June was an unexpected gift. Seven months ago, a rescue shelter called to ask if we would care for her. They couldn't contend with her medical problems and could find no vet, clinic, facility, or family to take her.
We went to get her but had to hospitalize her almost immediately. Prior to the shelter rescuing her, she'd been left outside, old, deaf, and declawed, amongst predatory dogs, by someone who wanted to get rid of her. She had toxoplasmosis, viral pneumonia, hepatitis, a heart murmur, malnurishment, ulcerated and infected eyes, and serious complications. Within weeks she had 2 emergency surgeries. Before the first, the surgeon told us that she had perhaps a 1% chance of pulling through. She later told me that June had more will to live than anyone she'd ever seen.
When she was home from the hospital we turned our front room into sort of an intensive care unit, with elaborate procedures (surgical gowns, surgical gloves, etc., as well as special disinfectants for both germs and viral agents) to ensure that we don't infect the other special needs dogs and cats that live in our home. She needed meds every four hours round the clock in addition to frequent tube feedings. Later as she got better and began eating without the tube, we would hear her going "waaaaaaa" several times a night for the next couple of weeks to wake us up to feed her (after which she'd nuzzle, purr loudly, and slip back to sleep).
When she grew well enough to join with the others, she became special friends with Dharma, a small friendly dog (!), and went with him to explore every room in her new home. She had problems with her back legs, couldn't stand fully upright, and wobbled as she walked, but made her way wherever she wanted to go. She liked being on an old second-hand piano, would nap during the day on a computer keyboard, and would get onto the seat of an old rocking chair and rock herself.
After trying out several places to sleep, she climbed onto the bed and slept at my feet for several nights. Then she would lie against my side or back to sleep. Finally she would wait until I was asleep and then climb onto my stomach to sleep. She was so frail and light I would only notice her there when I woke up.
Within the last few days, her liver and kidneys began to give out and she had to go into the hospital again. Everyone in the hospital--the vets, the specialists, the techs, the clerical workers--all knew and loved June. They'd called her a miracle cat and everyone hoped she'd somehow be able to make one more seemingly impossible come-back. But none of the interventions helped and she grew weaker and weaker. Her body just gave out and she passed away as I was cradling her in my arms. She was with us just 7 months, but gave us--and still gives us--more joy than I ever would have thought possible.
Please follow this link to the family of special needs dogs and cats who live in our home.