Notes from a parish cat and his author Julie Mackenzie

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I am Father Tom Fish, esteemed member of the religious team at Temptation of Christ Parish in the novels by author Julie Mackenzie. As to my background, I was invited into the rectory as a stray, laid on the charm, and was invited to stay, even honorarily ordained and no less spiritual than my sidekick Father Will. He dotes on me to high heaven and forgives all of my street cat proclivities, whatever the hell that means.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Healing Time

 It's been a very long week. 

Yesterday, I just worked in the garden, cleaning away the leaves to find shoots reaching for the sunlight. I was alone with no dog in sight, just my memories and a whisper of an inkling that he might be close.

Last weekend, I bought some pansies. Who can resist these faces in the garden center when there are a scillion of them begging you to take them home?

They'll be going into a special garden for Trapper. The kitties all wanted to be part of this, milling around, the Big Puss wanted to see if they were edible. I told him I wasn't sure, for cats, anyway.

I think Mitty misses Trapper the most, although all the kitties learned to live with their gentle giant of a dog furriend.

I love my Uncle Trapper!

I held my breath when they roughhoused, so there aren't any pictures of that, wanting to make sure Trapper didn't forget how big he was.

Although the pain is still deep and I feel it every minute, I'm also distracted with life and how it goes on, the comfort of feeling he's still with me somehow, and that the good Lord knew best.

Recently, I had started substitute teaching. I am so grateful that it didn't happen when I wasn't around. I can't even imagine what it would have been like to come home to him already passed without my being there, and how that would have felt for him.

Again, thank you for all of your love and prayers and caring. As so many of you have done in other sad times, you have been there to comfort and I am deeply grateful.


His ears were often the first thing to catch my tears.  (Tom has caught a few of them, too.)
--Elizabeth Barrett Browning

This has now made three pets gone to the Bridge in less than two years, their older age small consolation for the heartache. Trapper, along with the first Tom, had cancer.


I'll be stopping by to visit you all in the next few days. (((((Hugs)))))


Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I'm ready for another stick, Mom!

Mom Julie here and I'm in tears as I write this. My doggie, my precious boy is gone.

I keep going over things in my mind, replaying the events that led to his passing and I wish I could have changed everything. He had a seizure around six o'clock last evening, his very first and I, not knowing what to do, stayed by his side, comforting him, talking to him. It lasted only a few minutes, I'm sure, but seemed like it would never end. I took him to the emergency clinic a half hour away. He sat in the back seat, by this time back to normal, but I wanted to be sure.

We arrived, he was bouncy and fine, wagging his tail at everyone and running around the emergency lobby like we were there for a good time. The doctor explained that older dogs do get seizures and it could be a number of different things prompting them. I said I would take him to the vet first thing in the morning. After we talked he was still fine, acted great and I even walked him around outside a little bit just to make sure. We had agreed if he had one during the night, I would bring him back in.

I was on my way home, almost to the house, when he was hit by another seizure. I was alone, driving and all I could think of was to get him back to the clinic as soon as I could. Holding his collar and talking to him, I drove, but they kept coming, and coming. He didn't stop shaking on the back seat floor and when we arrived again, two women came out to help me with him. They carried him in, shaking still. All I wanted to do was be with him. When I went in the back, they were trying to resuscitate him.

I never prayed so hard in my life. One of those times when you promise the Good Lord anything, anything at all, shortening my own life if he had to, just to bring my baby back. They came out to tell me they were not having any luck and asked if they should continue. It broke my heart to tell them no.

Just today I added a graphic to the sidebar because I was having trouble finding a candle so we could pay tribute to all our angels, so I used a beautiful one with all the cats and dogs in it. Little did I know that my baby was going to be one of them. He had just turned 10 in March.

I hope he finds plenty of friends. He had countless numbers of them here on Earth. He never met a stranger, and I'm glad I had the time with him I did, nine years of love and sharing his life with kitties.

Should I have them do an autopsy to find out what was wrong? Or, should I just let the heartbreak rest? I don't know what to do, and I can't sleep.

--Mom Julie

**UPDATE** Thank you all so much for your comforting words. I finally did get some rest, but not very much. I was still up at 6, ready to start the day, and all without my big, golden boy by my side.

I decided not to do the necropsy. This afternoon, when I went to pick him up from the emergency clinic, I had a chance to really talk to the doctor. I was happy to find the same vet who received him last night, there today. She said sometime between the car and the building, while he was being carried, his heart stopped. When I saw him, he was being given chest compressions and had a tube in his mouth and an IV.  No matter what they did, he couldn't be revived.

Last night, of course, I couldn't think straight, today, not really, either. But, I had done a lot of sorting out in my sleeplessness and I can recall his being more clingy than usual, unsure of himself after dark--all signs of aging, I thought. The seizures she felt, since he was an older dog, could only be an indication of something far more serious, probably a tumor.

I picked him up and took him to the Animal Welfare Society, a shelter where I adopted Tom, Mitty and Anastasia. They do cremations and all money goes to the shelter. I know Trapper would have wanted it that way. As we're heading down I-95 south to Kennebunk, the whole time, I talked to my boy. I had laid down the passenger seat back to make it flat and had the doctor put him, all wrapped in black plastic next to me. My hand rested on his sweet head as I drove down. This gave me some of the closure I desperately needed.

I think I might sleep tonight, but I'm not sure, really. The kitties know something is terribly wrong. They want to attach themselves to me in every possible way, and, of course, they're getting more hugs and kisses than usual.

I can't thank you all enough for your comforting words, support and shared tears. It means so much to me. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Heart - A Lonely Hunter

Last week's post, you met our beautiful feline princess, Anastasia. What I didn't tell you is, I have on my hands, a honkin' huge mancat hopelessly in love.

The Big Puss does everything he can to get her attention. He rolls on the floor, hoping his floof will cast that magical spell and melt her heart. I think just looking at him will make her sneeze.

In case that doesn't work, he poses with posies so he'll appeal to her softer, flower-loving side. Actually, she's a cat and posing with nip would probably work better.

The look-at-me-aren't-I-cute trick--those paws  just itchin' to make some biscuits on a lady soft and furry!

He is hopelessly in love with our Anastasia and he shows it by showing off, plain and simple. Look at these 'tocks! Criminy, I spend all day grooming mine and I can't do a thing with them!

The poor soul is so infatuated that he's acting like a lovesick adolescent (he's 10), tearing through the rectory, trying to kiss her (nothing else, thank Cod) and she has to put him in his place.

Please, please don't breath a word to Puss, but she and I have given each other nose kisses..


I didn't wash my face for a week, but I'm a priest, so I have to keep myself in check. Besides, if Puss gets wind of this, he'll pulverize me to the size of a host.

Mom Julie says he reminds her of that lovesick boyfriend everybody tolerates, all reason right out the window, hearts streaming from his head and eyes pining for just one glance..

Poor Puss. I'll have to give him some words of advice.

If I can just get up the nerve!


Friday, April 6, 2012

Holy Week

A sunny Bavarian church in the Alps

 Isn't this a pretty picture?

I thought I would start my post with it, to put me in a better frame of mind.

You see, this week has had me seething. Mom Julie has spring fever something fierce and even though she said she was hard at work on the second book, between you and me, that was a super humongous fib.

I have had to take over, delegating work and supervision.

Side by side I put the chapters. Next, to find an editor..

Woo-hoo! What a babe! And where did you come from, sweet thing??

::Ahem::  Excuse me, so sorry... I was looking for an editor..hey, Mitty!

"How do you want to handle this, boss?" Mitty asks.

"You sit on it, we keep it," I say.

An excellent system, especially if you're dealing with cat editors, I think.

Tinker snoopervises the operation. At first, all goes well but, they do have a problem concentrating..

Darn it all! Nobody around here wants to work!

Mitty, never mind what was left on the table from lunch!

Hey, guys, can we get back to the matter at hand??

Okay, fine.

You all win.

We'll wrap it up, just like we're wrapping up Lent this week.

Maybe it is time for flowers, chirping birds and whiffing the warmer breezes!

It's Eastertime!

Happy Easter hugs and purrs,

--Tom, Mom Julie, Mittens, Tinker, Trapper and introducing..our newest family member, Anastasia who has inspired a human character in the new book.