Forever My Queen Sparkles: Animal True Tales Article Series
By Dr. Joyce at The Caring Heart from Spokane Washington

“He hath made everything beautiful in His time.” (Eccl. 3:11}

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One September day in 2001, my son, Jon, and I walked out of the horse tack repair shop where we had taken some bridles for fixing. The lot was dirt and dusty.  There were a few people standing not far away.  A car was ready to back out and pull away.  All of a sudden I noticed a tiny, moving figure underneath that car.  STOP! I yelled.  The man stopped.  I reached down and tenderly grasped the little thing, which turned out to be a very young black and white kitten.  I asked around the lot, “Is this anybody’s kitten?”  Heads shook “No.” 

So, what else could I do?  We got in our truck with the kitten. She had a very snotty face.  Luckily, I had enough cash in my purse, so we headed right for our vet’s office.  We picked up a  tiny kitty feeding bottle and milk replacer on the way.  Well, the vet said she was probably about two weeks old and had a whopping upper respiratory infection.  The vet tech. cleaned her up and we came home with the appropriate antibiotic. 

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A few days later, I was laying on my couch trying to get young Sparkles to cuddle up on my bod, which she refused to settle down to do.  I named her “Sparkles,” because I wanted her so much to “sparkle” and be beautiful and active in her life (which she eventually became).  I had a crate close by that day, and her tiny bottle, and etc.  The TV was on and all of a sudden I was watching planes crashing into the twin towers in New York.  I watched the whole, incredibly devastating, destructive terrorist attack happen while baby Sparkles was there with me. 

Well, Sparkles got over her infection and started to thrive.  She got very active, as healthy kitties do, and made some unfortunate trips up and down my venetian blinds, which did some permanent denting. In her younger days, she was “into” tree climbing, batting any pencils and pens off of counters to watch them hit the floor, and “play-fighting” with me on the upstairs rug through the banister railing.  She had her cat “oddities.”  She would never allow herself to be caught while on the floor or ground, and would run.  All of a sudden she would whip around and bite my wrist or foot if I was barefoot.  (I read that 20% of cats do that mysterious biting behavior, reason unknown.)  Sparkles had me well-trained.  She loved her treats and would “bug” me several times in the morning and maybe at noon or night.  That gorgeous white paw would reach out and would keep brushing my arm until I gave her more.  Even if she hadn’t finished her last helping, she wanted more! 

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Well, the years came and went.  Sparkles, or “Parkles,” or just plain “Parks,” as I nicknamed her, became a very beautiful, gracious tuxedo cat, with sparkling white paws and the cutest butt end.  A half-dozen or so of other cats came and went, but Sparkles seemed to “reign supreme,” so I considered here the Queen of Cats around here.  She got along well with the three dogs, was very at home with them, and they with her.  Although she would not cuddle up to me as a kitten, she eventually would come and sit on my lap and sleep when I was working at my computer, or relaxing in a chair reading.  Then, too, she would creep over the stuff on my nightstand and cuddle up in bed with me.  Marvelous!  Driving back in our driveway after being gone somewhere was always a heart-warming experience, because there would be Sparkles, sitting up erect, with her white paws perfectly lined up in front of her, welcoming her family back home. 

What seems most special about Sparkles was her wisdom concerning the decisions she made about how to live her life to keep herself very safe.  Other cats would roam off our property, and disappear, never to be seen again, which would be heartbreaking.  One very dear cat received a serious internal injury and had to be euthanized, probably caused by impact with a horse’s hoof, although we will never really know what caused it.  Sparkles always kept to the top fence rails around the horses, well out of harm’s way.  She would give me her signal to hop on my back, and would ride up there all the way back to the house, which I really loved.  Sparkles stayed around fairly close and never got herself in a bad position.  Especially in her later years, although she could go into and out of the house as she wanted, she was always in the house at night.  Daytime or evening, she would come to the family room sliding door for me to let her in. 

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MY POINT IS THAT WE CAN ALL LEARN A LOT FROM ANIMALS LIKE SPARKLES.  Those humans who believe animals are “dirty” are so wrong and so unappreciative of the animals’ abilities to keep themselves clean, if they possibly can, and to take good care of themselves if their environment allows them to do that.  A sizable proportion of humans do not seem to do very well in those areas!  Sparkles was always, unfailingly, incredibly clean, even her white paws, whether it was dusty or muddy outdoors.  I don’t know how she managed that!!

After recovering from her initial respiratory infection, Sparkles remained very healthy for years.  Even when belonging in the elderly cat category, she looked like a cat in her prime.  But, one morning when I went out to feed the horses, I noticed her left eye was abnormal.  I called the veterinarian’s office right away, and took her in as soon as I could get an appointment, that afternoon.  Well, the diagnosis and prognosis were dismal.  Her blood pressure was too high for the vet to even get a reading.  The high BP had detached the retina in that left eye.  The vet stated the internal pressure in that eye was so high and so painful it was driving her crazy.  He said she was an old cat and it probably was just “her time to go,” as other organs were no doubt failing.  So I held her close and prayed as the shots went in.  I had a memorial service for her, reading the 23rd Psalm and praying the Lord’s Prayer.  I hung four framed pictures of Sparkles to the left of my back door.  Every morning I tell her I love her and miss her so much.  She lived 15 years.  My Queen Sparkles passed away February 8, 2016, and will be waiting for me in Heaven. 

Sparkles was special also because she was the last of the “old bunch.”  We had former horses, other dogs, other cats, a herd of goats, a couple of ducks, four geese, two sheep, turkeys, and various chickens, who are no longer with us.  Time moves on and things change.  They always will change, and loss will always be a part of life, until we all get to Heaven.  Until then, all remain dear and all are sorely missed.  I hadn’t been aware of how much of a “foundation” Sparkles had been for me, on this three-acre hobby farm.  She was like a steady, on-going “core presence” for so many years. 

Sparkles will always be “with” me, because, even though I didn’t realize it, she had become part of me - an integral and permanent part of my existence on planet earth.  I feel a spiritual connection to her and know her message to me is for me to keep trying to be the best Caring Heart I can be and to appreciate and take good care of all that are around me now.  I was city-raised, knew nothing about animals, and learned heaps from all the animals we have had here.  Although I was always “trying hard,” I know I made mistakes which caused some of them problems and pain. I’ve asked God’s forgiveness for any harm I’ve ever done to any animal, and I’ve asked to tell them personally how sorry I am that they suffered at all because of some decision of mine.  In Heaven, I will tell them, for sure!!  ---And then I will keep taking loving care of them for eternity, with My Queen Sparkles on my shoulder!!

“All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small.  All things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.”   Cecil Frances Alexander

COPYRIGHT 2016 Dr. Joyce The Caring Heart

Go on to: The Tragic Tale of Gertrude, Olouse, and the Kids
Return to: Animal True Tales Article Series