Friday, September 21, 2012

Because of Zeus - Personal post

This is a personal post, and I feel necessary.

I am writing this through teary eyes as I think about my dear Zeus.

I had to put my cat Zeus down yesterday. Zeus was a big part of my jewelry making process. He would be in my lap, laying across my beads, or on his pillow next to my work desk always supervising. Where I was,  he was. He was a level of comfort while I worked.  I could reach over and touch him, run my hand across his silky fur, and feel his purrs vibrate back thru my hand. As much as he was a comfort, he worked my nerves -  he was a thief.

He liked to play fetch, that was his favorite game. Anything I would throw he would bring back to me. Gallon milk jug cap rings were his favorite, and running a close second was zip lock baggies.  All my crafty friends may have gasped at this, because I store EVERYTHING in zip lock baggies. There were times I would come home, had forgotten to put my lid on my finished jewelry, and I would find bags of jewelry and beads all over the house. This always happened when I would be working on a piece, I knew I had that bag laying right there. RIGHT THERE!  I would tear up the entire room looking for that bag, because of course that bag had the most crucial component to the design. Eventually I would have to give up the search, and move onto something else. Several days later, it would never fail, Zeus would come trotting in, carrying the bag in his mouth and drop it at my feet, with his tiny little mew he would say - Let's play!

He had this thing about plastic. He LOVED it. Plastic grocery bags was his addiction. He would lay on a corner of a bag, and drag his nose across it. Several times he figured out how to make the bag taunt and he would drag his nose so heavily across the plastic you would hear...squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee......This is my cat.

Oh that damn cat.

I brought Zeus home in 2006, he was a ferel little mess. His head is misshapen, one eye is bigger than the other, and the one eye has a scar on it, causing it to be always milky and always dilated.

Zeus snuggling on my husbands shoulder

He lived for a week under the couch and wouldn't come out. I wondered what I had gotten myself into. When he finally ventured out, he lived on my shoulder, or in the hat of my hoodie. You never knew when he was going to snap,  and when he did it was always very 'tazmanian devilish' A wild flurry of fur, fangs and claws. Myself and many others have been left in the bloody wake of his rampages. Still I couldn't give up hope on him. He was mine, and no one elses. When I would come home from work, he was at the door with the dogs, meowing and pawing at me, so happy to see me. When I would watch TV, he was in my lap, when I was in bed he was under the covers. His purring was loud and honest, because for whatever reason his poor soul was tortured, he was happy in my arms.

Zeus was the inspiration behind several pieces I donated to different causes. This you may remember from a previous post. I made a piece for Safe Haven, a no kill shelter just north of Raleigh. This was for their auction a few years ago. I named it "Basking Tabby" because he was always sunning himself on his pillow while I worked.

And as always, as I am trying to take the shot, he has to be in it. This one was fitting.

He was always trying to get into the light box as I shot my pieces. You know cats, the spotlight is always on them.

A couple of months ago, he became sick, very sick and went downhill so fast, it was mind numbing how he could be raging one day, and thin and sickly the next. Due to issues beyond my control,  I didn't have the money to have him looked at, or to have him treated. He had diabetes. The blood work, the office visits for check ups, the insulin, was too far out of reach. It is maddening, I felt like I had let him down. I couldn't watch him waste away. I knew what had to be done but I didn't want to stress him out with a car ride, and go somewhere he didn't know and put him down. Thank you God there are mobile vets. Yesterday the vet came to the house, and quietly put him to sleep, in my lap.

When I made the payment to vet for her visit, the payment was lower than expected. I had already stopped by the bank and pulled out enough cash for the procedure. For a split second I was happy that I would be getting money back. Then I had a thought. Yes, this is money I could use, but I had this money ear marked for this procedure. There is someone out there who doesn't. I don't want someone to go through what I am going through because of money. Maybe I can help someone else. I told the vet to keep the change. I needed it to be like a trust fund, that she would keep the remaining balance, and when someone came to her, who didn't have enough money, she could use that remaining money to help them. She didn't understand at first, or maybe it appeared that way. She blinked at me. I explained to her how I was feeling. I couldn't help Zeus because it was so much money that was needed, but maybe someone needed just a little bit more to help them over the hump. She hugged me and said thank you. She already knew who she could help. I felt 1000 times lighter with that comment.

I didn't want to stop right there. I want to keep on trying to help others who have pet needs.I have decided that 25% of all of my sales will go to the Because of Zeus fund. This will be my way to pay it forward.  I will set this money aside and use it to donate to vet clinics to help someone who is trying to help their pet, help them have a better life but can't make the commitment due to financial reasons. Keep watch in the upper corner of the blog. There will be a scale as money accumulates, and a listing of the recipients.
My hope is that when someone asks, Where did this come from? How can this be? How did I get this help when I needed it? Someone can tell them -  Because of Zeus.


  1. I am so, so sorry Tish, money is such a tenuous and frustrating part of our lives sometimes. You are an inspiration just like Zeus is. He is proud of you and will continue to watch over you. You gave him so much more than money could ever buy. I am so glad that you have paid it forward and can help others! I would like to add to your fund.

    And I can hear Zeus whisper in my ear, 'Not because of me, but because of Tish and because of her love' nobody could have loved Zeus as much as you did

  2. Aw, Tish, I'm sorry for your loss of Zeus. You've done a wonderful thing by helping others in a similar situation.

  3. I'm so sorry you lost your little mate Zeus and what a wonderful, thoughtful gesture setting up a fund in his name.

  4. I am just catching up on my blog reading because I was away for awhile last month and am so sorry to hear of your loss - Zeus sounds like he was a super special little friend!! I'm thinking of you and sending out some 'sympathy vibes' your way and believe what you're doing to help other's w/their pets is such a wonderful thing!!

  5. Dearest Tish, I absolutely support your endeavor. Like Zeus both Goliath and Morrigan went down hill quickly., Goliath with Kidney Failure and I am still not sure what got Morrigan. But like you, the costs were overwhelming and the vet still couldn't assure me they would make it. Both are not running around Kitty heaven with Zeus. I think this is such a great idea and I want to be able to do something similar. You and I will talk at Christmas to see what I might be able to do here.