I found For The Love Of Alex when I had pretty much lost all hope. Actually, I had found hope, only to watch it slip from my grasp moments later when I realized that, that hope was unaffordable.
In April of 2014 I was blessed with saving the life of a tiny and helpless abandoned kitten, who I bottle fed and hand raised- though I really had no idea what I was doing at the time. Actually he saved my life, as he came at a time when I really needed him the most so, you could say, we saved each other. Him and I muddled through the first few months of his life together, figuring it out one step at a time. It was a really rough start and more often than not, I thought he wasn't going to make it. But 5 months passed and he was thriving, growing, and getting stronger by the day. Then the depression hit. He just stopped dead in his tracks- he lost the will to go on. I reasoned that the best thing for him would be to get him a friend, since he had been alone his whole life, with only me- an inadequate replacement for a playmate. So in December of the same year I rescued Zoey, my little tuxedo. And, if Zico and I had been saving each other's lives that whole time- Zoey came along and saved us both. She brought so much light and life into our home. She was our missing piece. She brought Zico out of his shell, they bonded immediately, and the rest was history. But I knew early on that Zoey had some health issues- she was small for her age and even the first several days I had her she was struggling to use the litter box. At 1 years old she was diagnosed with idiopathic megacolon. The first several years of her life, this disease didn't cause us too many issues. It was manageable with diet, exercise, increased water intake, and mild laxatives. But as she's gotten older, the disease has progressed and so has her suffering. This last year, in particular, her condition really took a turn for the worse. She got to the point where she was only using the litter box about once a week, even while on multiple laxatives and probiotics, and she was in so much pain every time she went. It would take several hours for her to just pass a few hard "rocks", and during that time she would walk around the house and cry in pain, looking at me, begging me to help her, but there was very little I could do other than to comfort her through it, or in the worst case scenarios take her in for enemas- which were only a temporary fix. So in my desperation, I went on an exhaustive search to see if there was any other solution for kitties with megacolon.
Thankfully, after days of digging through veterinary medical journals and making phone calls to local and non local veterinarians, I found out there was hope, in the form of a prescription diet. I was surprised I had never heard of it before, and that no one had mentioned it to me previously, but was so grateful and relieved when I found it. It sounded promising, the scientific research behind it was sound, and the reviews from other owners were reassuring. After discussing it with my veterinarian, we decided it would be the next best step for her, given how she was responding to her current medications and treatment. But it was expensive. And I already had a kitty on a prescription diet. Several years earlier, Zico had suffered a urinary blockage and had to be rushed to the emergency vet. He’s thriving these days, and is a healthy happy guy, but a large part of that is because I continue to feed him his prescription diet regularly and I wasn’t about to sacrifice one cat for the other. I had to find a way to make it work for both of them. However, I am disabled and living on a fixed income. Having two kitties on expensive prescription diets… honestly I had no idea how I was going to pull this off. That being said, I would move mountains for my cats. I wasn’t about to give up so easily.
I managed to scrounge together enough money to buy her first bag of food and start her on it. And it worked wonders for her! The difference in just a few days of having her on the food… It was like a miracle in a bag. So, I started another exhaustive search- this time for financial help. Even if just a little. But I hit dead ends everywhere I turned. I quickly discovered that most of the help out there wasn’t really meant for people in my situation. And I could certainly understand that. There were a lot of animals that were in much more dire need of help than us and, especially these days, funds are limited and money everywhere is tight. By pure chance, or maybe by grace, I stumbled upon FTLOA. I read Alex’s story… and it reminded me so much of what Zico had gone through. I was touched by the story of the founder and how these people carried on her legacy. I felt a sense of hope while I read through the stories of the animals they’ve helped.
So, on a wing and a prayer I filled out the application, not really expecting anything, knowing that our case wasn’t exactly the typical kind. The next morning I woke up to an email from them. When I first saw it, my initial thought was that they were emailing to tell me they couldn’t help me, so I prepared myself for that- But wouldn’t you know, the amazing people at this organization didn’t reject me. They listened to my story. They heard me. They actually cared about us, and they cared about Zoey. When there were dead ends everywhere else, this organization opened their arms and graciously took us in. In the end, they were able to provide 6 months of food for my Zoey, and in turn help me keep providing food for Zico as well. But this goes beyond just helping me keep my cats on prescription diets. Zico and Zoey are my emotional support animals, and they’re my family. The kindness that FTLOA extended to us has such a huge impact on our lives. Not only does it ease so much financial stress, but they gave me hope back. Hope for Zoey’s long term health, and hope that her, and Zico, and I can stay together and live a long, happy, and fulfilling life together. Idiopathic megacolon is a progressive disease that only gets worse with age. But this food so far has been working wonders for her. It can save her health, and quite possibly her life in the long run. I couldn’t have done it without the generosity and kindness of the amazing people at FTLOA. For taking us in, and saying "yes", when there were no other avenues that I could find, for their kindness and generosity, and above all for giving us hope to keep moving forward. Words can’t begin to express how grateful I am to this organization.
Miracles and blessings come in all shapes and sizes. Some are big and incredible, like saving the life of a pet at the last second who’s on the brink of death. Others might come in the form of providing 6 months of food for a constipated kitty on the other side of the country- but no less miraculous. Thank you so much, FTLOA for being our miracle.