First, I want to thank Theresa Grammer for coming up with this awesome contest. She is a pet lover and ASPCA Member, who also designed my Lovers, Liars and Lunatics website.
Now for the winners!
The Random Raffle Winners are: Jennifer Borri, Masha Kashina and Lilac_Mess.
The Picture Winner is: Stephanie Patton
Meet Sammie, who actually volunteered to wear this outfit!
And the Story Winner is: Jenny B.
I have to remind myself this is me having a conversation with you. That is how I want to come across. With that said I have to take you back to the beginning. I was born on September 11, 1982. Oh wait a minute...that's a different story. In the style of my 2nd favorite Golden Girl Sophia Petrillo...picture this Santa Ana 1993. I was 11 years when I had witnessed one of mother nature's miracles. A cat we had taken in at that time was giving birth in my bedroom. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Kitten after kitten was being born. As soon as I saw him I knew he was mine. Lionel is what he later was known as. After finding homes for all the other kittens including the mama, Lionel remained mine. He was a great companion growing up. He always knew how to cheer me up, and was always there when I was at my lowest. I am an only child who was raised by a single mother. Unfortunately for me the one I called "mom" abused me. My mother was a bitter drunk who hated the world and everyone in it. She fed off of other people's misery. Since I was her daughter that gave her the right to beat me and make me suffer all of her woes.
I don't want to get side tracked here this isn't about me or Lionel. You see Lionel wasn't with me forever like I thought he would be. He was in his 5Th year when he came down with severe liver disease. He had to be put down. He was survived by his daughter Nike. Yes, this just turned into the Lion King. The real story here is Nike. What can I say about this lovable feline. She would meow your ear's off that's for sure. Nike wasn't apart of the family. She wasn't some pet. She was an extraordinary gift. She had the ability to do something no one else in this world could do. She made my mom smile, feel warmth, and actually care about something. God knows I couldn't do any of those things no matter how hard I tried. If only for a fraction of a second she allowed my mother to be human. To be humane. When it came time for me to move out I didn't take Nike with me, and not because I didn't want to. I wasn't the one who needed her most. It wasn't a hard decision to leave her with my mom. I had the privilege that some people don't ever have. I had the same beloved pet in my childhood into my adulthood. Throughout the years I visited Nike and saw the effect she still had on my mom. She continued to work her magic. I just wish my mom could have held on to the woman she was when Nike was around. Sadly though she is far more bitter then ever before.
It was in May of 2009 when Nike was diagnosed with a neurological disease. I took her to the vet and had her treated. She seemed to get better, but as time passed her condition worsened. I was faced with one of my toughest decisions. I had to live by one of life's lessons of loving and knowing when to let go. On July 10, 2009 my heart was broken. I didn't want to be selfish and keep Nike with me. Keeping her would have subjected her to more pain, tests, and treatments. I knew I had to put her down. I wanted to be more personal by having the doctor put her down in my presence. I thanked her for giving me 15 years of love and devotion. I thanked her for all she had inspired to give my mom. It's ironic how I saw her father Lionel born into this world, and witnessed Nike leaving it. When she took her last breath it didn't hit me. It wasn't until the doctor confirmed that her heart stopped beating that made me lose it. I wanted to take it back. I wanted to shout no! No! No! I change my mind, but she was gone. I held her and continued to kiss her head. I took advantage of every second of that moment to hold her because I knew it would be my last time. I made arrangements to have her cremated. I didn't get the chance to make those arrangements for Lionel. Nike was always my only connection to him. So in the end I do have both Lionel and Nike with me forever.
Thank you to everyone who donated money and sent pictures and stories – they were all wonderful and therefore I had a terrible time deciding the winners! Everyone listed above will receive an autographed copy of my new book, CAT'S CLAW. Enjoy!!