Compassion and fatigue

Published 11:05pm Thursday, February 20, 2014

In the middle of December I told the tale “Rebuilding a family,” where we adopted Carol the cat and Marciano the Boxer-Ridgeback mix.

We had a devastating year losing two older cats that had been with us for a generation and Bruno, our sweet brindle Boxer.

Marciano came to me at 35 pounds with bones protruding from his spine and hips and his head appearing too large for his body. He had many scars and his ears were all fly bitten, suggesting he’d been caged for months. His original name was Axel and he reminded me so much of my precious Allie from years ago.

Marciano was 8 months old and he had never known puppyhood. As Marciano grew stronger and more beautiful over the next few months, I grew weaker. I didn’t have a good night sleep in more than two months for when I laid down, my chest and throat would close up so I couldn’t breath. I’m fighting this problem to this day, doing all the doctors tell me to do.

Understandably, Marciano had severe separation anxiety and couldn’t be left alone.  I was set to build a fence because he kept breaking out of his cage and I feared he’d hurt himself both physically and emotionally. Marciano was so hungry for love and the love we had for him I thought would be enough.

Finally, my dear Elaine, frantic with concern for me and knowing I would not give up on Marciano, took my hand and looked me in the eye, “Lennie, we have to let him go.” “Why darling?” I replied, “We can make it work.”

“At what cost Lennie? You yourself always say, ‘love is not enough.’ Our situation is not only bad for us, it’s bad for him.”

I never thought the day would come when an animal would be too much for me, but Elaine was right. So now sweet Marciano is back at FHS, 52 pounds, healthy as a horse and loves all animals and people with the same fervor, so I guess I did something right. Whoever gets this beautiful boy, please tell him that Uncle Lennie will always love him.

Thanks for listening.

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