MA - 2017
"Love saved two lives"
My name is Lynne, and I was diagnosed with the Hepatitis C in 1999. Due to the genotype I have, without treatment I would have 8-10 years to live. The medication left me bed ridden, worsened my fibromyalgia, activated early and swiftly progressing arthritis, and destroyed my thyroid. The doctors, worried that the cure would cause more damage, and stopped the treatment saying that the future might hold better treatment options. I had lost my children, the career I loved, (I was a nurse) and my home. I was in a deep depression and had a terminal sentence.
I moved to San Jose, alone without anyone or anything. I was on disability but it wasn't much so, I needed little more to make ends meet. Nursing was out due active Hep C, as well as to disabilities it had caused, so I got a job as a part time waitress, dishwasher, and short order cook.
Eventually I met a man and we started dating. One day my boyfriend came home, he took something out of his sweatshirt pocket, in his hand was the tiniest baby kitten I had ever seen. He told me it was just born 12 hours earlier by a feral cat. She’d had 3 kittens, but while she moved 2 to a unknown location, she never came back for this one. The pound wouldn't take it, and the shop workers were going to kill it. So he picked it up and decided to give it to me, because I had told him of the dozens of pets I’d had in my life.
She was so tiny and, and I had no idea how to care for a newborn, so I went to the pet store and they gave me all the supplies and told me what to do. Jingles and I spent 24 hours a day together. I was no longer working, because my back injury from nursing had gotten worse, so I had time for the weeks of around the clock care (bottle feeding every 2 hours and cleaning her poop and pee off her fur.) Jingles, my miracle, had arrived (although I didn't know it then.) Jingles gave me a purpose, something to care for that needed me, and got my mind off my ever-worsening situation in life.
I only had 5-7 years left to live, and I needed to be with my children, so I decided to use the money I had been saving to move back to Massachusetts. I put everything I own in my old car and paid to have the it transported to Massachusetts. I got Jingles her first, but not last, paperwork for flying and we left California. I had rented a room, sight unseen, with strangers on Craigslist (not advisable but I needed a place to stay the minute I landed) that was cheap and allowed a cat.
The room was smaller than described, with 2 guys in the filthiest house I'd ever saw. It was horrible. I was embarrassed for my children to see me there. I cried every night holding Jingles, and cleaned each day until it was livable, which took 3 months. (The landlord like it so much, she gave me and my 2 roommates a month notice to leave, so her adult children could move in.) Well, that was January of 2005, and things continued like that. I got babysitting jobs to make ends meet. Jingles and I moved 5 times, to 4 towns, in the first 3 years, until I got an apartment in Federal Housing.
I have a strong belief in Jesus, and Jingles was the gift Jesus gave me because he knew what was ahead for me, and that I would need something to hold, kiss, and cry on. Jingles got me through the death of my mom, aunt, and uncle. She got me through 18 surgeries, getting miraculously cured from Hep C, the loss of a granddaughter at birth, my daughter having surgery for melanoma of the face twice, and a book of other things. This beautiful cat was all I had that was mine. She wanted nothing more than to be on my lap at all times, sit by my feet each time I went to the bathroom, and lay on or next to me in bed, and love me. When I wasn't sure of where I would live, or if I'd have something to eat, I always knew I wasn't alone. Between Jesus and Jingles it would work out.
When Jingles got sick with a bladder stone, I was so scared. I didn't know how I would pay the bills. I didn’t have enough to live on, and I already owed thousands of dollars on credit cards for emergencies before I got into housing. So, when I found out about Brown Dog Foundation, I was over joyed. Jingles had never been sick before, so the thought of losing her had never entered my mind.
Now, in 3 days, I face one of my most dangerous surgeries yet. Surgery number 24, a fusion of the 4-5 lumbar vertebrae. It's probably not the hardest, but the proximity to the spinal nerves makes it scary. But I'm not worried about the surgery, it is the thought of leaving Jingles again that pains me. You can't tell pets where you’re going, or when you'll be back, and I know she'll be a wreck also until I'm home again. I know she'll be listening to see if it's me with the key in the door every time someone walks down the hallway. I can't take out my suitcase until the night before, because she starts to get upset and digs to get inside the suitcase. I know she'll worry until I'm home, but at least she's healthy. Jingles keeps me going every day; having something that needs me, depends on me, and is there day in and day out to love me. I rush to get better post-ops so I can get home to them.
The gift the Brown Dog Foundation gave me is a healthy cat, with no vet bills to worry about. They helped me take care of my best friend, and for that there are no words that can express my thanks. Just know I’ll be praying for the Foundation and, God willing, if I ever get a windfall of money I will gladly donate it to the fund. I will also tell all animal lovers about it.
I hope this helps tell others of all the great work this foundation does for those who can't afford to save their best friends. I would have given up everything for Jingles, but I didn't get enough money in disability to give up. Making $1000 a month doesn't pay for much.
So, let me end this story by saying, Jingles came into my life when I had lost everything that mattered to me, even the treatment to save my life. She was given to me to save her life, but without each other I don’t believe that we would both would be here today. Because Jingles was hand raised, and poor socialization with everyone but me, (she had to be sedated just for the vet to look at her) she is unadoptable. I know I have to live if she is to live, so that keeps me from giving up, and I believe it is the same for her.
Only animal lovers understand the gifts pets give us, that they are not merely animals. I fully believe that God created pets to teach humans about unconditional love. So, thank you Brown Dog Foundation, and God Bless the work you do for us that need that extra help.