For Majel: “She has taken it upon herself to become my caretaker …”

Hello, all.

Today, I have a guest post from the delightful Liz Young.

I am humbled by what I am about to share with you; I am grateful for the opportunity to share this story and cause.

This woman’s journey, her service and dedication — speechless.

Please take a moment to read this …

(and I don’t say this often, but if you can, please share ..)

Hi.  My name is Liz. I run a Facebook page:  facebook.com/thespermwhaleandbowlofpetunias.

It’s my blog and way to reach out to educate, eliminate stigma about mental health, and embrace equality of all sorts.  I have spent my life as a life of service.  Rescuing and fostering wild and domestic animals, fervently until I was married.

He did still “allow” me to do theatre for charities, though.  See, I unfortuantely was conned into being married to a very abusive male.

I must warn you that there may be some triggers in what I am about to post.

I am a survivor of domestic violence, and two of my cats are. Trauma is described as anything that something somebody goes through, or witnesses that they do not want to go through.  I went through significant trauma in my marriage and I was with him for 8.5 years.  He was abusive in every way possible.  He was especially sexually and emotionally abusive, as well as financially abusive (destroying my credit).  He was also very abusive to my cats, and was violent to them.  He would throw them against the walls, and scream at them until they would relieve themselves on the floor, because they were so scared.

I was able to get free with them, and March 31st it will have been two years that we have been free from “the bad man”.  They have healed and grown so much since we left.  They are so much happier, so much more loving, and so much more individuals.  It is truly beautiful.

I work for an organization that provides services for the developmentally disabled and the mentally ill.  It is an extremely rewarding, but stressful job, but I feel it is my calling.  Between that, my life experiences, and my counseling at the local Domestic Violence shelter, I have come to grips with the diagnoses that I have, and to heal significantly. My PTSD from the relationship was at one point so horrific, so constant, so unmanageable, that I almost had to give up my driving, and my cats, because I feared for my safety, and for the safety of others.  I am blessed to have had many people working on my care and believing in me, including a very special little lady, my cat Majel.

Somehow, through all this, through Majel having to heal from her own emotional trauma, she has taken it upon herself to become my caretaker, my service cat.  When I am sick, physically, or when my medications are not working, she will not leave my side.  When I am fine, she has her own little cat life.  Majel has saved my life.  She has given me fervor and purpose, in times when otherwise, I would be numb, and there would be nothing.  She has given me reason to live and to get up in the morning.  She has given me reason to go to work, to get better.  I owe her so much for giving me a reason to heal.  I feel healed.  I feel me for the first time maybe.. ever. I feel like I am a person who can be liked, and should be liked, because there is so much about me that is good and worthy of affection and admiration.  I feel deserving, yet humbled by her adoration.  There is something truly beautiful about being loved, even when you wait so long wondering why you’re worthy of that love.  She is my hero.

I come to you, asking for help.  Majel has a disease called feline tooth resorption.  It is an auto-immune disorder where her body is rejecting her teeth.  It is a painful disease, and she will need surgery to remove all but her front canines (her vampire teeth).  Seeing as my credit is destroyed, I cannot take out a loan, and between my bills, meds, and own expenses, it will take me at least three months to save up the money to get her surgery done.  I don’t know if she can hang on that long.  I have her on steroids and antibiotics for now.  So I implore you, if you have any amount to give, if you could have it in your heart to give, please do.   I promise, it means something, even if you only have a little bit to offer. And if you cannot, please share the link below or please contact me on my page.  I will give you information so that you can mail me, or you could send money through Paypal.  Whatever way makes you feel the most comfortable.

razoo: for Majel

facebook.com/thespermwhaleandthebowlofpetunias

I promise you, it will make a difference.  She will be 6 in September.  It is FAR too early to be saying goodbye to my Majel.  She is my service cat, my daughter, and one of my best friends.

Thank you so very much for your time and consideration.

Love to the 42nd Power

❤ ❤ ❤

Liz Young

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19 comments
  1. That’s a really touching post.. glad that she is out of the abusive cycle

    • I thought so, too. Heartbreaking, isn’t it? I’m glad she is out and reaching so many lives with her story.

  2. rsrote said:

    I love hearing about people that help animals

    • Me, too. I think it’s amazing. I don’t have much, but Liz reminded me: Any little bit helps, even sharing the message and Majel’s situation.
      It meant a lot to me to be able to share.

  3. Liz thank you for taking the time to share your story. I am sorry that you were in an abusive relationship, I too was for about 5 years and it took him cheating on me to finally get the courage up and leave him. It was the best thing that I did for me and my children. My advice to anyone who is in this type of situation is to seek help and guidance from a counselor. They can help give you the self-esteem, courage, and tools that you need to help move on from a toxic relationship. There are also plenty of agencies willing to help women who are stuck in abusive relationships. I love when people share their deepest thoughts and stories because it helps others to realize that they aren’t alone.

    • God bless you, Christy.

      I am so happy you escaped that. And you’re so right about seeking help … I can’t express how amazing it is that Liz is not only seeking healing, but she is out there dedicating her life to helping others. That’s pretty amazing. Really is.

  4. I am so glad you escaped the abuse. I know what a comfort pets can be when we’re going through hard times. Hugs.

    • I can’t even imagine. And then this person hurt the animals, too? I don’t really know what to say. But I am glad she and the babies (cats) are healing.

  5. Andrea said:

    What a sad and beautiful story. Thanks for sharing.

    • It hurts my heart. But there’s a lot of inspiration in there, and like you said, that makes it beautiful. Thanks for stopping by & reading 🙂

  6. I hope she will check out Voices and Faces (Dr. Anne Ream’s project (Northwestern University). Her story needs to be shared.

  7. Raven said:

    Please stop claiming that she is your “Service Cat”. A service animal is a HIGHLY TRAINED animal that is trained to perform a task or tasks, that the disabled owner cannot do, that is directly related to and mitigates their disability. As of March 2011, per ADA law, only dogs and mini horses can be service animals.

    An, animal that naturally provides comfort, companionship, support or has given you “fervor, purpose, a reason to . . . get up in the morning, to live, to feel better, to heal or makes you feel like yourself” is NOT a service animal. These are not legally acceptable tasks.

    At the best it’d be an Emotional Support Animal if you qualified for one. ESA’s are not protected under the ADA, do not have public access with their owners and only have special accommodation in rental housing or flying in cabin on an airplane.

    By calling your cat a “service cat” you are being disrespectful to those who have worked YEARS to train their service animals. You diminish the name of service animals in the eyes of those who don’t know the training that goes into them, portraying them as any animal that shows compassion or concern for their owner. The people that now fraudulently bring their pets everywhere with them, claiming they’re “service animals”, has become epidemic and it makes it harder for those of us that truly need them.

    I’m sorry for all that has happened to you and I truly wish you the very best.

    • Many times, when we share our stories and reach out, researching the proper title for what has brought us through trauma is the last thing on our minds.

      If someone shares a story about grief or chronic pain, he/she may use a word like “depressing” or research the pain and use the wrong term. I suppose in these instances, it is more about the story than the term that makes those we share with comfortable with said term.

      I am sure the epidemic is very frustrating, or makes you feel as if the validity of the service animal is being diminished; I can understand that. I thank you for sharing the appropriate term; I am sure Liz will keep this in mind when she shares her story.

      Thank you so much for your kind words; her story is both heartbreaking and inspiring.

      I hope you have a beautiful week!!

  8. Raven:

    In no way shape or form do I diminish other service animals, and I refuse to accept that I am being disrespectful to service animals and their training, because that would imply there was intent to cause harm, and I never intend to cause harm to anyone. The fact of the matter is that there ARE animals that have naturally picked up the skills to become a certified service animal, or therapy animal, as my adopted father’s dog became one. I don’t know why anyone would be throwing around legal factors when I’m not applying for any legal aid. I was asking for some donations of people willing to help. If there is a more socially acceptable term for her service to me, then I will gladly use that. I apologize that in my time of crisis that I didn’t research the more socially acceptable term. I was asked to put together an article by my dear friend, and I threw it together from my heart. And just because only dogs and miniature horses are currently the only therapy animals does not mean that other animals are not suitable for the task 🙂

    I have NO INTENTION of trying to exploit her and have not from the start. I am desperate to get her surgery done as soon as possible before the steroids and antibiotics become ineffectual, as does happen in many different species of animals, as well as humans. Many creatures build up resistance. I do not want this for her. I want her to be happy and healthy. The truth is that she has saved my life, and she saved my job which also ipso facto saved my life. It’s a continuous circle. My cats stay at home. They are indoor cats. I don’t believe in outdoor cats. There are too many dangers out there. So if emotional support animal support is the better term, then thank you. I love to learn.

    Besides PTSD, I also have bipolar disorder, anxiety, and ADHD. It is crucial for me to stay on my meds, but the most debilitating part of all of my mental health issues is my depression. That is the most important and most difficult matter to manage and maintain the balance, and keep under control.

    But it is not just about me. It is about her, too. When she came from the shelter, she had horrific nightmares. I don’t know what trauma she went through before she came to me. She went through the trauma of my marriage. Now, in March, she’s been free for two years. Two years where she hasn’t had any sort of trauma, and now all of this. Pills, sprays, liquids every day to maintain her health until I can get her surgery. It’s pricey, she’s not a huge fan, and who knows how long it will maintain it until she really truly needs to get the surgery because the inflammation will be so painful that she won’t be able to eat, and her teeth start breaking off in her mouth and it feels like she has razors in her mouth?

    Crying now…. I don’t know how else to explain it to you, and I’m sorry if I upset you. I didn’t mean to upset you with the wrong term. Service animals are invaluable. Again, I work with the disabled people. My mother is disabled. I… just don’t have any more words. You can think what you want to think.

    Bottom line is, I need her, and she needs me. You can pick and tear apart every single word I say, or you can look at the message and what I’m trying to say.

    And what I’m saying is I’m determined to help her. I love her and she is completely invaluable to me.

    • Ey Wade said:

      Wow, the criticism of the use of a term, title was a bit harsh. A ‘service’ animal in my opinion, is an animal that contributes to the health or aid of its owner. Even if it hasn’t gotten a specific piece of paper rolled up in a drawer. I didn’t read anywhere in the articke that the author takes her pet everywhere she goes. As Liz stated, sometimes the ability the empathize can be inborn in an anmial. Raven, I bet you’ve run across animals who were easier and better to train than others. Sometimes, a gift (talent) reaches beyond a label.
      Stay steong, Liz.

      • Thank you Ey. My other cats, are cats, I call them my children, and they are wonders and joys, and my pets, but they do not provide any sort of “service” besides being pets. They make me laugh, and they fill me with the whimsy and mystery that animals are, but they do not have a “job” per se, that they have taken upon themselves. They are not caretakers.

        When I am depressed, Majel will not leave my side. She follows me around the house. When I am in bed, she washes my face, and my hands. She grooms me. She does not have a life other than to go to the bathroom. She will only eat when I eat. When I am tired, she yells at me until I go to bed, and again, she curls up with me and will not leave me. If I am trying to read, or play on my phone, and I am too tired, she pushes those items away, and purrs at me, insisting I pet her, until we fall asleep. When I cry, she licks away my tears, and flops over to ask for her belly to be rubbed because this usually makes me laugh or smile. Or she will take my hand in her paw, and look at me with her eyes, and calm my breathing when I’m having great anxiety. She takes care of me.

        My other cats have their lives, watch out the windows, play with each other, and do all the things that cats normally do when my meds are or are not working. She does not. Her whole life is about my mental and physical health. When I am feeling mentally healthy, she has her own cat life, but checks on me periodically, to make sure I’m okay, and asks for rubbies when she feels like getting rubbies. She also likes to meet me at the door when I get home from work, no matter how I feel. I call her my greeter.

        Majel is Cherokee for “Help”. That is what she does. I named her Majel because she has a slit in her ear that looks like the Vulcan salute. Majel was the wife of the creator of Star Trek. Most of her ear has healed since I adopted her.

        I cannot make other people care. I cannot make people want to give. I think it is unreasonable for people to understand who cannot, but there are some who will, and some who will not. I am using the best words I can to describe what she provides, though. It is not unreasonable to ask for empathy when people are capable of empathy, though, and to try and understand.

        I thank those of you who have offered your emotional support.

  9. Raven said:

    ” Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually TRAINED to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been TRAINED to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support DO NOT qualify as service animals under the ADA.”

    http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

    A service animal is much more than “an animal that contributes to the health or aid of its owner”, but as long as no one cares about the law, and only about their own opinion of what makes a service animal, service animal owners will have to continue to struggle with this along with their disabling conditions. All I asked is for was little respect toward the title and those of us who have invested years of work making our dogs highly trained service animals – which consists of much more than a “rolled up piece of paper in a drawer”.

    As service dog owner who has to fight on a daily basis for my civil right to gain access with my service dog because of people who “see no harm” in carelessly throwing around the title and assigning it to untrained pets, I find it very offensive that people can’t see the harm it causes. It would be like me calling myself a lawyer though I’ve done no work to earn the title. Or a police officer. As a chronic pain sufferer who is in pain 24/7 WITH high dose pain medication, and someone who’s very LIFE depends on my service dog, I try to educate others whenever I can, but when people refuse to listen, to learn, to understand and instead get defensive and try to justify what they’ve done wrong, sometimes you just have to accept that some people will never understand. So go ahead. Make me the bad guy. I get it every day when I try to gain access into businesses with my service dog and refuse to be bullied by people who refuse to abide by the law.

    Again, I wish you and Majel the best. This was never a personal attack, only a request for a little respect. As a Vet Tec and previous veterinary student (before the accident that disabled me) I’m familiar with the condition your pet is suffering from and know it’s serious. I’d give you some advice but I doubt it would be taken seriously. I doubt I’ll be coming back so all further attacks on my intentions, ability to empathize, understand or care will go unanswered. Let the daggers fly.

    RH Ramsey – thank you for your kind words and understanding with this issue. You’re truly a professional.

  10. I wish love and peace to everyone, truly. I just don’t understand how a message can be so misunderstood by one person and get so off track, and for someone to get so focused to the point of insulting what Majel does for me, and her importance. At the same hand, I have never insulted any trained service animals. They perform marvels for the people who require them. I honor them, truly. I also know, from personal experience, that my adopted father (RIP) his scottie was certified as a service animal, even though he was initially a “pet”. He learned so many services, that he qualified. He also was later certified as a therapy dog as well. Love and peace. Love and peace. I am sorry you’ve had a hard time. I would think there should be no qualms with you bringing your service dog with you. The message isn’t about civil rights, though, and I’m sorry about that. Another time, though. I do love to fight for rights! 😀 If you have some advice to give on helping with the care or to help raise money, that is welcome.

    I had another cat with the same disease, who was a truly remarkable soul who lived his WHOLE life around me, but I was not medicated then. My ex husband would not “allow” me to be on any of the meds I needed to be on. Linus was not so lucky. All of his teeth need to be pulled at one go. His mouth was a horror show. I was with my ex-husband (husband at the time). He decided the money was more important to sink into a car (which failed the next week anyways). He told me that I should let Linus starve to death at home. It took two days before Linus’s heart and kidneys started to fail and he began to get cold, so I brought him in for the gentle death. It took me three years to heal from losing Linus. Three brutal years. Then after the divorce was finalized, I found out that my ex husband had even more money hidden away that he could have saved Linus with, but he chose not to.
    I do not want this pain for Majel.

    Majel yells at me in the morning to take my meds, and at night to take my meds. She knows how important they are for me. How she knows when she was never trained to do this, I have no idea. No vague idea. She is a complete wonder to me. We were so very blessed to find each other.

    Well, I’m off to the bank to get some money out to go buy some more meds for her. Hopefully after bills are done I can put a decent chunk aside to put into her savings account! 😀 😀 😀

  11. The first step to recovery of any sort is really being able to release and most of the time, talk about it. I’m sorry you had to go through this. I guess the only comfort we can all have in horrible situations is knowing that time will help us heal. It’s really great you were able to find comfort in a little friend.

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