One Foot in the Black

Firechick's Blog


December 10
Wildland Firefighter, Pyro-Evangelist
US Forest Service
I am a wildland firefighter for the US Forest Service. The government is "touchy" about its employees expressing our opinions publicly, so I am anonymous to avoid having to deal with permission or apologies.


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JANUARY 1, 2012 4:53PM

Good News Sunday -- Unconditional Love

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 For those of you who have pets, you know what they provide.  For those of you who don't, you should think about getting yourself a furry buddy.  Without fail, always happy to see you when you come home.  Don't care what you look like or how you dress or even what you say.  They don't mind when you wake them up, and they don't hate your smelly farts (sometimes I think they actually like the smell).   This is my good news on this Sunday, first day of 2012. 


Sweet Ethel.  My first cat as an adult.  Thrown along the side of the road like trash at 5 weeks old.  Had a meow like Ethel Merman, hence the name.  Moved with me from PA to FL to UT to CA to NC.  Passed away last August, the same week mom died.  She was 16 and sweet as pie.  I miss you little girl.   


 Bristol.  Named after the town in FL where she adopted me.  Licks my chin and has a purr like an outboard motor.  Nickname, "Generalissimo" because she bosses all the other pets around.  Chirps instead of meows. My shadow, my sleep mate.  Just turned 14 and healthy as can be.  


 Kiley, also just turned 14.  She was living in the culvert in the driveway of the house I rented in FL.  Very chow in many ways, sweet when she gets to know you and knows she can trust you.  Extremely grateful.  Food motivated.  Would die protecting me, of this I have no doubt.  Former cat-killer, now rehabilitated (under protest).  


 Fred.  11 years old.  Such a pain in the ass, but a loveable guy.  Abandoned at 6 months old on the side of the highway in FL.  Never thought a dog could be that emaciated and still be alive.  Horribly abused.  He's come so far.  Hounds are difficult and we've truly had to adjust our lives for him (the houses and neighborhoods where we live).  But he's also grateful and knows he's safe and loved despite the fact that he vocalizes EVERY freakinthought that goes through his brain.  


Lucy, the newest addition to the family.  11 years old.  She was my mom's cat and we took her after a lot of family drama.  She's not used to being around dogs or other cats, and we didn't know how she'd adjust.   She's done very well, holds her own, and realizes the dogs are no threat.  She's not real affectionate, doesn't want to be held, but when she is lovey-dovey I just about need earplugs because her purring is so loud.  She is a wonderful connection to Mom, and for that I am happy Lucy is happy here with us.  


Henry, my Henry.  Showed up in our yard in UT in 2005 with a broken back.  Permanent nerve damage resulted in amputated tail, amputated penis (really), reconstructed urinary tract.   Also has herpes (contracted from his mom-cat) which thinned his corneas, each which ruptured resulting in corneal grafts.  Still has some vision.  Just diagnosed with diabetes.  And, despite the shit-sandwiches he keeps getting served, is the most mellow, loveable boy of all time.  He would convert the die-hard cat haters.  Gives the best hugs and loves to be carried and held.  (Recently asked me if Tink is his biological father.  I quickly changed the subject.)  His sugar crashed this morning, so he is at the emergency vet clinic today.  Close call, but he's doing well.  Never thought he'd live this long, so every day with him is a gift.  

Happy new year, my friends.  I hope you are all the recipients of unconditional love in 2012 and beyond.   

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Great post. What wonderful pets you have. I live with two rescued pets. Pumpkin is my orange and black cat and Kya is my Yorkie. I've written about them often. Be well and have a wonderful new year!
Lovely post.Beautiful animals. It must take a lot of work to make them all look so regal. Fred is my favorite. Oy, why should a sweet cat have herpes or diabetes.
Happy New Year to all of you.
every day is a gift with these temporal delights,
these pets. domesticated, they call em. i say: they are brave
creatures, to mix their evolutionary fortune with homo sapiens.
they are transformed and regale us with our own mirrored qualities.

probably a clue there..
as to the nature of nature...

and they teach us the harshest mortal lesson:
death. We mourn. we are beret because a "dumb animal"
is gone. what does it say about our species, that we wish
to include these beasts in our
improbable evolutionary fortune of Consciousness?

does evolution still work on canines & felines?
will they in 1000 yrs become conscious?

anything giving unconditional love needs to be conscious.
Thanks, Maureen. Aren't rescued pets the best? I honestly believe that they know and show their appreciation. Happy new year to you, Pumpkin and Kya.
Such a family! And all rescued from dire circumstances. They do make the best friends, don't they. Lance was my rescued puppy. He and four sisters were brought into the clinic I worked in after being found on the side of the road and he was the only one that had been starved. They must have brutalized his mind, too, because I had to learn new techniques for training him. But he was my dog and I was his person. Now it's just Puff, my bossy cat. We talk.
fernsy -- You have no idea! Yes, Fred is often everyone's fave. He defied the odds. Happy New Year!
James, they are brave, aren't they? Sometimes I swear there's already some consciousness there. Aren't we lucky to have the love of pets?
phyllis, Lance was so fortunate he found you. What lessons you must have learned from each other! I know bossy cats, they are good conversationalists. Happy New Year!
Great post. How can people treat animals so badly? Thank goodness there are people like you to take them in.

I have a dog and six cats. I should do a post about them - no such dramatic stories, but all were unwanted by previous 'owners'.
I think our attitude toward pets is telling of the kind of person we really are. I have always loved them -- the whole bunch -- yet, as I got older, I find that its' better to know them on a one -on -one basis. They want only to love us and be with us. I can have the worst day, yet when Nicky, my Shepard, is there and wants/needs me, it's all cool.
She would drag me out of a fire, I'm sure.
My cousin, Janet, is on Facebook all of the time, working to get rescues homes, asking for petitions to be signed; out west they have bounties on horses, which she loves and fight for. She has her family raised and lost her job. Now, she has some meaning in her life, where others have abandoned her. But, maybe, the animals are rescuing her, I'd like to think.
But that's me. I love them too.
Have a great year. Keep close.
inthisdeepcalm -- well, there are very few non-pet lovers who I like. I'm so glad your sister found her calling. Yes, you are right, the animals are rescuing her. When I retire I'd like to do what she's doing. Happy new year to you and your sis.
Great post on the love of our pets. Happy New Year.
The pictures say it all.
The best cats we've had were ones we rescued off the streets. The last one wouldn't venture outside for months--apparently afraid we wouldn't let him back in.
Wow, interesting story behind each one of your pets! Thanks for sharing.
Myriad -- bless you! I would love to read a post on them.

Scylla -- thank you.

Larry, they all look "sweeter" in the photos!

jlsathre -- I think you're exactly right.

tai -- thanks for reading.
So, the irony is that Henry took a turn for the worse last night at the emergency vet. He's hanging in but is very sick. It may be the beginning of the end, and my heart is breaking.
I'd trade my kids for the furry ones in a second!
This was so moving, and what I like best of all is that you rescued these animals! So many of them need our help. My heart goes out to you for Henry and I hope he'll be okay. You guys are in my thoughts and prayers.
Firechick, your piece overflows me with renewed affection for all those furry friends. How lucky we are to be blessed by their unconditional love! Last year this time, I was two weeks away from finding my present furry love to fill the deep hole created by the sudden death of my previous orange cat. May your beloved Ethel and my beloved Selim play in feline heaven and smile upon us.

What a great loving family you have, all beautiful.
I am sure that Tink would be proud to have sired that little sweetie.
rated with love
As a Rescue Dog Mom, I love this! My soul dog was a rescue, as is my current guy, Bodhi, who came off Pueblo land. Here's wishing for furever homes for the furbabies in waiting, and a more compassionate 2012! Thanks for a sweet read.
Thanks everyone.

Henry crossed the rainbow bridge last night after a good fight. He is with Ethel and FusunA's Selim, happy and painfree.
Just read the bottom comment & found out about Henry & now I'm all teary-eyed. We just lost our Annie a few weeks ago & I still keep expecting her to show up at the backdoor. It never gets any easier.

I love this post! & smile at each photo & story.

(Fred looks like an older version of my daughter's hound, also a pain in the ass mixed with sweetness & a baleful gaze.)
suzie, I'm sorry for all of your recent losses. I know my mom met Henry and for that I find comfort. Thanks for the kind words.
Loved meeting all your pets. The cat's name Bristol is great. I've been to Bristol.
Oh I was loving this and then saw your recent comment about Henry. I'm so sorry. There is something about those orange cats, so incredibly lovey. I'm sure you miss him so much.
Your so right and the world would be a better place too. Keep on keeping on and those furry friends reward you ten fold.
I'm not just commenting here because you we're kind enuf to comment on mine - this post touches a nerve in many people as especially me.

Thanks for this most touching post.
"Press send FRed(tm) and rate it before we loose the connection again."
Hey Firechick,
Thanks for getting back. Many people did not get my original piece, which I suppose was misleading. But you caught the meaning, intent.
So I will go pet my German Shephard, Nicky, my best girl.
Keep the fire on high....