Burnt Bun

When a baker’s attempt to make a chocolate cake botched, he didn’t throw it away. Unknowing people come to like the failure cake, and for the centuries ahead, the failed cake is a branded desert called Brownies. There are a thousand morals of this story, but to me, a failed attempt is never a failure. It’s a delayed success.

And so when I unsuccessfully trapped a little black cat from an empty house in my previous home, I take it as a brownies in life. A botched attempts are challenging, intriguing, and tempting, so I follow my heart and try again, until I made it to bring her home.

koge pan bag

I call her Koge Pan, literally means “Burnt Bun” in Japanese. She is all black, with strong, sharp green eyes, living her lonesome life in an abandoned house, coming home everyday to see if someone is filling her empty bowl.

She is fur-less when I first catch her. Her skin is so full with scabies, the mange and ticks and fleas cannot live on it. The vet I consulted actually asked me back where did I get such “exotic” kitten.

It took me four months to permanently cure her. Four months full of salves, vitamins, salt bath, spray, ointments…. Four month into a shiny, soft, and fluffy sweet bun.

I took it personally to cure her. I took it personally to care for her, not only because she deserved it, but more because she reminded me very very much like my very first pet cat. If she is male, then I would probably call her Kenichi II.

Kenichi was big, strong, handsome, and has the sharpest stare of all. My mother once has to deal with Conservancy Officer because one of my envious neighbor called them and reported that I keep a black panther cub.

So I determine to make his  female counterpart as great looking as he is.

She grown into the most beautiful “black panther cub” in the world. Fluffy hair, soft and shiny coat, brilliant green hair, and she loves to play. She doesn’t get along with the kittens like other cats, and sure love to perch on top of things to stay away from the running and tumbling. She can’t help it with Eden, the boy kitten climb over just to pat on her head (I call THAT a stunt) and run away before she swat him on the face.

When she is nine months old, I took her to the vet. With the help of the donation I set up in this blog, I was able to raise enough money to spay her.

It took longer than it should, however. First because the vet was taken away with her soft and fluffy fur, then because an hour later, she came out to say that Koge Pan has two bags of cysts on her ovary. She was asking if I want to remove it, considering that the bags of cysts are cancer prone and ready to burst.

The chance is 50:50. I can leave the cysts there and have Koge Pan live with ovarian cancer, or take the risk and remove the cysts with the possibility that the cysts grow somewhere else.

The vet and I decided to remove it.

The surgery went well. All of the cysts were removed, and she came home with me like new. She eat a lot, her stitches cured well, and she is now a more social cat.

The week after when I brought her back to the vet to remove stitches, the vet praise her on her wonderful progress.

But the week after, she suddenly refuse to eat, and whatever antibiotics the vet gave, she throw it all out. Soon, whatever comes into her mouth, whether it’s food or medicine, she would vomit.

It’s as if she had cancer already.

Over the week after, she would live on vials and i.v. I have to go back and forth to the vet, but since she fight so bravely to stay alive, I don’t mind draining my money for her.

We made a promise, that I would give her the best life I can afford, and that she would grow into a healthy, beautiful cat.

On August 28, I took her to the vet again, alongside Renoir who would have his Hernia stitched. The vet and I both realized that her dark skin had turned yellowish, and Koge Pan was considerably less responsive.

We know it’s looking grim, but we tried our best. I gave her the best food, the vet gave her the best treatment and medication, and for some days, she can walk again, although she still cannot eat.

On September 6, she vomits again, and she lose all her energy. She cannot stand up, cannot sit, cannot move. I took her to the vet again, and she get another serie of shots and vials. That night, she called for me all the time, and so I took her to bed with me. If sleeping side by side would calm her down, I wouldn’t mind doing bed sheet laundry everyday.

On Sept 7, she is not responding at all. I went to the office, but I cannot concentrate, so I told my boss I want to go home and finish some urgency, and rush her to the vet clinic.

Both vets (the one that operates her and her associate who handles Goldie) were present, and both gave their best effort, but Koge Pan slipped into a coma.

Half an hour later, she was already in vegetative phase.

It’s the time I dreaded. I just lost my rescued dog Ayumi last year from pyometra, and now I have been taken into the same situation.

I love Koge Pan. The other might go to a new family, to a forever home, but she would stay with me. We spend so much time together. Being with her is like having a sister next to me, who responded and even excel at each other promises.

I also know Koge Pan is in pain. Having to throw out every time something got into your throat is painful. Having to endure the starvation while your mouth refuse to open is painful, having to let life slipped by you is painful. And even if I decided to keep her, I would have left her soul hanging. Not alive, not dead.

We decided to let her go.

I have never saw both vet crying as they do what is necessary. They both tried the best they could. The both know how strong is the bond between us, and they both hated to lose the battle. The battle that Koge Pan had entrusted to us to win.

It was quick. She slipped away just like that, but the sorrow that come after that was long, and excruciating. Both vets and I was frozen long enough in front of the now sleeping Koge Pan, that the nurse locked the door so that no one would disturb us.

They cysts had not go anywhere. It hadn’t grow anywhere else, it didn’t broke, it didn’t turn into cancer, but it triggered different lethal enemy: Leukemia.

On Sept 8, as I took her ashes, I brought it over to the vet clinic once more, also to say my greetings to the vets who would celebrate Idl Fitri at Sept. 10.

When I gave her the money for euthanasia, the vet refused, and instead said “We all lose the game. Let’s keep the money in her memory, so that we can save others’ life”

God had given the best for me. Now that He want to take, let Him take only the best.

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

6For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. ~ 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Stepmother

It has been raining for three days now. The land is wet and soaked, the rivers running fast, and it’s dark sooner than other days. Sometimes the wind blows so hard, the wisps of the trees is shaken and bend.

I cannot go anywhere in the rain like this, so I sit down on my bed and trying to read. I’ve been longing for a time like this for so many times.

Across my bed against my foot, Goldie is wiping herself silently. Next to her Tacos and Nachos, her adoptive kittens curling against each other soundly asleep.

I smile to myself, thinking how fast the time flown. Last year in a rainy night like this, Goldie was still a baby, crying and yelping under the rain with her two siblings, calling for anyone to save them from the pouring water in the freezing night.

 

Goldie Baby
Goldie, 2 months old

There were three of them. One male I named Goldwyn (from Metro Goldwyn Meyer), and two female I called Golda (from Golda Meir) and Goldie (from Goldie Hawn). No particular preference, they just happened to be all yellow, and all of those public figures had “gold” as part of their name.

The boy, Goldwyn, was weaker than the other, and so he died two weeks later.  I continue to bottle feed the remaining girls in the hope that they would somehow survived the nasty weather.

It’s nice to know that they are holding on. With works taking more than 8 hours a day, I can only feed them twice daily, to which they always look forward.

I wonder, however, how they would pass the day when I work.

Kaitou took care of them. As the eldest in the gang, he often acted as a benefactor to the younger, and in the case of these two golden girls, he curl up and allow the girls to snuggle on him for warmth.

Goldie nursed
1 year old Kaitou playig step father

There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, except the fact that Kaitou is male.

There are more than one occasion when during sleep, the two girls try to breast feed from him, but he never seem to be disturbed by it. He just let them be.

After Golda joined her brother last Christmas during a parvo outbreak, Goldie grow a deep attachment to Kaitou. She look up to him as her own parent, and follow him everywhere. He, in turn, taught her everything he know, from staying safe while jumping from roof to roof, getting to know the neighborhood, to hunting the rats and presenting them on the doormat like first class gourmet.

Goldie bag
Goldie’s favorite hangout, when she is home

Unfortunately, however, because she is learning from a male cat, she become a tomboy. She is never at home, she is grumpy, she is everything you can imagine in a tomcat. She also spray, by the way. A habit that gave me headaches, although I can be rich if I manage to get her in Ripley’s Believe it or Not. The only thing I haven’t see, and wish not to, is her trying to mate with another girl.

Following the advice of my regular pet supplies store, I went to spay her earlier. Anyway, the vet, not believing what I said that she is a grand tomboy, failed the shock test.

Goldie ran away. She went missing for two whole weeks despite the vet place is only one block away and she used to pass that place every day.

When she is home, at last, she is full of cuts and bruises, dirty, smelly, and hungry.

I truly question if I should have separate her from Kaitou back then.

When I moved to a rented house a few months later, she hasn’t been home for a week, so I decided to go back later at night and wait for her by the door. Though she is a troublemaker, I don’t want to let her go. Funny enough, however, she catches up with us as the pick up drove away, yelling angrily to me as she ran by the car.

In the new house, she is the first to went missing again.This time, she went home pregnant.

As much as I saw her grow into a tomboy, this time I see her grow into a lady. She is home a lot, she is clean, and she diligently browse into every hole for her labor day. She still play with other cats, but she is no longer a rambling rose.

A few months later she went missing again, but I was not surprised. It’s hard to stay put if your blood is boiling with curiosity. Besides, she is girl outside, man inside. But I was wrong. She went home crying, panicking, and tripping me all the time.

At one point I see that she is trying to tell me something, so I followed her.

She lead me to a nearby river, where I later rescued River Phoenix (read her story here: By The River Piedra I sat down and Wept).

River Phoenix, then, followed her everywhere, looking up to her like Goldie is her own mother. She doesn’t mind. Being pregnant herself, she have plenty of time nursing her teen stepdaughter.

Then come that night, when I saw blood coming out of her vagina. She was busy running all over, so I thought she was near labor. I put her in a box filled with used and broken shirts, and try to make it as comfortable as possible.

When the bleeding haven’t stop on the third day, I knew something is wrong. so I contacted the vet, and told her what is going on. I feared that she had a miscarriage, or at least something wrong with her pregnancy. It was August 24, the day when Picassa will finish her last physiotherapy. I apologize to Picassa that she cannot finish it that day, but the vet called and she said, she had talked to her associate in her clinic and arranged so that we can treat both cats.

I borrowed company car and drove them both straight to the emergency door. Goldie was put into surgery room at once, while Picassa have her final therapy.

An hour later, the vet came out and told me what we feared: Goldie had a miscarriage. She had three kids, and all died inside.

Since she was already cut open anyway, she was spayed the same instant.

Though I know Goldie is a tomboy, that is no guarantee that she would be tough. In fact, even the vet didn’t know how she’d handle it. Every cat has their own way. Some mad, some sad, the other depressed, and some other lived on as if nothing happened. We can only hope for the best when she came around.

Fate again twisted the next day when I worked. All of a sudden I decided to take different route to go home, and on my way, I hear a kitten calling.

Literally. Call me crazy, but I swear I hear a calling voice. A familiar meow that I can directly interpret as a call to come over.

There, under the rain, I saw two tabby cats calling for help. Their mother are nowhere to be found, so I am sure someone dump them there. I cannot come into the alley because it’s barred, so I bought a piece of barbecue beef to coax them.

The problem is, I don’t bring a large bag. How am I supposed to carry them under the rain, with a bike?

Earlier that morning a friend of mine had sent me a package of shirts, so it gave me ideas. I sent my apologize to her for this idea, but I have no choice.

I open the package to use the shirts as a carrying bag, but out of my surprise, she wrapped the shirts in a wallmart bag.

God is merciful. He made my friend include the Wallmart bag with her package so I don’t have to use her gift.

At home, Goldie is waiting by the door. She still cannot walk properly due to the C section, but she walk anyway.

And as soon as I put the two kittens down on the floor, she immediately fall to her side and call the kitten to come over.

Oh yes, God is merciful indeed. He does work mysterious way.

I know I cannot open the bandages yet, but again, a crazy idea cross my mind, so I carefully cut holes on the area above Goldie’s nipple, without breaking the bandage, and there they were. Goldie gladly offer her milk, and the two kitten happily accept the benevolent offer.

As I cut more holes to expose more nipples, Goldie generously extend her offer to the other kittens: Nevaeh and Eden.

Goldie eden
Deja Vu? Tomboy girl turned mother. Goldie is paying it forward

A flash of thunder brought me back to the present. It seems like I wander in my thought long enough. The sky is already dark, and Goldie is already asleep. Beside her, all four of her adoptive kitten peacefully breast feeding.

Who would have thought that Goldie would change so much?

I don’t think so. Goldie hasn’t change. She is paying it forward.

The Syndicate Mat
Enter Goldie’s adoptive family. a caption

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The Streets Of My Homeland

“For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other; they all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are from dust, and all turn to dust again.” Ecclesiastes, 3:19-20.

During my days at hospital I heard from their radio station that the infamous Hollywood’s “Avatar” director has awarded our president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for his ambition to plant 10,000 trees across the nation by 2010; a campaign he takes personally by planting trees wherever he goes, while continuously ask his citizen to follow his “one person – one tree” campaign.

James Cameron in his note following the award, applauded President Yudhoyono for trying to combat the rapidly declining rain forest, mostly due to opening of palm oil plantation and resort centers. The president, in return, asked that larger or richer countries do their parts in saving our “home tree” the only earth we have, to sustain every lifeforms that roam above it.

His speech, as quoted by the radio host, brings my mind flowing back to my childhood days, singing an old folk song praising the fertility of our land , the beauty of our beaches, the abundance of our oceans, and the lush of our forests.

Indonesia, once own 20% of rain forest in the world, now is the country with fastest rate of deforestation (4% per year). The day when we boasted ourselves as “the lungs of earth” has long a history; And along with the forest, goes the animals who we once boasted as “the richest in variety”

The oceans and beaches are in no better condition. The bombing of coral reefs during fishing, the many pirates that roam freely to take our abundant resources, and the poisoning of water for fast harvesting had rob us our title “paradise on earth”

While the slogan is still used occasionally in tourism pamphlets or fliers, there will be no paradise if you are actually lived every corner of the country.

From remote areas to biggest cities, animals are abused, exploited, exhausted to their last existence, treated as some “thing” instead of some”one”.

Though itself bound under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) that stipulates that endangered species must not be traded, Indonesia doesn’t have animal welfare law to protect its animal diversity.

By law (it was made on 1815), only licensed wildlife hunters and traders are allowed to capture and trade animal parts in Indonesia. In its investigations, however, PETA found most hunters did not have permits.

The Directorate General of Nature Conservancy and Forest Protection (PHKA) oversees the licensing and quotas for wildlife trade in Indonesia. PHKA director general Darori said his office provided permits to groups of snake skin collectors.

However, sequentially he told that “The ones who trap the snakes and lizards are villagers. They sell the skins to licensed collectors. It’s not possible for every single villager to obtain a permit”

Every year, his office releases a quota for the wildlife trade, based on recommendations from the Indonesia Institute of Sciences (LIPI). “LIPI checks whether there is an abundant stock or not. We’re bound to an international convention as well,” Darori said.

According to the PHKA data, the total quota for 2010 is 430,280 snakes; 413,100 monitor lizards, and 29,500 crocodiles, but the kill number is much higher on the streets.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
A snake head is chopped off by a man in Tangerang, highlighting some of the gruesome killing occurring in five Indonesian cities. A National Geographic report states that Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s biggest exporter of wildlife, including live animals for pets and animal parts. Courtesy of PETA Asia Pacific

When confronted with such fact, again, Darori, the director of Indonesia’s natural conservatory said his office made sure animals were not tortured during the killings.

“So, when a snake’s head is cut off, it is not tortured,” he said. Laymen would torture snakes they encounter, out of fear, compared to professional hunters.

“Because the skin is what hunters are after, they do it swiftly so the skin is not damaged. Commoners would batter a snake with a stick if they found one,” he said.

In a more remote part of the country, a wealthy landlord in Medan can be seen bragging his crocodile farm, when piles of salt water or freshwater alligators been taken captive in filthy condition, piled up one on top of the other, stoically waiting to be slaughtered before their skin is exported to Hermes or other high brand fashion for bags, clothes, or shoes.

see-you-later-alligator
worker picks up a salt water crocodile (crocodylus porosus) at a crocodile breeding facility in Jayapura, Papua, on Friday. The facility is breeding some 7,500 crocodiles for their valuable skins to make leather products for export to countries such as Singapore, Japan and Italy. (Antara/Oka Barta)

Ironically, while major environmentalists were busy fighting for animal welfare for Indonesia, however, Darori (yes, the director of Indonesia’s nature conservation) instead said that Indonesia’s local fashion industry should use animal parts and develop its own brands.

“We can make them as good as international brands. It’s just that our brands are not as big as international labels,” he said.

His statement sank in to me as the answer of why tiger skin, leopard’s fur, elephant’s ivory, and rhino’s tusk were freely traded while the owner animal hunted to extinction.

If wildlife suffers so much, what about domesticated animals?

The answer is: not better.

Just like how the crocodiles lives solely as financial means of their owners, cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, birds, reptiles, are exploited to their tiniest being for their mater’s maximum profit.

Here in Indonesia, it is the pet who feed the owner, not the other way around. The more exotic the breed, the more expensive, the higher the status of their owner and therefore, the more they can sell their pets.

What happened to the rest is a question of the strength of your gut. Cats are being crushed over, living goldfish thrown to the sewer, and because majority of Indonesian are Muslims who thinks dogs are unholy (haram) their fate is much worse.

Horses are often forced to carry harvests several times their own weight. The owner beating them to continue walking despite their foamy mouth, and when they are not strong enough to carry any more, mostly from malnutrition or sickness, they are sold to slaughter, or been butchered by the owner himself so they can catch another one.

Rabbits are breeding machines. The older ones were skinned for their fur, while their meat sold by the street as traditional barbecue.

So if anyone in ever said that one story of a murder of a dog ‘heartbreaking’, I have seen much worse in daily basis and most of the time, I can’t do much because of financial and space limitation.

After being diagnoses with swollen liver and severe typhoid that require me to stay in the hospital for the whole month, however, the pressure of financial and space limitation is heavier than ever, more so because Indonesia also happen to be a country without social security, so I have to pay everything by myself.

Then what is it left for me to live on?

After all this years, after fighting for the entire 20 years of my life and dedicated each of my blood and tears for the welfare of abused and neglected animals, I have that right. I have that right to call it off, and return to my father’s homeland: Japan. I have relatives who will take care of me, friends who eagerly await me, and I don’t have to worry about financial restraint or spinning my head to meet my refugees’ end.

But Japan has many underground animal advocates. My beloved whales had Pierce Brosnan and Paul Watson. Canada has Nigel Barker and Senator Mac Harb defending their seals, Australia, UK, even South Africa has their own fighters, but if I am to go, who will stand for Indonesia?

I dreamed of a small place, a tiny house for one or two person with a small garden where all the tired street cats or dog can just escape from their tiresome life for a while and rest while I took care of their wounds. I yearned of a tree where the birds doesn’t have to fear of hunter’s gun, I relentlessly prayed to give my whole service for those animals: conceived without sin (to human), but mortally paying with their life, dying on the streets of my homeland.

I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish this race and complete this task my Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying the gospel of God’s grace – Acts 20:24

I do not know how I would live, with an empty wallet and zero saving account. I do not know how I would be able to continue feeding my refugees, or pay the vet bill.

My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen wait for the morning – Psalm 130:6

but I asked anyway, and I know that I will be answered.

But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded – 2 Chronicles 15:7

This is what my purpose that driven my life, the reason I am here, and the one thing I believe in.

Thus here I am again on the look of a good hand that will help me rock the cradle, to help me pass my day. Here I am again, on the street, during my quest to Canaan: the promised land, and I am inviting every caring heart to join me on the pilgrim.

There’s this Chipin page, to which you can fill in as much as you like. There is no minimum amount so you don’t have to be shy. Besides, there’s the magic of currency differences that cause 1 US$ to worth 9,000.00 Indonesian rupiah. What about that? not everyday your single dime can turn into a mountainous of good karma, and huge help for a private refugee house.

Thank you very much well in advance, though, cause we couldn’t have made it without you.

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

Audacity Of Hope

guest post by Sensui Sanosuke

When Josie launched this blog, she only have one thing in mind: saving the lives of the strays who counted on her daily visit. Her pocket had been empty for a week, she barely survived all the bills, face yet another challenge from her landlord (I still cannot comprehend what is it with that guy), and have to count on the grace of her regular pet shop, who knows what she is doing and mercifully let her take whatever food she need and pay later.

She faced countless of sneers, rejection, humiliation, harassments, sometimes even physical abuse for doing what she does, but she keeps going. She answer every rejection with courtesy, and explain all of her action with humility, she did get mad sometimes, but above all else, she keeps going.

She never expect that anyone would help. One or two, maybe, but not really much. Internet may have sweet face, but often reveal a stiff heart, yet she keeps going.

Today, after taking her Goldie from the vet to spay/neuter, she found the fence locked. The landlord apparently have someone change the locks that she cannot go in, and when given a call, instead telling her to wait until he’s done with his business (who knows when), making her ended up waiting under the full sun for more than three hours before she rode back to the vet and requested that Goldie can stay there for the rest of the afternoon, and return to the office. If you wanted to know, the fence was opened at five p.m, another four hours after Josie waited wastefully by the gate.

She wasn’t broken.

With some help from a friend, her blog soar high though the World Wide Web, and draw attention of many. Together, angels around the world flocked over to lend her a hand, resulting in some USD 507.01.

Though that amount can only cover half of Renoir and Picassa’s treatment, she never lose hope. “There’s always way” so she said, and therefore she keeps on trying. USD 507.01 is a very good start, though the traffic in her Paypal account alarmed the company, that resulting in her account being frozen because it was deemed “potentially high risk”

Certainly, Paypal never mention that they can just freeze an account because it is suddenly active. They did say that any member can start receiving money in the instant of their account verification, but definitely were shocked enough to see how much people come and lend a hand.

paypal-limited1
Instead of being glad that Josie use their service as mean of payment, Paypal froze Josie’s account because the sudden activities in her account is deemed potentially high risk.

The giant also cheated on her, by charging her some fee while converting USD into Indonesian before she withdraw her fund, froze her account, and therefore charge another amount to reverse the money back into US.

That doesn’t include blocking her account from receiving anymore fund for the same reason.

And so another door was closed for her. Until she resolve the dispute with Paypal, she will not be able to withdraw her money.

She keeps going.

She appeal and appeal, while harshly rejected by Paypal, until she called her lawyer friend to explain to Paypal how different is the nature of Indonesian “business” compared to those in US, and that she is Indonesian citizen, and therefore, Paypal cannot override her with US law.

Well, they still freeze the account, so anyone who wants to make donation would have to do it by bank transfer.

Reading all the comments that came in, aside from the donation, Josie has never been so shocked in a happy sort of way, but holding her tears she gracefully reply to each and everyone of her supporter. The  word of encouragement sent to her was overwhelming, though not all of the incoming comment was an encouragement.

Some question what she was up to with all her action, some said she should stop now before she broke down due to lack of support from the government itself regarding animal welfare. Some said similar things: that she battled alone amidst raging war, and it will be such unfortunate if she still deny the obvious loss.

The others just tell her to follow the mainstream, that is: go shopping, watch the movie, get laid, follow latest fashion, and be happy. Forget about the cats, unless they can make money for you.

In short, this life is just not visible.

Still, instead of admitting her loss as she’s been told, or trashing the discouraging messages, she replied:

You will laugh to my unusual talent, but I wish to draw you back to the day when Barrack Obama was elected president. This man, a new baby to lawmakers, and a fresh-men to politics was awarded the crown for his intelligence and pure intention. His election had brought historical moment not only to your country, but also to the rest of the world.

Drawing all the spotlights and euphoria of this world class dream-come-true drama to my lonesome, private life, I felt that I am compelled to step up to the crown myself. With my various history, and as much intelligence, I should have been able to claim the presidency of my own fate.

While the audacity of his hope has already heard, and answered, the impudence of my mind has yet to be known. While the change he seeks has gained the chance, my sheer ideology has yet to seize the day.

But if this man, out of his inner nature can come and take the world, why can’t I? If this man, out of his traits as a detached and loner, can gain the trust of millions, why can’t we?

I have debts to return, bills to pay, and ten lives that its owner entrusted to me, but if I am to try, I will get by, one way or another. I have no laws to back me up, or friends to keep me company, but if I keep going,I’ll meet someone . After all, even  when all hell broke lose on earth, there will be one light that stays in the deepest box of our heart: HOPE, that will keep us going.

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Sweet Mochachino

Mochachino originally is an espresso, mixed with whips of heavy cream and caramel, and warm cocoa. While it’s addicting biter sweet, the combination of chocolate and coffee is divine, just like someone I know I will love for a lifetime.

Josie was born in Indonesia. Quoting herself: a mix breed between Eastern Asian delicateness and unity to universe, and South-Eastern Asian’s resilience, loyalty, and courage.

Josie is intelligent, inquisitive, and analytical. Combination of talents that shoot her to the short row of straight A students (she got scholarship on both of her double degree: Psychology and Journalism/Creative Writing), but at the same time expel her to the group of nerds.

Josie love to write. Writing is her way to communicate with her self, to connect with her soul, and writing save her from direct opportunity to be further abused. At least – according to herself – no one would need to be sad because she cry. (sheesh)

Josie learns a lot from the nature, a divine blessing that she inherit from her grandparents and her mother, and a bloodline she proudly bear. Even as a small kid, I almost never seen her without  her mini Pringles cans, one filled with grains for the birds, the other filled with dry dog/cat food. In holidays she will ride her bike, with double rations and vegetables, and I have never seen her face more happy than when she bend down to feed whatever stray she met along the way.

One experience I never forget was when we went to the zoo one day, she was carrying big big backpack, and to every single cage, she throw either fruits, or cat food, or peanut according to its inhabitants. She then suddenly drag me outside, begged for all my money, and ask me to take her to the nearest market. There she rushed inside, buy few kilos of beef, and drag me back into the zoo.

“Why? What?” I asked. “You see that pair of snow fox back then? They were starving, the female was weak, and the male gone out to see if people can give him food”, “A wild snow fox should be way back in Japan’s snowy mountains, not in tropical island, more so BEG for food to the PEOPLE”

I have never seen her so upset, but due to that event, I never doubt how much she love nature.

Josie is well-mannered, gentle hearted and willing to help. A celestial combination that put her in the league of angels, but at the same time make her a perfect target to be used by opportunistic people.

Though she readily help others, and do it so marvelously at times, she unfortunately cannot do so for herself and instead, keep all pains alone. A bad habit that dies hard, and it is that bad habit that put her in this pinch right now.

Though she never told me, I know she has been skipping meals, delaying rest, and work harder for all the sick and dying animals she is trying to help.  When she told me that she is writing this blog  to appeal for help because she has been using all of the loan money for a campaign in Malaysia, I know she is running out of option, so it’s time for me to take action.

Because Josie is, for me, a warm, sweet Mochachino in a rough, cold, foggy, long day that called “life”.

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Picassa: Long Journey Home

It’s a cloudy Sunday after an additional job when I suddenly decided to take different road back home. The small paved road was empty, but recent repair on it left a few rocks left by roadside, and a black thing too dark to be a stone. Frankly, I thought it was a lump of asphalt.

I drove my bike to avoid it, especially because I see a hint of white sedan behind me, when I realize that…. the lump got eyes!

So instead of driving away, I throw myself between the “stone” and the car, that immediately brakes but still hit me on time. I fall down (of course) and meet eye to eye with a black, extremely terrified kitten.

I sacked her up and brought her home, wondering why she didn’t run away from the car. After all, it is an empty road, and the car is slow. Slow enough for her to avoid it, if she wanted to.

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The problem is, it wasn’t that the kitten didn’t want to run, but she couldn’t run. She can’t even stand up, because her hind legs were dislocated. Something must have hit her before, hard enough to threw her to the road and dislocated her hind legs, making her unable to run.

Since no vet is open on Sundays, and there’s no animal hospital in the city, I had to do it myself. I relocated her hind legs back to its place by the same principle that I was learning back in PE class.

I called the little kitten “Picassa” due to an abstract “print” on top of her eyes that made her look as if she is wearing a masquerade.

The next day, however, I brought her to the nearest vet.

The vet said I did a great job relocating her hind legs, and said that she has nothing to worry about. I told him that she can’t walk properly, and that her left leg seems to be higher than the right one, so she kind of walking abnormally. He said it was a simple muscle strain, and that her right leg is the one that got a little bit swollen. He gave me a prescription and told me to leave. My heart and mind rejected his statement in choir, but I took the prescription in silence. He is the vet, not me.

Given the prescription twice, Picassa was crying whenever she littered, and I saw blood. The third prescription, more blood. So I stopped the medication and brought her to another vet, the vet that used to handle my other cats. I show her the prescription, and she said “The prescription is to hard for a kitten. It’s acidic to her intestine and the blood is because her gastric and intestine kind of scalded”

My heart sank. This little kitten, away from her mother, alone on the streets, got dislocated leg, cannot walk properly and now has scalded GIT (Gastro Intestinal Tract). Not funny.

The vet told me to treat her GIT first, then we can go and treat her leg, and by the way, it is the left leg that has problem, not the right.

I wish I can go back and give the other vet a good punch.

So Picassa spend weeks drinking gastritis medicine, and eat special gourmet I personally designed: brown rice powder, milk replacer, and multivitamins.

The special recipe cured her GIT, but her leg was damaged forever. Her left hind leg was higher than the right, so Picassa walked with limp as if her left leg is shorter than the right one.

We can have her leg operated, so that she can walk properly, however, the surgery will require a vet to put some metal pen to attach her bone, and such technology is very rare in Indonesia, and that would mean, it’s extremely expensive. Plus, like the vet said, Picassa is 2 months old. Forcing a surgery may crush her bone, so she suggested series of physiotherapy that will help her cope with her physical condition, in the hope that she might grow more or less “normal”

I followed the later advise. So starting the next weekend, Picassa drove with me to have a physiotherapy, and her condition improved as time pass by. She can now walk almost normally, she can run, she can jump, and the multivitamins as well as extra calcium gave her a very healthy appetite. The therapy itself was not cheap, but if that would mean giving a new hope for Picassa to be adopted, I don’t mind spending another IDR 4,000,000.00 (more or less USD 400.00), at least, I will figure out how.

Picassa is two months old,  has gone through a lot of pain, and passed a long journey home. I can at least appreciate her perseverance and faith.

Please consider Chipping In to help Picassa heal. Remember that  1 US dollar will worth 9,000.00 Indonesian Rupiah. It means your support will be multiplied ten thousand fold. There has never been better investing opportunity.

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