About The Promise

….my article of the same title on http://www.authorsden.com/lucillebellucci: although Renato shrugged, because he could not speak while intubated, to indicate he could not know if he would be able to visit me as I asked. He left me in 1998, and did reach me in September of that year, as I recount in “The Promise”.

I saw him many times beginning in 2007 and each time he strove to give me messages using gestures. He announced his presence with his special whistle. Those visits gradually lessened until they stopped altogether, and he no longer whistles. I have not seen him in several years, seemingly because his connection with earth is becoming attenuated. Having no other, that is my theory. But he is with me in other ways. The dimmer light switch continues to be his conduit, the lights over the dining table continue to change places. Some time ago I unscrewed two of the five bulbs because all five were too bright. Apparently the slight contact remaining is sufficient for him to light the two bulbs.

And the garage door — As I press the button to close it, he will stop it partway several times. The pattern changes each time. I know he is saying Drive carefully, say hello, I love you.

On two occasions in the evening, Mojo my five-month-old kitten stopped in his play and stared into space, then went to hide under the table. He has yet to learn Renato is his friend, but he will come around. Mojo’s big sister Loaner is already on familiar terms with Renato and remains serene.

The comfort of knowing he is near and waits for me is immense.


Confucius Wept

Like many people who received a first online petition and responded by signing, I find myself now signing 10 or 20 per day and glad to do it, because the organizations report on which ones succeed. The outstanding issues of wolves being delisted continue, a situation exacerbated by hunting contests in Idaho of wolves and foxes. I can barely imagine that such a culture still exists in this country, but there it is. We are no longer living in the rough wildernesses of the 17th century. Haven’t they noticed this in Idaho? The comments I add to the petitions run something like this one:

“I am an immigrant from Italy, where every single wild creature has been obliterated.”

Italians get excited at seeing a squirrel when visiting here.

To make it simple, I omit mentioning my origins in China unless I am signing a petition to China’s ambassador to the United States on behalf of elephants, whose bloody teeth are bought as bangles and bracelets by wealthy Chinese. A strong comment I made on one of those petitions had to be deleted by the organization, so I modulated my tone on the next which was nevertheless cogent. I added a title to that one: Confucius Wept.

I read that animal advocacy is on the rise in China, a movement so powerless, so ineffectual in that enormous geographical sphere that I can’t foresee any measurable results for decades. Then I read a petition charging an Asian country with boiling dogs alive for their meat and almost wept with hopelessness.

The feline leukemia vaccination

Mojo had his feline leukemia vaccinations yesterday. The receptionist told me he might be a bit sleepy the next day, a remarkably evasive comment as I was to discover. This morning he was nowhere in sight, and Loaner had to perform the job of waking me up for breakfast. He was not to be seen for some minutes, until I spotted him doing the High Noon Walk that cats do when on their guard. I went to greet him and he answered with moans inside his throat. I picked him up and he objected strenuously, moaning some more.

He wouldn’t eat, and went to hide behind the basement door. Very worried by now, I decided to call the vet as soon as it was 8 a.m. Then I noticed that he moaned whenever I touched his lower abdomen and legs. I guessed, then, that the shots had him reacting. I went to the Internet to research the vaccine and to my horror read, beside the side effects he was experiencing, that sometimes a sarcoma might form at the site of the shot and to watch for lumps and that the shot was given on the leg so that it might be amputated if a sarcoma formed. That is what happened with my Pinky after her rabies shot. The sarcoma recurred again and again until it killed her. The vet told me that this happened once in 20,000 vaccinations.

And Mojo has to have booster shots in two weeks.

The Humane Society of the United States

The HSUS invited me to their celebratory event at the San Francisco SPCA on Saturday, the main topic being Prop 2 that passed in favor of chickens. I went gladly. Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO of the HSUS, proved to be an engaging speaker. His career as animal advocate began at age 23 under Cleveland Amory, who founded Fund for Animals, whose arm Black Beauty runs animal sanctuaries in several states. One of Black Beauty’s proud accomplishments was the rescue of hundreds of burros from the Grand Canyon area.

Pacelle described his plans for the new year to stop abuse of farm animals and to improve their living conditions. He urged us to speak to store managers wherever eggs of battery-caged hens are sold. Releasing calves and pregnant pigs from their tight cages was his constant target. He hopes to start Meatless Mondays among millions of meat eaters. A vegan since the age of 19, fit and slim, he looks convincing for the practice. He took questions; there were comments about the recently lifted ban on serving foie gras in California. They were mild, considering how we all felt about this. I cannot eradicate from my mind a TV video I saw of a goose, its head hanging over a bar on the assembly line, because it was too sick to raise it.

In an adjoining room some rescued chickens pecked peacefully in their roomy enclosure while most of their numbers were being adopted.

As often happens among like-minded people, it was a simple matter to speak to each other without prior introduction. We were all there for the same reasons.

The writer Rosemary Sutcliff

I did not know her writing until I picked up “Blood and Sand” at my hairdresser’s. Angelo’s runs an informal library where patrons circulate their own books. I have sampled a variety of writings I wouldn’t have ordinarily selected at the public library.

Sutcliff is best known for her children’s books but this, her adult novel, impressed me tremendously. Through it I learned of the tribal wars in 1805 Egypt, that the Viceroy in Cairo was Albanian, that Albanian adventurers and mercenaries flocked to Egypt and mixed it up with the Ottoman Empire, Bedouins, Saudi Arabians, and all faced off with the Wahabis, precursors of the ISIS militants plaguing the Mideast today. Thomas Keith, a Scotsman who converted to Islam, rose in the ranks to become governor of Medina, the second most holy site after Mecca.

The scenarios of desert conflict are worthy, it seems to me, of high praise, with their stretches of stunning heat and dependence on the precious annual rainfall. Parched is an inadequate word for the land.

I have one reservation, that of the descriptions of the thousands of camels and horses used in the back-and-forth surges of the armies. I cannot begin to imagine how they were being fed and watered. There is frequent mention of the men’s reliance on the turgid quality of water in their bottles, but what of the animals? How in the world did they get watered and fed, as well? How to grow or transport their fodder? Presuming these campaigns are all factual — and they must be, because recorded history has them so — how were the animals sustained?

Still, I look forward to finding and reading Sutcliffe’s other novels.