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Walter, King of the Jungle

by Kathleen Rolla, Carmel, NY


Our family included myself, Dennis and Fortune our cat, when Walter joined us in June of 2002. My husband had seen Walter in a rescue/consignment store and he stood out to Dennis as a handsome boy with some Russian blue in him. I drove over to see Walter. Walter peered out from the cage and looked directly into my eyes while planting one paw on my collar bone and kissing me on the lips...that was it for me!!!! He was in his forever home that evening!


What we didn’t realize was that his health was compromised. He had serious gum disease which in spite of supplements and care, ultimately led to removal of most of his teeth (but still very handsome) and he was very depleted...unable to jump and as we discovered his left hip was dislocated.


Despite all this (who knows how many lives were lost from his nine?), with good nutrition and care he thrived, jumped again and ran all over, shadowing, stalking, chasing, in hot pursuit of jungle creatures!!


We had recently moved to a home on 3 and 1/2 acres in the woods and this suited him perfectly. He roamed around his territory and was always happiest to see us outside, butt heads and tag along and lend his assistance.



One of Walter’s beautiful eyes had two small brown spots on the iris. Our vet said we should be aware of any changes. And changes came eight years later. A portion of his left iris became brown late spring of 2010. There was a visit to our Vet where he checked him out and felt it could be a benign condition and suggested a short period of waiting. A second visit was necessary as the discoloration continued and then an ophthalmologist consultation.


ENTER JOANNA. Somewhere I had picked up her brochure. I needed someone who could communicate with Walter...tell me how he was feeling, who would understand him and give support to both Walter and his family. The decision for surgery/not surgery was difficult. The ophthalmologist diagnosis was iris melanosis/melanoma, meaning that without removing the eye there was no way to know if cancer was present. Also, a secondary diagnosis of glaucoma was present, brought on by the first disease. The pressure in the eye was fairly high and if it built up high enough, he would lose his sight anyway.


Walter presented himself to Joanna as a “jungle cat.” He sees himself as a big presence and as such is thrilled and grateful that he has been able to live a life fulfilling his intentions with us...something he was unable to do previously. But he is clearly uncomfortable with the sensation in his eye, yet the desire to continue his present life seemed clear.


Joanna explained the situation to him. The ophthalmologist would remove he left eye and insert an orbital implant to keep the eye socket from sinking in...a one day surgery...home that night or stay a day or two.


First, Joanna explained to Walter that he would need to have a chest x-ray, blood work and an ultrasound to see if there is cancer present, whether or not it has spread.


When the blood work came back it indicated some kidney issues....high creatinine, but thankfully the cancer did not appear on the ultrasound or x-ray.


Our Vet put him on eye drops for a few days to see if I felt there was any improvement. He felt surgery was rigorous and Walter was then in the 12 or so age bracket and now the kidney issue.


We have a communication from Joanna: “The best we can do is follow what feels right in our minds, hearts and intuition. I believe that’s how we live best in peace even in uncertainty.” We make the decision for surgery.


Thursday was THE DAY. Wednesday AM Walter was in a Healing Circle. Wednesday night Joanna, Walter and I had a session. Joanna explained everything to Walter and Walter said “it’s time.” Before surgery on Thursday, Joanna did a 1/2 hour healing session and later that day he was part of another Healing Circle. Friday AM and Saturday AM Joanna also worked with Walter.


I visited him and brought him home on Saturday. There was almost NO bleeding and he recovered SO WELL! Walter was SO happy to be home...hugs and kisses...a little food and water and a lot of sleep.


The pathology came back as advanced melanoma of the iris, but it was contained with clean margins.


Joanna continued to do several healing sessions the week following the surgery, “working  with his binocular vision using memory as well as his 3rd eye function, and continuing to strengthen his entire energy system.” And, as I recall, working with healing the tissue from the surgical wound.


Doc informed me that he had closed the wound in a different manner than usual so it would look better and the techs assisting him were holding the wound area in such a way as to minimize blood loss. A week after the surgery, Walter was back for a check-up and he was the TALK of the office. EVERYONE was beaming at how quickly he was healing. By that time he had been out on a halter (not his usual style!), had gained weight and was jumping and running around the house. I thanked Doc and the techs for their incredible work and their love and support of Walter. In making the decision for surgery, we had accepted the responsibility that there might not be cancer present. Doc told me that we had made the right call.


I also made the right call in consulting Joanna. Without her passionate and compassionate spirit and talent for listening to and communicating with animals and their families, as well as her extraordinary ability to send healing energy, mind, body and spirit to our animals, in this case to OUR WALTER, this journey would have been so much more difficult.....The loving support was invaluable. As Joanna said, “a job well done by all of us!”

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