We who love animals, who live with animals, work with animals, have a fair part of our lives centered around animals, should know, being aware of their shorter lives, that time is precious and we need to make the most of the time we have with those we care about. But we don’t.
So when someone in your circle, a peer, possibly with some of the same interests and accomplishments, possibly near our own age, similar enough to our own lives, who you didn’t even realize was ill with a life-threatening condition, suddenly dies, it’s a shock and it’s something we need to take to heart.
Lorie Huston, DVM was a practicing veterinarian and also a Certified Veterinary Journalist who wrote about animals, animal care and animals in society and her experiences as a veterinarian. Last fall she was installed as president of the Cat Writers’ Association and I had the opportunity to actually meet her, but before that I was already familiar with reading her weekly column on PetMD as well as her posts on her own sites, Pet Health Care Gazette and Social Media Savvy Pets. As I noticed increased communications from the Catalyst Council I found she was the one responsible for that in advising and helping them build an online presence. I encountered her articles in many other places as well. She wrote about veterinary practice in general and also about all animals, but cats seemed to be her specialty, and she lived with six rescues.
I used many of those articles as references for my own articles and blog posts, and because I like to include quotes from figures of authority in my articles to back up the content, or when I needed something specific about cats fairly quickly that I could use or pass on to someone I was advising, Lorie was always informative and clear, and more than happy to provide information and answer question after question for clarity.
It’s very hard to believe that light has gone out. She lived and practiced in Rhode Island but was in her home state of Nebraska when she collapsed from liver disease, which none of us even knew she suffered from. Liver disease is painful and debilitating and yet she carried on all her goals. When I met her last year I found a quiet and gentle person with a smile, someone I’d gladly follow.
And I remembered that gentle person earlier this year when she posted an article about an experience she had just had in the veterinary clinic, with a woman who brought in her dog for euthanasia but became upset when the dog was sedated. Lorie herself was upset, and the conversation has continued over months as others have found it. I had commented so I see all new comments as well, and Lorie answered each one, some of them quite long and detailed. That’s who she was.
You can read more about Lorie on her own website and on the Cat Writers’ Association website. Lorie left behind six rescued cats, some with special needs, Lilly, Midge, Rusty, Dillon, Rhette and Merlin. All six cats were adopted by her after being injured, sick and/or abandoned at the clinic, and they all need new homes. The following descriptions are ones she wrote herself for her author profile on PetMD:
- Lilly is Lorie’s female tripod. Lilly lost a leg, part of her tail, and several toes after being mauled by a dog when she was a kitten. Faced with the decision to euthanize this badly injured eight-week old homeless kitten, Lorie decided to perform the necessary surgery and give her a chance at life. She has lived with Lorie since that time and is currently happy, healthy, and not at all bothered by the fact that she has only three legs.
- Midge was part of an abandoned litter of kittens that was hand-reared by an employee of the hospital. After the purchase of a new house, Lorie decided she had room for at least one more cat and Midge became part of her family.
- Rusty was a sick cat that was presented to the hospital by a local animal control officer. Rusty joined Lorie’s family after his recovery.
- Dillon was abandoned at the hospital — left on the doorstep in a cardboard box from which he had escaped. When he was finally located days later, it was love at first sight and Dillon now shares Lorie’s home.
- Rhette also was abandoned, left in a carrier in the parking lot of the hospital. After being examined and found to be healthy, he joined Lorie’s growing family as well.
- Merlin is the latest addition to the family. He was living as a stray cat near the hospital but not faring very well on his own. He obviously needed some help and Lorie was happy to oblige.
I’d love to help her cats find new homes as I help to find local cats home each week here. And when you read about them you’ll see they are much like the cats I share here each week. You can read more about them and see photos here, and if you are interested in helping contact Dusty Rainbolt, who is the Vice President of the Cat Writers’ Association and organizing the rehoming of Lorie’s cats, and also doing her best to pick up a lot of the pieces.
So love all your cats, and your dogs, and all your animal companions, and don’t forget to love the people in your life. You just never know. But sad though it was for us, I can imagine the celebration of animals who greeted Lorie at the rainbow bridge.
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