Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Artful Dodger

Photo appears courtesy of the NC Zoo
With a heavy heart, I bid fond farewell to The North Carolina Zoo's Cougar, Dodger. This beautiful man lived fourteen years, but alas a severe degenerative joint disease got the better of him, and once treatments were no longer working, he had to be euthanized yesterday. I will never forget the day I first laid eyes on him. He came to the NC Zoo as a rescue with a somewhat sketchy past. He was found by firemen in an abandoned Detroit building. Eventually, confiscated by the Michigan Humane Society, Dodger came to the NC Zoo at three months of age. And let me tell you, he was so freaking cute, and seriously into everything. The king of mischief, this boy. I used to tell him about Max and the Wild Things, my favorite childhood story, and regularly threaten to send him to bed without his supper, though he knew my threats were empty, and he had all of us wrapped around his already sizable claws from the word go. Several of us were given the fantastic opportunity to assist in caring for this exuberant cub. We fed and entertained Dodger while he was in the zoo's quarantine facility. It was a full-time job and a bit more work than the veterinary technicians who usually care for the area could handle alone. So, several of us were able to sign up for shifts. I loved my hours spent with Dodger as a young man. We wrestled, and he chewed my boots, and every now and then, if I was really lucky, he would curl up in my lap and let me cuddle him, which if I remember correctly we were kind of asked not to do, but who could resist? Generally, the snuggle time didn't last for long, anyway. There was so much to play with, so little time. Dodger grew into a fine and fabulous cat. Here are a couple old photos of him I found in my stash. To all of you who loved The Artful Dodger, my deepest condolences.

Photo Appears Courtesy Amanda Corlies Sandos

Photo Appears Courtesy of Amanda Corlies Sandos