Thursday, September 30, 2010

The price of compassion is $328.13

Compassion toward all living things is a central tenant of Buddhism. To give an idea of its importance, Lama Zopa Rinpoche said:

"Live with compassion
Work with compassion
Die with compassion
Meditate with compassion
Enjoy with compassion
When problems come,
Experience them with compassion."

Most of us are aware of the stories of monks that work to avoid swatting flies or stepping on ants. That is how far the notion of compassion can be taken in Buddhism.

                                                 Dumbledore (not really, it's a stock photo)

Dumbledore (named by my daughter after the Harry Potter character) was a stray. He adopted our house over the summer. Don’t know why, but one day he just turned up, hiding in our bushes. It was a week or so before he allowed anyone to get close, but once he did, he moved from being a ‘bushes cat’ to a ‘porch cat’. He loved the kids and the kids loved him. This led to the discussion of what to do. Was he eating? Was he getting fresh water? What would happen when winter came? Let me clear at this point: the adults in the house do NOT want a cat. We are done with cats.

My first mistake was feeding him. Yes, I am guilty. He was skinny and we had discovered he was declawed, which meant he was a housecat. So we were concerned he couldn’t fend for himself. This was disproven by the mouse he caught, but still…

My wife called a local shelter, but they weren’t taking. So much for plan A. Then the weather changed this week so it was decided to let Dumbledore in the house. A trip to Lowes for a cat door to the basement and to Target for a litter box and other supplies, and I had the happiest cat (and kids) on the planet. I have never heard a cat purr so loudly in my life.

Right now you are asking yourself, “I get the compassion part, he adopted a stray cat, but I don’t get the money thing."

Today, my wife notices Dumbledore has a swollen ear. Yep, that’s a vet trip. Apparently our new house mate has a hematoma. It requires a shunt so it can drain for the next three weeks. That, plus shots was $328.13, and demonstrates that no good deed goes unpunished.

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