Stanley Poopenstein Dicou
Stannie first came into our lives as a 3-month old paraplegic kitten. The family who brought him in to my veterinary clinic had no idea what had happened. He was fine when they had let him outside, but when they went to let him back in he was dragging his hind legs behind him. Nothing abnormal was seen on the radiographs. There was a chance he would recover via the magic of prednisone and time.
Or...it could be permanent.
The family was pretty much overwhelmed by the whole thing and asked to have him euthanized. About this time my (then 18-year-old) daughter Natalie showed up. She instantly fell in love with the little handicapped kitten with the white moustache and green bug-eyes. The family ok'd the adoption and he was ours. Or rather Nat's.
At home, we introduced him to our dogs Maggie and Frank. He, at first, would hiss and lunge at them swatting with his front paws, and at the same time, dragging his back legs. He was really quite pathetic, but it gave us a hint of his attitude towards life. In short, he wasn't going to take anybody's guff.
It only took a few days for his legs to return to normal. The only real deficit he showed over the rest of his life was rather than land softly on the ground like most cats dropped from waist-high, he landed with a hard thud.
Stannie soon grew to be Nat's best friend, little buddy, and constant companion.
When Nat was a student living in Provo he wandered away one night. Nat searched for him thru the night and called us early the next morning with the distressing news. She printed up and distributed about 1700 flyers (no exaggeration). We had a couple of false alarm responses from people who thought they had him, but no. It wasn't him. We even brought Frank to Provo to serve as a sort of bloodhound to try and sniff out Stan. But Frank didn't understand his duty. We, also, hoped that maybe Stan would recognize Frank and come to us. (By this time, Stan no longer hissed and lunged at Frank. In fact, he found him quite tolerable).
As children of the 70's and fans of "Dragnet", as well as other cop shows, Mike and I were well-acquainted with stake-outs. We walked the neighborhoods going door-to-door talking to people (also, a "Dragnet" tactic) we were told about dumpsters where lots of cats would congregate at night. That's when we came up with the idea of a stake-out. We brought cans of cat food---the smellier the better---and lined them up in a trail leading to what seemed to be the most popular dumpster. Mike and I sat in our old red Jeep Wrangler. Waiting. Now that I think of it, we should have brought donuts.
We watched over a span of about three hours as several cats came to sample our wares. But none of them were Stan. The sun was setting and it was getting cold. Our scheme didn't seem to be working. We started up the Jeep and began to pull out of the parking lot. Our headlights shone on a set of green bug-eyes. They were staring right back at us. Could it be?
I immediately flew out of the passenger side of the Jeep and ran (right in front of oncoming traffic) towards him. Of course, he saw this crazed woman running at him and...took off running himself. Nat says to this day she didn't know this old gal could move that fast, but I wasn't going to lose him now.
He ran around the corner with me in hot pursuit. Nat came running also. I can still hear her calling, wanting to believe, "Is it him?" He was hiding under a car and I called to him softly. He walked up to me and I snatched him up and would not let go of him until we had him safely in the squad car, I mean Jeep. (I think if I had handcuffs it would have been just perfect).
Stan has been by Nat's side for the last ten years. Others came and went. But Stan was always there for her. Waiting to snuggle. He showed that attitude sometimes though. When he was done snuggling, that was it. He'd hiss in your face and walk away.
When Nat would come in her apartment door from work she'd call, "Stannie, I'm home!" and he would come to greet her, ready to be scooped into her arms to hear how her day was.
Stan was a very important part of our family. We will love him and remember him forever.