For love

There are many, no, countless times when someone ask me whether I am tired.
I am.

I am tired in my mind, I am tired in my body, I am tired in my heart. To wake and work from morning to morning with very, very little. To see something I want, something I need and tell myself that I don’t have that means now, and whenever I have the means, there is always at least one cat who needs a vet and there goes all my saving.

There are many, no, countless times people said they don’t know how I do it.
I don’t.

I don’t know how. I just answer the call, and do it.

And there are countless times too, when I told you all: my friends and family, that animal rescue, especially in this hell I call home, is lonely.

It’s as lonely as screaming your heart out but no one hears, it’s as lonely as crying your eyes dry but no one understands.

It’s lonely because whenever you need to talk, no one is there to listen, whenever you need a hand, there was no one taking it, whenever you need to pause, no one has your back. And even when you can do all that, no one understand
It’s you and you alone.

But if you were to ask why I did it, why I keep doing everything I do, the answer is I did it for love.

For the love I feel when I hold a bloody cat who just got run over by car, for the love I feel when a sick cat by the roadside looked at me, wanting to be seen, even just for one second, for one last time. For love when I extend my hand to a fearful cat who was betrayed and ended up in the dumpster. He even still had his collar on him. His name is Hiro.

For love when I picked up the lifeless, maimed, or rotting cats left by the roadside or on some corner, and take it home to be buried.

I did it for love. For love of friends miles away who did everything they can so I can save one more life. For love of strangers who bravely call me their daughter, sister, and do what a mother must do and what sister will do so I can go one step further.

I did it for love. The love that found me with only USD 50 on Wednesday night and warped me to more USD by Friday morning. The love of many people I probably would never see the rest of my life, but share the same heart, same passion, same mercy toward creatures.

I did it for love, and I am glad I do, because drowned in the ocean of silence and darkness, love speaks through the eyes of these cats: killed, abandoned, neglected, thrown away, abused, disregarded.

And because drowned in the ocean of silence and darkness, love answers those eyes with you all.

Thank you. Fifty Dollars by the end of the week, and these cats who cling to the life that is their right will see love.

~Josie
paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

Hard times

Part of me still wants to sit there, on the row of empty chairs at the corner of the crematorium; because when all things are said or done, I won’t have that mound of dirt where I can see Rexie, or Kaitou, or Renoir, Picassa, Koge Pan, Kansai, and many more line up of angels with whiskers up there.

Twelve years is not a short life, in fact, it’s a lifetime; and having that lifetime taken leaves a hole that will not refill overnight.

Many told me: healing comes with time, so take mine.
But should I?

It’s Wednesday today, and the cat food bin is empty. We raised only USD 50 while we need USD 600 every week to keep the sanctuary alive.

So comes the other part of me taking over. The part of me that kills the other part and straightens me up, see me wipe my tears, brush my swollen eyes, and walk to my responsibility. Mourning is for another day.

But where do I start, if not the Syndicate of my whiskers? Where do I turn to, if not the people who make things happen for all these cats, who now have better chance in life because of their touch of miracles?
I hope that someone is listening, that someone is sharing, and that the sharing vibrates, and eventually someone is responding. I hope that there is still a little bit left for us. I hope that the many stories that we bring together into a better chapter will not end so soon.

I hope that the sanctuary can still live.

~ Josie

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

TWELVE

Elyssa’s tarot reading gave us the sign: something in our life will be closing. We know what it would be.
Twelve hours after, Rexie II opened the gate, and crossed to the other side.

Twelve years ago he was a four months old kitten who was dumped in the worst corner of Chinatown, losing the fight, dragging his hind legs everywhere in his last effort to cling to life.

Death would come as he tried to cross an alley, and a Mercedes Benz refused to slow down, if the small people of that slum: the parking lot guy, beggars, thugs, triad roaches block the road and made the bourgeois understand that it’s the cat’s life or his.

He was named Rexie II because that day when he came home with me, a dear friend lost her cat, so I gave her cat’s name to mine.

It took him months to reverse his calcium deficiency. Not twelve months later until he can use all his legs like a cat should be; but Rexie’s malnourishment was so extreme he has gastrointestinal problem all his life.

The first four years with us, every year he has surgery. Intestinal blockage, intestinal prolapse, megacolon, another intestinal blockage, chronic diarrhoea because his intestine cannot absorb nutrition as it should do. Something is always wrong with his gut.

Still, for twelve years Rexie is no less legendary. Even though he caught yet another illness, he walks and he runs, he jumps and he hunts, he climbs the roof, he catches butterflies, he endures all the stress from having to move from one rent to the other. When I finally buy this property and settle, he made himself king.

He eats what he wants, he sleeps where he wants, when he wants, he does what he wants.

Just like the wise king, he never forgets to go down and visit the small ones, cuddles with the orphan, made himself available for the sick. He sat with the broken hearted, he remembers where he came from.

Just like an old king, these past twelve weeks, all the illnesses that he conquered came back. We did our best, and do all the things we did together when he was sick, except for one: sending him to another surgery.

Like a king should be, he lives his last day with honour and dignity.

Like a brave king, and the grand one he is, he took his last breath on his favourite throne, closed his eyes, and let the heavens sing.

~Josie

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

TWO WEEKS AFTER CHRISTMAS

Through up and down, crisis after crisis, worries, fear. Every day is a question of ‘to be or not to be’. The thinking of not doing enough, or doing too much. The wonder whether I do it right, or not quite, even not at all.

Every step of the way, I am watching her. Every day after the surgery, last day before two weeks long holiday. The painful wait for the clinic to reopen, and breaking my finger as I keep it crossed 24/7.
One step after another, first two, then ten, after which, fifteen. Just like the town slowly comes back to life. Totti embraces her new life in her new home.

She is still waiting: waiting for the gate to be opened, waiting for the heart to be opened, waiting for the love to be opened.

Waiting for the gate to be opened when I got home from work. Waiting for the heart to be opened when I spread my arms as I peek from the window. Waiting for the love to be opened as she runs to my lap, squeezing her head everywhere.

It has to be her smell all over me, it has to be her fur everywhere.

“But Totti”, I said, holding her up at her armpits, “It’s not me. It’s the universe. Friends near and far lending their hands. Families away behind closed doors, in churches, by candles; kneeling, knitting their fingers, their head down, sending prayers”.

Only Saints has the arms of God fighting for them. But the whole world is fighting your war.

Totti would wiggle. Escape from my grasp, running away, sitting by her bowl, waiting. Waiting for the gate of the kitchen counter to be opened, waiting for the hearty meal to be opened.
By then she no longer waited for love to be opened.

That love has been out poured and by sheer force it had broken open the way for her second life that waited to happen.

Thank you for making that life happen.

~ Josie

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

BARELY

A new mother and her four babies were thrown away to a quiet SOHO complex near our sanctuary.

Barely an adult, she tried her best to protect her babies from other strays, evil people, and traffic. At the same time, she ran around in panic trying to find a place to hide in a vast, unknown, unfriendly land full of aliens and strange smells.

Barely able to walk, instead of staying put in the corner, the babies tried their best to follow their mama.
That I was there to witness the deadly chaos ensued, was because I tried to made it to a schedule on time, so I can be home on time, and steal some time to rest. While this week started with a long weekend, I barely got a little time to catch a breath to see what is before me, and think things through. Coraline’s surgery, loans due, business invoices, bills, comes at the same time.

How do I manage one panicked mother and four horrified babies with just backpack on a motorcycle? Barely.

Jumping from one stressful situation to a place full of strangers when they are barely out of my bag resulted in yet another chaos. I managed to get the mother into an enclosed pen. Though slowly, she eventually calmed down, breathed, drank, and ate.

Her babies started to roam around, though I confined them in the backroom just in case. One of them has parasites, but was kind of OK, Another one has parasites and a respiratory infection, and is in a bad condition, one other has parasite, respiratory infection, and is worse. This dilute baby, though, is terrible. Though I gave her fluid, booster and antibiotics, she barely hangs in there.

Coraline will have her check-up in eighteen hours, but I’ll go early so she no longer has to be barely alive.

Come with me and join me in my efforts to help this family reunite in a second chance in life.

~Josie

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

THE WALKING DEAF

Norman Reedus dropped his flight and bought a ten thousand dollars car so he can rescue a cat and drove them to the set and shoot for the next episode.
I hoped it was that lucky cat and Giddy.

He’d look perfectly on set. He walks like the undead, he looks like the undead, he sounds like the undead. Whether he was hit by vehicle and left to die, or survived a long untreated sickness, Giddy had his nerves wrecked enough to live with nerve ticks so bad, he wobbles when he move. He tipped over when he walks. He couldn’t bend his knee for long, so he sleeps sitting up, and he still wobbles from side to side even when he sleeps.

When he eats, he is a rock star; hard-rock star. The ones who picks up a note on their fancy guitar and throw their head up and down like crazy. Giddy picks up his food, and he chews his favored piece of chicken breast up and down I’d think that head will fall off and rolls away.

His ultimate Zen, though. Whether the storm is raging or Mozart is playing, whether I whisper softly or scream madly, Giddy will sit there with his eyes closed and nose up feeling the wind breeze.
He’d watch the world goes by and be at ease. He’d see the day turns around and be at peace.

He sat firmly a little bit to the middle of the road, sleeping, not caring for the world that turns crazy as people honks and swear as they move around him.

Of course he was startled and angry when I swept him off in the middle of his bliss, he squinted and stared and slaps, as I carried him away.
Dude, how do you live that way.

He is deaf and he can only watch as the world turns away.

I hope he sat by that road and Norman Reedus find him a way. He’d have a good life and great care, he’d have love and misery taken away.

Two days watching him follows me when I work at the shop. More days watching him wobble; sometimes slamming his nose to the pile of cat food, sometimes dunking his face into his water bowl, picking the right box of cat food, climbing it with his best effort, and rock himself to sleep on top of his little chosen world.
In one short year of his life he’s been through everything. He was born to a loving mother, he was taken away from that comfort and dumped to the market, he got the curse of ignorant men, or endure the torture of severe illness on his own, or both. He lived through starvation and thirst. He survived pain and torture. He suffered rejection and harsh treatment. Perhaps he’d let God take his hearing so he can live a little bit more.

Live a little bit more where there is no riot, no chaos. Live a little bit more without hearing the jest and the mock. Live a little bit more where it’s enough to see the kicks and slaps coming, and be on his way.
Maybe he’d take that life solemnly so that when death finally come, he’d rest in peace.
Maybe that’s why it’s me. A rescue of middle class who works morning to morning so he can eat. Maybe that’s why it’s me; a nobody, so he’s away from intricate world that doesn’t matter anyway.
Maybe that’s why it’s me, because Norman Reedus won’t have time to sit by him and let him lean on him as we enjoy the sunset in peace, feel the wind blow over the balcony, watch the bird prance but not involved in their preach.

I don’t have ten thousand Dollar car, I don’t have name over Hollywood star.

I only have boxes of cat food of various sizes to sit tall. I have fresh water and food. I have home, caring friends.

And I have Giddy to tell me: That should be all.

~ Josie

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate