Tashi Lama

This is my most recent piece, still warm from the kiln!

I feel so much love and gratitude in my heart for the tender care that my vet and his staff give to my cats that I just had to make this piece for them, as a surprise! It’s really a gift to myself, mostly because making it for them and thinking about how surprised they will be gives me great joy. It gives me joy to think that every time I go to their office from now on and see it I will think of my beloved cat Tashi, who is my model and inspiration for these little “fat cats”. It will be a precious reminder to me of the kindness that they have given to me and my cats over the years, and how the most simple acts have a profound effect.

My cat Tashi is about 10 years old, and until about 8 months ago she was pretty round and robust (at her biggest, 12.8 lbs). But over the last 8 months she’s started to lose weight, alarmingly so. For the last 3 months I’ve been taking her in to see the vet and they’ve done tests, but aren’t really sure yet what’s going on. In the meantime, some days are good days and some days are bad days. Tashi will eat and seem like she’s doing really well, and then all of a sudden she changes, and she’ll turn up her nose at anything I try to give her. She goes to her bowl and peers up at me with a sad, mournful look like she’s starving, cries pleadingly as if to say“ I’m hungry, my tummy hurts!” Other times, she sounds downright mad and I swear her yowl means “FEED ME, NOW!” But sometimes, no matter what her cry or yowl is, she doesn’t eat, doesn’t touch one stitch of food. These moments are torture for me – I want to help her and I don’t know how. My heart aches for her and for me and for all the hunger and yearning on the entire face of the planet. It touches such a primal longing in me to nourish and feed and heal, and to be nourished and fed and healed.

I’m at my most vulnerable when I don’t know what to do, when there’s no easy fix or something I can do right away to ease my anxiety. As much as I wish I could say that I don’t worry – I do! So when I walk into my vet’s office, I am often raw with vulnerability and emotion – love for my cat and desire that all my worries will magically melt away. I’m ashamed that I’m thinking about how much it will cost and if I can afford to take care of my cat’s most basic health needs. And at times I feel guilty – Did I miss something?…..Did I wait too long to take her to the vet?……Do I not play with her enough?…..Am I gone too much?

When I go into their office, the kindness, laughter, warmth and tenderness that come from Dr. Yoon and his staff washes over me. I feel as if I am in the right place, at the right time, with the right intentions and, for awhile, my fears are calmed. No matter what the outcome, I have done the right thing by bringing her here. And as they make efforts to ease my cat’s pain and suffering, they are also easing my pain and suffering. They bring me hope, they bring light into my dark, they hold the cup for my tears, they are soft and gentle with my cats and they are a loving presence in our community.

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