He came to become Blackjack
by Ricky A Schiller.........................................
This relationship started in 1999,when my cat loving girlfriend and I moved to the other side of town in Aug 1998. After living there for a year or more we got settled down in our new home. We would sit outside in our back yard playing cards,grilling. One day this pure black cat started to come by while we were outside. I saw the look on my girlfriend(Jeri)face.I would say,don,t get any ideas,you know we can not have pets and they don,t live long and when they die we,re broken hearted. But of course Jeri still would have to mingle with that black cat.He would strut by us as we sat on our patio out back.Then Jeri sneakingly would offer food and that black cat had no problems excepting a free meal.This went on for a few months.Then one day that black cat came back to our house and he was sick.He was lathorgic and Jeri allowed him in the house.He went straight to my closet and stayed there.We were very concerned so we took him to a vet hospital.That black cat had gotten bit by another animal on his tail.The vet shaved part of his tail and prescribed medicine. He was feeling better after a day went by. We knew that cat belonged to someone so we let him outside. Every few days that cat would come by and I could see Jeri was starting to worry about that cat.On two other occasions that cat came to our home and it was sick. So another trip to the vet.The vet told us that the cat was about two years old.On the third vet visit, that,s when Jeri said we,re keeping this cat,I put alot of money into him. there was times we would let him out and he would dissappear for a day and Jeri would worry about him. Then on a Sunday nite we were in bed,we had a long day outside,playing cards,grilling,yard work.So we went to bed early and I was asleep while Jeri read.Then out of a sound sleep I get a elbow in my side from Jeri telling me there,s something looking in our bedroom window.I was still have asleep and rolled out of bed onto the floor not wanting that wild creature to see me.I crawled on my hands and knees to the hall way and stood up to go to the back porch. I very quietly opened the back door and peeked out. There standing on top of my rubber maid shed in front of our bedroom window was that black cat peering in our window in the dark. I yelled to Jeri that it was that black cat,she yelled not to let it leave. I said here kitty kitty with Jeri in back ground doing the same. The cat came in and that was the beginning of a thirteen year companionship.I named him Blackjack,he was a cat with few words.Very affectionate to Jeri.One thing I thought was funny was he did not act like a cat.It looked like I had company during the day,I was out of work from a back injury and Jeri had a job.I would hang outside most the time,doing things in the yard and Blackjack would hang out with me.That,s when the deal was sealed for me. We were becoming buddies and I was really starting to have feelings for Blackjack.What I thought was really cute was when Blackjack would be sitting his tong would hang out.Oh how cute that was.Then one Saturday morning we let Blackjack out after we got home from shopping. Mind you Blackjack was supervised outside. I only went back into the house for a minute or two and went to go back outside to check on Blackjack and there he was sitting on the front stoop with a hampster sitting next to him. I screamed for Jeri to hurry and come look at what Blackjack brought home. How and where in hell did he get a hamster from.Now we have another family member to take care of.We went out that day and purchased a cage and food and a hamster ball. Blackjack loved that hamster,he would follow that hamster around in it,s ball from room to room. Then in Aug 2002 we moved to another house in town with a pool and deck and a six foot fence all the way around. By the time I got done landscaping this new place was just a new play ground for Blackjack. Then in the summer of 2003 a short grey hair young kitten started to come around,well need I have to go on. I named that cat Smokey. Did not like being held,but sure liked to pick on Blackjack(play)but Blackjack wanted not part of it.Mind you Blackjack was three times it size but Blackjack never hurt that other cat.In my heart I know Blackjack wanted to be the only pet member in the house(except hamster)Then my relationship with Jeri went sour and I moved out in Dec.2 2003. I cried like a baby knowing I also was loosing my best buddy Blackjack, so since Jeri had a job all week and I was not working on disability we decided to share Blackjack. I would have him Mon. thru Fri. and Jeri had him on the weekends. My friend relationship with Jeri still was going down hill fast,so after about 5 or6 months of being on my own with Blackjack I decided to end all ties with Jeri and informed her since she took in Smokey and she knew Blackjack really did not get along with other cats that I was keeping him to myself. This is where the true meaning of a loving companionship comes into play. I had my ups and downs,days of depression over the end of my nine years in a relationship. I would cry and Blackjack would jump up on my chest or lap and he would take his little paw and touch my cheeks and pull my head down to his and give me kisses. I would say to him Well little Buddy it just you and me and Poppa loves you. Then in May of 2005 I found a job and worked long hours Mon. thru Fri. 13 to 15 hours a day. I felt so bad for Blackjack, not getting his meals at regular hours.Poppa not being there to spend time outside with him. In Nov. 2005 I decided to rent a house on south side of town and me Blackjack moved,bigger yard,breezeway,two car garage. That was the best thing to do since my last place,the wiring in house was bad and I was always worried that I would get a call that the house burned down and Blackjack did not make it. Our new place was home,home for 7 years.We had so many good times in our new home,laying on the carpet and rolling Blackjack,s plastic easter egg back and forth to each other.Blackjack sitting on counter top sitting next to me while Poppa washed dishes,and he would reach up to me and give me a head butt,yes a head butt,Blackjack was a head butter,that was way of showing he loved his Poppa. We would spend countless hours outside,doing yard work,grilling.At nite when we would watch T.V. Blackjack would lie on my right shoulder and sometimes he would pull my face over to his and he would give me kisses on my cheek or he would take his paw and touch my eyes.Such a sweet boy he was. And then when it was time to go to bed I would say You ready to go nite nite Blackjack,Poppa give you treats and by the time I could get the TV off and lights off, doors locked Blackjack would beat me to the bedroom and be sitting up on the bed with his little pink tong hanging out. I would lay there with Blackjack next to me reading and holding his treat bag,Blackjack would pull his treats out,one at a time and in his paw and put it in his mouth,now that was so adorable.Then sometimes he would purposely pull out 9 or 10 and dumped then on the bed. I would say Blackjack,don,t be a little piggy. When it would come to laundry day Blackjack loved to go to the basement and help Poppa do laundry.Next to the steps leading down to the basement was duct work. when I would get done switching laundry Blackjack would hide on top of the duct work and peek his gorgeous bright yellow eyes out from on top of the duct work. I would pretend that I did not see him and yell out at the bottom of the steps come on Blackjack lets go up stairs and he would peek out his little head and I would see it out of the corner of my eye.After working long hours four almost four years I lost my job in Nov.2008. This was devastating for me and Blackjack. The company I worked for was denying my unemployment and no income.I cried and cried worried that I was going to have to give my little boy away to Helping paws. I even wrote his momma(Jeri) a letter asking if she could take care of Blackjack,I received no reply from Jeri. I would ask myself how could she not care,this was her little boy Blackjack,and he loved Jeri very much,I could see it in his eyes when Jeri and I were together. I was getting desperate and contacted the Social Security Admin. and told them my problem. I was on disability for two years and went off when I found my last job. They transferred me to a lawyer for social sec. and he asked me some questions and told me that I was still elagible for disability. That was the greatest news I received in a while. Me and Blackjack danced in the living room while I held him in my arms so close to my heart, now knowing we would still have a place to call home. Losing my job was the best thing to happen in my view. I had just lost almost four years of not being there for Blackjack,working almost sixty some hours a week, getting home at 7:30pm and leaving at 3:30am to go to work. Now it,s time to make up time with Blackjack. Staying up late hanging outside late,crawling out of bed in the morning when we felt like it. This is when Blackjack would come into the bedroom and try to suffocate me by putting his little paw over my nose or in my eyes trying to let me know that he wanted breakfast. What a great life we had all the time in the world. Just Poppa and Blackjack, do what ever we want. In the early evening we would grill out and hang outside in the warm late spring and summer and I loved watching Blackjack jump up and try to catch lightning bugs. He would run from one spot to another,FLICKER FLICKER FLICKER.So damn cute. Then when he would catch one I would tell him not to eat it or your little tummy is going to light up and flicker. Another one of Blackjack,s things to do was greet people,s dogs they walked past our home. Blackjack would go right out to the end of the driveway and go snout to snout with dogs. He was greeting them. All my neighbors would say how in the hell do you get a cat to listen to you. I would say just a lot of love,communication,and affection,plus thirteen years of being together and treating him like I would want to be treated. When ever we went outside all I had to say is Blackjack stay in the yard and he would. Mind you Blackjack was always supervised outside never let out to run the neighborhood.Blackjack and I loved to go for our strolls around the block( no leash)at sunset.That,s when he loved to play with lightning bugs. Another favorite thing of Blackjack,s to do was laser light,I would lay in bed and shine that light all over the place in the bedroom,the metal closet doors(BANG BANGBANG BANG BANG)Man was it loud when BLackjack would hit those metal doors half way up,slamming his body into them. HIs little eyes would get huge and he would make a weird sound like a bird chirping when he would see that light.Blackjack favorite foods were Fancy Feast(Grilled) fresh cooked shrimp,fried chicken,grilled steak,turkey(Thanks Giving)and his treats in bed.Things took a turn for the worst in May of 2011 when a few months before this I noticed Blackjack was urinating alot and he would lay behind the couch after eating where it was kind of dark and make grunting noises.I thought he was just content.Oh how wrong I was. He was drinking a lot of water and one day I gave him a bath and notice he lost weight.I made a appointment with Blackjack,s vet. The diagnose was thyroids.Blackjack was treated and hopefully on the road to a full recovery. Then one day a I was concerned and called the vet and they were on vacation. I was told to take Blackjack to an emergency hospital out of town. When we got there I was crying but was assured that Blackjack was not dieing and he,ll be fine and back to normal in a few months. They treated him for thyroids and took ex rays. I then decided to keep Blackjack in town for his medical problems and chose a 3rd vet hospital. They treated him and also assured me that this was not a death sentence for Blackjack,so thyroid treatment continued. Now the tears are flowing. In August of 2011 ,I notice Blackjack was walking funny on his back legs and I called Animal Hospital of Woodstock, his 3rd vet and was told to bring him in right away. Trybus looked at Blackjack and stated he was throwing blood clots to his back legs..I was informed to treat Blackjack with IV,s of hepparin& plavix. This went on for three weeks and Blackjack,s back legs got worst. He was now dragging his back legs around.I was devastated.Blackjack,s last Dr. visit Trybus examined Blackjack and told me that 98% of the time this treatment does not work,this was three weeks from 1st visit with 3rd vet.I was advised to euthanize my little buddy Blackjack. I never cried so damn hard,this was my buddy,my family, Blackjack was the world to me,my only family I had. I left there with my Blackjack and I was determined to get help for Blackjack. I contacted a 4th vet in town,a well known Dr,that I had heard about. I made an appointment and took my little boy in to be examined.With in the 1st 10 minutes this highly trained specialist examined Blackjack and stated to me that this was not blood clots(Saddle Thumpess)that his 3rd vet said he had but something neurological.We did blood test that morning and me and Blackjack stuck around for the test to come back. Good news Carmichle says, his organs are all healed He,s got the organs of a new cat. Mind you months before Blackjack liver and kidney were in bad shape.Now we just need to figure out what,s going on with his back legs. I made an appointment for Oct. 27 2011,to be seen by another Dr. who does accupucture at his 4th vet. Ex rays and accupucture were done and me and Blackjack headed home. This had been a long journey for me and Blackjack all the different medicines,at different times of the day exercising his back legs three times a day.Well on the same day Blackjack was seen(Oct.27,2011) Two hours later,the Dr.Grudy called and said Rick I have bad news. That she looked at the original ex rays from his 2nd vet from out of town and noticed something abnormal on his back spine. She stated that she blew up the exrays and compared them to the ex rays taken that day and that Blackjack has a legion or tumor growing on his 4th vertibre,that,s why he lost the use of his back legs. I then took my little boy on Oct.31 2011 to Wisconsin University and was seen by specialist there. They also said the same thing that it was a tumor or legion growing on my little boys 4th vertabrea and if it was caught two or three months sooner the outcome would be differant. They were now telling me my little boy was parallized in his back legs and to think of his quality of life and to put him down. Me and Blackjack left there for our two and a half hour ride back home. I cried all the way home. When I had to stop to pay toll at the manuel, the lady saw Blackjack laying across my center console Oh what a beautiful cat and I told her about my situation and we talked for almost ten minutes at the toll booth, she started to cry and I was already crying. She said she would pray for Blackjack and we continued our journey home on Halloween Day Sunny, warm and the sun roof open with the sun shining down on my little boy. That day when we got home around noon, I took carried Blackjack in so he could use his rubber maid lid litter box( had a $300.00 electric litter box, could not manuever in it anymore). Then I took Blackjack to his old neighborhood and knocked on the door where we all used to live(momma-Jeri) and asked if I could let Blackjack see his old home again.I explained what was going on and of course I was crying and she stated to cry while I craddled my Blackjack in my arms and said me and Blackjack could stay as long as we wanted to. I swear to God Blackjack remembered every square inch of our old home and yard.My little boy lit up like a fire cracker, his eyes so big. Yep Blackjack got to see his original home and neighborhood again nine years later and remembered every square inch of it. Well I was not going to let this misdiagnose and $5,500 in vet bills( In debt today still) take my little boy away. I still continued with his thyroid medication,half of steroid pill every other day and exercising his back legs.When I would wash his back legs off in warm water in kitchen sink he would pull up on them, in my heart I knew he was not parilized.We would sit on couch and he would be looking away from me and I would pinch his toes and he would jerk his back leg away from me. The 1st week in April 2012 my little boy Blackjack started to walk on all four legs again, what a miracle everyday I would pray for my Blackjack for God to send a Angle to heal him. On April 5 early evening I watched Blackjack jump over tv trays three and half feet tall in living room to as I say break out of jail. He had to use his back legs to spring of the floor. Then came Friday April 6 2012 I woke up in the morning around 8:15am and went out to the living room to open the big picture window shade and Blackjack was standing on all four legs telling me come on Poppa I want breakfast, so I scooped him up and carried him into kitchen( normal routine) to clean him up and feed him, when I sat him ever so gently on counter by sink I notice a chunk of litter in his tail and as I tried to cut it off his tail he slipped on his side on counter and fell on two cans of cat food, from that moment I noticed that he might had gotten hurt.I kept a close eye on him that entire day,even calling his 4th vet and was advised to give him a baby asprin and half of steroid pill. My little boy never pulled out of this, on Sat.April 7 2012 at 4:45am I was in bed and my little boy let out 3 loud screams and I ran from my bedroom into living room and laid next to Blackjack telling him to get better that we came this far come on buddy Please get better. I cried so hard as I stroked his head, then Blackjack with his paw pulled my hand down and laid hid head on top of my right hand. After about 25min. I went back to bed and then again at 6:45am Sat. April 7 2012 Blackjack let out three more curling screams and I ran into the living room to find my little boy in dire straights, I tried every vet in the county and nobody wanted to help my Blackjack. By then I had spent over $6,000 on my little buddy and now I was broke and in debt. I left my house at 8:15am to see if his 4th vet was opened but they were closed so I rushed home and frantically called around for help. At a few minutes before 9:00am I could see my most precious boy was dieing and at exactly 9:00am April 7 2012, my little buddy died in my arms in our living room. My Blackjack was gone never to play ,hold,go for walks,treats in bed, watch the lightning bugs with,breakfast,dinner,lay on my right shoulder,his kisses no more. It,s been over six months and I have my little boy Blackjack in the house with me in an air tight water,fire proof security box,to precious to throw dirt on and never burn him up,I carry him from room to room and when the day comes that I die Blackjack will be buried with me, put on my right shoulder, Together for eternity Poppa & Blackjack
Comments would be appreciated by the author, Ricky A Schiller
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