March was decidedly a lion.

Chirpy, one of my favorite chickens, died suddenly in her nest box. I buried her in the backyard, blubbering more because of the suddenness of her death than out of sadness of her passing. She lived a life 99.999% better than the majority of the world’s domestic poultry.

The winter quarter was little less than a total disaster. Broken equipment, stressed students and my preoccupied mind leads to less than desirable studio circumstances.

And then the worst of it: Montana, my 12 year old cat, was diagnosed with a cancerous mass in his stomach. He stopped eating sometime during the middle of February. His once (albeit overweight) 16 pound frame was down to, and remains at, 12.5 pounds. He quickly became a lethargic, constantly cold, pitiful pile of skin and bones. Finally, after numerous trips to the vet, several blood tests and a X-ray, he was given antibiotics to combat elevated white blood cells (which, of course, only showed on his second round of blood work). He was also given kitty anti-depressants to stimulate his appetite. As his demeanor slowly returned to normal after two weeks on antibiotics, his X-ray came back showing an ominous mass in his stomach, which was identified by two vets and one radiologist. I don’t know yet if this mass is malignant or benign. I’m taking him back for an ultrasound next week to get a better idea of where the mass is actually located in his stomach and have a consultation concerning treatment options, if that is indeed something I even want to pursue. Montana has been my constant companion since the summer of 2000… and there is nothing he hates more in this world than being handled by veterinarians.

It’s weird to think that when I adopted this tabby kitten from the SPCA in Buffalo, NY during the summer before my senior year in college, the majority of my current students were between the ages of 8 and 10 years old.

I can only hope that any decisions I am forced to make concerning his future will be based on the quality of his life and not the selfishness of my own desires. Until then, we’ve got the summer.