Believe it or not, the metal community and cat fanciers have a lot of overlapping members. For her new book, Metal Cats, musician, jewelry designer, and photographer Alexandra Crockett enlisted some dark-looking dudes and their kitties for a series of awesome, often adorable portraits. The people involved are musicians including (and fans and promoters associated with) Isis, Xasthur, Morbid Angel, Napalm Death, and Black Goat, among many others.
A Dog’s Purpose According To A 6 Year Old
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.
The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.”
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life – like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?”
The six-year-old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”
To pet owners that have to put your baby down; stay there with them! As much as it’ll hurt you to see them go, it’ll give them a sense of comfort, and perhaps you a sense of closure. I worked at a clinic, not as a vet, but as an assistant. Sometimes, I had to hold them as the final shot was given, and it would kill me a little every time I saw owners walk out of the room, while their baby lay there on the table looking for its parents, confused, and in some cases freaking out.
A few owners stayed and actually held them as it happened, those pets remained the calmest and looked the most peaceful. As the voice of their master whispered “it’s going to be ok” into their ears and they got scratched in their favorite spot, they mustered the energy to give that final purr, or that last lick to the face. Their glistening eyes, still full of life, telling their sobbing parents everything they wanted to say, everything you needed to hear, without a single bark or meow – even if your little guy was one of those that loved to wake the family up at 4 in the morning.
Cat lovers, brace yourselves. The Animal Rescue League of Berks County’s is running a beautiful “Book Buddies” program, that has kids grade 1 to 8 come into the shelter to read to the cats, with organizers saying that it serves a dual purpose of soothing the cats and upping the kids’ reading levels. The program reportedly got its start after a staffer had her son practice his reading skills while spending time at the shelter. Staff members took note and like it so much that it became a regular volunteer program. Since the project was launched in August 2013, many children (including home-schooled and autistic) who participated in Book Buddies have shown significant improvements in their reading. The Berks County ARL accepts donations through their site.They are also on Facebook, Twitter,YouTube and Pinterest.