Dandelion — what would you pay to save a Kitty of a Lifetime?
This is Dandelion. Nine days ago, he was lumping about with his kitty tribe (including lithe and sleekity sister, Tiger Lilly), his Kitty Mom (my granddaughter), his Grandma (my daughter) and, occasionally me.
Once (or may be more) in a lifetime, you may get lucky and get a Kitty of a Lifetime. This is my granddaughter’s second, her first one being the ailing but blessedly persistent Max (imagine Dandelion, all grown up). Max has as much had the raising of my granddaughter as any of us – but I digress.
Despite all my daughter and granddaughter’s cats being wonderful, Dandelion is just a Kitty of a Lifetime. Sit down on the toilet and you have an armful of purring fluff, cradled in your arms like a baby, his soft little paws wrapped around your hand as you rub his tummy. Lie down and you’re apt to have Dandelion draped over your head like earphones, his purr a surround sound of tranquility. He’s smart, inquisitive, loving, knows his family and was set for a full lifetime of being loved, sleeping, eating, playing and bringing joy every day.
How much would you pay to save the life of such a miraculous little being?
July 2 of this year (2014) – Dandelion and Tiger Lilly were old enough to be neutered and spayed. They arrived that Wednesday and by late morning, the call came – they were done and doing beautifully.
Six pm and they were brought home. Tiger Lilly was bouncing about as if nothing had happened except she now had an annoyance on her tummy that needed investigation and grooming (which meant she would be wearing two pairs of socks made into a kitty tummy shirt – the cone of shame proving worthless with her). Dandelion was sleepier, but he was the mellow boy, so it wasn’t that great a surprise.
The next morning, my daughter doled out the pain meds and immediately, she noticed that Dandelion was still groggy and his breathing was heavy – plus his tongue was curled into a tube, his mouth open.
In the middle of the night
Miss Clavel turned on her light
and said, “Something is not right!”
Ludgwig Bemelman, Madeline, 1939
Daughter immediately called the vet who said they would squeeze him in. By then, Dandelion was heaving, but nothing came up.
When he got to the veterinary hospital, his lungs still sounded fine, but by that afternoon, they called and said his lungs sounded crackly and he needed to go to Summit Veterinarian referral center, which is a crisis veterinary hospital where the most dire cases are brought. If anybody would be able to help Dandelion, these folks would be the ones who could. The original veterinary clinic rigged an oxygen chamber for him while they waited for daughter and granddaughter to arrive, but they had to leave that behind for the terrifying ride to Summit. He was working desperately to breathe, his little sides contracting almost violently and his mouth was open. Liquid leaked out of his nose and mouth – when they arrived, the staff was waiting for him since the clinic had called ahead; he was rushed to the back to get him into an oxygen tent.
It was terrifying and overwhelming. Despair laid heavily on all of us.
The next day, the vet called and said he was fighting hard, but it didn’t look good. It was either let him go or put him on a ventilator. My daughter had to see him – he would tell her himself if he wanted to stay or if he was ready to go.
I was there for that visit. First my daughter and then my granddaughter unzipped the oxygen chamber and Dandelion opened his eyes wide, somehow pushing out a tiny mew even though you could see his little sides slamming in and out as he struggled. He leaned into first my daughter’s and then my granddaughter’s hands and my daughter knew – he wanted to stay. He wanted to fight.
And so it was on. It would be a fiercely expensive ventilator which meant 24 hour care by a vet tech who wouldn’t leave his side for more than a moment. Even with this, his chances were put at 5% — or less.
So – I ask again, how much would you pay to save a Kitty of a Lifetime? A little being who loved and trusted you? Who wanted to live as desperately as you wanted him to? How much?
My daughter took money out of savings – she applied for “Care Credit,” which can cover animals or humans, but the bill grew. And grew. And grew.
Right now, it’s $13,000.
Here’s the thing– it looks like Dandelion is going to live. They had to fight hard, and it was touch and go for so long. The vet would call and say she wouldn’t be surprised if he died at any minute and certainly was likely to overnight.
Still, he persisted. Still, he fought. (Okay, this makes me cry.) Decisions about keeping on were made in 12 hour increments.
More slow progress. They visited him; he was covered in tubes and wires. Except for the movements of his sides, he seemed to be gone, right up until he heard their voices and he seemed to be struggling to wake up for them. They left him to rest, more determined than ever not to give up on him.
And then – Wednesday, the ninth, in the weemost hours of the morning, they were able to get him off the ventilator. That evening, they visited him. He was still groggy – drugged – obsessively grooming himself, but when he saw his family, he got excited and they had to leave again because that challenged his breathing again.
And then – today – Thursday, the tenth of July. This was Dandelion tonight. His eyes are bright. He’s awake. He’s coughing up the goop that filled his lungs, although there may need to be later surgery to get rid of it if there’s too much.
It looks for all the world like Dandelion, Kitty of a Lifetime, angel of our hearts, is going to live.
And it was worth it.
My daughter, who would never do this lightly or even for her self, has set up a GoFundMe.com account in hopes of defraying this cost. She’s a single, widowed mother and this has set her back years. To help (if you can) or share (whether you can help or not), go to this link:
And thank you.
P.S. The original vet clinic was super nice and supportive. They did their very best to rescue him in the first crucial moments when, had they not done so, we would have lost him. They called to check on his progress twice a day. I suspect the first time they see him again, there won’t be a dry eye in the place…