-mazing new concept today!!! Y’all trust me when I say you haven’t met someone who’s just so full of love for others. Check this out – fantastic all kinds of ways! ¬†https://getgrowbox.com

2. Pray for Others

I love this! What a way to just spend downtime blessing on others. Prayer changes things!!! I just love love love this. I think they said they get 80 million prayer requests a year. Just get on there and take a few. Watch what happens!!     https://www.guideposts.org/faith-in-daily-life/ourprayer-ministry/pray-for-others

3. #Write31Days

Totally excited to do this in October. I am such a rule follower / challenge accepter, you can count on some crazy stuff flying out of my brain come October. You should be excited. I should be a little scared.    http://write31days.com

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Thanks, Mom!

Hello….anyone out there?

In sitting down to write a blog for the first time, I realize you could (or at least I could) really overthink writing the “big opening”. So many facets of one personality to present – right? Do you go in humble saying “I don’t know how to start but….”, will humor translate – ?, do i need to prove myself out of the gate, how about a didactic tale of life… even I am annoyed. Already.

So this should be fun. C’mon. Totally fun! Like a disco tune! Think of a good one¬†and start doing your best funk moves. I¬†went to Let’s Groove by EWF.¬†Let’s regroup after our respective dance parties.

Now here is a picture of my dog. Who can resist a girl with a golden retriever? This is my loyal bestie at Isle of Palm SC recently.

Sundance, the Magnificent
Sundance, the Magnificent

I love all animals, including bugs and snakes and whatever else you can think of. My mother will tell you this has been a lifelong thing. I used to rescue all sorts of little creatures as a kid. I had pet worms, mice, snakes – yes all outdoor caught. I once begged (ok this happened a lot more than once) my mom to take a baby bird I found that fell out of the nest to the vet. She actually did it. Same for a mouse another time (it had a tumor). What a great mom! I mean, she didn’t do it willingly, and I am still repaying her in favors for it like 35 years later, but still. That’s pretty cool. I held vigil under my dad’s desk lamp for this little featherless bird for about 2 days until it died, in a nest I built,¬†feeding it wet dog food mixed with water in an eye dropper. And yes, you probably already guessed – full funeral.

I have so many stories about my rescues — maybe I will spread them out a bit though. I mainly told you this one, for two reasons. First, obviously nobody dislikes an animal rescuer (great starter, huh). And second, it is a big part of me. It’s probably in the top 5 list of things people who know me would tell you most defines me.

So there you go. I think that’s it for a first post. I am an (over the top, often impractical) Animal Lover. Now you know….

Happy Saturday!

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ps. This blog is not about Animals. Not really at all. So if you’re allergic and/or don’t want to hear anymore animal stories, there is still hope this blog is for you =)