Sometimes all you need is a near death experience to think a little clearer

  • Posted: May 24, 2013 
  • by Karen Ragusa   -  
  • Comments Off on Sometimes all you need is a near death experience to think a little clearer

So Friday, May 17th started out as a pretty normal day… until I thought I was dying.

As usual, too many pups reside here, and of those add on some 7 week old Lab mix babies that don’t need to grow up with us.

Jenna and I were just finishing cleaning the puppy area and moving furbabies around so we could go to the local Mexican Cantina and peddle puppies on their patio during the lunch crowd. As I was wiping down the last wall of the puppy room, I began feeling a heat wave that rose into my head. I became nauseous and a serious pain radiated my jaw. All the while, in my chest came a pressure that rose to the proverbial “elephant standing on my chest”. I ran the best I was able to the front of the property where Jenna was waiting for me in the car with the pets. I really thought that I might not make it. I collapsed in the seat and said that I thought I was having a heart attack and instructed her to get me to the hospital.

As we departed, I was telling Jenna that I had left the back door wide open and all of the house dogs were running freely from two back yards into my apartment. Jenna had the presence of mind to ask about our dear Greta who has been having grand mal seizures with regularity as of late. When I recalled that I had not yet put her in her crate, we turned the car around and went back to the house to get her put away safely. By this point my pain had lessened, so we both went to work crating everyone and playing what we fondly call “musical dogs” to prepare for my indefinite length of absence… and a good thing we did!

Instead of going to the tiny hospital near my home, Jenna took me to Northeast Medical Center in Gainesville after several people recommended that this hospital should be our destination. When we rode up to the emergency center, we noticed that it was their “chest pain” center as well. I was indeed in the right place. If I was going to spend $500 for an overnight stay, I would normally have chosen the Ritz Carlton or the Copley in Boston 🙂 But, I just can’t say enough praise about the intensive care that I was given and the friendly compassion I was treated to by the entire hospital staff. Being in this place with my own mortality grinning back at me made me realize two huge things.

  1. The first thing that flashed before my mind was the simply glorious morning that I had spent that day with the love of my life, Darryl. I was so incredibly grateful for the time we had spent together just few short hours before.
  2. The second thought to immediately follow was that, if it was my time “to go”, I was reminded of the gripping reality that I was in charge of over 50 lives that potentially might no longer have a future if I were to check out.

I immediately told Jenna that the small $50,000 life insurance policy that I have must go to placing the animals that are in the care of our organization. She assured me that she would champion any effort that was needed, if in fact I didn’t make it through; but she was quick to reassure me that she was certain i would be OK.

It was real. All of it. I am happy to report that I am here, still alive to talk about it.

What has remained true, throughout this entire experience, is the critical and urgent need to move them into their permanent “fur-ever” homes. I am bathed in gratitude for being privileged to “parent” these dear souls for the time I have shared with them. I sit here perplexed at the fact that they are all so special and sweet in their own unique way, yet they have not found their adoptive families yet. Every single person who meets each one of them says how it can’t be hard to place them… Unfortunately, it can be.

Still, here I sit with many who have passed their one year anniversary mark with Caring 4 Creatures. 

You know it’s coming, here is our desperate call to action from you. We need committed volunteers, fosters, and adopters.

Look for our follow up post for additional pet bios and information. But for now, take a look at all of our pets who are ready to call your home theirs!

Written by Karen Ragusa

Karen has gracefully run this organization and watched it grow since 2008. She's seen it all over the years and loves to write about her adventures!

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