Yesterday, I said “Goodbye” to our campus rescue, Wesley.
It wasn’t the goodbye I had envisioned, nor the one I had hoped for, but it is the one that has transpired, none-the-less Here is the ending to our Wesley story.
A Visit To Dr. Qiu’s Clinic: Asking a Big Favor
My attempts at finding Wesley a home were running out so I took the initiative to call on my good friend, DVM Dr. Qiu, on Saturday at his Greatest Love Animal Hospital. He used to take care of Little Flower, my former dog, and all her medical needs so that is how I know him. (Stories of Dr. Qiu and his clinic visits can be found in past blogs, if you’re interested.)
Dr. Qiu is also featured in 2 chapters of my children’s book about Xiao Lao-lao. This was one of the reasons I wanted to visit him. I had as yet to give him a copy of our canine immigrant’s story, something definitely called for, especially as he had been so instrumental in Lao-lao’s recuperation from an unhealthy street life and his search for a home.
The second reason for stopping in was to ask a big favor: Could he house Wesley during the summer and maybe find him a good home? Dr. Qiu had helped me out in the past with my pity saves. Surely he’d be willing once again to lend a hand.
Catching Up with Dr. Qiu
When I arrived at his clinic entrance Saturday morning, Dr. Qiu was all smiles and welcomes amid my amazed stare at his new animal hospital. Not only was the place completely remodeled but he had brand new medical equipment in almost every room. He had also hired 3 more vets for his practice and a staff of 10 assistants.
After the grand tour of all the rooms, he shared with me the cost: $10,000 for remodeling; $60,000 for the equipment. Whew! That certainly was an upgrade from his measly, outdated surroundings of last year.
I honestly didn’t recognize the place, that’s for sure. The size of it and the top-of-the-line machines (some ordered from the States) put my Harmonious Animal Hospital a few notches lower on my personally contrived 1-to-10 Chinese vet hospital scale.
Dr. Qiu and I hadn’t seen one another for over a year so this was a nice time to catch up on things. His son graduated from a US university with his BA in Finance. This year, he is working in a Chengdu bank but has already applied to several American universities to study for his MBA. He shouldn’t have any problems being accepted. The kid is very, very bright.
Needless to say, Dr. Qiu is an extremely proud Chinese dad.
An Answer to the Wesley Dilemma: Wesley has a Summer Guardian!
When it came my turn to share, I pulled out my book to surprise Dr. Qiu and showed him his chapters. Both pages featured his picture with Lao-lao and him busy making phone calls to friends to ask for fostering help.
I included the flyer about Wesley, which he quickly scanned before saying, “You need someplace to put the cat? He can stay here. He can just come and go as he pleases. Not a problem.”
I didn’t even have to ask! Wesley had a summer guardian.
Dr. Qiu’s enthusiastic response to Wesley’s plight bolstered my hopes that he was about to have a great life in the future. Now it was returning back to my one-room flat to share the wonderful news with Tomcat Wesley.
Not in Good Spirits
I expected a lazy, sleepy greeting when I returned home but Wesley, I could tell, wasn’t feeling well. After 7 days of good health and pampering, I knew when I walked in the door that something wasn’t right.
Later that evening, Wesley tried to eat and vomited immediately . . . blood.
This wasn’t good.
Back to the Clinic
Everyone at the hospital was surprised upon my return.
While I waited to see our on-call vet, Dr. Mao, one of the vet assistants came over to see Wesley. She was the one who had given him his kitty toy to brighten up his cage the second day he was there. She quietly unzipped his carrier and cooed “Way-si-lee!”while petting his head. He closed his eyes and gave a low “merp”.
“He’s not well,” I told her.
She looked worried, and so did I, and so did Dr. Mao when he came to ask what the problem was. I showed him the bloodied tissue spit-up I had brought with me.
He immediately frowned and sent it off to the tech room for analysis.
Wesley was then taken to the back room kennel to be hooked up to his usual IV. I left, hoping that he’d react to the meds as fast as he did the first time.
The next day on my visit, Wesley purred and came to be petted but he still wasn’t feeling well despite all the drugs being pumped into him. By the third day, he was oozing brown goop from his mouth, his plastic head cone on while he huddled miserably on his haunches.
No purrs or greetings for me.
I tried to comfort him with gentle strokes but Wesley was just too ill to care.
As Dr. Mao stood over me, looking down at Wesley’s deteriorating condition, I knew it was time to let Wesley go.
Of course, all sorts of thoughts go through your mind when it comes to making this kind of decision in an animal’s life. You begin to wonder if having done something else would have made a difference.
Should I have brought him to the vet’s sooner, like 3 months ago, instead of waiting so long? Should I have gone another 2 weeks before giving him his first set of vaccinations, just in case it triggered his weak immune system and caused him to backslide? Should I have asked for more antibiotics after bringing him home, just to make sure he was really well?
Would any of these things have changed the outcome?
It is so hard to say. We can only deal with what is before us, and what was before me was a very sick Wesley who, after 3 days of heavy-duty drugs and IVs, was not getting better.
He was getting worse.
We could all see it.
The staff. The veterinarians. Me.
It was time, and we all agreed, to give Wesley his 安乐死 (an le si), peaceful happy death. This one, last good deed, a luxury rarely if ever bestowed on outdoor cats in China, was the greatest blessing we could give our rescue kitty, Wesley.
So it is with an aching heart, although a heart that knows it was the right thing to do, that I say my farewell to our dear little United Methodist rescue.
A Match Made in Heaven
I imagine our kitty in a much better place now, perhaps curled up on the lap of his namesake, Reverend John Wesley. There Wesley rests, purring away as a studious John turns the pages of his theological reading materials with one hand and absently strokes our contented cat with the other.
They make a peaceful, congenial pair, definitely made for one another.
It is a perfect ending to our Wesley story: a new friendship, a match made in heaven.
From Chengdu, China, here’s wishing you Ping An (Peace) and many blessings for your upcoming Easter Sunday.