Year in and year out he is fighting for his life on that little corner. Sometimes a small battle, sometimes just a struggle. Most criss crossing that crowded small road full of ignorant people.
If he needs a refugee, a barbershop not far when he turn to the left. It has two cats, free flow cheap dry food, just two bowls of water, often contaminated with a strain of hair, or two.
But if that moon above him belongs to the king, he is Odin. He owns it all, he runs it all.
Unless for a small wound that I thought was a bleeding nose, pestering long enough as it grows and trail his blood wherever he goes.
Call me a Valkyrie, but the fact is I am no match for him, even in my own persistent chase; I lost him, or would rather let him go than have him run crossing that crowded street every other step along our battle. People here have no mercy. Even if it is human, they would run a human over anyway. Everybody is the emperor here, others are dogs, or stone, or dirt. You know the story, I repeat it far too often.
That one afternoon, after a long while in longing, in wishing him well, in hoping it was just a bad scratch from some other Norse warrior, I saw him again; crossing that corner.
Bigger ulcer, raw face, more blood.
At four pm in the afternoon by the end of new year holiday season, when people hurl themselves on the road with grunt and groan as they angrily rush their cars and motorbikes, mourning their lazy days, and unwillingly accept that the pile of hell they call work is piling up on them (as with the bills); we are on hot pursuit by the road and in the middle or among all the hustle. To the back of a wooden stall, under a parking car, into that barbershop, through the underside of brand new motorcycles on display in a roadside dealer.
Call me a Valkyrie, because I am not giving up, I am not backing down.
He made a wrong jump toward a row of barbed wall. I made my daring move holding him back. Either barbed wall on my arm, or his nail on my face.
We put him in my bag, bring him home, and transfer him to a better place in a safety and warmth of a carrier. We haven’t eaten since morning, we are tired, we are thirsty, we are hungry. We were trapped and stuck from one traffic jam to another, we were burned by the hot sun that should not come in the rainy season.
But call us Valkyrie. A rescuer has to do what she has to do; and we are back on the road with headache and hunger, and low blood sugar, and crank growing in the depth of our soul.
He has Sporotrichosis.
Sporotrichosis (also known as “rose gardener’s disease”[1) is a disease caused by the infection of the fungus Sporothrix schenckii. This fungal disease usually affects the skin, although other rare forms can affect the lungs, joints, bones, and even the brain. Because roses can spread the disease, it is one of a few diseases referred to as rose-thorn or rose-gardeners’ disease.
Because S. schenckii is naturally found in soil, hay, sphagnum moss, and plants, it usually affects farmers, gardeners, and agricultural workers. It enters through small cuts and abrasions in the skin to cause the infection. In case of sporotrichosis affecting the lungs, the fungal spores enter through the respiratory pathways. Sporotrichosis can also be acquired from handling cats with the disease; it is an occupational hazard for veterinarians.
Sporotrichosis progresses slowly – the first symptoms may appear 1 to 12 weeks (average 3 weeks) after the initial exposure to the fungus. Serious complications can also develop in patients who have a compromised immune system.
A rescuer has to do, what a rescuer has to do. Our purpose in this world is to alleviate pain inflicted to abused and neglected animals. Most of the time it means get them away from death.
Once in a while, however, it means giving them death.
He was six to eight pounds when I first spotted him, he has nothing but bone when I last touch him.
He has the fungus eating half his cheek, and corroding his jaw, he has no gum, he has no nose, not even nose bone. He cannot eat, he cannot drink, he breathes with serious difficulties.
Call me Valkyrie, and I call death for my Viking.
I call death to end his suffering, I call death to bring him peace, I call death so he can be free.
After all, he was already too compromised, that one third of his proper dose was enough to send him to sleep.
And off he goes to the throne of Odin.
In world like ours, if something does not spell “human” something does not matter; but a rescuer has to do, what rescuer has to do. We do not have government support, our service runs solely by the generosity of caring individuals.
Without your help, street cats like Viking will die a slow and miserable death, but if everyone gives a little, many more like him might turn their tide for the better.