A year on

For this post I thought I’d sum up Pete’s first year with me, tomorrow is his “gotcha day”. In the last year he has amused me with his antics, grossed me out with his presents and shouted at me lots for yet more food.
I love pets with character and Pete has character in spades! He’s nearly 12 and can frequently been found playing like a kitten, once he spots you looking, he stops and starts licking his left front paw, always that one wish he could tell me why! He likes to sit on bags and the laptop, whether I’m using it or not and he has a highly developed waking up routine. He starts by sitting by the bed, meowing and chirruping. If that’s ignored, he graduates to sticking his claws in the bed cos he knows that gets a reaction. On occasion he’ll jump on the bed and poke me in the arm while yelling. It doesn’t take long for me to get up unless it’s 5am!
Watching his personality emerge over the last year has been amazing, he has come out of his shell and, I hope is happy and comfortable with me, one thing’s for sure he’s enriched my life by being. Don’t tell him I said that though or that he’s going to the vet on Thursday…thanks.

Pete’s first few days

The day after the Cinnamon Trust volunteer had brought Pete to me, I had to leave him, I had a ticket to see the Olympic men’s hockey and I wasn’t giving that up for anything! I was a little nervous leaving him as I was looking after a kitten at the time and they’d only really had a few supervised hours together. 

Olympic day dawned and I left, worried about I was going to come home to if I’m honest but it had to be done. I was fairly sure everything would be OK as Pete really didn’t seem to harbour any visciousness towards the kitten but you can never be sure. I came back late that night and was relieved when I opened the door to not find clumps of fur and blood all over the place. In fact, it looked very much like they’d been sleeping next to each other before I put my key in the door!

The next few days were dedicated to making Pete feel settled, it was quite warm but I couldn’t keep the back door open because the kitten hadn’t had his jabs and I didn’t want Pete disappearing. After he had been with me a few days, I went out into the garden with Pete. He wandered round, sniffed the air, rolled in the dirt, all the things that cats like to do and then he went back indoors. Over the next few days he spent longer outside and showed no signs of running away so I was able to calm down and worry less when he was outside, especially as I found he was quite biddable and responded to his name. To be fair, not always the first time you call him but he gets there fairly quickly. 

The kitten was rehomed and then me and Pete fell into a comfortable routine, he’d shout for food and I’d feed him, he’d shout at the back door and I’d open it, honestly, what more could a cat need? 

How I got Pete the cat

Have you ever heard of the Cinnamon Trust? I hadn’t until a good friend of mine volunteered wuth them as a dog walker. I looked into them and they are amazing. They are a charity dedicated to helping elderly pet owners (primarily) look after their pets. There is a team of dog walkers who give up their spare time to visit the pet and owner and take the dog out for a walk, this is a hugely important thing especially if the owner is unable to exercise their dog anymore and, of course, it gives the dog the exercise it needs. In addition to this, they also have foster carers who will look after an animal on a short term basis if their owner goes into hospital or on a long term basis if the owner goes into a home that doesn’t accept pets or they feel they are unable to care for them anymore. 

After my cat, Gerry, died last June, I felt lonely but also didn’t feel that I could afford to have another cat and then I remembered the Cinnamon Trust and gave them a call. I was told all about Pete and that his owner was going into a home, the trust had offered to find Pete’s owner a pet friendly home but that wasn’t to be for a number of reasons. 

Anyway, that is how I was lucky enough to be selected to have Pete, I may foster him but he is here with me forever and I love that (and him, don’t tell him though he’ll just want more food!) 

If you feel you could give a small amount of your time to help a housebound pet owner or have some space in your house and heart to foster a pet, check out The Cinnamon Trust, they really are brilliant. 

Pete the cat

In a little over a week, I will have had Pete the cat for a whole year. Time does fly, doesn’t it? Lots has happened in that time so I thought I would do a few posts from now until his gotcha day to reflect a year in the life of Pete the cat. I might have to make some stuff up, he’s not very talkative you know. I would get him to type his thoughts up himself but he’d rather be outside, even in the rain!

Struggling a little tonight

SInce February, I have been working pretty hard at losing weight and have lost around a stone and a half and have gone down 2 dress sizes which is brilliant. So, why is that I am doing so much to sabotage it at the moment? I am eating chocolate like it is going out of fashion, filling up on so much dinner that I feel sick and know that I am heading towards putting the weight back on but can’t seem to stop. 

I’m sat here after some late toast and I am almost in tears. I know what to do to stop this happening but I am struggling to make myself do it. I am waiting to hear from the exercise referral team, I can’t wait to start that and I want to start running (or jogging) as I have a lot of weight to lose and don’t want to get saggy skin. I know that exercise will help a bit with my depression too and beating myself up over the amount of food I’m eating doesn’t help with my depression at all but can’t stop it. 

Well, tomorrow is another day right? I’ll get my butt back into gear tomorrow and start again. Although I have not posted this looking for sympathy or anything if you have any tips on staying motivated, please post them, I’ll be ever so thankful. 

A small confession

In an earlier post I wrote about my exam, I mentioned that my attendance at Uni had been horrendous due to my mental health declining. I’m going to confess now something that only my mum and close friends know, I haven’t been in to any lectures etc in Uni since January, I just couldn’t face it. I did keep everyone who needed to know informed but just couldn’t get my butt out the door and onto the bus. In fact, I struggled going out at all, often staying in for days at a time with just a quick trip to the supermarket or local garage. I am not proud of this, I still need to recognise all the signs I guess and get help rather than hide under the duvet.

I have had an amazing about of support from friends and family and the University as well. Now I have all the equipment I need to help with my studies as well as a mentor who is brilliant, I am genuinely looking forward to starting the new academic year.

Surprisingly, I passed my exam which when you consider I missed an entire term of lectures is pretty amazing! I don’t advocate it as a study option though so don’t follow my lead.

Yesterday, I got confirmation that I can retake a module which I missed. I had a module that was only the length of the term I failed to attend. There is a cost implication but Student Finance have got me covered with that.

I eventually sought further help for myself and have now been told that the community mental health team are referring me to the psychological therapies team for treatment. Thankfully, they haven’t recommended mucking about with my medication which I am pleased about as it’s taken almost 2 years to get it steady.

I now have all of the back up and support that I need to get back to my studies, I am planning on improving on last year’s results and with all the stuff I have been given, I now believe it is possible. I still have to deal with the appeal against my benefit being stopped but at least I can do that now without worrying whether or not I will be accepted back at Uni in September.

The moral of this long and rambling post is that if you feel like your world is collapsing in on you, get help quickly, I didn’t but I know not that I should have done. Luckily, everything turned out OK but it might not have done and then that would have had an even worse effect on the way I was feeling. I look forward to the day when I am less broken, I can’t even think about being “fixed” as that feels an eternity away.

One Reason People Fail

Having been to Calgary myself, I agree with this too, they are amazing people there.

Lead Today

I’ve spent the last few days in Calgary, Alberta, working with the great team from Oakcreek Golf and Turf. Calgary is a wonderful city in Western Canada that every year hosts an event known as the Calgary Stampede. Without going into great detail let’s just say that the Stampede is the mother of all rodeos.

It attracts visitors from all over the world. Young and old, they come to see not just the rodeo and the incredible Chuckwagon races but also to experience the “event” and the unique hospitality of the great people of Calgary.

I’ve been to three stampedes and even though I know little about horses and rodeos there is always much to marvel at. This year, however, was even more marvelous then before.

The city of Calgary very recently suffered devastating floods. During my visit the magnitude of the flooding was still very, very apparent. Just two…

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I feel an appeal coming on…

I had a telephone call from a man yesterday who didn’t seem to know very much. He was calling from the DWP to tell me that I am no longer eligible for ESA following my recent medical assessment. Apparently, you have to score 15 points to be eligible and I scored zero! I find this a little bizarre as I had medical evidence showing that my mental health had declined from last year and he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) answer any of the questions I had, didn’t offer any advice, just kept on telling me that my benefit claim has been closed. I sort of appreciate this “personal” touch of them ringing people up rather than sending a bog standard letter but I would rather have the letter turn up as it at least tells me what I can do next whereas the man on the phone didn’t offer any options up. He did eventually tell me that tomorrow’s payment will turn up as normal and that I can appeal against the decision but I had to drag that out of him. I  used to have to give this information to people face to face when I worked in a job centre and I am sure that I used to advise them a lot better than I was advised!

So, I am now waiting for a letter to turn up, stressed about how everything will go and how long the appeal will take, will it affect my other benefits etc…not a great thing to lump on someone with depression really! Thankfully, I have my first assessment appointment with my mental health team this afternoon, I think I know how that will go already!

Big day today

Later on today, I am attending a wine reception being hosted by the Howard League for Penal Reform of which I am a member. They are a charity and are on their homepage have the motto ‘less crime, safer communities, fewer people in prison’. Penal reform is something I am interested in and have gathered a tiny bit of knowledge during my first year at university. 

Anyway, this do is being held in the House of Commons, a building I have seen frequently whilst working in London and now I am being given the chance to go inside. I have been told by many that I am being very brave in going on my own but, let’s be honest, when you live on your own you have to go to places on your own. My boyfriend is working so he can’t come, I have friends that could have come of course but not everyone wants to traipse along to something like that just because I am interested in the topic. Anyway, I used to live and work in London so heading up on the train isn’t scary but the thought of going inside such an iconic building is a little exciting/scary/overwhelming but I am really looking forward to it. I must be, I have bought a whole new outfit and people who know me will know I am not usually that girly. If I get the chance to take photos, I might even put them up for you if you’re really unlucky.