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  • Last modified 1767 days ago (Jan. 15, 2014)

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Making the tough decision

The Youngest Daughter just called from the veterinarian’s office to tell me about one of the family cats. Earlier she and the New Guy let me know they were taking poor Otis for a medical check after he dragged himself to the house with severe injuries.

These are the things that make a mom wonder “why?” That poor old cat never caused anyone any harm. He is a happy guy who wanders the neighborhood chasing leaves and watching grass grow. He parks himself on the ledges of my wrap-around porch to spy on birds that occupy thick bushy shrubs all around it. I often watch him and think he might tip over from dizziness as he follows them swooping and diving in and out of the branches. He is a nice cat, but I am sure he has never quite figured out how to catch anything as swift as a bird or a blowing leaf. What I am saying here is that I don’t think Otis is on the dean’s list.

The Daughter was not sure what happened to him, just that he could barely walk and was badly skinned up and oozing blood in a couple of places. My first thought was that a member of the fox population in Peabody had gone on a hunt for small domestic pets that might make a tasty meal. That could be the answer, although the veterinarian thought Otis might have tangled with a car.

Either way, poor old Otis is going to have a tough time with a dislocated hip, a fractured knee joint, and some nasty looking spots that used to be covered in fur. This is the part of being a responsible pet owner that is tough. Can the pet survive? Will it be in pain? Will it recover enough to enjoy the rest of its life? This is the part that seems far away when one brings home that fat funny puppy or the playful kitten. However, it is also the part that is always lurking off in the future — perhaps one day having to make the tough choice.

Maybe Otis will get lucky this time and the decision can be put off. Maybe he will recover and return to my porch to sun himself and watch the birds again. One can only hope.

— SUSAN MARSHALL

Last modified Jan. 15, 2014

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