Archive | March 2015

Day 9- Goodbye Charlie Until We Meet Again!

[Warning: Graphic Photo]

imageIt is 10:15 p.m., Monday, March 9, 2015, and I would like to just cry myself to sleep right now. But I feel a warm and loving sense of obligation to be with all of you now and share tonight’s events. I really don’t want to belabor this, as I am so tired and want this night to end, but I have to share with you that tonight we said goodbye to our Charlie. Yes, I now use the pronoun, “our.” I’d like to type this fast, as I am fighting back tears for the loss of this cat who used to be the bane of my existence. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but pretty close.

Would I be crying now if I hadn’t grown to love that scrawny, ear-bent cat who constantly returned to Ed for loving kindness and food no matter how offensive my presence was to him? Probably not. Would I have developed a blog series for him if I didn’t care about him? Probably not. Would I have even called the emergency vet in the first place if I didn’t secretly wish him well? No. If he only knew I really cared about him.

So yesterday I thought his face looked the best it had since the surgery. Blood had dried and fallen off; the swelling seemed to be gone. I don’t know what happened overnight, but today Charlie was worse. I thought it was strange that he was hissing more at me today from a motionless position, but I couldn’t tell any difference in his face. Then when Ed got home and went to feed him, he said he thought he saw some oozing from his face. I put a flashlight on Charlie, and sure enough there was all kind of pus coming from his face. I knew that meant infection, and thought I’d better bring him in- I sent a photo to the vet and they confirmed it looked very concerning, and yes to bring Charlie in.

I told Ed to let me take Charlie alone so we wouldn’t have to bring my son along, we packed Charlie in the red Christmas box like we did on Day 1, and off I went. God is so good- He knew what would transpire and kept Ed and Dillon home, saving them the emotional agony that would surely have been mine many times over, for both of them were far more emotionally attached to Charlie than I- I thought.

imageFirst, a gal took Charlie back to verify the pus/infection- she came back and said grimly, “Yes, it’s very infected. Go to room 2; the doctor will be in shortly.” You know that ‘this-is-not-gonna-be-good’ tone of voice?… she had it. And Charlie’s original doctor who did the surgery was out tonight, so it was a different doctor. A few minutes later, the gal returned to my room and told me the doctor had briefly examined Charlie and was trying to reach the first doctor to consult with him. I knew this wasn’t good. I waited.

The new doctor finally came in and asked me what prompted us to bring Charlie in in the first place (he didn’t know?), then asked me what made me bring him in tonight (another answer I thought he knew), then asked exactly what the first doctor did and told me (Really?). I felt like I was repeating everything he already knew, but I think he just wanted to be sure I was clear about what the doctor had done and was informed about the possible outcomes of surgery…specifically the possibility that Charlie could lose his eye. The doctor informed me of Charlie’s severe infection and asked me to sign a form to sedate Charlie and examine him to find the source of infection, importantly if it was from the eye or another area. If the infection was from the eye, the eye should be removed (enucleation), but if it was from the hole injury above the eye, the eye still might be savable, but there was still the hole infection to deal with, which could also affect the eye. He stressed that something had to be done, as Charlie was in a great amount of discomfort from the infection. Oh my gosh, that’s probably why he was hissing so much at me today; poor thing! Gosh, I thought, should we even be putting him through this much more? He’s been through so much already. What are the chances he will heal from all this? What kind of pain is he in? The dialogue between us was so fast I can’t even remember all the questions and answers that went back and forth, but I signed the form, called Ed to update him, and waited.

imageThe exam seemed long, but everything was long now. I expected the infection was from Charlie’s eye, and the doctor confirmed it. When he returned, he said he felt the infection was both in the eye and the head wound; in fact it was running all down the stitches. He advised enucleation (removal of eye), but this was not a simple decision with Charlie being a feral cat- it would compromise Charlie’s outdoor prowess eliminating his depth-perception with the loss of one eye. He could possibly adjust (and would find out soon enough), but even if all that turned out, there would still be the head injury to deal with. It seemed things were getting more and more complicated, and I couldn’t help thinking of the prolonged trauma Charlie was enduring. I don’t remember when I mentioned the possibility of euthanasia, but I did, and the doctor comforted my evident distress saying something like humane euthanasia was a very reasonable option to keep on the table at this point- it seemed he was waiting for me to bring it up and was glad I did. Maybe it was the knot in my heart, but the way he worded it was so comforting to me as I struggled with what to do.

I had Ed on the phone who was listening carefully, as we searched for a hopeful scenario. The doctor surprisingly gave us one, seeming to make it up as he went along: He could possibly keep Charlie’s eye open a couple stitches wide, clean out eye as best he could, give him pain killers and antibiotic shots, and we could take Charlie home again and hope on the minuscule chance the infection was not from the eye- we would know if the pus did not disappear in 3 days. The look the doctor gave me said kindly that it was not going to happen, the infection was in the eye, and Charlie would continue to be in misery. Even if it miraculously cleared, we would still have to return for his head wound which could easily infect the eye again. The moment came when Ed and I together knew what needed to be done for Charlie’s sake, and the doctor made the painful decision easier reminding us that Charlie was already under sedation and wouldn’t even need to wake up. What a blessing for Charlie- not waking up to more misery with a torn-up infected face and no guarantee it would end.

imageWell Charlie, we made a run of it! We really tried to save you, but it wasn’t meant to be, buddy. We’re sorry you were so badly hurt, and that you endured so much pain; we hoped to help you get better and run free again…but then that’s what got you slashed in the first place, wasn’t it? We even got you a personalized collar so if something happened again, maybe someone would call us.

Well folks, I guess Charlie’s story is a good reason to spay and neuter our pets. Unless you are breeding animals and have homes for them, GET THEM FIXED so that animals are not left alone without a home to fend for themselves in the perilous outdoors, if they live to face the challenge. Yes, some animals are meant to be in the wild- others not so much. And if you’re looking to adopt a pet, PLEASE RESCUE ONE! Find a rescue shelter and go rescue a needy animal!

Finally and most importantly, I want to say THANK YOU LORD JESUS for the life of Charlie! You created him, brought him forth in Your time, and took him home in Your time, Lord. And You, Wonderful Father, let him be a part of our lives for a special little slice of time…Thank You so much!! I believe Charlie is with You right now, in a brand new feline body with a perfect healthy face, in a special place that You designed, enjoying the most beautiful secure surroundings imaginable! And how cool will it be, Lord, to see him again one day, to praise You together and to bend down and say, “See Charlie?…I told you it would be Okay!” ❤


“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” –Rev 4:11

“In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” – Rev 5:12-13


AUTHOR REQUEST: Please LIKE, REBLOG or COMMENT at bottom of post…I would love to hear your personal response and/or questions! If you feel someone else could benefit from a post or from this blog, please SHARE with others in your social media circles- this blog is intended to bless and encourage as many as possible! Thank you and God bless you!!

Saving Charlie- Days 5-8 The Good Father


I have to wonder what this survival-of-the-fittest outdoor cat must be thinking by now. It has been eight days since Charlie’s face-shattering fight, and the only light-of-day he has seen has been through the back door of our laundry room and garden window of our kitchen. While his life before the slash was for the most part spent prowling and dashing for food in strange, dark places- for the past week Charlie has been dish fed pre-killed food warmed in the microwave under the forcibly familiar indoor lights of our home. Instead of the unpredictable sights and sounds of the perilous outdoors (notwithstanding two inquisitive indoor pets), Charlie has been surrounded by safety and routine in a consistently warm, friendly environment. The wild stray still beneath his battered skin must be wondering, “Hey, do you think you’re domesticating me?”

imagePerhaps temporarily, Charlie! But don’t worry- one more visit to the doctor, removal of all those stitches, hopefully restored blinking of your left eye, and tissue formed in the skull hole- and you’ll be on your way to freedom! Then, you’ll probably be hearing, “It’s okay, Charlie!” in your sleep for a while. For now, you’re dong great- we’re so happy to see you moving around a bit more, blood dried and fallen from your stitched face, that right eye opening wider, and even to hear that awful hiss again! Your surrogate daddy, Ed, has so thoughtfully, sweetly scratched beneath your uncomfortable e-collar where you needed some movement but couldn’t reach, and finally a miracle happened… you moved TOWARD ME! About two feet away! We’ve come a long way, Charlie- from fleeing the sight of me to moving so close- granted your good father, Ed, was right there, but still progress! Did I just say that? “Progress”?!

imageTo all of you praying for Charlie, THANK YOU! Please don’t stop! God is good and is working in everything, hearing each and every prayer. My favorite Bible verse is Romans 8:28:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose.” I believe that verse applies to Charlie too, since he is now under our family’s care- we who love God and are called according to his purpose. We really can trust that even in our darkest times- in our blindness when we are stitched with problems in strange territory not knowing what’s going to happen next- we have a God who loves us, cares for us, and has good plans for our future! Will you trust God in your darkest times? He gave His Son Jesus Christ for you- there is NO GREATER LOVE! If Charlie can say it about Ed, you can say it about God- He is THE GOOD FATHER! ❤ On that note, please enjoy my articles, “In His Grip,” “The Blessing of Trials,” and “The Question That Changed My Life Forever.” God bless you!!!


AUTHOR REQUEST: Please LIKE, REBLOG or COMMENT at bottom of post…I would love to hear your personal response and/or questions! If you feel someone else could benefit from a post or from this blog, please SHARE with others in your social media circles- this blog is intended to bless and encourage as many as possible! Thank you and God bless you!!

Saving Charlie- Days 3 & 4 “Where’s Charlie?”

Wow! Such an influx of well wishes, inquiries and prayers for Charlie… thank you everyone! For those who are unaware, Charlie is our “outdoor” cat who tangled with the wrong animal several days ago and wound up with half his face ripped off. See Days 1 & 2 for the story.

Day 3-

Yesterday was a very still day for Charlie, folks- hardly any movement. We imagine this may have been because his pain killers were wearing off. Please pray for the tremendous discomfort he may be in. Thankfully, no “dripping” blood as the vet warned us about. It is starting to smell like urine in this house- either because of two litter boxes at opposite ends of our small abode, or Charlie made a mess somewhere we’ve yet to discover. He has been eating, and has been eliminating in the litter box, but this house needs a major cleaning once he recovers. Thank God for Febreeze in the meantime!

So I needed major sleep yesterday and crashed around 4:00 pm; thankfully, Ed got home at a decent time and put some dinner together for himself and the boys. We had still been keeping dog Harley and cat Destiny locked in rooms (a challenge in itself) with Charlie in the laundry room, but last night things changed. It was the middle of the night and I was sleeping with the bedroom door opened. I awoke to a soft sound and a shadow. Propping up, I saw something move past the door. I thought to myself, “No way. That couldn’t be….” Telling myself it was Destiny, I fell back to sleep. The next time I awoke it was to the stunned look of my husband, morning-feeding the animals exclaiming, “Nan, I can’t find Charlie!”

Day 4-
Can’t find Charlie?, …how could that be?? We had the new gate locked at the laundry room entrance and Charlie hadn’t moved more than 2 feet since the surgery. Then I remembered the strange moving shadow from last night I had glibly credited to Destiny, not letting the unlikely alternative keep me awake. Well I was awake now, and Charlie was nowhere to be found. We searched the laundry room crevices,… no Charlie. Ed and I carefully footed through the kitchen, then living room,… no Charlie. He must be behind the couch, and as I went to pull it out, who do I see curled up sleeping under the piano, but Charlie- right next to Destiny’s kitty tower and spin ball toy. So, that WAS you prowling past my door last night! 🙂 This meant that our one-eyed, just-neutered Charlie had JUMPED over a 3-foot gate in the darkness of the night with an e-collar on. I guess losing his instincts and abilities following surgeries is one less thing I have to worry about!

So Charlie stayed under the piano a good part of the day, until Ed decided it was long enough for our other animals to be locked in rooms and carefully let them out. They moved around slowly, innately knowing something was different. They didn’t even notice Charlie there at first, but Charlie noticed them and headed right back to laundry room safety. Well, at least he knows more of the house now, and is getting used to life with the Duhaldes  …Stay tuned!! 🙂

Prayer Requests:
– That Charlie’s eyelid muscles would heal to enable blinking and save the left eye.
– That the hole above Charlie’s eye would heal under the stitches, and that granulation tissue would sufficiently form to fill area where stitches could not be performed.
– That pain would dissipate completely.
– And if animals think ahead, I would just love Charlie to know there is a light at the end of this very dark tunnel. Please Lord, heal Charlie quickly!



AUTHOR REQUEST: Please LIKE, REBLOG or COMMENT at bottom of post…I would love to hear your personal response and/or questions! If you feel someone else could benefit from a post or from this blog, please SHARE with others in your social media circles- this blog is intended to bless and encourage as many as possible! Thank you and God bless you!!

Saving Charlie- Days 1 & 2

[Warning: Graphic Content]

So I’m a dog girl. I’ve had cats in my life, but never really warmed up to them like I have to my dogs. I’ve loved my cats, don’t get me wrong, but their famous feline standoffishness was always turnoffish to me- a girl who wants to cuddle for a long time. You can imagine then how I might feel about a stray cat. Enter Charlie. Well, enter stray cat my husband Ed would quickly name Charlie. Unlike me, my hubby is a nondiscriminatory animal lover. That’s right- dogs, cats, squirrels, raccoons, ducks, birds, you name it- domestic and wild alike. Ed is not a vegetarian because he likes the taste of veggies better. You’ve heard the saying, “I won’t eat what had a face.”

So for the past few years, my hubby has been feeding Charlie- the scrawniest looking cat you’ve ever seen. Ugly gray with a quarrel-bent right ear and a creepy gait, Charlie stole Ed’s heart from day 1. If only I could have made that cat disappear. All I could think of was the myriad of diseases that thing must have and the herpes Ed was risking passing to our indoor pets with every sympathetic stroke (yes, he touched him!!). I’ve done my best at keeping distance between Charlie and everyone and everything else in our home. I’ve even given that cat dirty looks and scowls to keep him away. No matter, love conquers all, and he knows he gets love (kindness, food, sympathy) from Ed, so he waits until Ed gets home and then disappears. It has been historical cold here in Michigan this winter, and Ed has been more concerned than usual about Charlie. I figure outdoor cats have mastered the art of finding food and warmth no matter what the season, so I’m not outside yelling for Charlie, unless of course my husband is not here and asks me to.

DAY 1- We had just returned from church and Ed went right to the back as usual to call out for Charlie. I was in the bedroom when I heard him say, “Oh my God!,” and I ran nervously to the back. What I saw is branded in my mind like a 3-second perpetual looped video: Charlie was running to the door with what looked like half of his face hanging off, skin dangling as he ran. My animal-lover son caught a glimpse and turned quickly away. His older brother came out confused and quiet. Ed was determined to get Charlie inside regardless, with warmth and food to eat, and affirmed he had been in a bad fight. One horrific glance was all I needed to be on the phone with emergency vets…Florence Nightingale Ed calls me, I discovered with animals too.

Praise God, I was able to find a 24/7 vet not too far away that was able to see Charlie. We didn’t know how we were going to get him into the van- long story short, I grabbed a Christmas storage box from the attic, Ed cut holes in the lid, we plopped in a towel, then Charlie, and closed the lid. No resistance, thank God; Charlie sat still the whole ride, I guess instinctively trusting. The doctor quickly examined Charlie noting the large claw that apparently swiped through his bloodied face, hitting the left eye, and noting a smell he believed to be an infection. He explained his plan to sedate Charlie, utilize the skin left in a “cut and clean” procedure and check the eye. He recommended neutering while under, gave us the estimate and told us to call in a couple of hours. We went home, prayed for Charlie and thanked God we were able to help.

Things were more complicated than expected the doctor told us when we called back- he had found a serious wound above the eye that required stitching with the paltry flesh left there, and the vicious swipe had caused a hole in Charlie’s cornea. I am beginning to really feel for this scrawny, now even uglier outdoor cat. The doc said call back in a couple hours when Charlie was expected to be waking up, and we did, only to hear more bad news: Charlie might lose his eye. Not because of the cornea hole, but because he was not blinking it. There was likely muscle and nerve damage to the eyelid, and if Charlie couldn’t blink he would have to have the eye removed. Doc advised re-anesthetizing and sewing the lid shut to encourage tissue healing and hopefully blinking. My mind is moving so fast by now, adding up all the changes this cat is going through- having half his face torn off, being put in a box and driven to a vet for probably the first time ever, examined and anesthetized, waking up with stitches in his head and far less male, now being put back to sleep to wake up again with one eye sewn shut. I began wondering if we should have brought him in at all, after all, he had self-healed from his other fights, albeit much less serious ones. We agree to sew eyelids and hopefully save Charlie’s eye.

More Changes for Charlie- Ed picked him up late last night after hours of belaborous surgery and anesthetizations. Having many facial and head stitches and one eye sewn shut, outdoor Charlie looked worse than imaginable- like someone had tried to quilt his face together unsuccessfully- and now he had an e-collar confining him as well [See Photo, hard to see him hiding!] imageWe took him to our small laundry room off the kitchen- a familiar area where Ed feeds him- unfortunately it has no inside door. As Ed lifted him out of the box, Charlie immediately jumped to the back door which he knows exits to his world, scraping and scratching to get out. What a sad sight. We knew we couldn’t let him out- he had to remain indoors as we had to return with him to vet in 10-14 days to remove stitches and re-assess. But we weren’t really set up for him inside, and then there were our two boys and domestic cat and dog. Yeesh, what a mess. We set up a makeshift litter box, informed the boys to keep their distance not knowing what to expect, and expectedly half my night was spent wondering what I would wake up to…a torn up house?, excrement in various places?, a torn off collar and opened face? I prayed to go to sleep.

DAY 2- God is Good! I awoke to Charlie curled up in the corner, just trying to make do. Pain killers and sedatives still in his veins, he appeared strangely domesticated. His face was a mess; I couldn’t see either eye. God, I felt bad for him. Charlie had to still be in some shock, and now with new noises like 70-pound Harley-dog trampling toward him, the washer, dryer, stove timer and micro bell, he could only have been dreaming about an escape plan to his off-limits outdoor world. If he only knew this was temporary- a means to a better end for him. Which got me thinking… God, our wonderful Caretaker, so often must be thinking the same about us: “If only_____ knew this was temporary- a means to a better end for him/her.” I thought about how I need to trust God more in the darkest times; if I can care this much for a scrawny outdoor cat, how much must He care for me? Then I realized- I AM that dirty, scrawny, disease-ridden outdoor cat! I AM that ugly outsider! God in His great mercy and love GRAFTED ME INTO HIS FAMILY through the blood of His Son Jesus! Praise Him!! I was an alien, a foreigner, a breaker of His law, yet He saw me and loved me at my worst. I brawled, spread germs, and scraped to live- ugly I was- yet He didn’t give me scowls and dirty looks to get rid of me- instead, like Ed with Charlie, He took me in and loved me. He restored me, made me whole, and beautiful!

My hubby left for work, I locked our indoor cat and dog in the bedroom, drove the boys to school and imageheaded right for Walmart. I thought, if Charlie needs to be inside for two weeks, I’m going to give him the best chance of healing and recovering! I bought a spring dog house with opening large enough for that clumsy e-collar, fleece padding, a separate new litter box, a gate to keep Harley-dog out, more cat food, a scratch board and a couple of mouse toys. I came home to Charlie still in the corner, and I set everything up as quickly and quietly as I could [See photo] Now if only Charlie would move from that corner!

Hour after hour went by. I can’t count how many times I heralded, “It’s okay Charlie!,” wanting to erase the mean image he had of me from his mind to be able to comfort him, wanting to replace the unkind voice with a kind one. He wouldn’t move. I set fresh food out; he wouldn’t eat. He needed to hear his “master’s” voice… the one he trusted, the one he KNEW loved him (of WHOM does that remind you?). I couldn’t wait till Ed got home to give Charlie comfort and assurance, to speed his healing. I checked on Charlie before Ed got home with flashlight to face from a distance and noticed blood around his sutures, a lot of it. As if his face could get worse. It was. I called the doctor’s imageoffice, emailed a quick pic of Charlie’s face [See Photo] and was told not to worry- that was normal since stitches were pulling on skin causing inflammation, causing blood. Call back if blood is “dripping” out, they said. Okay, thank you again. Good Lord, this is only Day 2. Eddie is home! Charlie hears, relaxes, and moves a bit. Yes Nan, GOOD Lord!

Prayer Request: That Charlie does not lose his eye, his instincts, and his will to live.

Tomorrow is Day 3 for Charlie..… Tune in!!


AUTHOR REQUEST: Please LIKE, REBLOG or COMMENT at bottom of post…I would love to hear your personal response and/or questions! If you feel someone else could benefit from a post or from this blog, please SHARE with others in your social media circles- this blog is intended to bless and encourage as many as possible! Thank you and God bless you!!