We thought we were saving Dharma's life, but he was the one who ended up saving lives.
Suffering from an atypical seizure disorder, Dharma intuitively knew when Ariel—a blind and deaf kitten with epilepsy and problems coordinating her muscles—was about to have a seizure. If we were close by, he would bark to alert us and run to lie on her legs to keep them from paddling. Twice he woke us in the middle of the night when she was having a major seizure in another part of our house so that we could rush her to the emergency room. She would have died if not for Dharma.
He kept Phoenix (and the other special-needs cats and dogs who live as a family in our home) safe when we adopted Phoenix. The first-responders found Phoenix, barely alive, at Ground Zero in the smoke and rubble of the 9/11 attack. Pregnant, she had immediately lost her kittens. Phoenix survived but had asthma, eye and ear damage, and other problems from the explosion and aftermath. She was terrified and would attack anyone who came near. Fearless, Dharma kept a careful eye on her, helping to calm, reassure, and socialize Phoenix for the first couple of weeks she was in our home until she felt safe and comfortable. Whenever another cat or dog moved too close in those first weeks and Phoenix threatened to attack, Dharma moved calmly but instantly between them, gently backing the other cat or dog away.
He was everyone's friend, playmate, comforter, and protector.
Here's Dharma with some of his friends...
Calypso, a blind cat, naps on Dharma:
Dharma with Milagro, a dog with a heart condition (PDA), mild neurological problems, and a collapsing trachea:
Dharma playing with Ariel:
Dharma snoozing with Ursa, an elderly blind and deaf Lab:
Timmy, a cat with no back legs, sharing a moment of closeness with Dharma:
Dharma napping with Sirius, a dog with a progressive fatal disease (granulomatous meningoencephalitis):
Dharma resting with Faith, a blind cat:
Dharma sharing time with Lilian, a cat with FIP (feline infectious peritonitis), a progressive fatal disease:
Farewell, Dharma. We are so thankful you became part of our family and lived with us so many years. We will always love you.
Please follow this link to the family of special needs dogs and cats who live in our home.