Friday, April 1, 2011

Ten Things I Am Learning From My New Cat Therapist

Tori the Kitten That Could
Check out the article that I wrote for my friend Cheryl:  "Ten Things I Am Learning From My New Cat Therapist" .  Cheryl's blog is entitled "My Cat Is My Therapist" and it is a must visit for all you cat lovers out there!  It can be found at

Tori is a special needs kitty!  She arrived for me to "foster" on Thanksgiving Day.  She came for the meal and stayed for life!  She was brought into an Emergency Clinic for euthanasia.  She had probably been hit by a car and her front left leg was completely paralyzed.  She still has nerve damage and can not walk on it, but she uses it and zips around like any other nutty kitten.  She is a joyful addition to our family, and I often wonder at the fact that she may not have been here anymore at all.  The love and sweet moments we get from these precious rescued companions is one of the miracles of life.  Adopt one today!

Monday, August 30, 2010

It has been quite awhile!

It has been almost a year since I have blogged here.  I have been through so much:  I am divorced, moved, have bought a house twice, and am restarting my life.  My daughter was very ill and my beloved Sparky died in my hospice care at 23 years of age.  I am trying to keep my eyes on the horizon, and after getting through all this, I am able to focus again on the big picture.  Yesterday I committed myself to run a half-marathon in January.  I have been swimming again and feeling the best I can each day.  I am watching my daughter growing through her own new challenges and working my way through terribly delightful relationship issues.  Most of all, I am attempting to stay present; in the now.  The joy of our lives is that we can, at any moment trade our perspective in and begin anew.  Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and after the recent oil spill, still the fine folks in New Orleans continue to persevere.  Today, despite losses I still mourn, I embrace this life and strive to see the beauty that surrounds me in those around me and in the beautiful country I drive through.  I am going to start my poetry blog and continue hospice4animals, and yes, even this inner landscape life, to new beginnings, and to all those who have the courage to pick themselves up and start again, one day at a time! xxxjme

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Risking 1,2,3.....

I saw this young boy tring to skateboard on the railing overlooking Mono Lake on my way to Yosemite to camp.  I was on the way home from the Second International Symposium on Veterinary Hospice and Palliative Care.  I was really on overload and looking forward to camping alone in the trees at 11,000 ft.  I stopped and watched him, happy my Mommy-fear was not here because he was not my child.  I wanted to capture the feeling I had at that moment.  I wanted a picture of it to remember my feelings and all that had captured my heart.  This was the best I could do with my iPhone at sunset!

  At the moment I am feeling very tired and old, but wise-old.  I am so grateful that each time I risk a great deal, overcome some fear, I seem to reap rewards proportional to the risk.  I am getting divorced, trying to move out of the busy city of Phoenix up to the cool more cold and calm Flagstaff.  It seemed impossible, but I have convinced my soon to be ex to move too.  I think we need to share our daughter.  I am feeling like I am this boy: I am trying and trying to do the right thing.  I am trying so hard to do the job I am given: to advocate for animals.  I am tring so hard to overcome my physical difficulties and live in the moment.  To accept my limitations, yet take them with me to the next idea, the next article, the next action.  Ignoring pain either emotional or physical just gave it permission to grow.  Now I accept it.  I hurt, yet I can still write.  I try to take it slow and honor my problems instead of run away from them.  They are, afterall, part of what has made me who I am.  I have so much to do today.  I must do some of it!  But, I am aware of my limitations.  It is almost in naming the worst thing it goes away!  I think if there is such a thing as the devil, or pure evil it is not loud.  It is that quiet pervasive voice that says to you: "You can't do THAT!  They will LAUGH at you!  Who do you think you are to presume they will respect you? You are going to fail!" It is called the Itty Bitty Sh***y Committee in 12 step parlance.  A very wise man at the Hospice Symposium told me to tell them to "take a number, come back later, how about an appointment in 2 hours?".  I have been doing that and they do not show up at the appointed hour!  I can not see the road ahead, but I feel the right path at every moment if I will just listen.  I know what I am supossed to do and I think I am nuts for risking so much each time I do.  And...each time I risk It is testing new waters, and I am getting deeper and deeper into my dreams!  If I just keep trying to risk, and GO FOR IT and ignore the aforementioned IBSC then I am really rewarded with progress towards my dreams.  I do not mean to sound egocentrical in any way, because the more I accomplish, the more good that comes from my committment to the GOOD, the LESS it is me at all.  It is me resonating a tiny bit , for just a moment, hanging there near perfection before my imperfect mind intervenes.  Like the boy who showed me it was OK to take a leap, and do it over and over until you get it right, risk or no risk..Oh, yeah, and it is so much more FUN to take the leap.......I think I will keep trying it...Risking 1,2,3.......

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Vet Hospice Symposium is causing me to continue to change my life

I am at the Second International Veterinary Hospice Symposium at UC Davis's College of Veterinary Medicine.  Just like last year, this Symposium is again causing me to change my life.  I am completely taken over by the idea that our pets are sentient, feeling, soulful creatures that we are responsible for.  When an animal looks into my eyes, I DO know what they want, what they are asking of me.  I never really admitted that when I was a practicing Veterinarian.  Now that look, those eyes are the reason I must write and help Veterinarians and concerned pet "owners" to accept the death of their pets and participate in the process through Animal Hospice.  Finally, here at the Symposium, are some good journalists, this will be on the radar now.  I am no journalist, and am struggling to write and express myself.  I am driven, however, to try to get Vets and other caregivers, and pet owners to know about Veterinary Hospice.  Something about this subject, this idea is all encompassing and life changing.  Sharen Myers LCSW gave an amazing talk, and meeting her, I saw my new passion mirrored in her eyes.  She has worked in human hospice for many years and is starting Synergy a Pet Hospice in Oregon.  She quoted Cicely Saunders a Hospice pioneer who said "I did not find Hospice, Hospice found me".  She also said about Hospice that "It took me 19 years to build a house around a window."  Hospice has caused me to rethink first, my own life, my ideas about life itself, and then infused me with a burning desire to tell other people what the animals want.
   I thought, because of my health issues, I had to be at home.  Dr. Kathryn Maracchino told me last year to "work to your abilities, not your disabilities".  I came to the first Hospice Symposium.  Since then I have driven 5000 miles each summer with my daughter to help people in New Orleans, and to just have an adventure with her.  I think that has changed both our lives.  This lisence to GO that I got from Kathryn in one instant absolutely changed my life.  That First Symposium then changed my views of life itself.  This Second Symposium contimues to alter my basic values and views for the better.
  I have learned in our culture , especially in the USA, we AFRAID of death.  Sharen Myers quoted Margaret Mead who said "When someone is born, we rejoice.  When someone marries, we celebrate.  When someone dies, we pretend nothing happened."  Death IS the equal and opposite process of birth.  If we want to live well, we need to die well and vice versa.  We may try to ignore this for ourselves, but we are faced with death full force with our pets.  We love them so much and they love us so purely.  We are responsible for them, feed them and take care of them, but in reality  they take care of us.  I know there is an amazing spiritual, pure love connection with our animals.  I know I am being loved when I look into a kitty like Zoomi's eyes.  There is a message there, and now I am not afraid to admit that, and thrive in that knowledge.  The Hospice Symposium has validated the path and the truth that I feel in my gut.  I have found the courage to change my life from that knowledge.  Something about dealing with the moment of death teaches us how to well live our lives.  There is the very kernal of sacredness here, and the lesson is to experience it.  The speakers here have taught me that THE most important thing is to BE PRESENT and open to the experience.  This was presented about the dying process, but it has taught me about the living process.  This is what I learn when I look into those eyes: love is here, in the moment, and I must learn to live with this love first and foremost in my every moment.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Gratitude for hospice4animals

I am very grateful for the amazing events of the this last week.  I would not normally put my picture here, but I want to smile at you if you stop by.  I have begun to be an Editor for  Veterinary Medicine at specializing in Pet Loss and Grief, Euthanasia Issues, End of Life Care, and Veterinary Hospice.  This is an extraordinary opportunity to reach a larger audience and help more people deal with the very tough decisions surrounding the end of life.  I am also very grateful to all who wrote and are writing, about the article that follows "Why is it so hard when a pet dies?".  It has touched a nerve or struck a chord depending on your perspective.  I have been overwhelmed by the response and struck by their similairities.  MANY people need better ways to grieve for their pets, and memorialize them.  I do too.  I think we need more Pet Chaplains to mediate a Memorial Service, perhaps a PetWake .  We should light candles, honor our losses and then CELEBRATE the life of our pet.  If you have a friend who has just lost a pet, offer to coordinate a small PetWake.  Animals present, we gather to honor the life of the pet.  We tell funny stories, share music, say some special prayers, and then all pledge out loud how we are going to help animals by volunteering in the name and honor our fur friend.  Or how about a National Pet Remembrance Day? I am also grateful for the BEST summary on Veterinary Hospice by Rochelle Lesser at Land of Pure Gold a Canine Cancer Foundation Lastly I am grateful for the Second International Symposium on Veterinary Hospice and Palliative Care September 4-7 at the UCDavis College of Veterinary Medicine.  You heard it here first:  I will BLOG live here, TWEET live, and REPORT at (above).  Check here for great ideas and info as well as the Animal Remembrance Ceremony, holistic approaches to Hospice, and much more.  In Gratitude for the Anipals, xxxjmedvm

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Stand By Me.

An AMAZING song made around the world: made this extraordinary collaboration of Stand By Me:
an amazing effort street musicians,choruses,for Peace
(Hello Grampa Elliott I Love You!)from South Africa to New Orleans by way of Congo and Northern Ireland
this song will cut to the quick:slash through nationalistic/racial/sexual identities to that which is universal. This song speaks to our commonalities,not our differences. More songs can be found at and will be released this month on cd. I felt an actual tear well up (I have met some of these street musicians from New Orleans)it will leave you wanting to work for Peace on our small green planet. The differences between us seem so much smaller then the best of our humanity;the love we can share through such beautiful music. L'chaim! Stand By Me!