Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hope For Paws

After watching a few posts on Facebook, I became obsessed with the Hope For Paws organization. The videos I watched destroyed my faith in humanity, then rebuilt it. As I "ugly cried" my way through video after video, I couldn't believe the suffering of the animals in the videos at the hands of humans. Suffering in the way of neglect, abuse, abandonment and broken spirits. People never cease to disgust me. If you don't intend on taking care of an animal, why have one? If you are no longer able to care for an animal, you don't abandon it on the street! You find a place for the animal, whether it be with a friend, family member or at the very least a shelter. You don't just open the gate and LEAVE IT to the cruel world outside. If you have an animal just to abuse it, YOU don't deserve to LIVE. People who abuse or mistreat animals MAKE ME SICK.

Thank you, Hope for Paws, for restoring some faith in Humanity.

It's Not Always About Me; This time its about the animals we call our buds. Our Pals. Our Friends. I urge you to take a look at the following links. (Or search Eldad Hagar on YouTube) I implore you to donate if you can. (Every little bit makes a difference, even $5. Hope for Paws donations ARE a tax deduction.) I definitely encourage you to report animal abuse or neglect. You'd want someone, ANYONE to help if it was happening to you!! If you turn a blind eye, you're just as guilty as the abuser/neglecter.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

One Last Long Weekend - Rest Easy Roy

As another long weekend has come to pass, the day that ended a 10 year era of my life plays over again in my head. I will never be the same again. I met one Roy Norman Smith about ten years ago in the Spring of 2004. I was still a naive small town girl and thought he was scary. He thought I was a snot. We'd laugh throughout the years at our misconceptions of each other as he became Klaus and my room mate, for what would be the last 10 or so months of his life.

Throughout the past 10 years, I had a lot of laughs and went through a lot of changes with Roy and the H20 crew of Whyte Avenue in Edmonton, AB. We spent many a night having drinks and smokes, getting into some trouble (nothing major) and going through the usual bar family drama. Roy was almost like a father figure as well as a friend. He'd look out for his pals, give advice, or lend you his last $20 if you needed it. He was quick with a joke, a light for your smoke, or a kick in the right direction if you needed a thump. He may've been mad at ya from time to time, but he'd be in line to defend you when it was needed.

Klaus and I watched Roy steadily decline after he moved in with us the end of August 2013. The morning of May 20th this year didn't start out like any other, this should have been the first clue and last red flag. Roy had a routine of an alcoholic, which that day he waivered from. (Usually he'd get up at the crack of noon, hit the bathroom... He'd come down the stairs, head straight for the fridge. He'd come into the living room, beer in hand, crack said beer and light a smoke. He'd then veg in front of the TV until 3:30 - 3:45 then he'd head to the H20 until 7:30 - 8 in the evening, come home and watch TV until 2, 3, 4 in the morning. Then he'd wake up and do it all over again. He'd eat maybe twice a week.) That day, he was headed to the hospital to have his liver drained for the second time since he moved in with us (would have been third time in two years.) So, in true alcoholic style, he'd gotten up at 7:30 and started his routine early, had to drink the beer he'd left in the fridge before heading off. I had errands to run and was in and out of the house through out the day.

About 3 that afternoon, Roy had gotten a call from his ride to the hospital that he was getting cleaned up and would be over shortly to give Roy said lift. About 40 minutes later, Lonnie (the ride) showed up. Roy came to the door and said to give him 5 minutes, he was just going to the washroom. I had gone in a few minutes later to get something from the kitchen and heard a loud thump from the washroom. I thought nothing of it as he'd been up early getting his drink on. After a few minutes of silence (no water running, no toilet flushing, no "OW!", no call for help), I went to get Klaus to go check on Roy. Klaus knocked on the door, no answer. He knocked a second time, louder. Still nothing. Klaus went to open the door but there was something in the way. Turns out the thump I heard, was Roy dropping to the floor behind the door. (Three and a half months later, I still feel unbelievably guilty that I didn't react sooner. I also feel guilt for being mad at him for not taking better care of himself and for the fact that I was so bloody mean to him because I was so mad at him.) Klaus and I sprang into action, he yelled for Lonnie to come help him get Roy out of the bathroom as I bolted up the stairs to get my cell to call 9-1-1.

By the time I got back downstairs, Roy was out on the floor in the living room. I started chest compressions as I was on the phone with the operator. (I had JUST taken First Aid a few months before, Klaus has no formal training, and Lonnie froze.) I had taken Emergency Communications and Reponse (for 9-1-1 Operator) and the training had come back. I started barking orders at Lonnie and Klaus. (Klaus! Get the cats locked in the basement and out of the way! Open the storm door! Lonnie! Go out front and wave down the EMS!) Thankfully, we are close to a fire hall and the First Responders were at our place in less than five minutes - for which I am very thankful. I jumped out of the way as soon as they were over the threshold.

The paramedics and other crews worked on our Buddy Roy for what seemed like hours. They tried everything in their power to bring Roy back. I was half expecting him to get up and say "Just Kidding Guys! GEEZE!" We didn't get that lucky. At 4:26 pm, they pronounced our Pal gone. We all openly wept. Despite our best efforts to get Roy to go in earlier that weekend, we think he wanted one last long weekend. I think he knew he wouldn't have made it out of the hospital this time. The cruel, cruel irony of it all, heading to get help. Ride was there. Dropped dead before he could make it happen. After the coroner came and removed his body, we headed down to the H20 to break the hearts of the regulars who knew and loved Roy as we did. We drowned our tears in many a drink that night remembering Roy...

Two weeks later, after finding out that the official cause of his death was pneumonia, we laid Roy to rest. I put on my brave face as I headed to the Funeral Home. I was ok until I got there and the bag pipes were playing "Amazing Grace" out front. Lost it. The tears flowed, many laughs at the memories we had.

As people grew, the H20 crew drifted and changed. Some moved away, others just passed on. The owners I had partied with sold the H20 earlier this year and with Roy's passing, the H20 era of my life came to a close. It was a solid ten years of memories and I will forever cherish them in my heart as the new chapter in my life began. I know that every one of the people who touched my life within those walls know that I love them.

It's Not Always About Me; Rest Easy Roy Norman Smith (1953-2014), we miss you. "ROY HIT ME!"

PS If anyone reading this (by chance) knows a Curtis (Kurtis) or Stacy (Stacey) Smith last known location of the Vancouver/Lower Mainland area of BC, please get them to get a hold of me via email I still have personal belongings of their Father that I think they should have. If this does find either of them, I respect their wishes if they decide not to contact me. I do think they should know that their father talked of them often and beamed with pride as he did so. I vaguely remember meeting Curtis once years ago. To this day, I don't even know if they know their father is gone. Not once in the time Roy lived with us did he ever mention he'd ever talked to his children. That being said, Roy was in the process of trying to track them down. The last he had heard, his daughter Stacy was pregnant and may have been getting married.