🙏A FINAL MILITARY SALUTE
A World War II Veteran, who served in China behind enemy lines & trained Chinese guerilla fighters was carried out of the VA draped with the US flag.
Resident Vets lined the halls to salute him as “Taps”was played. May you Rest In Peace Sir…..
My VA story, which is about 5 years old by now, concerns a Vietnam vet who had just been admitted to the hospice unit of the local VA with terminal cancer. Prognosis: 2 to 4 days at the outside. A friend of mine who worked in the admissions department phoned me with an urgent request for help. It turns out that the vet had come in with a cardboard box that he clung to with all his remaining strength. When the staff peered inside, they saw a tabby cat named Tiger, who was the vet’s only family. They couldn’t allow the cat into any sterile areas, so they stashed Tiger in the office of a nearby veterinarian until they could come up with a plan. My friend called me because Tiger was so fearful he would not have stood a chance of adoption if animal control had picked him up, so I was asked if I could foster him.
I was happy to do so because I have the necessary supplies for fostering a kitty who has to be kept separate from my own cats. My friend said that a doctor and a nurse from the VA would bring Tiger to me around 5 p.m., which gave me time to get his little “officer’s club” ready for him: clean bed, brand-new toy, the works. I had the sudden inspiration (I’d call it grace) to ask the doctor and nurse to bring a camera with them so that they could photograph Tiger’s new home and reassure his dying owner that Tiger was in a real house with a foster caregiver and not in a kill shelter where he would have been euthanized within a day of intake.
The MD and RN both thought that was a great idea, and they took about 20 pictures of Tiger in his new digs, including general shots of the living room itself. After they got back to the VA, they made copies of the photos, attached them to a large piece of poster board, and showed them to the dying vet. They told me the next day that he wept in relief to know his beloved cat was safe. They called me back the day after that to tell me that the vet had died about eight hours after seeing the photos.
While Tiger was indeed one of the most frightened cats I’ve ever seen, he did find a wonderful adopter, a respiratory therapist from the VA with experience in caring for traumatized animals. No, I couldn’t play Taps or salute Tiger’s “cat dad,” but I did what I could to thank him for his service.