Road Trip!

3-5-22 – Well, it was time to take a 5-hour road trip to pick up 200 pounds of meat for Max. I was going to head out last weekend (2/26) but then we got a ton of snow on that Friday and I was busy snowblowing the driveway and Max’s perimeter. Something told me not to call on the 21st requesting meat. I think the universe was looking out for me. Anyways, it’s a long trip and I didn’t want to go alone. Mom use to come with me but had to stop when she became less mobile and now that she’s gone (my heart is still breaking), I still have to venture it alone. Or do I? It was 10 degrees outside but I warmed up the car and took Burt Parrot. Yep, she was my copilot and made the trip more interesting. We ate pretzels and pistachios and had quite a few laughs. The other photo is what 200 pounds of Max meat looks like in my car. Those 50 pound boxes are starting to get a little heavy for me. Guess I better start working out!

2022

I have been hesitating to give you an update in the life and times of Max and Bernie as it’s been a roller coaster of a ride since the new year. I was excited to start this year because I felt it had to be better than 2021. Smudge Hedgehog went into torpor on the 1st. What this means is that she got cold and stopped eating and drinking. This is not serious unless it lasts for more than one day. When torpor happens, I usually put the hog in the tub which forces them to wake up and run around because it’s a new and strange environment. It helps to get their blood circulating. This time, Skipper, jumped in the tub with Smudge. He loves all the animals not realizing if they are friend or foe. Smudge was not at all bothered. After warming up with exercise, I put her back in the cage and she began eating. Going a day without food and water is okay but I don’t want her to go more than that.

IMG_2510(Copy)Trouble began when mom, who lives with me, fell at 1am on Thursday, Jan. 13. Since I’m at the other end of the house, I never heard her call for help. She got herself up and to bed but by 3am she was in a lot of pain. This time I heard her calling me. I got her to the bathroom and I got dressed to take her to the hospital but then she couldn’t walk at all. I called for the ambulance. Medics came and then they came and finally by 5am she was transported out of the house in the freezing cold weather. Due to Covid, the hospital was not allowing visitors so I had to wait at home. Around 8am they called and said they did xrays but would need to do better scans. I received a call from the nurse late afternoon and was informed that she had a fractured hip and the scans picked up masses on her ovaries meaning metastatic ovarian cancer. They allowed me to go and visit her while she was in the ER before going up into a room. She received a partial hip replacement on Saturday as the surgeon didn’t think her bones would support pins. I guess they didn’t tell him she was riddled with cancer. That alleviated the hip pain but the cancer pain went out of control and she had a very rough weekend trying to manage her pain. Mom didn’t want to take any opioids for fear of becoming addictive but she had a high pain tolerance and regular pain meds didn’t touch it.

Mom and I 1-23-22I was allowed to visit on the 18th to discuss a plan of a short rehab at a facility and then to home with Hospice care. By the 23rd it was apparent that she would not be able to rehab as walking was very painful. I think the fall sent the cancer into overdrive. She also stopped eating due to a sore throat which was finally diagnosed as thrush from some of her meds. By time it was caught, she had already gone several days without eating. My last photo with mama was on the 23rd. I believe she put on a brave face for me. I’m crying as I write this.

I got her home on Tuesday 1/25 and she was in a lot of pain. She also had not been sleeping well at the hospital with noisy roommates. The first night being rough for both of us. I decided the next morning to put her on a regular regime of pain meds and late that night she grabbed my hand and said that she felt so much better, that she slept thru the night. I said, no, you slept the whole day. I felt better. But she wasn’t moving except her hands and head. Theo kitty visited her. The other cats were afraid of the hospital bed. Sam stood on her legs and I had to shoo him off. Tigger got up there to say hello but didn’t stay. Theo was the only one that settled down but mom was in and out of lucidity and sometimes she knew he was there but most times not. I was not alone as mom’s first cousin, Jo, came and sat for several hours each day. Mom loved Joanne like a sister. Their mothers were sisters whom both died of cancer. My best friend, Deb, came in the mornings for several hours to help and then again in the evening to help me attend to her. The nurse came a few times the first week. My sisters were not able to travel here to help me and so I had to keep them updated. The Hospice social worker was a gem and mom saw the chaplain on the 28th.

I surrounded mom with tons of photos and a stuffed black kitty named Tipper which resembled the old girl she lost the other year. The wall in front of her had cards and a cross. I wanted her to feel comfortable, warm and welcomed. I left all the Christmas decor up because we love the lights. As the days progressed she left us little by little and it got harder for her to talk but not before I asked her if she was in pain on the 29th and she said she wasn’t. I exclaimed that I was happy because it was my job to keep her pain free. She said I had a crappy job. She was dying and still had a sense of humor. I burst into laughter and tears. We got a couple inches of snow, so Jo was not able to visit. Then came Sunday and I really thought she would pass on the 30th as she was worsening but no, she hung in there. Monday rolled around and response was minimal. The nurse said it could be any moment, any day and would be back on Tuesday. She stopped totally responding after Jo left that afternoon. Theo visited her and stared at her at 9:06pm. He knew. In my heart, I knew.

February 1st arrived and two nurses showed up (1 in training) and cared for her with a cleansing bath. The Chaplain called and I welcomed his visit. Then Jo showed for hours but mom didn’t respond. That morning a friend from work asked if she could come and pray and that we had been on her mind. I welcomed her to visit around 5:30. Deb stopped by and we saw a cardinal in the tree outside the kitchen window. I hadn’t seen one all winter long. The Hospice social worker thought to pop in to comfort me and mom. They left and Joann from work arrived ten minutes later. As we were standing beside mom talking, I thought I saw her stop breathing and gasped. Joann immediately began praying over her and at 5:47pm on February 1st I watched my beloved mother take her last breath on this earth. Oh my God, the pain! I held her hand, stroked her cheek siting the Lord’s Prayer. She was finally free. I called Deb and Joann left. We made all the calls. Calling my older sister was rough and I asked her to call our little sis as I couldn’t handle it. Deb and I sat there with mom and talked. Theo looking up 2-1-22Theo jumped up on her bed and settled down. He then began staring at the ceiling with wide eyes and mewing. He either saw her spirit or the spirit of all our beloved cats coming to greet her. There’s a photo. By 9pm I was alone with the Hospice nurse and funeral home coming and going along with Deb. It was hard. I felt like a zombie. The whole day was surreal.

Cardinal visit 2-27-22Tomorrow is March 1 marking a long sorrowful month. However, I saw a cardinal yesterday (2/27) and I hadn’t seen one since the 1st. I loved the visit. All the Christmas decorations are down. I left the tree up but decorated it with roses and Victorian hearts for Valentine’s Day. She would have loved it. In April, I’ll change it to spring flowers. We love the lights. My heart is still heavy but the days are getting better. You are probably wondering why I’m sharing this most personal time and that’s because you, Max’s followers, our friends have been so kind to us with positive comments. You welcomed Max into your home through our videos. You care for Max and I. It’s only fitting for me to share my story with you. Yes, there are new YouTube videos – Jan 2022 and Valentines 2022.

I haven’t taken many photos of Max in January or February but here are several for you to enjoy. We have had crazy weather of ice, rain, thaw, snow, thaw, snow, and low temps. I can’t keep track of it. Here you’ll see a few photos of the flooding on the 12th and 18th. I’ve also had a visitor to my front yard bird feeder… a big turkey! He also stopped at the perimeter fence to stare at Max on Feb. 7th and returned on the 18th. It is never a dull moment around here! Two more videos – Max Ice Baby and Max Chicken or Fish?

I will try to keep my website/blog with up to date posts from here on out but no promises!

The Book

I am max coverThe book is done! Yes, I finished Max’s book two days ago and have ordered my proof copy which will probably arrive in a few weeks. You know how it goes with printing and shipping. Once I give it a look over, then I will hit the “publish” button and it will be available to everyone via print on demand! Please pray I don’t need to do any edits. It is a bear.

It has taken me 8 months to compile stories about Max’s life over the last 10 years. Then I had thousands of photos to go through to match to the stories. I have had to purchase two new software programs in order to get it done correctly and still I was told by the printer that my photos were not 300ppi. But dpi’s and ppi’s are so confusing. I made sure that every photo was 300dpi and finding the correct answer on line is difficult. I also had to add additional gutter space because of nine pages over their guidelines. So, did I add too much space or just enough? I have my fingers crossed that it will be okay. If not, well I will just cry…a lot…but will get back to it and figure out the whys and how’s and just fix the darn thing and re-upload.  Be patient.

New Freezer

8/16/21 – Well, I guess it was going to happen sooner or later. Max’s upright freezer for his package meals is on the fritz. It is old…manufactured in 2008 and I got it in 2011 for him. I looked online everywhere for a replacement 5.1 cu. ft. upright freezer and nothing. So, I just ordered a 5 cu ft chest freezer from Amazon and it will be here in a week. I wasn’t expecting this but luckily I haven’t gone to get 200 pounds of meat yet and therefore I can switch the meat I processed last week to the chest freezer which is currently pretty empty except for his chicken. Fingers crossed that the new one will last as long as this one!

March Madness

March madness? Yes, it’s true. It actually started at the end of February with Max. I think he knew that windy March was approaching us and he began his attitude. This photo…look at his ears and paw. Yes, he was ready to pounce on me because he was on his back with belly exposed and I was scratching him. He grabbed my hand with claws and I yelled. He jumped up and I sat up straight and put my shoe in his face. No, I didn’t kick him! I briefly put my foot up so he wouldn’t leap at me. I put it down and began trying to calm him down but I couldn’t help take photos. It was an exhilarating moment. Yes, I was taking photos. However, you know he hates the camera. This is the month when I try to limit our time together as sad as that sounds but he gets this wildness in him and I’m not about to get injured. I didn’t have any treats with me or a toy for distraction. I got up and toss his soccer ball at him but he didn’t want to play that way. He wanted to rough-house. Max is shedding his winter fur and really needs some good brushing but every time we are together, he gets “over-joyed”! Haha. The weather has been a little funky…bitter cold, breezy, warm, cold, cloudy, snow showers, rain…it’s crazy.

Anyways, I’ve been busy trying to get his website (www.Maxcanadalynx.com) up to date. 2019 Photos and 2019 News have been completed! Previous years are also completed. I’m exhausted but there’s no time to slow down. 2020 is next and I’m also working on his book. I’ve been slowly pulling stories from my brain, writing them down and then finding photos. I think I have a cover in mind in which a Max follower has offered to help but I haven’t had a chance to get back to her. I have friends I need to write and email who probably think I’m dead. I try to address YouTube comments nightly or at least every other day and that can take an hour sometimes. Mom is having cataract surgery on Monday, 3/22 and therefore has all these doctor visits which require my assistance. Then I need to make up the work hours I miss. *phew*

I have more news but that can all wait.

I hope you all are doing well and Covid-free. Be safe and stay healthy.

Summer News

As you know in April I took in a stray, Sammy and he has been doing so well with our other cats. He has gotten to be one lazy fat cat! I guess that’s what happens when you take in the homeless and give them everything they could ever dreamed of. A photo of before and now at the end of the post.

Max has been loving his new loft that was built in May and is up there every morning. He didn’t lose his winter weight. Oh, the fur is gone but for some reason he held onto those 5 pounds. Now he is at 43 pounds! Whoa Max! You can see our most recent video Max Middle-aged.

I was a volunteer with a local cat rescue group but after 4 months it was clear to me that the founder of the group was only interested in her opinion or her boyfriend’s. She lacks people skills but is darn good at trapping and caring for feral cats. However, there were several abuse cases that she refused to address which in my book is not acceptable for any reason. Her choices and decisions in certain matters were not based on common sense but on her ego and her desire to establish a legacy. She had no policies or procedures and believed she didn’t need any although she applied and received a non-profit status. Non-profit organizations have many rules to follow but not her. Board members were in name only and had no say to anything. She belittled another member which was embarrassing and that person has more experience than her. I resigned as board secretary in late June because of this and no one dismisses or talks to me in the tone like she did. I knew it was only a matter of time when she would ask me to leave (July 3). I asked too many questions, stuck up for my friend and had too many opinions. She was and is still looking for “lemmings” which are people that will follow her and ask no questions until they fall off the cliff. Already a foster has 11 cats because they don’t know how to say no or to stand up to her. They are good people being unjustly used by this person. I shake my head. Max and I donated a lot of money and goods but I look at it as a learning experience and I met some really good people. We are now supporting a shelter in Florida and local gal in a neighboring town that takes care of feral cats. There are many worthy organizations out there.

June 6, our 14 year old cat, Spud lost his mind and became distressed and confused and we had  to make the difficult decision to put him to sleep. This didn’t happen overnight. We saw changes in his behavior over a year’s span.

Also in June, my neighbor called telling me there were three kittens in her barn. The rescue group had taken care (trapped & vetted) her two black barn cats and then all of a sudden, here are kittens. I spent my time trapping these little guys and were thrilled when their eyes were not blue which meant they were probably weaned and 8 weeks old. The group loaned me the traps for this I’m grateful. However, all costs have come out of my own pocket. I’m really happy I didn’t turn them over to them to be fostered as their quality of care could never have lived up to my expectations. I will tell you that I was prepared to put these kittens to sleep had they not been able to socialize. My neighbor was happy feeding two ferals but didn’t want five and who could blame them. There is no one willing to take on caring for ferals in the area. On June 17, I trapped a runt I called Theo. Sunnie was next on the 18th and I didn’t get the third kitten, Skipper until the 22nd. He would not go into the trap for anything. So, I outsmarted this little baby by using his brother and sister as bait. I placed them in a cage at the end of the trap and covered both. He saw them. He heard them and he entered the trap and all were saved. These guys were love bugs from day two and were purring before day five. That’s the story of the 3 Amigos. Here’s a video Max Canada Lynx & the 3 Amigos. With vet clinics shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s been difficult getting appointments, so I had to opt for my own vet which is more expensive. They got to see him on 6/29 and were treated for worms. Who knows what they had been eating! Then they got their first distemper shot on July 17. I had a friend who wanted the little girl, Sunnie and she really needed to become acquainted with her before Sunnie started bonding with me. So she went off with her forever mom on July 18. It was hard but the boys were bonded and needed to stay together.

July 18 was also the day that our 18 year old cat, Miss Gremlin, had a stroke or severe case of vertigo. She was already going down hill with losing weight, going deaf and then forgetting that she had eaten (dementia). We chose to let her go. Losing our old girl and then the kitten was a heartbreaking day for us.

Check out Max’s video Max’s Summer Slimsuit. It has been really hot this summer. Max is not liking it and I give him extra water and a spritzing on occasion. I’m looking into a corner water fountain. How cool would that be?

So, after losing two cats, we decided to keep the little boys. I call them Tiny Terrors. I’ve taken lots of photos because they are growing up so fast! Max has seen them and was really curious. The kittens have seen Max and went puff! Here’s a video of all three The 3 Amigos Adventures outdoors. Our crew is now Smokey 14, Tramp 10, Tigger 4, Sammy 2 and Skipper & Theo 15 weeks.

The Museum I work for opened back up on July 14th. We haven’t had that many visitors but it’s because most of our summer visitors are tourists from other states and right now you have to quarantine for 2 weeks if you come into NY state. Many people are not travelling. We really hope this pandemic goes away soon.

All of our educational programs were cancelled this summer. It figures. Hopefully, we can pick them back up next summer.

In the meantime, stay safe and be well.