How I Almost Lost My Best Friend And Then Realized What He Meant To Me

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A week ago, I had to deal with the idea of losing my best friend, my sweet companion, my little sunshine. Imagine what I had to go through as he’s the first thing I see in the morning, he’s the one that I get up in the night for (literally) and he’s the one making me smile every day.

We met almost eight years ago in the north of Tel Aviv and I fell in love with him at first sight. I was just moving to Tel Aviv and I desperately need something to remind me of home.

My friend is an eight-year-old stray cat. I called him Dungulitza, Dungu (Stripey in Romanian) in the memory of my childhood dog. The reason for adopting him was my husband’s wish to make me feel like home. Who would have ever thought that red-haired fluffy cat would not only make me feel home but he would make our house a home?

Little Dungu (3 months old)

Little Dungu (3 months old)

I strongly recommend any of you who move to another country and feel lonely, to adopt an animal. Especially a cat. The reward is immense. It can literarily create a home for you, make you feel less lonely, relax you when you are sad and make adjusting to a new life easier for you. When you have to take care of another little soul, then you focus less on your problems and see life in brighter colors.

Let me tell you a few words about Dungu, what he means to me and the lessons that he taught me.

We adopted him when he was three months old from an animal shelter. He was in an orange cage, he was playing with a tennis ball and he would have done anything just to be taken out from that damn thing. He wanted to be free, to run, not to be a prisoner. There were many cats to choose from, smaller and cuter ones, but when I looked at Dungu, I swear to you he had a strong sparkle in his eyes. He actually told me – “pick me”. I immediately fell in love with him and I remember the woman from the shelter telling my husband (boyfriend back then): “Sir, would you please help me fill in the adoption form, I can’t communicate with your girlfriend. She’s not with us anymore”. And I wasn’t there indeed. I couldn’t take my eyes off him and I couldn’t stop petting him and playing with him. I was bewitched.

We brought him home and we let him free. They told us that he would hide under the bed in the first two-three days and not to expect him to come out. But Dungu never got under the bed; he came out to the living room on the same day and wished us “good morning” the next day (despite of the fact that the bedroom was at a different floor).

Resting on his “zebra pillow”

Resting on his “zebra pillow”

A little bit after one year after we adopted him, we took him to an eye doctor for a check-up. We were told he was getting blind and because it was a genetic disease we couldn’t do anything about it. I wanted to help him but I couldn’t and I felt useless. In the first weeks, I would see him and start crying. I pitied and tried to protect him. But then I understood that there was nobody to be protected, he was well, he was a fighter, he was protecting me and he started to use his other senses to get around. He was doing it good. Till today, people come to our house and they don’t believe when we tell them he is blind. This is when I understood that, although my new country was not the easiest to live in and plus it had one of the hardest languages in the world, it’s up to me to make it. So I went to Hebrew classes…

iCat

iCat

Even when we moved to a new house with a garden, Dungu handled it well. He climbed the trees, scared all the cats that dared to come to our property and showed all of them who was the king of the yard. He enjoyed the nature and he felt like in a jungle. We didn’t enjoy it as much as he did, especially because once a week we had to call the firemen department to take him out of the trees. This is when I understood that “it’s only in your head”. Show the others you are strong and they will consider you are strong. Show the others your weaknesses and they will take you as weak.

Trust me, I’m not trying to portray you the perfect cat. Dungulitza was by far a good cat. He woke us up, cried in the middle of the night, he scratched us or our furniture and many other things I don’t want to mention.

“Take me with you!”

“Take me with you!”

“Take me with you!”

“Take me with you!”

When did he actually do good things? Every single day. He was always there for us. People say cats are not loyal and they don’t know how to show love or to express their affection. They couldn’t be more wrong. They feel your emotions more than people do and they are there for you unconditionally.  They sense your sorrow and your anxiety, they calm you down and they are there for you all the time.

Going back to Dungu, I have to tell you also a sad story. He got very sick in the last month and although I changed him vets and treatments, his situation wasn’t improving but everything seemed under control so we left for one week holiday. I had a bad feeling about it but canceling the holiday seemed like an extreme solution to take. So we left and days after, we found out that he had to be hospitalized. Not only that, but after many tests, he was suspect of cancer. The second option was a chronic disease. My world fell apart. How could I not be there for him? How could I help him? How can I let go of a member of my family?

The winner takes it all

The winner takes it all

Luckily, Dungu didn’t have cancer, his situation is now stable and we are doing our best to keep him alive and to give him the best treatment. It will be a long run but we are here to make it. This taught me never to lose faith.

Against all the odds and all the genetics (imagine what were the chances of survival of a blind cat living on the street), Dungulitza is a warrior. He reminds me a lot of myself (I was also born a premature baby): he fails and he stands up, he stumbles but then he moves forward with head up. He knows it’s not easy, but he would never give up. At the end of the day, he is a winner. He made it when nobody gave him a chance. And mostly, he is a survivor.



Luca Firanescu

Luca is the founder of XPATGirls.com. No, it’s not a he, but a she and she’s not Italian but Romanian. She’s currently based in sunny Tel Aviv and in her past life she was a world traveling fashion model jumping from one exotic location to the next. Her motto in life is that the world is a book – the more you see the better the story. While she has a great love for fashion and travel, her enthusiasm for social media and for advertising is greater. She began to pursue her passion when she joined the Blonde 2.0 team where she is currently working as a strategic planner. Luca loves cats, dogs and basically anything furry and she follows social media news religiously and has more apps on her iPhone than she can count.

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