By: Bluetiger Lozano
Timmy ‘was’ a cat I first found out about and ‘met’ on Facebook over a year ago from reading his moving story and following his journey on his page. Timmy was a survivor, but those who survive, I believe, do so for a very meaningful reason, so that others can benefit from their journey and story. Timmy’s tragic experience became a catalyst for him to be a wonderful inspiration and “spokeskitty” for countless cats and dogs everywhere, who suffer at the expense of toxic and harmful products, created by greedy companies who clearly do not have the best interest of the animals they create those products for in mind. You see, Timmy suffered neurological damage from over-the-counter flea and tick products; but unlike so many affected by those poisonous products, Timmy survived. I have seen videos of other cats who suffered horribly from some flea and tick product administered to them by otherwise unwary caretakers who did not realize just how toxic and damaging those products can be, and often those poor cats did not survive. Timmy survived, and for a reason. I must also point out at this point that although Timmy has passed on to the Rainbow Bridge, he continues to be a “spokeskitty” for others from beyond the veil, continuing to inspire countless people worldwide with his story and journey of survival as well as advocacy for something too many people take for granted, the suffering of animals.
This is where I enter the story and how he inspired me. Being a person who has taken care of stray cats for many years and colonies of stray (and feral cats) for at least 11 years, once I found out about Timmy and read his story and journey, I was inspired as I often am by those who have been through tremendous adversities and not only survived but also how their story inspires and encourages others, giving them hope. This is often true for humans but certainly not relegated only to the human experience.
Timmy developed an aggressive form of LGL Lymphoma, which I am unsure if it was related to the damage the toxic flea products he was given originally before he was rescued, but most likely, his neurological condition did not make it any easier for him to have gotten the lymphoma. His loving caretaker, Claudia (his ‘Sherpa’) took the most wonderful, loving care of Timmy, even in the somewhat brief time she was able to care for him after he was rescued, this too was a great inspiration for me, being that I have been a rather unsuccessful rescuer (occasionally) in the past and therefore somewhat discouraged by my own experience.
When I found out that Timmy passed away on February 9th, 2016, I was very saddened because his story touched my heart and his journey inspired me. I was asked among many people worldwide, if we would be interested in taking a small portion of his ashes and spreading them somewhere meaningful to us in our own life. I took on the ‘challenge’ as I felt the connection to his spirit and life and decided to find a place that meant something to me. At first it was difficult because I have no car and my brother used it for work daily and I really wanted to originally take his ‘stone’ (in place of a vial of his ashes) and place them somewhere in the San Bernardino mountains, near the creek in the town of Forest Falls where we often go as a ‘retreat’ from the noise and turbulence of our life in the past few years in the inner city. As I was unable to do this on the day we were asked to spread the ashed in April, I decided to instead find a place locally that was easier to reach that still had meaning for me and I place came to my mind, a place that I do hold as sacred and special. I decided to leave the stone in the garden of the local Hindu temple- Shri Lakshmi Narayan Mandir, in Riverside, where I have often gone in the past 13 years, sometimes for cultural events, sometimes just for peace but also at one point to study Sanskrit at a class offered there. I have gone there in the past to sit inside the small shrine dedicated to Shiva, when a dear beloved animal companion passed away, just for some peace and consolation. There is a large ‘peepal’ tree, also known as a “Bodhi Tree” (“ficus religiosa”) that is sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus. In the Hindu tradition the tree is considered sacred to Shiva (as well as Brahma and Vishnu, that make up the Hindu ‘trinity’). I decided to visit the mandir/ temple which I have not visited in many years and ask the priest to leave ‘offerings’ at the tree, as is often done in India. So my brother and I bought fruit and I found some flowers from a nearby bush growing and picked some to leave as offerings. I brought the fruit to the priest as offerings inside the temple, but took the flowers and left them along with the Timmy Stone, at the foot of the Bodhi Tree (where it is believed, traditionally that the Buddha sat and meditated and reached ‘enlightenment’). I left the stone there, said a prayer of thanksgiving for Timmy, placed flowers around his stone and went inside the Shiva mandir (a small shrine to Shiva inside the larger mandir) to sit and contemplate the image of Shiva and Parvati and other images around, thinking of Timmy and just feeling peace that I rarely feel in my life these days.
As I saw the images of Shiva and the other sacred deities inside the mandir, I felt a great sense of ‘relief’, consolation and even ‘liberation’ for Timmy’s spirit and felt that his stone, which represented his ashes and him, was in a “good place”, in a sacred and holy place where he is at peace and truly blissful. That was my hope and prayer for Timmy and for all the animals I have encountered, both those I could not help or save and those that I rescued and bonded with me over the years who have taken a piece of my heart with them as they left me from their earthly life’s journey (like the 7 cats who passed away last year, many of whom we have known for many years… Jiro, Dink, Igor, Rosie, Frieda, Scratchy and Freeway).
Timmy inspired me once again by helping me become part of his journey in small gesture of leaving one of his many stones placed in a special place, making his spirit continue on his journey to be with us everywhere and part of everyone’s life, including mine in some small way.
Namaste and ‘Nomasday’, dear Timmy.