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Autism: Sad Research

The things I heard, and the words I read were…

  • Painful.
  • Disgusting
  • Frightening.
  • Discouraging.
  • Upsetting.
  • Lacking Hope.

How was I to find an answer, when the so called ‘options’ were so full of…

  • Greed.
  • Cruelty.
  • Corruption.
  • Evil.

The challenge was that I had to find a new brand of cat food to feel to my cats. Cat food! I expected to have to pay a little more to get a better product. You get what you pay for, right? And really, the main reason I was searching for a new food was because the one they were eating could only be found in the weight control formula, or a flavour they didn’t like. They didn’t need the weight control formula anymore – and in fact, it would have been an unhealthy choice to keep them on it.

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So, true to myself, I spent many hours researching what would be the best (and preferably not too expensive) food to try next.

And during those hours, my eyes were opened to the absolute greed that a capitalist society feeds.

And it broke my heart.

Six years! Six years a food was left on the shelves, and the company knew it was killing animals. They knew it, and still they left the product on the shelves, and assured people again and again that it was safe.

And when they were sued? They had to compensate the people for the cost of the pet and vet care. That is it! They traded lives and loves for profits, and in the end, it didn’t really cost them anything at all.

But you read something like that, and shake your head, and say, “horrible!” But surely it is an isolated event, right? Yet the more I read, and the more I researched, the more I understood: This is nowhere close to rare. Nowhere close.

They make their money, and they don’t care that what they are selling causes so much sickness, death, heartache. They don’t care. Pets are property; nothing more. They aren’t even legally obligated to report these things in a timely manor. Some aren’t even sure they have to report it at all. And the animals die, and the family’s hearts are broken – and if it can be connected, the courts say, “how much did it cost?”

But these are my babies! Not property – family. And the cost of losing them is so, so much more than the money I paid to try to save them, or the cost to bring home another. Irreplaceable. Priceless.

As I read these things, and watched the reports, I thought of my dog who died of heart failure in the spring of 2016, and I wonder. I wonder because he was not even 8 years old. I wonder because a lot of dogs in the area died young from similar things at that time.

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What can’t be proven hurts still. What can be proven is not compensated enough – not nearly enough – for the pain they caused.

Powerless. What could I do?

So I got them the best food I could find – one where right at the top of the list were actual meats, organs, eggs for a long way down, followed by fruits and vegetables I recognized, and no corn, potatoes, grains, chemicals, poisons…

And then I went to the grocery store and bought them real food: Chicken, liver, salmon, eggs.

And my babies were very pleased.

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Autism: Powerless to Help

There was a Facebook post: A 13 week old puppy, who carried a stuffed toy with him wherever he went was at a shelter. He loved the toy so much, the workers would have to take it away from him so he would eat.

But the shelter is a high kill shelter, where the animals are given just weeks, sometimes even days, to find a home – before they are ‘humanely’ put to sleep.

No one showed any interest in him, so he was moved to the back – to death row.

He took his stuffed toy with him. His only source of comfort as he sat in the cage waiting to die.

I don’t know what happened to that puppy. I know there are many young and old in a similar situation. I can only hope the word got out on time, and he was saved.

I cried when I read about him. I am crying still. The world is a cruel and evil place, and I feel powerless in it – nearly as powerless as that puppy, sitting in that cage, holding his stuffed toy for comfort.

I cannot save them all. I couldn’t even save that one. And it destroys me.

Maybe that is why it is so hard for me to live in this world: I can’t block these things out. I can’t NOT see – and I am powerless to help.

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Autism: 365 Days

The day… I was aware of it. Of course I knew it was coming, only… I expected the sadness. I expected missing him. I expected that I would think of him a lot, and wish he was here, and wish he never died.

But he did die.

And as the one year anniversary of that date quickly came upon me, I did feel sad. I did think of him a lot. I did miss him. I always do.

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What surprised me was the panic. The irritation. The feeling of being completely overwhelmed and powerless in this life.

I don’t know why it surprised me. These emotions are nowhere near abnormal for me, but…

May of 2017 was a good month. A really good month. Better than any I have probably had. I had energy. I was (mostly) calm. I was content. I was happy.

As June 8 approached, I expected to cry a lot. Instead I shook. My mom is still here. I am thankful she is still here. But I haven’t been visiting well. It has been hard to talk. When I am so anxious, I retreat inside myself. Inside my head it is so loud, that I forget the sound doesn’t carry forward into ‘real’ life.

I have been so quiet, and I feel bad. “It is a hard day,” I explained to her (even before the day arrived.) She acknowledged the words, and we remained mostly in silence.

And then we reached the day before. I was washing the breakfast dishes, and she came in to talk to me. Her words were ‘off.’ She seemed ‘off.’ She sat down on the dining chair and I kept looking back.

“Are you okay?” I asked her.

“Just dizzy,” she answered – but her words were slurred. Slow. Like she was answering from a dream. Not like her.

The panic grew, but I couldn’t figure out what to do.

So I asked again, “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Just feeling really dizzy,” she answered. Still ‘off.’ Still ‘slow.’ Still not like her.

I finished the dishes, and left her there to deal with her dizziness. I shouldn’t have left her, and worried about leaving her – but I really had to go to the washroom, and couldn’t wait.

While I was in there, there was a huge crash, and my dog started barking excitedly. I thought maybe my mom had tried to get to her bedroom, and had knocked over the baby gate leaning on the wall in the hall. That happens often.

I got back to her as quick as I could, and found her on the kitchen floor, covered in spilled cappuccino. She was just starting to get up, and seemed highly disoriented. Our guess was that she had fainted – a mix of Gravol and Valerian she had taken during the night before seemed not a good mix for her. It was the first time she had taken the two together, and only the second time she had taken the Valerian at all.

Maybe that was it. She didn’t want to go to the hospital to be checked out. Instead she rested, and I worried for the day.

364 days. Three hundred sixty four days before, my Gryff also started falling over in the morning. I also looked at him in concern that morning. He fell, and I rushed him into the vet (well… I rushed, they left him waiting in the waiting room for his appointment, though they could see he was in obvious distress.)

He fell. I worried. He died anyway.

A year later, my mom fell. I worried…

Am I sad? Extremely. I absolutely did not want to lose my dog. Who does?

A year later, I was reminded once again how quickly everything could change – and that sadness grew to panic that has been with me ever since.

 

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