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Just before the Fourth of July, in 1993, a young six year old boy knocked on my apartment door. When I answered I saw a panicked lad, who just happened to have a big impetigo breakout all over his face.
So I followed the kid down the stairs and there was a nervous mother with her freshly born kittens - all mewing. I told the kid not to touch the cats, that the mother will take care of them.
He finally went home and I later went back down the check on the mother. In that few hours of time, the mother had moved the brood off somewhere. I walked around the back yard and in the woods and I found one kitten abandoned and covered in flies. I turned around to get a shovel and a twig snapped under my foot. The sound awoke the kitten and it started screaming.
MEW! MEW! MEW!
I chased away the flies and picked the kitten up and headed towards the apartment. My wife and I jumped in the truck and headed towards the vet. They told us not to get our hopes up, that abandoned kittens rarely live long.
And of course we ignored everything the vet said and stocked up on syringes and kitten formula.
FOR TWO WEEKS, we got up every two hours to feed the kitten. My wife swears she got up half the time at night to feed the kitten, but my recollection is she got up to push me out of the bed to feed the kitten... details.
The kitten graduated from kitten formula to some sort of kitten gruel, she would stand in the bowl - all four legs, to eat the gruel. Not too long after that she moved on to hard food.
That is how we came to have Hobie Beaufort in our home.
As Hobie got older, her name got longer. During the Million Man March, Hobie added a Muslim name to become Hobie Bobozz Beaufort. This continued until her named ended up as...
Hobie Bobozz Muhammad Baggins Wendigo Beaufort
She even had a theme song that was sung to the tune "Tubthumping" By Chumbawamba. Here is an excerpt...
Hobie was decently well-traveled for a cat. She rode with me to the depths of Virginia when I was on a lotto ticket run. She would poke her head under my left arm and watch the traffic go by. Passing kids always went ballistic when they saw Hobie staring at them. She also went all the way to Ocean Isle, NC for a little beach visit. While in the beach house, she would sit at the top of the stairs and peer down at all of us mortals.
Hobie also had her share of health concerns. She had a heart attack one morning and she was saved by Dr. Herman of Shallowford Animal Hospital in Lewisville, NC. Dr. Radford of Winston Salem, NC also kept Hobie healthy with her holistic health care regimens. They together gave us five more years of Hobiness filled with Bobozzitude.
After Hobie's heart attack, we were always on the lookout for abnormal behavior to alert us as to when to whisk her to the vet. One early, early morning, Hobie fell out of bed and seemed a bit dazed. So we rushed her around to FOUR VETS until we found one that was open. So if we did that just when Hobie was coming out of a bad dream, you can imagine all the trips to the vet Hobie suffered through.
Yesterday was a different story. Hobie was in distress and couldn't walk. We rushed her to Dr. Herman's office and she said it looked like she threw a clot and we need to rush her to the emergency vet a few miles away. Her conditioned worsened, her lungs were filling with fluid and her heavy breathing had a sloshy gurgling sound. The news from the emergency vet was not any better. The vet concluded that it was indeed a clot and Hobie was in deep distress - on oxygen as she was slowly drowning in her own fluids.
Hobie was put to sleep minutes later.
I have decided to retire the Hobie Beaufort character from Dobson - it is just too painful to put her in another strip. Her memorial strip will be her last.